A Dual Regulatory Role of the PhoU Protein in Salmonella Typhimurium

Soomin Choi, Gyunghwa Jeong, Eunna Choi, Eun Jin Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Bacteria utilize two-component regulatory systems to sense and respond to their surroundings. Unlike other two-component systems that directly sense through a sensory domain in the histidine kinase (HK), the PhoB/PhoR two-component system requires additional proteins, including the PstSCAB phosphate transporter and the PhoU protein, to sense phosphate levels. Although PhoU is involved in phosphate signaling by connecting the PstSCAB transporter and PhoR histidine kinase, the mechanism by which PhoU controls expression of pho regulon genes has not yet been clearly understood. Here, we identified PhoU residues required for interacting with PhoR histidine kinase from the intracellular pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. The PhoU Ala147 residue interacts with the PhoR PAS domain and is involved in repressing pho expression in high phosphate. Unexpectedly, the PhoU Arg184 residue interacts with the PhoR histidine kinase domain and is required for activating pho expression in low Mg21 by increasing PhoR autophosphorylation, revealing its new function. The substitution of the Arg184 to Gly codon decreased Salmonella virulence both in macrophages and in mice, suggesting that PhoU’s role in promoting PhoR autophosphorylation is required during Salmonella infection.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun


  • PhoB/ PhoR two-component system
  • low Mg
  • phosphate limitation
  • phosphate limitation
  • pst phosphate-transport system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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