Characterization of FarR as a highly specialized, growth phase-dependent transcriptional regulator in Neisseria meningitidis.
Transcriptional regulators play an important role for the survival of Neisseria meningitidis within its human host. We have recently shown that FarR acts as transcriptional repressor of the adhesin nadA in N. meningitidis. Here, we examined the FarR regulon by microarray analyses, qRT-PCR, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays, revealing that FarR is a highly specific repressor of nadA. We demonstrate by reporter gene fusion assays that alterations of the FarR binding site within the nadA promoter are sufficient to induce transcription of nadA. Furthermore, farR expression is growth phase-dependent. The highest transcription rate was observed in the late-exponential growth phase of meningococci. Upon contact with active components of the complement system in normal human serum, expression of farR is slightly downregulated. Concluding, we present FarR as an exquisitely specialized, growth phase-dependent, possibly complement-responsive transcriptional regulator in N. meningitidis.