Promoter region of the Escherichia coli O7-specific lipopolysaccharide gene cluster: structural and functional characterization of an upstream untranslated mRNA sequence

C L Marolda, M A Valvano

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42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report the identification of the promoter region of the Escherichia coli O7-specific lipopolysaccharide (LPS) gene cluster (wbEcO7). Typical -10 and -35 sequences were found to be located in the intervening region between galF and rlmB, the first gene of the wbEcO7 cluster. Data from RNase protection experiments revealed the existence of an untranslated leader mRNA segment of 173 bp, including the JUMPStart and two ops sequences. We characterized the structure of this leader mRNA by using the program Mfold and a combination of nested and internal deletions transcriptionally fused to a promoterless lac operon. Our results indicated that the leader mRNA may fold into a series of complex stem-loop structures, one of which includes the JUMPStart element. We have also found that one of the ops sequences resides on the predicted stem and the other resides on the loop region, and we confirmed that these sequences are essential for the RfaH-mediated regulation of the O polysaccharide cluster. A very similar stem-loop structure could be predicted in the promoter region of the LPS core operon encoding the waaQGPSBIJYZK genes. We observed another predicted stem-loop, located immediately downstream from the wbEcO7 transcription initiation site, which appeared to be involved in premature termination of transcription. This putative stem-loop is common to many other O polysaccharide gene clusters but is not present in core oligosaccharide genes. wbEcO7-lac transcriptional fusions in single copy numbers were also used to determine the effects of various environmental cues in the transcriptional regulation of O polysaccharide synthesis. No effects were detected with temperature, osmolarity, Mg2+ concentration, and drugs inducing changes in DNA supercoiling. We therefore conclude that the wbEcO7 promoter activity may be constitutive and that regulation takes place at the level of elongation of the mRNA in a RfaH-mediated manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3070-9
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume180
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Immunology

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