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J Bacteriol. 1992 Mar;174(6):1897-903.

Cloning, sequencing, and transcriptional regulation of the Vibrio cholerae fur gene.

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  • 1Infectious Disease Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


Many genes involved in the transport of iron by bacteria as well as in pathogenesis are regulated by the environmental concentration of iron, with increased expression under low-iron conditions. In Escherichia coli, transcriptional regulation by iron depends on the fur gene. A virulence gene in Vibrio cholerae (irgA) is also transcriptionally regulated by iron, and the promoter of irgA contains a dyad repeat homologous to Fur binding sites in E. coli. Southern hybridization of V. cholerae chromosomal DNA, using an internal fragment of E. coli fur as a probe, showed a single hybridizing sequence under conditions of low stringency. We derived a restriction map in the vicinity of this hybridizing sequence; overlapping PstI and HindIII fragments were identified at the center of this map. The cloned PstI fragment failed to complement an E. coli fur mutant; sequence analysis revealed an open reading frame that began just downstream of the PstI site, suggesting that the clone was not functional because it lacked its promoter. The overlapping HindIII fragment contained the intact V. cholerae fur gene with its promoter and complemented an E. coli fur mutant. DNA sequencing of the HindIII fragment demonstrated a single open reading frame of 150 amino acids that was 76% homologous to E. coli Fur. Primer extension analysis localized two promoters for the V. cholerae fur gene; no significant homology to an E. coli Fur binding site was identified for either promoter. Northern blot analysis showed that the two fur transcripts were not strongly regulated by iron. These studies identify a gene in V. cholerae homologous in both function and sequence to the fur gene of E. coli, and we have designated this gene the fur gene of V. cholerae.

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