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J Biol Chem. 1999 Feb 5;274(6):3300-7.

Identification of an RcsA/RcsB recognition motif in the promoters of exopolysaccharide biosynthetic operons from Erwinia amylovora and Pantoea stewartii subspecies stewartii.

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  • 1Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Kristallographie, Takustrasse 6, D-14195 Berlin, Germany.


The regulation of capsule synthesis (Rcs) regulatory network is responsible for the induction of exopolysaccharide biosynthesis in many enterobacterial species. We have previously shown that two transcriptional regulators, RcsA and RcsB, do bind as a heterodimer to the promoter of amsG, the first reading frame in the operon for amylovoran biosynthesis in the plant pathogenic bacterium Erwinia amylovora. We now identified a 23-base pair fragment from position -555 to -533 upstream of the translational start site of amsG as sufficient for the specific binding of the Rcs proteins. In addition, we could detect an RcsA/RcsB-binding site in a corresponding region of the promoter of cpsA, the homologous counterpart to the E. amylovora amsG gene in the operon for stewartan biosynthesis of Pantoea stewartii. The specificity and characteristic parameters of the protein-DNA interaction were analyzed by DNA retardation, protein-DNA cross-linking, and directed mutagenesis. The central core motif TRVGAAWAWTSYG of the amsG promoter was found to be most important for the specific interaction with RcsA/RcsB, as evaluated by mutational analysis and an in vitro selection approach. The wild type P. stewartii Rcs binding motif is degenerated in two positions and an up-mutation according to our consensus motif resulted in about a 5-fold increased affinity of the RcsA/RcsB proteins.

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