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Mutational Analysis of the cbb Operon (CO2 Assimilation) Promoter of Ralstonia eutropha

By Thomas Jeffke, Niels-Holger Gropp, Claudia Kaiser, Claudia Grzeszik, Bernhard Kusian and Botho Bowien


PL promoters direct the transcription of the duplicated cbb operons from the facultative chemoautotroph Ralstonia eutropha H16. The operons encode most enzymes of the Calvin-Benson-Bassham carbon reduction cycle required for CO2 assimilation. Their transcription depends on the activator protein CbbR. Structure-function relationships in the cloned chromosomal promoter region were analyzed by site-directed mutagenesis. PL was altered in its presumed hexameric −35 and/or −10 box or in the spacer region between the boxes to achieve a greater or lesser resemblance to the structure of the ς70 consensus promoter of Escherichia coli. PL::lacZ transcriptional fusions of various promoter variants were assayed in transconjugant strains of R. eutropha as well as in corresponding cbbR deletion mutants. Mutations increasing the similarity of the −35 and/or −10 box to the consensus sequence stimulated PL activity to various extents, whereas mutations deviating from the consensus decreased the activity. The length of the spacer region also proved to be critical. The conversion of the boxes, either individually or simultaneously, into the consensus sequences resulted in a highly active PL. All improved PL mutants, however, retained the activation under inducing or derepressing growth conditions, although the full-consensus promoter was nearly constitutive. They were also activated in the cbbR mutants. The activity of the overlapping, divergently oriented cbbR promoter was less affected by the mutations. The half- and full-consensus PL mutants were comparably active in E. coli. Two major conclusions were drawn from the results: (i) the location and function of PL were verified, and (ii) indirect evidence was obtained for the involvement of another regulator(s), besides CbbR, in the transcriptional control of the R. eutropha cbb operons

Topics: Genetics and Molecular Biology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 1999
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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