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Fur-mediated activation of gene transcription in the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Research paper by Chunxiao C Yu, Caroline Attardo CA Genco

Indexed on: 31 Jan '12Published on: 31 Jan '12Published in: Journal of bacteriology



Abstract

It is well established that the ferric uptake regulatory protein (Fur) functions as a transcriptional repressor in diverse microorganisms. Recent studies demonstrated that Fur also functions as a transcriptional activator. In this study we defined Fur-mediated activation of gene transcription in the sexually transmitted disease pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Analysis of 37 genes which were previously determined to be iron induced and which contained putative Fur boxes revealed that only 30 of these genes exhibited reduced transcription in a gonococcal fur mutant strain. Fur-mediated activation was established by examining binding of Fur to the putative promoter regions of 16 Fur-activated genes with variable binding affinities observed. Only ∼50% of the newly identified Fur-regulated genes bound Fur in vitro, suggesting that additional regulatory circuits exist which may function through a Fur-mediated indirect mechanism. The gonococcal Fur-activated genes displayed variable transcription patterns in a fur mutant strain, which correlated with the position of the Fur box in each (promoter) region. These results suggest that Fur-mediated direct transcriptional activation is fulfilled by multiple mechanisms involving either competing with a repressor or recruiting RNA polymerase. Collectively, our studies have established that gonococcal Fur functions as an activator of gene transcription through both direct and indirect mechanisms.