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J Bacteriol. 1992 Feb;174(3):857-66.

Characterization of the Caulobacter crescentus flbF promoter and identification of the inferred FlbF product as a homolog of the LcrD protein from a Yersinia enterocolitica virulence plasmid.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118-5698.


We have investigated the organization and expression of the Caulobacter crescentus flbF gene because it occupies a high level in the flagellar gene regulatory hierarchy. The nucleotide sequence comprising the 3' end of the flaO operon and the adjacent flbF promoter and structural gene was determined, and the organization of transcription units within this sequence was investigated. We located the 3' ends of the flaO operon transcript by using a nuclease S1 protection assay, and the 5' end of the flbF transcript was precisely mapped by primer extension analysis. The nucleotide sequence upstream from the 5' end of the flbF transcript contains -10 and -35 elements similar to those found in promoters transcribed by sigma 28 RNA polymerase in other organisms. Mutations that changed nucleotides in the -10 or -35 elements or altered their relative spacing resulted in undetectable levels of flbF transcript, demonstrating that these sequences contain nucleotides essential for promoter function. We identified a 700-codon open reading frame, downstream from the flbF promoter region, that was predicted to be the flbF structural gene. The amino-terminal half of the FlbF amino acid sequence contains eight hydrophobic regions predicted to be membrane-spanning segments, suggesting that the FlbF protein may be an integral membrane protein. The FlbF amino acid sequence is very similar to that of a transcriptional regulatory protein called LcrD that is encoded in the highly conserved low-calcium-response region of virulence plasmid pYVO3 in Yersinia enterocolitica (A.-M. Viitanen, P. Toivanen, and M. Skurnik, J. Bacteriol. 172:3152-3162, 1990).

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