Hemberger, Jacqueline, et al. “The Promoter of the Immune-Modulating Gene TIR-Containing Protein C of the Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Strain CFT073 Reacts to the Pathogen’s Environment.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23.3 (2022): 1148. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031148
The TIR-containing protein C (TcpC) of the uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain CFT073 modulates innate immunity by interfering with the Toll-like receptor and NALP3 inflammasome signaling cascade. During a urinary tract infection the pathogen encounters epithelial and innate immune cells and replicates by several orders of magnitude. We therefore analyzed whether these cell types and also the density of the pathogen would induce the recently defined promoter of the CFT073 tcpC gene to, in time, dampen innate immune responses. Using reporter constructs we found that the uroepithelial cell line T24/83 and the monocytic cell line THP-1 induced the tcpC promoter. Differentiation of monocytic THP-1 cells to macrophages increased their potential to switch on the promoter. Cell-associated CFT073 displayed the highest promoter activity. Since potassium represents the most abundant intracellular ion and is secreted to induce the NLRP3 inflammasome, we tested its ability to activate the tcpC promoter. Potassium induced the promoter with high efficiency. Sodium, which is enriched in the renal cortex generating an antibacterial hypersalinity, also induced the tcpC promoter. Finally, the bacterial density modulated the tcpC promoter activity. In the search for promoter-regulating proteins, we found that the DNA-binding protein H-NS dampens the promoter activity. Taken together, different cell types and salts, present in the kidney, are able to induce the tcpC promoter and might explain the mechanism of TcpC induction during a kidney infection with uropathogenic E. coli strains.