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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Dec;40(22):11292-307. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks923. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

LtmA, a novel cyclic di-GMP-responsive activator, broadly regulates the expression of lipid transport and metabolism genes in Mycobacterium smegmatis.

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  • 1National Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Center for Proteomics Research, College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.


In a bis-(3'-5')-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP)/transcription factor binding screen, we identified Mycobacterium smegmatis Ms6479 as the first c-di-GMP-responsive transcriptional factor in mycobacteria. Ms6479 could specifically bind with c-di-GMP and recognize the promoters of 37 lipid transport and metabolism genes. c-di-GMP could enhance the ability of Ms6479 to bind to its target DNA. Furthermore, our results establish Ms6479 as a global activator that positively regulates the expression of diverse target genes. Overexpression of Ms6479 in M. smegmatis significantly reduced the permeability of the cell wall to crystal violet and increased mycobacterial resistance to anti-tuberculosis antibiotics. Interestingly, Ms6479 lacks the previously reported c-di-GMP binding motifs. Our findings introduce Ms6479 (here designated LtmA for lipid transport and metabolism activator) as a new c-di-GMP-responsive regulator.

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