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Mol Gen Genet. 1996 Jun 12;251(3):307-15.

Regulation of the operon responsible for broad-spectrum mercury resistance in Streptomyces lividans 1326.

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Institut für Industrielle Genetik, Universität Stuttgart, Germany.


The broad-spectrum mercury resistance of Streptomyces lividans 1326 is mediated by six open reading frames (orf). These are arranged in two divergently transcribed operons. The orfs mer A (mercuric reductase) and mer B (organolyase) form one of the two operons. These genes and their regulation were further studied by deletion analysis and transcriptional fusion to the reporter gene xylE in the plasmid pXE4. An increase in XylE activity in response to the presence of mercuric ions was observed. The function of ORF2 (MerT) and ORF3 (MerP) as mercury-specific transport proteins, previously postulated based on the structural features of the predicted proteins, was confirmed. Transcription of the mer genes starts within the intercistronic region and two divergent promoters were identified by S1 nuclease mapping. Expression of the genes was negatively regulated by the product of orf1, now called merR. The repressor function was confirmed by gel retardation assays. MerR, produced in Escherichia coli, bound to two sites (operators) in the fragment containing the promoter region between merA and merR. Addition of mercuric ions and phenylmercuric acetate prevented the binding of MerR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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