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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Dec;14(5):999-1010.

Nucleotide sequence, organization and expression of rdgA and rdgB genes that regulate pectin lyase production in the plant pathogenic bacterium Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora in response to DNA-damaging agents.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.


In most soft-rotting Erwinia spp., including E. carotovora subsp. carotovora strain 71 (Ecc71), production of the plant cell wall degrading enzyme pectin lyase (Pnl) is activated by DNA-damaging agents such as mitomycin C (MC). Induction of Pnl production in Ecc71 requires a functional recA gene and the rdg locus. DNA sequencing and RNA analyses revealed that the rdg locus contains two regulatory genes, rdgA and rdgB, in separate transcriptional units. There is high homology between RdgA and repressors of lambdoid phages, specially phi 80. RdgB, however, has significant homology with transcriptional activators of Mu phage. Both RdgA and RdgB are also predicted to possess helix-turn-helix motifs. By replacing the rdgB promoter with the IPTG-inducible tac promoter, we have determined that rdgB by itself can activate Pnl production in Escherichia coli. However, deletion analysis of rdg+ DNA indicated that, when driven by their native promoters, functions of both rdgA and rdgB are required for the induction of pnlA expression by MC treatment. While rdgB transcription occurs only after MC treatment, a substantial level of rdgA mRNA is detected in the absence of MC treatment. Moreover, upon induction with MC, a new rdgA mRNA species, initiated from a different start site, is produced at a high level. Thus, the two closely linked rdgA and rdgB genes, required for the regulation of Pnl production, are expressed differently in Ecc71.

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