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Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Mar;42(5):2999-3008. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt1298. Epub 2013 Dec 13.

Transcriptional regulation by BglJ-RcsB, a pleiotropic heteromeric activator in Escherichia coli.

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Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Zülpicher Strasse 47a, 50674 Cologne, Germany.


The bacterial Rcs phosphorelay signals perturbations of the bacterial cell envelope to its response regulator RcsB, which regulates transcription of multiple loci related to motility, biofilm formation and various stress responses. RcsB is unique, as its set of target loci is modulated by interaction with auxiliary regulators including BglJ. The BglJ-RcsB heteromer is known to activate the HNS repressed leuO and bgl loci independent of RcsB phosphorylation. Here, we show that BglJ-RcsB activates the promoters of 10 additional loci (chiA, molR, sfsB, yecT, yqhG, ygiZ, yidL, ykiA, ynbA and ynjI). Furthermore, we mapped the BglJ-RcsB binding site at seven loci and propose a consensus sequence motif. The data suggest that activation by BglJ-RcsB is DNA phasing dependent at some loci, a feature reminiscent of canonical transcriptional activators, while at other loci BglJ-RcsB activation may be indirect by inhibition of HNS-mediated repression. In addition, we show that BglJ-RcsB activates transcription of bgl synergistically with CRP where it shifts the transcription start by 20 bp from a position typical for class I CRP-dependent promoters to a position typical for class II CRP-dependent promoters. Thus, BglJ-RcsB is a pleiotropic transcriptional activator that coordinates regulation with global regulators including CRP, LeuO and HNS.

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