In B. subtilis swarming and robust swimming motility require the positive trigger of SwrA on fla/che operon expression. Despite having an essential and specific activity, how SwrA executes this task has remained elusive thus far. We demonstrate here that SwrA acts at the main σA-dependent fla/che promoter PA(fla/che) through DegU. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) reveal that SwrA forms a complex with the phosphorylated form of DegU (DegU∼P) at PA(fla/che) while it is unable to do so with either unphosphorylated DegU or the DegU32(Hy) mutant protein. Motility assays show that a highly phosphorylated DegU is not detrimental for flagellar motility provided that SwrA is present; however, DegU∼P represses P A(fla/che) in the absence of SwrA. Overall, our data support a model in which DegU∼P is a dual regulator, acting either as a repressor when alone or as a positive regulator of PA(fla/che) when combined with SwrA. Finally, we demonstrate that the σD-dependent P D3(fla/che) promoter plays an important role in motility, representing a contingent feedback loop necessary to maintain basal motility when swrA is switched to the non-functional swrA- status.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)