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The predicted σ(54)-dependent regulator EtpR is essential for expression of genes for anaerobic p-ethylphenol and p-hydroxyacetophenone degradation in "Aromatoleum aromaticum" EbN1

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Büsing,  Imke
ICBM MPI Bridging Group for Marine Geochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Dörries,  Marvin
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Wöhlbrand,  Lars
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Rabus,  Ralf
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Büsing, I., Kant, M., Dörries, M., Wöhlbrand, L., & Rabus, R. (2015). The predicted σ(54)-dependent regulator EtpR is essential for expression of genes for anaerobic p-ethylphenol and p-hydroxyacetophenone degradation in "Aromatoleum aromaticum" EbN1. BMC Microbiology, 15: 1, pp. 1-13.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-C3B1-A
Abstract
BACKGROUND: The denitrifying betaproteobacterium "Aromatoleum aromaticum" EbN1 anaerobically utilizes a multitude of aromatic compounds via specific peripheral degradation routes. Compound-specific formation of these catabolic modules is assumed to be mediated by specific transcriptional activators. In case of the recently elucidated p-ethylphenol/p-hydroxyacetophenone pathway, the highly substrate-specific regulation was implicated to involve the predicted σ(54)-dependent, NtrC-type regulator EbA324. The latter was suggested to control the expression of the two neighboring gene clusters encoding the catabolic enzymes as well as a corresponding putative solvent efflux system. In the present study, a molecular genetic approach was used to study the predicted function of EbA324. RESULTS: An unmarked in frame ΔebA324 (here renamed as ΔetpR; p-ethylphenol regulator) deletion mutation was generated. The ΔetpR mutant was unable to grow anaerobically with either p-ethylphenol or p-hydroxyacetophenone. Growth similar to the wild type was restored in the ΔetpR mutant background by in trans expression of plasmid-born etpR. Furthermore, expression of the "p-ethylphenol" gene clusters as well as corresponding protein formation was shown to depend on the presence of both, EtpR and either p-ethylphenol or p-hydroxyacetophenone. In the wild type, the etpR gene appears to be constitutively expressed and its expression level not to be modulated upon effector presence. Comparison with the regulatory domains of known phenol- and alkylbenzene-responsive NtrC-type regulators of Pseudomonas spp. and Thauera aromatica allowed identifying >60 amino acid residues in the regulatory domain (in particular positions 149 to 192 of EtpR) that may contribute to the effector specificity viz. presumptively restricted effector spectrum of EtpR. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides experimental evidence for the genome predicted σ(54)-dependent regulator EtpR (formerly EbA324) of "A. aromaticum" EbN1 to be responsive to p-ethylphenol, as well as its degradation intermediate p-hydroxyacetophenone, and to control the expression of genes involved in the anaerobic degradation of these two aromatic growth substrates. Overall, the presented results advance our understanding on the regulation of anaerobic aromatic compound catabolism, foremost based on the sensory discrimination of structurally similar substrates.