TitleTetR-type transcriptional regulator VtpR functions as a global regulator in Vibrio tubiashii.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsHasegawa, H, Häse, CC
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Date Published2009 Dec
KeywordsVirulence Factors

Vibrio tubiashii, a causative agent of severe shellfish larval disease, produces multiple extracellular proteins, including a metalloprotease (VtpA), as potential virulence factors. We previously reported that VtpA is toxic for Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) larvae. In this study, we show that extracellular protease production by V. tubiashii was much reduced by elevated salt concentrations, as well as by elevated temperatures. In addition, V. tubiashii produced dramatically less protease in minimal salts medium supplemented with glucose or sucrose as the sole carbon source than with succinate. We identified a protein that belongs to the TetR family of transcriptional regulators, VtpR, which showed high homology with V. cholerae HapR. We conclude that VtpR activates VtpA production based on the following: (i) a VtpR-deficient V. tubiashii mutant did not produce extracellular proteases, (ii) the mutant showed reduced expression of a vtpA-lacZ fusion, and (iii) VtpR activated vtpA-lacZ in a V. cholerae heterologous background. Moreover, we show that VtpR activated the expression of an additional metalloprotease gene (vtpB). The deduced VtpB sequence showed high homology with a metalloprotease, VhpA, from V. harveyi. Furthermore, the vtpR mutant strain produced reduced levels of extracellular hemolysin, which is attributed to the lower expression of the V. tubiashii hemolysin genes (vthAB). The VtpR-deficient mutant also had negative effects on bacterial motility and did not demonstrate toxicity to oyster larvae. Together, these findings establish that the V. tubiashii VtpR protein functions as a global regulator controlling an array of potential virulence factors.