Genomic reconstruction of transcriptional regulatory networks in lactic acid bacteria

BMC Genomics (Impact Factor: 3.99). 02/2013; 14(1):94. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-94
Source: PubMed


Genome scale annotation of regulatory interactions and reconstruction of regulatory networks are the crucial problems in bacterial genomics. The Lactobacillales order of bacteria collates various microorganisms having a large economic impact, including both human and animal pathogens and strains used in the food industry. Nonetheless, no systematic genome-wide analysis of transcriptional regulation has been previously made for this taxonomic group.

A comparative genomics approach was used for reconstruction of transcriptional regulatory networks in 30 selected genomes of lactic acid bacteria. The inferred networks comprise regulons for 102 orthologous transcription factors (TFs), including 47 novel regulons for previously uncharacterized TFs. Numerous differences between regulatory networks of the Streptococcaceae and Lactobacillaceae groups were described on several levels. The two groups are characterized by substantially different sets of TFs encoded in their genomes. Content of the inferred regulons and structure of their cognate TF binding motifs differ for many orthologous TFs between the two groups. Multiple cases of non-orthologous displacements of TFs that control specific metabolic pathways were reported.

The reconstructed regulatory networks substantially expand the existing knowledge of transcriptional regulation in lactic acid bacteria. In each of 30 studied genomes the obtained regulatory network contains on average 36 TFs and 250 target genes that are mostly involved in carbohydrate metabolism, stress response, metal homeostasis and amino acids biosynthesis. The inferred networks can be used for genetic experiments, functional annotations of genes, metabolic reconstruction and evolutionary analysis. All reconstructed regulons are captured within the Streptococcaceae and Lactobacillaceae collections in the RegPrecise database (

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    • "The LacI family contains a number of global regulators for central carbohydrate metabolic pathways, in particular the previously known regulators CcpA in Firmicutes and FruR in Enterobacteria. Here, we report a comparative genomics reconstruction of orthologous FruR regulons in γ-Proteobacteria, while the reconstructions of CcpA regulons in different lineages of Firmicutes has been reported previously (Ravcheev et al., 2011, 2013b; Antunes et al., 2012; Leyn et al., 2013) and is available in "
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    ABSTRACT: DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs) are essential components of transcriptional regulatory networks in Bacteria. LacI-family TFs (LacI-TFs) are broadly distributed among certain lineages of bacteria. The majority of characterized LacI-TFs sense sugar effectors and regulate carbohydrate utilization genes. The comparative genomics approaches enable in silico identification of TF-binding sites and regulon reconstruction. To study function and evolution of LacI-TFs, we performed genomics-based reconstruction and comparative analysis of their regulons. For over 1,300 LacI-TFs from over 270 bacterial genomes, we predicted their cognate DNA-binding motifs and identified target genes. Using the genome context and metabolic subsystem analyses of reconstructed regulons we tentatively assigned functional roles and predicted candidate effectors for 78% and 67% of the analyzed LacI-TFs, respectively. Nearly 90% of the studied LacI-TFs are local regulators of sugar utilization pathways, whereas the remaining 125 global regulators control large and diverse sets of metabolic genes. The global LacI-TFs include the previously known regulators CcpA in Firmicutes, FruR in Enterobacteria, and PurR in Gammaproteobacteria, and the three novel regulators, GluR, GapR, and PckR, that are predicted to control the central carbohydrate metabolism in three lineages of Alphaproteobacteria. Phylogenetic analysis of regulators combined with the reconstructed regulons provides a model of evolutionary diversification of LacI-TFs. The obtained genomic collection of in silico reconstructed regulons in Bacteria is available in the RegPrecise database ( It provides a framework for future structural and functional classification of the LacI protein family and identification of molecular determinants of the DNA and ligand specificity. The inferred regulons can be also used for functional gene annotation and reconstruction of sugar catabolic networks in diverse bacteria.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 06/2014; 5:294. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00294 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Mechanisms of transcriptional regulation of L-Rha utilization genes are also poorly understood in many species beyond the models. With the availability of hundreds of sequenced bacterial genomes, it is possible to use comparative genomics to reconstruct metabolic pathways and regulatory networks in individual taxonomic groups of Bacteria (Rodionov et al., 2010, 2011; Ravcheev et al., 2011, 2013; Leyn et al., 2013). Genome contextbased techniques, including the analysis of chromosomal gene clustering, protein fusion events, phylogenetic co-occurrence profiles, and the genomic inference of metabolic regulons, are highly efficient methods for elucidation of novel sugar catabolic pathways. "
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    ABSTRACT: L-rhamnose (L-Rha) is a deoxy-hexose sugar commonly found in nature. L-Rha catabolic pathways were previously characterized in various bacteria including Escherichia coli. Nevertheless, homology searches failed to recognize all the genes for the complete L-Rha utilization pathways in diverse microbial species involved in biomass decomposition. Moreover, the regulatory mechanisms of L-Rha catabolism have remained unclear in most species. A comparative genomics approach was used to reconstruct the L-Rha catabolic pathways and transcriptional regulons in the phyla Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Thermotogae. The reconstructed pathways include multiple novel enzymes and transporters involved in the utilization of L-Rha and L-Rha-containing polymers. Large-scale regulon inference using bioinformatics revealed remarkable variations in transcriptional regulators for L-Rha utilization genes among bacteria. A novel bifunctional enzyme, L-rhamnulose-phosphate aldolase (RhaE) fused to L-lactaldehyde dehydrogenase (RhaW), which is not homologous to previously characterized L-Rha catabolic enzymes, was identified in diverse bacteria including Chloroflexi, Bacilli, and Alphaproteobacteria. By using in vitro biochemical assays we validated both enzymatic activities of the purified recombinant RhaEW proteins from Chloroflexus aurantiacus and Bacillus subtilis. Another novel enzyme of the L-Rha catabolism, L-lactaldehyde reductase (RhaZ), was identified in Gammaproteobacteria and experimentally validated by in vitro enzymatic assays using the recombinant protein from Salmonella typhimurium. C. aurantiacus induced transcription of the predicted L-Rha utilization genes when L-Rha was present in the growth medium and consumed L-Rha from the medium. This study provided comprehensive insights to L-Rha catabolism and its regulation in diverse Bacteria.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 12/2013; 4:407. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00407 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Nonetheless, DNA binding sites for SusR remained uncharacterized. Based on our previous analyses of DNA binding motifs of regulators from several TF families [21,31-33], we proposed that binding motifs for homologous SusR-like regulators in Bacteroides may appear similar to each other. Thus, for prediction of SusR regulatory motifs we used the following pipeline: (1) genes known or predicted to be co-regulated by SusR-like proteins were selected by genome context analysis in all Bacteroides genomes, (2) conserved DNA motifs were predicted in upstream regions of candidate co-regulated operons using a phylogenetic footprinting approach, and (3) the identified motifs were compared to each other and assigned to SusR-like regulators. "
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    ABSTRACT: Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a predominant member of the human gut microbiota, is characterized by its ability to utilize a wide variety of polysaccharides using the extensive saccharolytic machinery that is controlled by an expanded repertoire of transcription factors (TFs). The availability of genomic sequences for multiple Bacteroides species opens an opportunity for their comparative analysis to enable characterization of their metabolic and regulatory networks. A comparative genomics approach was applied for the reconstruction and functional annotation of the carbohydrate utilization regulatory networks in 11 Bacteroides genomes. Bioinformatics analysis of promoter regions revealed putative DNA-binding motifs and regulons for 31 orthologous TFs in the Bacteroides. Among the analyzed TFs there are 4 SusR-like regulators, 16 AraC-like hybrid two-component systems (HTCSs), and 11 regulators from other families. Novel DNA motifs of HTCSs and SusR-like regulators in the Bacteroides have the common structure of direct repeats with a long spacer between two conserved sites. The inferred regulatory network in B. thetaiotaomicron contains 308 genes encoding polysaccharide and sugar catabolic enzymes, carbohydrate-binding and transport systems, and TFs. The analyzed TFs control pathways for utilization of host and dietary glycans to monosaccharides and their further interconversions to intermediates of the central metabolism. The reconstructed regulatory network allowed us to suggest and refine specific functional assignments for sugar catabolic enzymes and transporters, providing a substantial improvement to the existing metabolic models for B. thetaiotaomicron. The obtained collection of reconstructed TF regulons is available in the RegPrecise database (
    BMC Genomics 12/2013; 14(1):873. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-14-873 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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