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Infect Immun. 1991 Jan;59(1):137-42.

An upstream regulatory sequence stimulates expression of the perfringolysin O gene of Clostridium perfringens.

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Department of Microbiology, Kagawa Medical School, Japan.


The structural gene for perfringolysin O (pfoA), a thiol-activated hemolysin of Clostridium perfringens, was cloned into Escherichia coli JM109 on a 4.6-kilobase (kb) EcoRI-NdeI fragment which contained the 1.7-kb pfoA gene and an upstream 2.9-kb region. An E. coli strain transformed by this plasmid produced 20-fold more perfringolysin O than a strain containing only the 1.7-kb pfoA gene. The stimulatory effect of the upstream region on in vivo expression of the pfoA gene was further analyzed by using a set of deletion mutants. Stimulation was still observed with a 3.9-kb fragment, but stimulation was not observed with fragments that were 3.6 kb or less long, indicating that the upstream region between 3.9 and 1.7 kb was involved in activation of pfoA gene expression. Nucleotide sequencing showed that this region contained one open reading frame (pfoR) coding for 343 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence of pfoR possesses several motifs that are characteristic of DNA-binding proteins. When a region coding for a helix-turn-helix, one of the most important motifs of DNA-binding proteins, was deleted within pfoR, stimulation was completely abolished. These results indicate that pfoR positively controls expression of the pfoA gene.

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