Key Laboratory of Industrial Biotechnology of the Ministry of Education, Laboratory of Applied Microorganisms and Metabolic Engineering, School of Biotechnology, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China [Email] [Email]
Prodigiosin, a secondary metabolite produced by Serratia marcescens, has attracted attention due to its immunosuppressive, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. However, information on the regulatory mechanism behind prodigiosin biosynthesis in S. marcescens remains limited. In this work, a prodigiosin-hyperproducing strain with the BVG90_22495 gene disrupted (ZK66) was selected from a collection of Tn5G transposon insertion mutants. Using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis, β-galactosidase assays, transcriptomics analysis, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs), the LysR-type regulator MetR encoded by the BVG90_22495 gene was found to affect prodigiosin synthesis, and this correlated with MetR directly binding to the promoter region of the prodigiosin-synthesis positive regulator PigP and hence negatively regulated the expression of the prodigiosin-associated pig operon. More analyses revealed that MetR regulated some other important cellular processes, including methionine biosynthesis, cell motility, H2O2 tolerance, heat tolerance, exopolysaccharide synthesis, and biofilm formation in S. marcescens Although MetR protein is highly conserved in many bacteria, we report here on the LysR-type regulator MetR exhibiting novel roles in negatively regulating prodigiosin synthesis and positively regulating heat tolerance, exopolysaccharide synthesis, and biofilm formation.IMPORTANCESerratia marcescens, a Gram-negative bacterium, is found in a wide range of ecological niches and can produce several secondary metabolites, including prodigiosin, althiomycin, and serratamolide. Among them, prodigiosin shows diverse functions as an immunosuppressant, antimicrobial, and anticancer agent. However, the regulatory mechanisms behind prodigiosin synthesis in S. marcescens are not completely understood. Here, we adapted a transposon mutant library to identify the genes related to prodigiosin synthesis, and the BVG90_22495 gene encoding the LysR-type regulator MetR was found to negatively regulate prodigiosin synthesis. The molecular mechanism of the metR mutant hyperproducing prodigiosin was investigated. Additionally, we provided evidence supporting new roles for MetR in regulating methionine biosynthesis, cell motility, heat tolerance, H2O2 tolerance, and exopolysaccharide synthesis in S. marcescens Collectively, this work provides novel insight into regulatory mechanisms of prodigiosin synthesis and uncovers novel roles for the highly conserved MetR protein in regulating prodigiosin synthesis, heat tolerance, exopolysaccharide (EPS) synthesis, and biofilm formation.