The Cpx and ∑E regulons help maintain outer membrane integrity; the Cpx pathway monitors the biogenesis of cell surface structures, such as pili, while the ∑E pathway monitors the biogenesis of β-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs). In this study we revealed the importance of the Cpx regulon in the event of β-barrel OMP mis-assembly, by utilizing mutants expressing either a defective β-barrel OMP assembly machinery (Bam) or assembly defective β-barrel OMPs. Analysis of specific mRNAs showed that δcpxR bam double mutants failed to induce degP expression beyond the wild type level, despite activation of the ∑E pathway. The synthetic conditional lethal phenotype of δcpxR in mutant Bam or β-barrel OMP backgrounds was reversed by wild type DegP expressed from a heterologous plasmid promoter. Consistent with the involvement of the Cpx regulon in the event of aberrant β-barrel OMP assembly, the expression of cpxP, the archetypal member of the cpx regulon, was upregulated in defective Bam backgrounds or in cells expressing a single assembly-defective β-barrel OMP species. Together, these results showed that both the Cpx and ∑E regulons are required to reduce envelope stress caused by aberrant β-barrel OMP assembly, with the Cpx regulon principally contributing by controlling degP expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology