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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Factors that influence the response of the LysR type transcriptional regulators to aromatic compounds

Rosa Lönneborg and Peter Brzezinski

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Arrhenius Laboratories for Natural Sciences, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

BMC Biochemistry 2011, 12:49  doi:10.1186/1471-2091-12-49

Published: 1 September 2011

Abstract

Background

The transcriptional regulators DntR, NagR and NtdR have a high sequence identity and belong to the large family of LysR type transcriptional regulators (LTTRs). These three regulators are all involved in regulation of genes identified in pathways for degradation of aromatic compounds. They activate the transcription of these genes in the presence of an inducer, but the inducer specificity profiles are different.

Results

The results from this study show that NtdR has the broadest inducer specificity, responding to several nitro-aromatic compounds. Mutational studies of residues that differ between DntR, NagR and NtdR suggest that a number of specific residues are involved in the broader inducer specificity of NtdR when compared to DntR and NagR. The inducer response was also investigated as a function of the experimental conditions and a number of parameters such as the growth media, plasmid arrangement of the LTTR-encoding genes, promoter and gfp reporter gene, and the presence of a His6-tag were shown to affect the inducer response in E.coli DH5α. Furthermore, the response upon addition of both salicylate and 4-nitrobenzoate to the growth media was larger than the sum of responses upon addition of each of the compounds, which suggests the presence of a secondary binding site, as previously reported for other LTTRs.

Conclusions

Optimization of the growth conditions and gene arrangement resulted in improved responses to nitro-aromatic inducers. The data also suggests the presence of a previously unknown secondary binding site in DntR, analogous to that of BenM.

Keywords:
transcriptional regulator; LysR family; inducer specificity; gfp