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Mol Gen Genet. 2000 Sep;264(1-2):204-11.

Cloning and characterization of a Legionella pneumophila-specific gene encoding a member of the LysR family of transcriptional regulators.

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Institut für Molekulaire Infektionsbiologie, Universität Würzburg, Germany.


Flagellin gene regulation in Legionella pneumophila is modulated by various environmental factors. The expression of the virulent phenotype seems to be linked genetically to flagellum expression. To better understand the mechanisms of flagellin gene expression in L. pneumophila (Lp), we screened a pool of plasmids from a L. pneumophila Corby genomic library for the ability to prevent or reduce luciferase activity in the Escherichia coli strain YK410, which harbours a Lp-pflaA-luxAB fusion. We cloned a DNA fragment encoding the N-terminal part of a protein with significant similarity to members of the LysR family of transcriptional regulators (LTTRs). The entire gene, cloned by inverse PCR, was named flaR. It encodes a protein of 302 amino acids, and computer-assisted analysis of the amino acid sequence revealed a helix-turn-helix motif located near the N-terminus of the protein. The FlaR protein exhibits 21-31% identity to various LTTRs. Furthermore, gel retardation experiments indicate that the FlaR protein is able to bind to its own promoter region and, to a lesser extent, to the flaA promoter of L. pneumophila. The flaR promoter region contains putative LysR binding motifs and two putative Fur boxes. Taken together, these results indicate that FlaR is a DNA-binding protein which belongs to the LTTR family. Southern analysis with a L. pneumophila Corby-specific flaR probe revealed homologous genes in various L. pneumophila strains, but not in the 12 nonpneumophila strains tested so far.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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