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J Bacteriol. 2011 Nov;193(22):6142-51. doi: 10.1128/JB.05728-11. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Cyclic AMP receptor protein regulates cspE, an early cold-inducible gene, in Escherichia coli.

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Molecular Biology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai 400 085, India.


cspE, a member of the cspA family of cold shock proteins in Escherichia coli, is an early cold-inducible protein. The nucleic acid melting ability and transcription antiterminator activity of CspE have been reported to be critical for growth at low temperature. Here, we show that the cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP), a global regulator involved in sugar metabolism, upregulates cspE in E. coli. Sequence analysis of the cspE upstream region revealed a putative CRP target site centered at -61.5 relative to the transcription start. The binding of CRP to this target site was demonstrated using electrophoretic mobility shift assays. The presence of this site was shown to be essential for P(cspE) activation by CRP. Mutational analysis of the binding site indicated that the presence of an intact second core motif is more important than the first core motif for CRP-P(cspE) interaction. Based on the promoter architecture, we classified P(cspE) as a class I CRP-dependent promoter. This was further substantiated by our data demonstrating the involvement of the AR1 domain of CRP in P(cspE) transcription. Furthermore, the substitutions in the key residues of the RNA polymerase α-subunit C-terminal domain (α-CTD), which are important for class I CRP-dependent transcription, showed the involvement of 265 and 287 determinants in P(cspE) transcription. In addition, the deletion of crp led to a growth defect at low temperature, suggesting that CRP plays an important role in cold adaptation.

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