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Mol Gen Genet. 1991 Mar;225(3):347-54.

Interaction of AbrB, a transcriptional regulator from Bacillus subtilis with the promoters of the transition state-activated genes tycA and spoVG.

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Institut für Biochemie und Molekulare Biologie, Technische Universität Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany.


In Bacillus subtilis the abrB gene product negatively affects the transcription of some genes activated during the transition from vegetative to stationary phase of growth. Interaction of AbrB with the promoters of two such genes, spoVG, a sporulation gene, and tycA, an antibiotic biosynthesis gene, was studied by DNase I and hydroxyl radical footprinting. Two binding areas within the leader and promoter regions of tycA were identified. In spoVG the binding site is located at the A + T-rich region upstream of the promoter. Hydroxyl radical footprinting revealed that the AbrB-protected regions, in both the tycA and spoVG promoters, are short A + T-rich regions that are separated by one helical turn, indicating that AbrB binds to one face of the helix. To examine the role of spoOA in the expression of abrB-controlled genes, the levels of AbrB protein in Spo + and in spoOA cells were determined by Western blot analysis. In wild-type cells AbrB was detected only during vegetative growth, whereas in spoOA cells a high level of AbrB was detected during both the vegetative and stationary phases of growth. These findings support a model in which (i) spoOA negatively affects abrB expression, and (ii) the repression of the transition state-activated genes tycA and spoVG in spoOA cells is due to constitutive expression of AbrB, which acts as a repressor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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