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J Bacteriol. 2004 Mar;186(6):1720-8.

Regulation of expression of the divergent ulaG and ulaABCDEF operons involved in LaAscorbate dissimilation in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


The ula regulon, responsible for the utilization of L-ascorbate in Escherichia coli, is formed by two divergently transcribed operons, ulaG and ulaABCDEF. The regulon is negatively regulated by a repressor of the DeoR family which is encoded by the constitutive gene ulaR located downstream of ulaG. Full repression of the ula regulon requires simultaneous interaction of the repressor with both divergent promoters and seems to be dependent on repressor-mediated DNA loop formation, which is helped by the action of integration host factor. Two operator sites have been identified in each promoter. Lack of either of the two sets of operators partially relieved the repression of the other operon; thus, each promoter is dependent on the UlaR operator sites of the other promoter to enhance repression. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays with purified UlaR protein and promoter deletion analyses revealed a conserved sequence, present in each of the four operators, acting as a UlaR binding site. Glucose represses the ula regulon via at least two mechanisms, one dependent on cyclic AMP (cAMP)-cAMP receptor protein (CRP) and the other (possibly inducer exclusion) independent of it. Glucose effects mediated by other global regulators cannot be ruled out with the present information. Changes in cAMP-CRP levels affected only the expression of the ulaABCDEF operon.

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