Send to

Choose Destination
Microbiology. 2008 Sep;154(Pt 9):2689-99. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.2008/019406-0.

Identification and functional characterization of NifA variants that are independent of GlnB activation in the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodospirillum rubrum.

Author information

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Biological Sciences and State Key Laboratory for Agrobiotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, PR China.


The activity of NifA, the transcriptional activator of the nitrogen fixation (nif) gene, is tightly regulated in response to ammonium and oxygen. However, the mechanisms for the regulation of NifA activity are quite different among various nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Unlike the well-studied NifL-NifA regulatory systems in Klebsiella pneumoniae and Azotobacter vinelandii, in Rhodospirillum rubrum NifA is activated by a direct protein-protein interaction with the uridylylated form of GlnB, which in turn causes a conformational change in NifA. We report the identification of several substitutions in the N-terminal GAF domain of R. rubrum NifA that allow NifA to be activated in the absence of GlnB. Presumably these substitutions cause conformational changes in NifA necessary for activation, without interaction with GlnB. We also found that wild-type NifA can be activated in a GlnB-independent manner under certain growth conditions, suggesting that some other effector(s) can also activate NifA. An attempt to use Tn5 mutagenesis to obtain mutants that altered the pool of these presumptive effector(s) failed, though much rarer spontaneous mutations in nifA were detected. This suggests that the necessary alteration of the pool of effector(s) for NifA activation cannot be obtained by knockout mutations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Ingenta plc Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center