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Infection and Immunity


Geisel School of Medicine


We previously reported that the novel Pseudomonas aeruginosa toxin Cif is capable of decreasing apical membrane expression of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). We further demonstrated that Cif is capable of degrading the synthetic epoxide hydrolase (EH) substrate S-NEPC [(2S,3S)-trans-3-phenyl-2-oxiranylmethyl 4-nitrophenol carbonate], suggesting that Cif may be reducing apical membrane expression of CFTR via its EH activity. Here we report that Cif is capable of degrading the xenobiotic epoxide epibromohydrin (EBH) to its vicinal diol 3-bromo-1,2-propanediol. We also demonstrate that this epoxide is a potent inducer of cif gene expression. We show that the predicted TetR family transcriptional repressor encoded by the PA2931 gene, which is immediately adjacent to and divergently transcribed from the cif-containing, three-gene operon, negatively regulates cif gene expression by binding to the promoter region immediately upstream of the cif-containing operon. Furthermore, this protein-DNA interaction is disrupted by the epoxide EBH in vitro, suggesting that the binding of EBH by the PA2931 protein product drives the disassociation from its DNA-binding site. Given its role as a repressor of cif gene expression, we have renamed PA2931 as CifR. Finally, we demonstrate that P. aeruginosa strains isolated from cystic fibrosis patient sputum with increased cif gene expression are impaired for the expression of the cifR gene.