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J Biol Chem. 2005 Mar 18;280(11):10683-94. Epub 2005 Jan 5.

BzdR, a repressor that controls the anaerobic catabolism of benzoate in Azoarcus sp. CIB, is the first member of a new subfamily of transcriptional regulators.

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  • 1Departamento de Microbiología Molecular, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas-CSIC, Ramiro de Maeztu 9, Madrid 28040, Spain.

Abstract

In this work, we have studied the transcriptional regulation of the bzd operon involved in the anaerobic catabolism of benzoate in the denitrifying Azoarcus sp. strain CIB. The transcription start site of the P(N) promoter running the expression of the bzd catabolic genes was identified. Gel retardation assays and P(N)::lacZ translational fusion experiments performed both in Azoarcus sp. CIB and Escherichia coli cells have shown that bzdR encodes a specific repressor that controls the inducible expression of the adjacent bzd catabolic operon, being the first intermediate of the catabolic pathway (i.e. benzoyl-CoA, the actual inducer molecule). This is the first report of a transcriptional repressor and a CoA-derived aromatic inducer controlling gene expression in the anaerobic catabolism of aromatic compounds. DNase I footprinting experiments revealed that BzdR protected three regions (operators) at the P(N) promoter. The three operators contain direct repetitions of a TGCA sequence that forms part of longer palindromic structures. In agreement with the repressor role of BzdR, operator region I spans the transcription initiation site as well as the -10 sequence for recognition of the RNA polymerase. Primary sequence analyses of BzdR showed an unusual modular organization with an N-terminal region homologous to members of the HTH-XRE family of transcriptional regulators and a C-terminal region similar to shikimate kinases. A three-dimensional model of the N-terminal and C-terminal regions of BzdR, generated by comparison with the crystal structures of the SinR regulator from Bacillus subtilis and the shikimate kinase I protein from E. coli, strongly suggests that they contain the helix-turn-helix DNA-binding motif and the benzoyl-CoA binding groove, respectively. The BzdR protein constitutes, therefore, the prototype of a new subfamily of transcriptional regulators.

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