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J Bacteriol. 2012 Aug;194(16):4272-84. doi: 10.1128/JB.00409-12. Epub 2012 Jun 8.

First insights into the unexplored two-component system YehU/YehT in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Munich Center for Integrated Protein Science, Department of Microbiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Martinsried, Germany.


Two-component systems (TCSs) consisting of a membrane-anchored histidine kinase (HK) and a response regulator (RR) with DNA-binding activity. are major players in signal transduction in prokaryotes. Whereas most TCSs in Escherichia coli are well characterized, almost nothing is known about the LytS-like HK YehU and the corresponding LytTR-like RR YehT. To identify YehT-regulated genes, we compared the transcriptomes of E. coli cells overproducing either YehT or the RR KdpE (control). The expression levels of 32 genes differed more than 8-fold between the two strains. A comprehensive evaluation of these genes identified yjiY as a target of YehT. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays with purified YehT confirmed that YehT interacts directly with the yjiY promoter. Specifically, YehT binds to two direct repeats of the motif ACC(G/A)CT(C/T)A separated by a 13-bp spacer in the yjiY promoter. The target gene yjiY encodes an inner membrane protein belonging to the CstA superfamily of transporters. In E. coli cells growing in media containing peptides or amino acids as a carbon source, yjiY is strongly induced at the onset of the stationary-growth phase. Moreover, expression was found to be dependent on cyclic AMP (cAMP)/cAMP receptor protein (CRP). It is suggested that YehU/YehT participates in the stationary-phase control network.

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