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J Bacteriol. Mar 1993; 175(6): 1687–1696.
PMCID: PMC203963

Interaction of six global transcription regulators in expression of manganese superoxide dismutase in Escherichia coli K-12.

Abstract

Transcription of the sodA gene of Escherichia coli, which encodes manganese superoxide dismutase, is governed by six global regulators: the product of the soxRS locus (superoxide response) and mutated alleles of the soxQ locus (such as cfxB) act as activators; the products of the fur (ferric uptake regulation), arcA (aerobic regulation control), and fnr (fumarate nitrate reductase) genes and the integration host factor (IHF) negatively regulate sodA. The action of these effectors on the sodA promoter was investigated by using chromosomal sodA-lacZ operon fusions with intact or deleted promoters, different environmental conditions, and strains carrying different combinations of null mutations in the effector genes. The data allow us to assign target regions in the sodA promoter for activation by SoxRS and CfxB and for repression by Fur and ArcA. In aerobiosis, activation of sodA transcription by SoxRS was compatible with CfxB activation or Fur repression, whereas cfxB and fur controls were mutually exclusive. Repression by Fnr appeared, at least in part, to be ArcA dependent. IHF enhanced aerobic Fur repression, and in the absence of Fur, it enhanced anaerobic repression by ArcA. The DNA targets for Fur (encompassing the -35 region) and ArcA (from and downstream of the -35 region) appear to overlap, suggesting that Fur and ArcA repressions are mutually exclusive. Fur (in response to the iron pool) or ArcA, acting with Fnr and IHF (in response to the redox state of the cells), can block anaerobic sodA-lacZ expression with about equivalent efficiencies. The possible biological significance of this result is discussed.

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