Allosteric underwinding of DNA is a critical step in positive control of transcription by Hg-MerR.
ABSTRACT Positive control of transcription often involves stimulatory protein-protein interactions between regulatory factors and RNA polymerase. Critical steps in the activation process itself are seldom ascribed to protein-DNA distortions. Activator-induced DNA bending is typically assigned a role in binding-site recognition, alterations in DNA loop structures or optimal positioning of the activator for interaction with polymerase. Here we present a transcriptional activation mechanism that does not require a signal-induced DNA bend but rather a receptor-induced untwisting of duplex DNA. The allosterically modulated transcription factor MerR is a repressor and an Hg(II)-responsive activator of bacterial mercury-resistance genes. Escherichia coli RNA polymerase binds to the MerR-promoter complex but cannot proceed to a transcriptionally active open complex until Hg(II) binds to MerR (ref. 6). Chemical nuclease studies show that the activator form, but not the repressor, induces a unique alteration of the helical structure localized at the centre of the DNA-binding site. Data presented here indicate that this Hg-MerR-induced DNA distortion corresponds to a local underwinding of the spacer region of the promoter by about 33 degrees relative to the MerR-operator complex. The magnitude and the direction of the Hg-MerR-induced change in twist angle are consistent with a positive control mechanism involving reorientation of conserved, but suboptimally phased, promoter elements and are consistent with a role for torsional stress in formation of an open complex.
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ABSTRACT: Protein metal-coordination sites are richly varied and exquisitely attuned to their inorganic partners, yet many metalloproteins still select the wrong metals when presented with mixtures of elements. Cells have evolved elaborate mechanisms to scavenge for sufficient metal atoms to meet their needs and to adjust their needs to match supply. Metal sensors, transporters and stores have often been discovered as metal-resistance determinants, but it is emerging that they perform a broader role in microbial physiology: they allow cells to overcome inadequate protein metal affinities to populate large numbers of metalloproteins with the right metals.Nature Reviews Microbiology 02/2009; 7(1):25-35. · 21.18 Impact Factor
Article: Cysteine coordination of Pb(II) is involved in the PbrR-dependent activation of the lead-resistance promoter, PpbrA, from Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The pbr resistance operon from Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34 plasmid pMOL30 confers resistance to Pb(II) salts, and is regulated by the Pb(II) responsive regulator PbrR, which is a MerR family activator. In other metal sensing MerR family regulators, such as MerR, CueR, and ZntR the cognate regulator binds to a promoter with an unusually long spacer between the -35 and -10 sequences, and activates transcription of resistance genes as a consequence of binding the appropriate metal. Cysteine residues in these regulators are essential for metal ion coordination and activation of expression from their cognate promoter. In this study we investigated the interaction of PbrR with the promoter for the structural pbr resistance genes, PpbrA, effects on transcriptional activation of altering the DNA sequence of PpbrA, and effects on Pb(II)-induced activation of PpbrA when cysteine residues in PbrR were mutated to serine. Gel retardation and footprinting assays using purified PbrR show that it binds to, and protects from DNase I digestion, the PpbrA promoter, which has a 19 bp spacer between its -35 and -10 sites. Using β-galactosidase assays in C. metallidurans, we show that when PpbrA is changed to an 18 bp spacer, there is an increase in transcriptional activation both in the presence and absence of Pb(II) salts up to a maximum induction equivalent to that seen in the fully-induced wild-type promoter. Changes to the -10 sequence of PpbrA from TTAAAT to the consensus E. coli -10 sequence (TATAAT) increased transcriptional activation from PpbrA, whilst changing the -10 sequence to that of the Tn501 mer promoter (TAAGGT) also increased the transcriptional response, but only in the presence of Pb(II). Individual PbrR mutants C14S, C55S, C79S, C114S, C123S, C132S and C134S, and a double mutant C132S/C134S, were tested for Pb(II) response from PpbrA, using β-galactosidase assays in C. metallidurans. The PbrR C14S, C79S, C134S, and C132S/C134S mutants were defective in Pb(II)-induced activation of PpbrA. These data show that the metal-dependent activation of PbrR occurs by a similar mechanism to that of MerR, but that metal ion coordination is through cysteines which differ from those seen in other MerR family regulators, and that the DNA sequence of the -10 promoter affects expression levels of the lead resistance genes.BMC Microbiology 06/2012; 12:109. · 3.04 Impact Factor
Article: A DNA-based nanomechanical device used to characterize the distortion of DNA by Apo-SoxR protein.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: DNA-based nanomechanical devices can be used to characterize the action of DNA-distorting proteins. Here, we have constructed a device wherein two DNA triple-crossover (TX) molecules are connected by a shaft, similar to a previous device that measured the binding free energy of integration host factor. In our case, the binding site on the shaft contains the sequence recognized by SoxR protein, the apo form of which is a transcriptional activator. Another active form is oxidized [2Fe-2S] SoxR formed during redox sensing, and previous data suggest that activated Fe-SoxR distorts its binding site by localized DNA untwisting by an amount that corresponds to ~2 bp. A pair of dyes report the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) signal between the two TX domains, reflecting changes in the shape of the device upon binding of the protein. The TX domains are used to amplify the signal expected from a relatively small distortion of the DNA binding site. From FRET analysis of apo-SoxR binding, the effect of apo-SoxR on the original TX device is similar to the effect of shortening the TX device by 2 bp. We estimate that the binding free energy of apo-SoxR on the DNA target site is 3.2-6.1 kcal/mol.Biochemistry 02/2012; 51(5):937-43. · 3.42 Impact Factor
© 1992 Nature PublishingGroup
© 1992 Nature PublishingGroup
© 1992 Nature PublishingGroup