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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2010 May;306(1):72-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2010.01938.x. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

FNR-mediated regulation of bioluminescence and anaerobic respiration in the light-organ symbiont Vibrio fischeri.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


Vibrio fischeri induces both anaerobic respiration and bioluminescence during symbiotic infection. In many bacteria, the oxygen-sensitive regulator FNR activates anaerobic respiration, and a preliminary study using the light-generating lux genes from V. fischeri MJ1 cloned in Escherichia coli suggested that FNR stimulates bioluminescence. To test for FNR-mediated regulation of bioluminescence and anaerobic respiration in V. fischeri, we generated fnr mutants of V. fischeri strains MJ1 and ES114. In both strains, FNR was required for normal fumarate- and nitrate-dependent respiration. However, contrary to the report in transgenic E. coli, FNR mediated the repression of lux. ArcA represses bioluminescence, and P(arcA)-lacZ reporters showed reduced expression in fnr mutants, suggesting a possible indirect effect of FNR on bioluminescence via arcA. Finally, the fnr mutant of ES114 was not impaired in colonization of its host squid, Euprymna scolopes. This study extends the characterization of FNR to the Vibrionaceae and underscores the importance of studying lux regulation in its native background.

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