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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Jul;45(2):569-83.

GabR, a member of a novel protein family, regulates the utilization of gamma-aminobutyrate in Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02111, USA.


The Bacillus subtilis ycnG (gabT) and ycnH (gabD) genes were shown to encode gamma-aminobutyrate (GABA) aminotransferase and succinic semi-aldehyde dehydrogenase, respectively, and to form a GABA-inducible operon. Null mutations in gabT, gabD or the divergently transcribed ycnF (gabR) gene blocked the utilization of GABA as sole nitrogen source. GabR proved to be a transcriptional activator of the gabTD operon and a negative autoregulator. The target of GabR action was localized to an 87 bp region that includes both gabR and gabT promoters. GabR is a member of a novel but widespread family of chimeric bacterial proteins that have apparent DNA-binding and aminotransferase domains. Mutations in conserved residues of the putative aminotransferase domain abolished GabR function as a transcriptional activator, but did not affect its activity as a negative autoregulator.

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