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Chapter 15 : The Regulon

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Abstract:

This chapter reviews the current understanding of the regulon, and focusing on some of the more interesting features of regulation. It highlights the considerable homology and cross-regulation that exists between MarA and the related transcriptional regulators SoxS and Rob. The extensive overlap observed in the regulons and phenotypes associated with these proteins is discussed in this chapter. The regulon consists of a large group of chromosomal genes directly or indirectly regulated by MarA. This regulon is also frequently referred to as the //regulon because the two MarA homologues, SoxS and Rob, recognize the same regulatory DNA element in the promoter of regulated genes. More recently, with the advent of genome-wide transcriptome analysis, two independent macroarray studies have provided new insights into the multitude of genes that constitute the transcriptional network of the regulon. Importantly, although multiple marboxes can be found in the promoter regions of regulon genes, in vivo studies have demonstrated that it is the one closest to the promoter signatures that plays the major role in transcriptional control. While understanding the molecular cross-talk that underlies regulon expression and how this is elicited by natural stresses remains an important goal for the future, the prevailing long-term objective is to understand the physiological relevance of the changes within the cell and to more accurately map the development of the phenotype. This will offer new possibilities for identifying targets for novel antimicrobial therapies to better deal with the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.

Citation: Barbosa T, Pomposiello P. 2005. The Regulon, p 209-223. In White D, Alekshun M, McDermott P (ed), Frontiers in Antimicrobial Resistance. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817572.ch15

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Figure 1

MarA, SoxS, and Rob regulatory circuits. MarA, SoxS, and Rob can mediate a global cellular stress response to different toxic compounds by governing the expression of a common network of chromosomal genes, the regulon, which is involved in a variety of different cell functions. This includes active efflux of toxic compounds (e.g., through the activation of the AcrAB-TolC complex), reduction of cell permeability (e.g., through the decreased expression of porins, such as OmpF, and modulation of expression of other membrane proteins), detoxification (e.g., through the increased expression of cytoprotective and repair enzymes), and others. A multitude of external stresses are sensed by the MarRAB, SoxRS, and Rob systems, which ultimately result in the modulation through different pathways of the expression of the three transcriptional factors. Some of these stimuli result in the activation of more than one sensory system, while other stimuli display restricted activation of only one system. For example, MarA is produced when MarR is inactivated either by mutations or by interaction with inducing agents, such as phenolic compounds and certain oxidative stress agents. expression can also be induced by SoxS and Rob and enhanced by Fis. Additionally, MppA, in combination with mutations at an unknown locus in , is capable of influencing expression through what appears to be a MarR-independent pathway. In contrast, oxidative stress agents oxidize SoxR, which in turn activates expression of SoxS. No other signals are known to result in increased levels of SoxS. Rob is produced constitutively, but recently it has been shown that its expression can be repressed in a SoxS-dependent manner. Although Rob is known to accumulate to high concentrations in the cell, its activation in vivo is thought to be mediated by inducing agents that bind to the carboxyl-terminus effector-binding domain of this protein, such as 2,2′- and 4,4′- dipyridyl, bile salts, and fatty acids (represented as E in the figure).

Citation: Barbosa T, Pomposiello P. 2005. The Regulon, p 209-223. In White D, Alekshun M, McDermott P (ed), Frontiers in Antimicrobial Resistance. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817572.ch15
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Figure 2

Northern blotting reveals differential regulation of gene transcription by SoxS and MarA. The SoxS and MarA proteins were expressed in in the absence of stress from IPTG-inducible constructs. Total RNA was extracted, purified, separated by electrophoresis in an agarose gel, transferred to a Nytran membrane, and hybridized sequentially with gene-specific probes. The bottom panel shows the EtBr stain of a gel run in parallel with the same amounts of total RNA.

Citation: Barbosa T, Pomposiello P. 2005. The Regulon, p 209-223. In White D, Alekshun M, McDermott P (ed), Frontiers in Antimicrobial Resistance. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817572.ch15
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Figure 3

MarA, SoxS, and Rob recognition sequence within the promoter of controlled genes. (A) Comparison of the most recently defined consensus for the 20 bp degenerate marbox sequences in the forward orientation: “old consensus” ( ) and “new consensus” ( ); N, any base; R = A/G; W = A/T; Y = C/T; G = any base but G. The location of the most conserved recognition elements within the marbox sequence, RE1 and RE2, is indicated. (B) Location and orientation of the marbox in class I (backward), class I* (forward), and class II regulon-activated promoters ( ). (C) Location and orientation of the marbox in the promoters of down-regulated genes ( ). Arrows depict the marbox, while the direction of the arrow-head represents the functional orientation of the marbox relative to the −10 and −35 RNAP recognition sequences (gray rectangles). Distances between the marbox and the −10 hexamer are indicated.

Citation: Barbosa T, Pomposiello P. 2005. The Regulon, p 209-223. In White D, Alekshun M, McDermott P (ed), Frontiers in Antimicrobial Resistance. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817572.ch15
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Tables

Generic image for table
Table 1

Bona fide regulon genes

Regulon members whose differential expression by MarA and/or SoxS has been confirmed by more than one experimental approach.

For specific marbox sequences and respective configurations, see references 8, 55, and 61 and references therein. ND, not determined; NA, not applied, indirect regulation.

+, activation; ++, relatively larger degree of activation; −, repression; ?, no available comparative data.

Due to space restriction, we are only able to refer to selected publications. The reader is strongly advised to consult original research studies referenced therein.

Citation: Barbosa T, Pomposiello P. 2005. The Regulon, p 209-223. In White D, Alekshun M, McDermott P (ed), Frontiers in Antimicrobial Resistance. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817572.ch15

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