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Microbiology. 2003 Apr;149(Pt 4):1011-20.

Corynebacterium ammoniagenes class Ib ribonucleotide reductase: transcriptional regulation of an atypical genomic organization in the nrd cluster.

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Institut de Biotecnologia i de Biomedicina, Grup de Genètica Molecular Bacteriana, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.


Ribonucleotide reductases (RNRs) are a family of complex enzymes that play an essential role in all organisms because they catalyse de novo synthesis of deoxyribonucleotides required for DNA replication and repair. Three different classes of RNR have been described according to their metal cofactors and organic radicals. Class Ib RNR is encoded in four different genes (nrdH, nrdI, nrdE and nrdF) organized in an operon. The authors previously cloned and sequenced the genes encoding the active class Ib RNR of Corynebacterium ammoniagenes and showed that these genes are clustered in an atypical nrdEF region, which differs from that of other known class Ib enzymes because of an intergenic sequence (1171 bp) present between nrdE and nrdF. This study investigated the transcriptional organization and regulation of this nrd region by RT-PCR. Three different and independent mRNA were found (nrdHIE, nrdF and an ORF present in the intergenic region), each one being transcribed from its own promoter and being essential for normal growth. The ratio of nrdF to nrdHIE mRNA was 9.1, as determined by competitive RT-PCR; the expression of both nrdHIE and nrdF was found to be dependent on the culture growth phase, and was induced in the presence of hydroxyurea, manganese and hydrogen peroxide. This is believed to be the first direct evidence for a manganese-dependent transcriptional regulation of nrd genes. These results suggest a common and coordinated regulation of the different nrd genes, despite their being transcribed from independent promoters.

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