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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Jul;6(14):1913-23.

Identification and characterization of narQ, a second nitrate sensor for nitrate-dependent gene regulation in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.


In response to nitrate availability, Escherichia coli regulates the synthesis of a number of enzymes involved in anaerobic respiration and fermentation. When nitrate is present, nitrate reductase (narGHJI) gene expression is induced, while expression of the DMSO/TMAO reductase (dmsABC), fumarate reductase (frdABCD) and fermentation related genes are repressed. The narL and narX gene products are required for this nitrate-dependent control, and apparently function as members of a two-component regulatory system. NarX is a presumed sensor-transmitter for nitrate and possibly molybdenum detection. The presumed response-regulator, NarL, when activated by NarX then binds at the regulatory DNA sites of genes to modulate their expression. In this study a third nitrate regulatory gene, narQ, was identified that also participates in nitrate-dependent gene regulation. Strains defective in either narQ or narX alone exhibited no nitrate-dependent phenotype whereas mutants defective in both narQ and narX were fully inactive for nitrate-dependent repression or activation. In all conditions tested, this regulation required a functional narL gene product. These findings suggest that the narX and narQ products have complementary sensor-transmitter functions for nitrate detection, and can work independently to activate NarL, for eliciting nitrate-dependent regulation of anaerobic electron transport and fermentation functions. The narQ gene was cloned, sequenced, and compared with the narX gene. Both gene products are similar in size, hydrophobicity, and sequence, and contain a highly conserved histidine residue common to sensor-transmitter proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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