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J Biol Chem. 2006 Mar 31;281(13):8450-7. Epub 2006 Feb 2.

Differentiation of carbazole catabolic operons by replacement of the regulated promoter via transposition of an insertion sequence.

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Biotechnology Research Center, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.


The carbazole catabolic car operons from Pseudomonas resinovorans CA10 and Janthinobacterium sp. J3 have nearly identical nucleotide sequences in their structural and intergenic regions but not in their flanking regions. Transposition of ISPre1 from the anthranilate catabolic ant operon located an inducible promoter Pant upstream of the carCA10 operon, which is regulated by the AraC/XylS family activator AntR in response to anthranilate. The transposed Pant drives transcription of the carCA10 operon, which is composed of the car-AaAaBaBbCAcAdDFECA10 structural genes. Transcriptional fusion truncating Pant upstream of carAaCA10 resulted in constitutive luciferase expression. Primer extension analysis identified a transcription start point of the constitutive mRNA of the carCA10 operon at 385 nucleotides upstream of the carAaCA10 translation start point, and the PcarAa promoter was found. On the other hand, a GntR family regulatory gene carRJ3 is divergently located upstream of the carJ3 operon. The Pu13 promoter, required for inducible transcription of the carJ3 operon in the presence of carbazole, was identified in the region upstream of carAaJ3, which had been replaced with the Pant promoter in the carCA10 operon. Deletion of carRJ3 from a transcriptional fusion resulted in high level constitutive expression from Pu13. Purified CarRJ3 protein bound at two operator sequences OI and OII, showing that CarRJ3 directly represses Pu13 in the absence of its inducer, which was identified as 2-hydroxy-6-oxo-6-(2'-aminophenyl)hexa-2,4-dienoate, an intermediate of the carbazole degradation pathway.

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