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EMBO J. 1985 Dec 30;4(13B):3887-93.

Transcriptional activation of a pap pilus virulence operon from uropathogenic Escherichia coli.


A gene cluster mediating production of pili in uropathogenic Escherichia coli was analysed with respect to regulation of pili synthesis. Two cistrons, papB and papI, were localized upstream of the major pilus subunit gene, papA. The papI-papB-papA region was characterized by nucleotide sequencing and by transcriptional analysis. The papA gene was primarily represented by an 800 nucleotide long transcript but was also co-transcribed with papB as a less abundant 1300 nucleotide long mRNA. Both transcripts presumably terminated at the same site downstream of the papA coding sequence. The weakly expressed papI gene was transcribed in the opposite direction to that of papB and papA. Studies with lacZ operon fusions showed that the papB gene encoded a trans-active effector required for papA transcription. Similarly, the papI gene stimulated papB transcription in trans. Furthermore, full expression of papA was cis dependent upon the papI-papB region. Transcription of the papB gene was shown to be dependent upon cAMP and its receptor protein. A binding site for the cAMP-CRP complex was postulated in the DNA sequence upstream of the papB promoter.

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