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Mol Microbiol. 2005 May;56(4):1103-17.

Characterization of TetD as a transcriptional activator of a subset of genes of the Escherichia coli SoxS/MarA/Rob regulon.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.

Erratum in

  • Mol Microbiol. 2005 Jul;57(1):306.


In Escherichia coli, SoxS, MarA and Rob form a closely related subset of the AraC/XylS family of positive regulators, sharing approximately 42% amino acid sequence identity over the length of SoxS and the ability to activate transcription of a common set of target genes that provide resistance to redox-cycling compounds and antibiotics. On the basis of its approximately 43% amino acid sequence identity with SoxS, MarA and Rob, TetD, encoded by transposon Tn10, appears to be a fourth member of the subset. However, although its expression has been shown to be negatively regulated by TetC and not inducible by tetracycline, the physiological function of TetD is unknown. Accordingly, in the work presented here, we initiate a molecular characterization of TetD. We show that expression of TetD activates transcription of a subset of the SoxS/MarA/Rob regulon genes and confers resistance to redox-cycling compounds and antibiotics. We show that mutations in the putative TetD binding site of a TetD-activatable promoter and a mutation in the protein's N-terminal DNA recognition helix interfere with transcription activation, thereby indicating that TetD directly activates target gene transcription. Finally, we show that TetD, like SoxS and MarA, is intrinsically unstable; however, unlike SoxS and MarA, TetD is not degraded by Lon or any of the cell's known cytoplasmic ATP-dependent proteases. Thus, we conclude that TetD is a bona fide member of the SoxS/MarA/Rob subfamily of positive regulators.

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