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Kuper, C.; Jung, K. (2005): CadC-mediated activation of the cadBA promoter in Escherichia coli. In: Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, No. 1: pp. 26-39




The transcriptional activator CadC in Escherichia coli, a member of the ToxR-like proteins, activates transcription of the cadBA operon encoding the lysine decarboxylase CadA and the lysine-cadaverine antiporter CadB. cadBA is induced under conditions of acidic external pH and exogenous lysine; anoxic conditions raise the expression level up to 10 times. To characterize the binding mechanism of CadC, procedures for the purification of this membrane-integrated protein and its reconstitution into proteoliposomes were established. The binding sites of CadC upstream of the cadBA promoter region were determined by in vitro DNaseI protection analysis. Two regions were protected during DNaseI digestion, one from - 144 to - 112 bp, designated Cad1, and another one from - 89 to - 59 bp, designated Cad2. Binding of purified CadC to Cad1 and Cad2 was further characterized by DNA-binding assays, indicating that CadC was able to bind to both DNA fragments. Genetic analysis with promoter-lacZ fusions confirmed that both sites, Cad1 and Cad2, are essential for activation of cadBA transcription. Moreover, these experiments revealed that binding of H-NS upstream of the CadC-binding sites is necessary for repression of cadBA expression at neutral pH and under aerobic conditions. Based on these results, a model for transcriptional regulation of the cadBA operon is proposed, according to which H-NS is involved in the formation of a repression complex under non-inducing conditions. This complex is dissolved by binding of CadC to Cad1 under inducing conditions. Upon binding of CadC to Cad2 cadBA expression is activated. Copyright (C) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.