MzrA: A novel modulator of the EnvZ/OmpR two-component regulon

Henri Gerken, Emily S. Charlson, Elisha M. Cicirelli, Linda J. Kenney, Rajeev Misra

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76 Scopus citations


Analysis of suppressors that alleviate the acute envelope stress phenotype of a ΔbamB ΔdegP strain of Escherichia coli identified a novel protein MzrA and pleiotropic envZ mutations. Genetic evidence shows that overexpression of MzrA - formerly known as YqjB and EcfM - modulates the activity of EnvZ/OmpR similarly to pleiotropic EnvZ mutants and alter porin expression. However, porin expression in strains devoid of MzrA or overexpressing it is still sensitive to medium osmolarity, pH and procaine, all of which modulate EnvZ/OmpR activities. Thus, MzrA appears to alter the output of the EnvZ/OmpR system but not its ability to receive and respond to various environmental signals. Localization and topology experiments indicate that MzrA is a type II membrane protein, with its N-terminus exposed in the cytoplasm and C-terminus in the periplasm. Bacterial two-hybrid experiments determined that MzrA specifically interacts with EnvZ but not with OmpR or the related membrane sensor kinase, CpxA. This and additional genetic and biochemical evidence suggest that the interaction of MzrA with EnvZ would either enhance EnvZ's kinase activity or reduce its phosphatase activity, thus elevating the steady state levels of OmpR∼P. Furthermore, our data show that MzrA links the two-component envelope stress response regulators, CpxA/CpxR and EnvZ/OmpR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1408-1422
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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