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A novel multicomponent regulatory system mediates H2 sensing in Alcaligenes eutrophus.


ABSTRACT: Oxidation of molecular hydrogen catalyzed by [NiFe] hydrogenases is a widespread mechanism of energy generation among prokaryotes. Biosynthesis of the H2-oxidizing enzymes is a complex process subject to positive control by H2 and negative control by organic energy sources. In this report we describe a novel signal transduction system regulating hydrogenase gene (hox) expression in the proteobacterium Alcaligenes eutrophus. This multicomponent system consists of the proteins HoxB, HoxC, HoxJ*, and HoxA. HoxB and HoxC share characteristic features of dimeric [NiFe] hydrogenases and form the putative H2 receptor that interacts directly or indirectly with the histidine protein kinase HoxJ*. A single amino acid substitution (HoxJ*G422S) in a conserved C-terminal glycine-rich motif of HoxJ* resulted in a loss of H2-dependent signal transduction and a concomitant block in autophosphorylating activity, suggesting that autokinase activity is essential for the response to H2. Whereas deletions in hoxB or hoxC abolished hydrogenase synthesis almost completely, the autokinase-deficient strain maintained high-level hox gene expression, indicating that the active sensor kinase exerts a negative effect on hox gene expression in the absence of H2. Substitutions of the conserved phosphoryl acceptor residue Asp55 in the response regulator HoxA (HoxAD55E and HoxAD55N) disrupted the H2 signal-transduction chain. Unlike other NtrC-like regulators, the altered HoxA proteins still allowed high-level transcriptional activation. The data presented here suggest a model in which the nonphosphorylated form of HoxA stimulates transcription in concert with a yet unknown global energy-responsive factor.

SUBMITTER: Lenz O 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC22855 | BioStudies | 1998-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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