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Open Access Research article

The dual transcriptional regulator CysR in Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 controls a subset of genes of the McbR regulon in response to the availability of sulphide acceptor molecules

Christian Rückert1, Johanna Milse13, Andreas Albersmeier13, Daniel J Koch12, Alfred Pühler3 and Jörn Kalinowski1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institut für Systembiologie & Genomforschung, Universität Bielefeld, Universitätsstr. 25, D-33615 Bielefeld, Germany

2 Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA91125, USA

3 Lehrstuhl für Genetik, Universität Bielefeld, Universitätsstr. 25, D-33615 Bielefeld, Germany

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:483  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-483

Published: 14 October 2008

Abstract

Background

Regulation of sulphur metabolism in Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 has been studied intensively in the last few years, due to its industrial as well as scientific importance. Previously, the gene cg0156 was shown to belong to the regulon of McbR, a global transcriptional repressor of sulphur metabolism in C. glutamicum. This gene encodes a putative ROK-type regulator, a paralogue of the activator of sulphonate utilisation, SsuR. Therefore, it is an interesting candidate for study to further the understanding of the regulation of sulphur metabolism in C. glutamicum.

Results

Deletion of cg0156, now designated cysR, results in the inability of the mutant to utilise sulphate and aliphatic sulphonates. DNA microarray hybridisations revealed 49 genes with significantly increased and 48 with decreased transcript levels in presence of the native CysR compared to a cysR deletion mutant. Among the genes positively controlled by CysR were the gene cluster involved in sulphate reduction, fpr2 cysIXHDNYZ, and ssuR. Gel retardation experiments demonstrated that binding of CysR to DNA depends in vitro on the presence of either O-acetyl-L-serine or O-acetyl-L-homoserine. Mapping of the transcription start points of five transcription units helped to identify a 10 bp inverted repeat as the possible CysR binding site. Subsequent in vivo tests proved this motif to be necessary for CysR-dependent transcriptional regulation.

Conclusion

CysR acts as the functional analogue of the unrelated LysR-type regulator CysB from Escherichia coli, controlling sulphide production in response to acceptor availability. In both bacteria, gene duplication events seem to have taken place which resulted in the evolution of dedicated regulators for the control of sulphonate utilisation. The striking convergent evolution of network topology indicates the strong selective pressure to control the metabolism of the essential but often toxic sulphur-containing (bio-)molecules.