The cAMP/CRP complex functions both as an activator and as a co repressor at the tsx-p2 promoter of Escherichia coli K 12

Petra Gerlach, Lotte Søgaard-Andersen, Henrik Pedersen, Jan Martinussen, Poul Valentin-Hansen, Erhard Bremer

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The tsx-p2 promoter is one of at least seven Escherichia coli promoters that are activated by the cyclic AMP (cAMP)-cAMP receptor protein (CRP) complex and negatively regulated by the CytR repressor. DNase I footprinting assays were used to study the interactions of these regulatory proteins with the tsx-p2 promoter region and to characterize tsx-p2 regulatory mutants exhibiting an altered response to CytR. We show that the cAMP-CRP activator complex recognizes two sites in tsx-p2 that are separated by 33 bp: a high-affinity site (CRP-1) overlaps the -35 region, and a low-affinity site (CRP-2) is centered around position -74 bp. The CytR repressor protects a DNA segment that is located between the two CRP sites and partially overlaps the CRP-1 target. In combination, the cAMP-CRP and CytR proteins bind cooperatively to tsx-p2, and the nucleoprotein complex formed covers a region of 78 bp extending from the CRP-2 site close to the -10 region. The inducer for the CytR repressor, cytidine, does not prevent in vitro DNA binding of CytR, but releases the repressor from the nucleoprotein complex and leaves the cAMP-CRP activator bound to its two DNA targets. Thus, cytidine interferes with the cooperative DNA binding of cAMP-CRP and CytR to tsx-p2. We characterized four tsx-p2 mutants exhibiting a reduced response to CytR; three carried mutations in the CRP-2 site, and one carried a mutation in the region between CRP-1 and the -10 sequence. Formation of the cAMP-CRP-CytR DNA nucleoprotein complex in vitro was perturbed in each mutant. These data indicate that the CytR repressor relies on the presence of the cAMP-CRP activator complex to regulate tsr-p2 promoter activity and that the formation of an active repression complex requires the combined interactions of cAMP-CRP and CytR at tsX-p2.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)5419-5430
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


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