Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The PilR protein of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a transcriptional activator of the pilin gene and belongs to a two-component sensor–regulator family. PilR was overproduced by fusing pilR to the gene for the maltose-binding protein (malE), yielding a MalE–PilR hybrid protein. The plasmid with the malE–pilR fusion, when introduced into a non-piliated pilR mutant strain of P. aeruginosa, restored piliation, indicating that the hybrid protein retains PilR function in vivo. The MalE-PilR protein was purified from Escherichia coli and used in a series of DNA-binding studies. A specific pilin promoter-binding activity of MalE-PilR was observed in a gef retardation assay. Subsequent DNase I footprinting analysis revealed a 40bp PilR-binding site located at the −120 to −80 region, relative to the transcriptional start site of the pilin gene. This PilR-binding region consists of a nine-base sequence and three consensus sequences of 5-(N)4–6C/GTGTC-3′, in a tandem array in which the first 7–9 bp are bound by the PilR on the non-Goding strand, leaving the last two nucleotides (TC) unbound. On the coding strand, PilR binds of sequences complementary to the two middle consensus sequences of the non-coding strand. A sequence similar to the NifA recognition site (5-TGT-(N)11-ACA-3′) is also found within the PilR-binding region. Deletion analysis and disruption of the individual consensus PilR-binding sequences by site-directed mutagenesis revealed that all four PilRbinding sites are absolutely required for the PilS/PilR-mediated pilin gene expression. The presence of four PilR-binding repeat sequences suggests that PilR protein may bind co-operatively or as a multimer.
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