Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Microbiol. 2010 Feb;75(3):637-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.06977.x. Epub 2009 Dec 9.

Induction of the ferritin gene (ftnA) of Escherichia coli by Fe(2+)-Fur is mediated by reversal of H-NS silencing and is RyhB independent.

Author information

School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AJ, UK.


FtnA is the major iron-storage protein of Escherichia coli accounting for < or = 50% of total cellular iron. The FtnA gene (ftnA) is induced by iron in an Fe(2+)-Fur-dependent fashion. This effect is reportedly mediated by RyhB, the Fe(2+)-Fur-repressed, small, regulatory RNA. However, results presented here show that ftnA iron induction is independent of RyhB and instead involves direct interaction of Fe(2+)-Fur with an 'extended' Fur binding site (containing five tandem Fur boxes) located upstream (-83) of the ftnA promoter. In addition, H-NS acts as a direct repressor of ftnA transcription by binding at multiple sites (I-VI) within, and upstream of, the ftnA promoter. Fur directly competes with H-NS binding at upstream sites (II-IV) and consequently displaces H-NS from the ftnA promoter (sites V-VI) which in turn leads to derepression of ftnA transcription. It is proposed that H-NS binding within the ftnA promoter is facilitated by H-NS occupation of the upstream sites through H-NS oligomerization-induced DNA looping. Consequently, Fur displacement of H-NS from the upstream sites prevents cooperative H-NS binding at the downstream sites within the promoter, thus allowing access to RNA polymerase. This direct activation of ftnA transcription by Fe(2+)-Fur through H-NS antisilencing represents a new mechanism for iron-induced gene expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center