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J Bacteriol. 2011 Mar;193(5):1212-21. doi: 10.1128/JB.01130-10. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Control of heme homeostasis in Corynebacterium glutamicum by the two-component system HrrSA.

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Institut für Bio- und Geowissenschaften, IBG-1: Biotechnologie, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany.


The response regulator HrrA of the HrrSA two-component system (previously named CgtSR11) was recently found to be repressed by the global iron-dependent regulator DtxR in Corynebacterium glutamicum. Here, we provide evidence that HrrA mediates heme-dependent gene regulation in this nonpathogenic soil bacterium. Growth experiments and DNA microarray analysis revealed that C. glutamicum is able to use hemin as an alternative iron source and emphasize the involvement of the putative hemin ABC transporter HmuTUV and heme oxygenase (HmuO) in heme utilization. As a central part of this study, we investigated the regulon of the response regulator HrrA via comparative transcriptome analysis of an hrrA deletion mutant and C. glutamicum wild-type strain in combination with DNA-protein interaction studies with purified HrrA protein. Our data provide evidence for a heme-dependent transcriptional activation of heme oxygenase. Based on our results, it can be furthermore deduced that HrrA activates the expression of heme-containing components of the respiratory chain, namely, ctaD and the ctaE-qcrCAB operon encoding subunits I and III of cytochrome aa(3) oxidase and three subunits of the cytochrome bc(1) complex. In addition, HrrA was found to repress almost all genes involved in heme biosynthesis, including those for glutamyl-tRNA reductase (hemA), uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (hemE), and ferrochelatase (hemH). Growth experiments with an hrrA deletion mutant showed that this strain is significantly impaired in heme utilization. In summary, our results provide evidence for a central role of the HrrSA system in the control of heme homeostasis in C. glutamicum.

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