metallidurans CH34 plasmid pMOL30 binds to and protects from DNAase I digestion the predicted PpbrA operator/promoter (Figure 1) (4). PpbrA has striking similarities to other metal ion-responsive MerR family promoters (Figure 2). Assays of PpbrA mutants where
the spacing between the −10 and −35 sites are shortened to 18 bp, whilst the internal dyad symmetry is maintained, showed that PbrR-induced expression from PpbrA is upregulated even in the absence of Pb(II) (Figure 3). These data are all consistent with the model of activation for the MerR promoter [41, 43, 44]. Change of the DNA sequence of the −10 element of PpbrA to either the consensus E. coli promoter −10 sequence or the Tn501 PmerT promoter −10 sequence also caused CP868596 up-regulation of promoter activity, although the PpbrA/Tn501 PmerT-like promoter still retained Pb(II) repression and induction, rather than a constitutive up-regulation seen in the −10 consensus promoter mutant. These data emphasize the importance selleck chemical of individual nucleotides within the promoter in affecting promoter strength, and indicate that PpbrA is suboptimal for maximum induction of the structural pbr genes. It is possible that this may represent a mechanism for fine-tuning of expression of the pbr structural genes. In
other metal ion-sensing MerR family regulators, cysteine residues are essential for metal coordination and functionality. In vivo assays of the activity of cysteine to serine mutant PbrR proteins in C. metallidurans AE104 (which lacks pMOL30) have shown that C14, C79 and C134 are essential for PbrR Pb(II) sensing and activation of PpbrA (Figure 4). PbrR Geneticin in vitro C14 lies in the turn of the predicted helix-turn-helix DNA binding domain of PbrR (Figure 5) and a change of amino acid at this point could disrupt the binding of PbrR to PpbrA. Mutants in the second helix of this region of MerR have lost both activation and repression activity [45, 46]. The loss of Pb(II) response in the PbrR C79S mutant is consistent with the prediction from a
structure-based sequence alignment that this residue is essential for discriminating between +1 and +2 charge ions, with a cysteine being found at this position in regulators that respond to +2 ions . Mutagenesis studies have all identified a cysteine residue at this position as being essential for in vivo metal-dependant activation of expression in MerR, ZntR, Thalidomide and ZccR. Figure 5 ClustalW[47, 48]alignment of metal sensing MerR regulators. PbrR (Rmet_5946), PbrR691 (Rmet_2302) and PbrR710 (Rmet_3456) are from the genome of C. metallidurans CH34. CadR is from Pseudomonas stutzeri A1501. ZntR, and CueR are from the E. coli K-12 genome, and MerR is from Tn501. The helices of the Helix-Turn-Helix DNA binding domain are boxed. Essential cysteine residues (Cys14, Cys79, and Cys134 –PbrR numbering) required for activation of PpbrA by PbrR are marked. Key to symbols: * = residues in that column are identical in all sequences in the alignment.