Hydrogen independent expression of hupSL genes in Thiocapsa roseopersicina BBS

Ákos T. Kovács, Gábor Rákhely, Judit Balogh, Gergely Maróti, Laurent Cournac, Patrick Carrier, Lívia S. Mészáros, Gilles Peltier, Kornél L. Kovàcs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The expression of many membrane bound [NiFe] hydrogenases is regulated by their substrate molecule, hydrogen. The HupSL hydrogenase, encoded in the hupSLCDHIR operon, probably plays a role in hydrogen recycling in the phototrophic purple bacterium, Thiocapsa roseopersicina BBS. RpoN, coding for sigma factor 54, was shown to be important for expression, suggesting a regulated biosynthsis from the hup gene cluster. The response regulator gene, hupR, has been identified in the hup operon and expression of hupSL was reduced in a chromosomal hupR mutant, which indicated that HupR was implicated in the activation process. The hupT and hupUV genes were isolated, and show similarity to the histidine kinase element of the H2-driven signal transduction system and to the regulatory hydrogenases of Ralstonia eutropha and Rhodobacter capsulatus, respectively. Although the genes of the entire H2 sensing and regulation system were present, the expression of the hupSL genes was not affected by the presence or absence of H2. Using reverse transcription PCR, we could not detect any mRNA specific to the hupTUV genes in cells grown under diverse conditions. The hupT and hupUV mutant strains had the same phenotype as the wild-type strains. The hupT gene product, expressed from a plasmid, repressed HupSL synthesis as expected while introduction of actively expressed hupTUV genes together derepressed the HupSL activity in T. roseopersicina. The gene product of hupUV behaves similarly to other regulatory hydrogenases and shows H-D exchange activity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number18
Pages (from-to)4807-4816
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • [NiFe] hydrogenase
  • Hydrogen sensor
  • Thiocapsa roseopersicina
  • Transcriptional regulation


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