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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Jul;6(13):1853-9.

NtcA, a global nitrogen regulator from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus that belongs to the Crp family of bacterial regulators.

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Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis, Universidad de Sevilla y CSIC, Facultad de Biología, Spain.


The gene ntcA is required for full expression of proteins subject to ammonium repression in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus. A 3.1 kb DNA fragment able to complement an ntcA mutant was digested with exonuclease III, and deleted fragments of different size were tested for complementation of that mutant, allowing the localization of its mutation within a BamHI-HindIII genomic fragment of c. 0.4 kb. Insertion of a chloramphenicol-resistance-encoding gene cassette into both the BamHI and the HindIII sites of wild-type Synechococcus resulted in a pleiotropic, nitrogen-assimilation-minus phenotype, corroborating the presence of the ntcA gene in that genomic region. Sequencing of DNA in this region showed the presence of an open reading frame that included both the BamHI and the HindIII sites. The ntcA gene product, NtcA, is a protein of 24817 Da which belongs to a family of bacterial transcriptional activators that, among others, includes Crp and Fnr from Escherichia coli. Of special biological significance, it appears, is the presence of a conserved helix-turn-helix motif in the sequence close to the C-terminal end of all the proteins in the family. The gene ntcA is proposed to encode a transcriptional activator of genes subject to nitrogen control in Synechococcus.

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