|Résumé :||CsrA is a global regulator and the main player of the carbon storage regulator (Csr) network, a well- conserved regulatory network in the bacterial world. CsrA is involved in regulation of many physiological processes, including pathways of central carbon metabolism, biofilm formation, motility and virulence in pathogenic species. CsrA acts at the post-transcriptional level by binding specific sequences on its target mRNAs, leading to mRNA destabilization or stabilization. The majority of studies were analyzing a csrA mutant of E. coli K-12 encoding a truncated form of the CsrA protein, retaining residual activity.
This work aims at further characterize the roles of CsrA by deleting the entire csrA gene in a recently isolated strain, the uropathogenic E. coli CFT073 strain. Deletion of csrA leads to a marked growth defect, indicating that this gene, although not essential, is primordial for growth. We performed experimental evolution of csrA deletion mutants. Compensatory mutants totally outcompete the original csrA deletion mutant after six days of culture, indicating that the applied selective pressures are strong. The ÄcsrA and three ÄcsrA evolved mutants were extensively analyzed by combining molecular techniques such as genetics, microscopy and use of fluorescent reporters, and global approaches, including comparative proteomics and whole genome sequencing.
Our data indicate that csrA deletion strongly affects central metabolism and energy status, constituting an endogenous metabolic stress that, in turn, induces specific stress responses. This work illustrates the interconnection of multiple regulation networks for responding to specific conditions and demonstrates the flexibility of metabolic network to compensate for genetic perturbations in E. coli.