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ISRN Microbiology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 697308, 10 pages
Research Article

Antagonistic Roles for GcvA and GcvB in hdeAB Expression in Escherichia coli

Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA

Received 20 February 2012; Accepted 14 March 2012

Academic Editors: D. Rodriguez-Lazaro, A. Sunna, and P. Velge

Copyright © 2012 Lorraine T. Stauffer and George V. Stauffer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In E. coli, the periplasmic proteins HdeA and HdeB have chaperone-like functions, suppressing aggregation of periplasmic proteins under acidic conditions. A microarray analysis of RNA isolated from an E. coli wild type and a ΔgcvB strain grown to mid-log phase in Luria-Bertani broth indicated the hdeAB operon, encoding the HdeA and HdeB proteins, is regulated by the sRNA GcvB. We wanted to verify that GcvB and its coregulator Hfq play a role in regulation of the hdeAB operon. In this study, we show that GcvB positively regulates hdeA::lacZ and hdeB::lacZ translational fusions in cells grown in Luria-Bertani broth and in glucose minimal media + glycine. Activation also requires the Hfq protein. Although many sRNAs dependent on Hfq regulate by an antisense mechanism, GcvB regulates hdeAB either directly or indirectly at the level of transcription. GcvA, the activator of gcvB, negatively regulates hdeAB at the level of transcription. Although expression of gcvB is dependent on GcvA, activation of hdeAB by GcvB occurs independently of GcvA’s ability to repress the operon. Cell survival and growth at low pH are consistent with GcvA negatively regulating and GcvB positively regulating the hdeAB operon.