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J Bacteriol. 2003 Sep;185(18):5357-62.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis FurA autoregulates its own expression.

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Dipartimento di Genetica e di Biologia dei Microrganismi, Università di Milano, Milan, Italy.


The furA-katG region of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, encoding a Fur-like protein and the catalase-peroxidase, is highly conserved among mycobacteria. Both genes are induced upon oxidative stress. In this work we analyzed the M. tuberculosis furA promoter region. DNA fragments were cloned upstream of the luciferase reporter gene, and promoter activity in Mycobacterium smegmatis was measured in both the presence and absence of oxidative stress. The shortest fragment containing an inducible promoter extends 45 bp upstream of furA. In this region, -35 and -10 promoter consensus sequences can be identified, as well as a 23-bp AT-rich sequence that is conserved in the nonpathogenic but closely related M. smegmatis. M. tuberculosis FurA was purified and found to bind upstream of furA by gel shift analysis. A ca. 30-bp DNA sequence, centered on the AT-rich region, was essential for FurA binding and protected by FurA in footprinting analysis. Peroxide treatment of FurA abolished DNA binding. Three different AT-rich sequences mutagenized by site-directed mutagenesis were constructed. In each mutant, both M. tuberculosis FurA binding in vitro and pfurA regulation upon oxidative-stress in M. smegmatis were abolished. Thus, pfurA is an oxidative stress-responsive promoter controlled by the FurA protein.

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