Dual control of RegX3 transcriptional activity by SenX3 and PknB Signal Transduction
The mycobacterial SenX3–RegX3 two-component system consists of the SenX3 sensor histidine kinase and its cognate RegX3 response regulator. This system is a phosphorelay-based regulatory system involved in sensing environmental Pi levels and induction of genes required for Pi acquisition under Pi-limiting conditions. Here we demonstrate that overexpression of the kinase domain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis PknB (PknB-KDMtb) inhibits the transcriptional activity of RegX3 of both M. tuberculosis and Mycobacterium smegmatis (RegX3Mtb and RegX3Ms, respectively). Mass spectrometry results, along with those of in vitro phosphorylation and complementation analyses, revealed that PknB kinase activity inhibits the transcriptional activity of RegX3Mtb through phosphorylation events at Thr-100, Thr-191, and Thr-217. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays disclosed that phosphorylation of Thr-191 and Thr-217 abolishes the DNA-binding ability of RegX3Mtb and that Thr-100 phosphorylation likely prevents RegX3Mtb from being activated through conformational changes induced by SenX3-mediated phosphorylation. We propose that the convergence of the PknB and SenX3-RegX3 signaling pathways might enable mycobacteria to integrate environmental Pi signals with the cellular replication state to adjust gene expression in response to Pi availability.