Previously, we classified three factors (OmpR, RstA and IHF) as activators and two factors (CpxR and H-NS) as repressors, and found novel modes of their interplay. Here we describe an as yet uncharacterized regulator, MlrA, that has been suggested to participate in control of curli formation. Based on both in vivo and in vitro analyses, we identified MlrA as a positive factor of the csgD promoter by directly binding to its upstream region (−113 to −146) with a palindromic sequence
of AAAATTGTACA(12N)TGTACAATTTT between the binding sites of two activators, IHF and OmpR. The possible interplay between three activators was analysed in detail. Under stressful conditions in nature, planktonic single-cell Escherichia coli transforms into multicellular biofilm through adhesion to solid surfaces and cell–cell interactions using extracellular matrix compounds FDA approved drug high throughput screening such as cellulose and curli fimbriae (Prigent-Combaret find more et al., 2000; Chapman et al., 2002; Beloin et al., 2008; Gualdi et al., 2008; Wood, 2009). The synthesis of csgBA-encoded curli is induced at low temperatures and
under low osmolarity during stationary phase growth (Barnhart & Chapman, 2006). Expression of csgBA is under the control of a positive regulator, CsgD, which is also involved in the regulation of cellulose production and peptidase synthesis (Prigent-Combaret et al., 2001; Brombacher et al., 2003, 2006; Chirwa & Herrington, 2003; Gerstel & Romling,
2003). In concert with the regulatory role of CsgD as the master regulator of biofilm formation under stressful conditions, the major sigma RpoD and stationary phase-specific RpoS participate in transcription initiation from two promoters of the csgD operon (Robbe-Saule et al., 2006; Gualdi et al., 2007; Ogasawara et al., 2007a, 2010). Furthermore, a number of transcription factors are involved in the regulation of the csgD promoter, including CpxR (Jubelin et al., 2005), Crl (Bougdour et al., 2004), H-NS (Gerstel et al., 2003), IHF (Gerstel et al., 2003, 2006), OmpR (Vidal et al., 1998; Gerstel et al., 2003, 2006), RstA (Ogasawara et al., 2007a), MlrA (Brown et al., 2001), RcsB (Ferrieres & Clarke, 2003; Vianney et al., heptaminol 2005) and CRP (Zheng et al., 2004). On the basis of these observations, the csgD promoter is now recognized as one of the most complex promoters in E. coli (Ishihama, 2010). As an initial step toward understanding the regulatory mechanisms of the csgD promoter by a number of transcription factors, we have classified some of these transcription factors into positive and negative regulators (Ogasawara et al., 2010). In addition, we and others have analysed the pair-wise interplay between RpoS and Crl (Robbe-Saule et al., 2006), IHF and H-NS (Gerstel et al., 2003; Ogasawara et al., 2010), OmpR and IHF (Gerstel et al.