Evolution of transcription-regulating proteins by enzyme recruitment: molecular models for nitrogen metabolite repression and ethanol utilisation in eukaryotes.
ABSTRACT Studies on the quinic acid utilisation gene (qut) cluster in Aspergillus nidulans showed that the genes encoding transcriptional activator and repressor proteins evolved by co-opting duplicated copies of genes encoding metabolic enzymes. In order to test the hypothesis that this was a general route for the genesis of regulatory proteins, the origins of the major control protein mediating nitrogen metabolite repression (an example of inter-pathway regulation) and ethanol utilisation (an example of intra-pathway regulation) in filamentous fungi were sought. The regulatory proteins mediating nitrogen metabolite repression were deduced to have originated in a duplication of genes encoding the anthranilate synthase complex which is active in the shikimate pathway. The major protein regulating ethanol utilisation was deduced to have its origin in the fusion of duplicated genes encoding the aldehyde and alcohol dehydrogenases (ALDA and ALCA). These data strongly support the view that transcriptional regulatory proteins evolve by the recruitment of functional domains provided by metabolic enzymes.
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ABSTRACT: The entire areA gene and a truncated version lacking the sequence encoding the N-terminal 389 amino acids were expressed from the qutE promoter and terminator in an Aspergillus nidulans strain with the endogenous areA gene deleted. This expression system was used to decouple the effects of transcription regulation and mRNA stability mediated by the native promoter and terminator from any posttranslational modulation of AREA activity. Both the full-length AREA protein and the truncated form were able to function in the deletion strain, conferring the ability to use alternate nitrogen sources. Transformants containing the entire areA gene had a repressible phenotype with respect to nitrogen metabolite repression, whereas those containing the truncated form of the areA gene had a derepressed phenotype. The truncated areA gene was expressed in an A. nidulans strain containing a normally regulated wild-type areA gene, and transformants displayed a quinate-inducible nitrogen metabolite derepressed phenotype. Northern blot analysis of transformed strains showed that areA-specific mRNAs of the expected sizes were being produced. The truncated AREA protein was overproduced in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein and purified to homogeneity by a single-step immobilized metal affinity chromatography, and the purified protein was shown to bind specifically to the niaD promoter. Revised sequences of the 5' region of the areA gene and the entire meaB gene are reported.Journal of Bacteriology 12/1997; 179(21):6649-56. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: NmrA is a negative transcriptional regulator involved in the post-translational modulation of the GATA-type transcription factor AreA, forming part of a system controlling nitrogen metabolite repression in various fungi. X-ray structures of two NmrA crystal forms, both to 1.8 A resolution, show NmrA consists of two domains, including a Rossmann fold. NmrA shows an unexpected similarity to the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) family, with the closest relationship to UDP-galactose 4-epimerase. We show that NAD binds to NmrA, a previously unreported nucleotide binding property for this protein. NmrA is unlikely to be an active dehydrogenase, however, as the conserved catalytic tyrosine in SDRs is absent in NmrA, and thus the nucleotide binding to NmrA could have a regulatory function. Our results suggest that other transcription factors possess the SDR fold with functions including RNA binding. The SDR fold appears to have been adapted for other roles including non-enzymatic control functions such as transcriptional regulation and is likely to be more widespread than previously recognized.The EMBO Journal 01/2002; 20(23):6619-26. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The promoter of avirulence gene Avr9 of the fungal tomato pathogen Cladosporium fulvum contains 12 sequences within a region of 0.6 kb that are reminiscent of the binding sequences of the GATA-type regulator involved in nitrogen utilisation of the filamentous fungi Aspergillus nidulans and Neurospora crassa. Mutational analysis of this 0.6-kb promoter region, fused to the beta-glucuronidase reporter gene, revealed that two regions, each containing two TAGATA boxes in inverted orientation and overlapping by two base pairs, are important for induction of Avr9 promoter activity in A. nidulans. Each overlapping TAGATA box differentially affected Avr9 promoter activity when shifted apart by nucleotide insertions. The other regions, which do not contain two overlapping TAGATA boxes have no, or only a limited, contribution to the inducibility of promoter activity.Current Genetics 06/2003; 43(2):96-102. · 2.41 Impact Factor