Transcriptomics Analysis Defines Global Cellular Response of Agrobacterium tumefaciens 5A to Arsenite Exposure Regulated Through the Histidine Kinases PhoR and AioS


Rachel A. Rawle, Yoon-Suk Kang, Brian Bothner, Gejiao Wang, Timothy R. McDermott


Environmental Microbiology


In environments where arsenic and microbes coexist, microbes are the principal drivers of arsenic speciation, which directly affects bioavailability, toxicity, and bioaccumulation. Speciation reactions influence arsenic behavior in environmental systems, directly affecting human and agricultural exposures. Arsenite oxidation decreases arsenic toxicity and mobility in the environment, and therefore understanding its regulation and overall influence on cellular metabolism is of significant interest. The arsenite oxidase (AioBA) is regulated by a three?component signal transduction system AioXSR, which is in turn regulated by the phosphate stress response, with PhoR acting as the master regulator. Using RNA?sequencing, we characterized the global effects of arsenite on gene expression in Agrobacterium tumefaciens 5A. To further elucidate regulatory controls, mutant strains for histidine kinases PhoR and AioS were employed, and illustrate that in addition to arsenic metabolism, a host of other functional responses are regulated in parallel. Impacted functions include arsenic and phosphate metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, solute transport systems, and iron metabolism, in addition to others. These findings contribute significantly to the current understanding of the metabolic impact and genetic circuitry involved during arsenite exposure in bacteria. This informs how arsenic contamination will impact microbial activities involving several biogeochemical cycles in nature.



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