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J Bacteriol. Jun 1994; 176(11): 3278–3285.
PMCID: PMC205498

Roles of LysP and CadC in mediating the lysine requirement for acid induction of the Escherichia coli cad operon.


Expression of the Escherichia coli cadBA operon, encoding functions required for the conversion of lysine to cadaverine and for cadaverine excretion, requires at least two extracellular signals: low pH and a high concentration of lysine. To better understand the nature of the lysine-dependent signal, mutants were isolated which expressed a cadA-lacZ transcription fusion in the absence of lysine while retaining pH regulation. The responsible mutation in one of these isolates (EP310) was in cadC, a gene encoding a function necessary for transcriptional activation of cadBA. This mutation (cadC310) is in a part of the gene encoding the periplasmic domain of CadC and results in an Arg-to-Cys change at position 265, indicating that this part of the protein is involved in responding to the presence of lysine. Three other mutants had mutations mapping in or near lysP (cadR), a gene encoding a lysine transport protein that has previously been shown to regulate cadA expression. One of these mutations is an insertion in the lysP coding region. Thus, in the absence of exogenous lysine, LysP is a negative regulator of cadBA expression. Negative regulation by LysP was further demonstrated by showing that lysP expression from a high-copy-number plasmid rendered cadA-lacZ uninducible. Expression of cadA-lacZ in a strain carrying the cadC310 allele, however, was not affected by the plasmid-expressed lysP. Cadaverine was shown to inhibit expression of the cadA-lacZ fusion in cadC+ cells but not in a cadC310 background.

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