Promoter strength driving TetR determines the regulatory properties of Tet-controlled expression systems.
ABSTRACT: Bacteria frequently rely on transcription repressors and activators to alter gene expression patterns in response to changes in the surrounding environment. Tet repressor (TetR) is a paradigm transcription factor that senses the environmental state by binding small molecule effectors, the tetracyclines. However, recently isolated peptides that act as inducers of TetR after having been fused to the C-terminus of a carrier protein, suggest that TetR can also regulate gene expression in a signal-transduction pathway. For this shift in regulatory mechanism to be successful, induction of TetR must be sensitive enough to respond to an inducing protein expressed at its endogenous level. To determine this regulatory parameter, a synthetic Tet-regulated system was introduced into the human pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and tested for inducibility by a peptide. Reporter gene expression was detected if the peptide-containing carrier protein Thioredoxin 1 was strongly overproduced, but not if it was expressed at a level similar to the physiological level of Thioredoxin 1. This was attributed to high steady-state amounts of TetR which was expressed by the promoter of the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase gene (P(cat)). Reducing P(cat) strength either by directed or by random mutagenesis of its -10 element concomitantly reduced the intracellular amounts of TetR. Sensitive and quantitative induction of TetR by an inducing peptide, when it was fused to Thioredoxin 1 at its native locus in the genome, was only obtained with weak P(cat) promoter variants containing GC-rich -10 elements. A second important observation was that reducing the TetR steady-state level did not impair repression. This permits flexible adjustment of an inducible system's sensitivity simply by altering the expression level of the transcription factor. These two new layers of expression control will improve the quality and, thus, the applicability of the Tet and other regulatory systems.
Project description:Engineered transcription activator-like effectors, or TALEs, have emerged as a new class of designer DNA-binding proteins. Their DNA recognition sites can be specified with great flexibility. When fused to appropriate transcriptional regulatory domains, they can serve as designer transcription factors, modulating the activity of targeted promoters. We created tet operator (tetO)-specific TALEs (tetTALEs), with an identical DNA-binding site as the Tet repressor (TetR) and the TetR-based transcription factors that are extensively used in eukaryotic transcriptional control systems. Different constellations of tetTALEs and tetO modified chromosomal transcription units were analyzed for their efficacy in mammalian cells. We find that tetTALE-silencers can entirely abrogate expression from the strong human EF1α promoter when binding upstream of the transcriptional control sequence. Remarkably, the DNA-binding domain of tetTALE alone can effectively counteract trans-activation mediated by the potent tettrans-activator and also directly interfere with RNA polymerase II transcription initiation from the strong CMV promoter. Our results demonstrate that TALEs can act as highly versatile tools in genetic engineering, serving as trans-activators, trans-silencers and also competitive repressors.
Project description:Regenerative dental therapies for bone tissues rely on efficient targeting of endogenous and transplanted mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to guide bone formation. Amelogenin is the primary component of Emdogain, which is used to regenerate periodontal defects; however, the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects on alveolar bone remain unclear. The tetracycline (Tet)-dependent transcriptional regulatory system is a good candidate to investigate distinct roles of genes of interest during stem cell differentiation. Here, we investigated amelogenin-dependent regulation of osteogenesis in MSCs by establishing a Tet-controlled transcriptional activation system. Clonal mouse bone marrow-derived MSCs were lentivirally transduced with the Tet repressor (TetR) expression vector followed by drug selection to obtain MSCs constitutively expressing TetR (MSCs-TetR). Expression vectors that contained the Tet operator and amelogenin-coding (Amelx) cDNA fragments were constructed using the Gateway system and lentivirally introduced into MSCs-TetR to generate a Tet regulation system in MSCs (MSCs-TetR/Amelx). MSCs-TetR/Amelx significantly overexpressed the Amelx gene and protein in the presence of the tetracycline derivative doxycycline. Concomitant expression of osterix, bone sialoprotein (BSP), osteopontin, and osteocalcin was modulated by addition or removal of doxycycline under osteogenic guidance. During osteogenic induction, MSCs-TetR/Amelx treated with doxycycline showed significantly increased gene expression of osterix, type I collagen, BSP, and osteocalcin in addition to increased alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralized nodule formation. Enhanced extracellular matrix calcification was observed when forced Amelx expression commenced at the early stage but not at the intermediate or late stages of osteogenesis. These results suggest that a Tet-controlled Amelx gene regulation system for mouse MSCs was successfully established, in which transcriptional activation of Amelx was associated with enhanced osteogenic differentiation, especially in the early stage of biomineralization.
Project description:Protein-protein interactions are an important element of signal transfer within and between organisms. They are mainly mediated by short oligopeptide motifs and represent a widely used alternative to small, organic molecules for conveying information. The transcription factor TetR, a regulator of tetracycline resistance in Gram-negative bacteria, is naturally induced by tetracycline or its derivatives. The oligopeptide Tip (Transcription inducing peptide) fused to either N- or C-terminus of Thioredoxin A (TrxA) has been isolated as an artificial inducer for TetR in Escherichia coli. This inducing property can be exploited to monitor the in vivo expression of a protein of interest by fusing Tip to its C-terminus. We improve the induction efficiency of Tip by adding an aromatic amino acid before residue 1 of Tip in C-terminal fusions to TrxA. The induction efficiency of that modified TrxA-Tip fusion is further enhanced when the effector-binding pocket of TetR is enlarged by the N82A and F86A mutations. The double mutant is also insensitive to induction by tetracyclines. Thus, Tip is an exclusive inducer of this TetR variant, representing the first example of fully converting a small molecular weight effector-dependent transcription factor into one depending solely on protein-protein recognition.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>In the programming of tumor-targeting bacteria, various therapeutic or reporter genes are expressed by different gene-triggering strategies. Previously, we engineered pJL87 plasmid with an inducible bacterial drug delivery system that simultaneously co-expressed two genes for therapy and imaging by a bidirectional tet promoter system only in response to the administration of exogenous doxycycline (Doxy). In this multi-cassette expression approach, tetA promoter (P<sub>tetA</sub>) was 100-fold higher in expression strength than tetR promoter (P<sub>tetR</sub>). In the present study, we developed pJH18 plasmid with novel Doxy-inducible gene expression system based on a tet promoter.<h4>Procedures</h4>In this system, Tet repressor (TetR) expressed by a weak constitutive promoter binds to tetO operator, resulting in the tight repression of gene expressions by P<sub>tetA</sub> and P<sub>tetR</sub>, and Doxy releases TetR from tetO to de-repress P<sub>tetA</sub> and P<sub>tetR</sub>.<h4>Results</h4>In Salmonella transformed with pJH18, the expression balance of bidirectional tet promoters in pJH18 was remarkably improved (P<sub>tetA</sub>:P<sub>tetR</sub> = 4~6:1) compared with that of pJL87 (P<sub>tetA</sub>:P<sub>tetR</sub> = 100:1) in the presence of Doxy. Also, the expression level by novel tet system was much higher in Salmonella transformed with pJH18 than in those with pJL87 (80-fold in rluc8 and 5-fold in clyA). Interestingly, pJH18 of the transformed Salmonella was much more stably maintained than pJL87 in antibiotic-free tumor-bearing mice (about 41-fold), because only pJH18 carries bom sequence with an essential role in preventing the plasmid-free population of programmed Salmonella from undergoing cell division.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Overall, doxycycline-induced co-expression of two proteins at similar expression levels, we exploited bioluminescence reporter proteins with preclinical but no clinical utility. Future validation with clinically compatible reporter systems, for example, suitable for radionuclide imaging, is necessary to develop this system further towards potential clinical application.
Project description:Deletion mutants and animal models have been instrumental in the study of Helicobacter pylori pathogenesis. Conditional mutants, however, would enable the study of the temporal gene requirement during H. pylori colonization and chronic infection. To achieve this goal, we adapted the Escherichia coli Tn10-derived tetracycline-inducible expression system for use in H. pylori. The ureA promoter was modified by inserting one or two tet operators to generate tetracycline-responsive promoters, named uPtetO, and these promoters were then fused to the reporter gfpmut2 and inserted into different loci. The expression of the tetracycline repressor (tetR) was placed under the control of one of three promoters and inserted into the chromosome. Conditional expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) in strains harboring tetR and uPtetO-GFP was characterized by measuring GFP activity and by immunoblotting. The two tet-responsive uPtetO promoters differ in strength, and induction of these promoters was inducer concentration and time dependent, with maximum expression achieved after induction for 8 to 16 h. Furthermore, the chromosomal location of the uPtetO-GFP construct and the nature of the promoter driving expression of tetR influenced the strength of the uPtetO promoters upon induction. Integration of uPtetO-GFP and tetR constructs at different genomic loci was stable in vivo and did not affect colonization. Finally, we demonstrate tetracycline-dependent induction of GFP expression in vivo during chronic infection. These results open new experimental avenues for dissecting H. pylori pathogenesis using animal models and for testing the roles of specific genes in colonization of, adaptation to, and persistence in the host.
Project description:There are a number of genetic tools available for studying Francisella tularensis, the etiological agent of tularemia; however, there is no effective inducible or repressible gene expression system. Here, we describe inducible and repressible gene expression systems for F. tularensis based on the Tet repressor, TetR. For the inducible system, a tet operator sequence was cloned into a modified F. tularensis groESL promoter sequence and carried in a plasmid that constitutively expressed TetR. To monitor regulation the luminescence operon, luxCDABE, was cloned under the hybrid Francisella tetracycline-regulated promoter (FTRp), and transcription was initiated with addition of anhydrotetracycline (ATc), which binds TetR and alleviates TetR association with tetO. Expression levels measured by luminescence correlated with ATc inducer concentrations ranging from 20 to 250 ng ml(-1). In the absence of ATc, luminescence was below the level of detection. The inducible system was also functional during the infection of J774A.1 macrophages, as determined by both luminescence and rescue of a mutant strain with an intracellular growth defect. The repressible system consists of FTRp regulated by a reverse TetR mutant (revTetR), TetR r1.7. Using this system with the lux reporter, the addition of ATc resulted in decreased luminescence, while in the absence of ATc the level of luminescence was not significantly different from that of a construct lacking TetR r1.7. Utilizing both systems, the essentiality of SecA, the protein translocase ATPase, was confirmed, establishing that they can effectively regulate gene expression. These two systems will be invaluable in exploring F. tularensis protein function.
Project description:Sequence-specific RNA-protein interactions, though commonly used in biological systems to regulate translation, are challenging to selectively modulate. Here, we demonstrate the use of a chemically-inducible RNA-protein interaction to regulate eukaryotic translation. By genetically encoding Tet Repressor protein (TetR)-binding RNA elements into the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) of an mRNA, translation of a downstream coding sequence is directly controlled by TetR and tetracycline analogs. In endogenous and synthetic 5'-UTR contexts, this system efficiently regulates the expression of multiple target genes, and is sufficiently stringent to distinguish functional from non-functional RNA-TetR interactions. Using a reverse TetR variant, we illustrate the potential for expanding the regulatory properties of the system through protein engineering strategies.
Project description:In an effort to gain greater understanding of the biology and infection processes of Helicobacter pylori, we have expanded the functionality of the tetracycline-dependent gene regulation (tet) system to provide more improved and versatile genetic control and facilitate the generation of conditional mutants to study essential genes. Second-generation tetracycline-responsive H. pylori uPtetO5 promoters were based on the mutated core ureA promoter. Single point mutations at either the ribosomal binding site or the start codon were introduced to shift the regulatory range of three uPtetO5 derivatives. All promoters were tested for regulation by TetR and revTetR using dapD, a gene essential to peptidoglycan biosynthesis, as a reporter. All tet promoters were effectively regulated by both TetR and revTetR, and their regulation windows overlapped so as to cover a broad range of expression levels. tet promoters uPtetO5m1 and uPtetO5m2 could be sufficiently silenced by both TetR and revTetR so that the conditional mutants could not grow in the absence of diaminopimelic acid (DAP). Furthermore, through the use of these inducible promoters, we reveal that insufficient DAP biosynthesis results in viable cells with altered morphology. Overall, the development and optimization of tet regulation for H. pylori will not only permit the study of essential genes but also facilitate investigations into gene dosage effects on H. pylori physiology.
Project description:Gene autorepression is widely present in nature and is also employed in synthetic biology, partly to reduce gene expression noise in cells. Optogenetic systems have recently been developed for controlling gene expression levels in mammalian cells, but most have utilized activator-based proteins, neglecting negative feedback except for in silico control. Here, we engineer optogenetic gene circuits into mammalian cells to achieve noise-reduction for precise gene expression control by genetic, in vitro negative feedback. We build a toolset of these noise-reducing Light-Inducible Tuner (LITer) gene circuits using the TetR repressor fused with a Tet-inhibiting peptide (TIP) or a degradation tag through the light-sensitive LOV2 protein domain. These LITers provide a range of nearly 4-fold gene expression control and up to 5-fold noise reduction from existing optogenetic systems. Moreover, we use the LITer gene circuit architecture to control gene expression of the cancer oncogene KRAS(G12V) and study its downstream effects through phospho-ERK levels and cellular proliferation. Overall, these novel LITer optogenetic platforms should enable precise spatiotemporal perturbations for studying multicellular phenotypes in developmental biology, oncology and other biomedical fields of research.
Project description:Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 and its derivatives give rise to spontaneous mutants resistant to tetracycline at a high frequency. We observed that a mutation affecting a tRNA processing function significantly affected the emergence of such mutants, suggesting that C58 contained a positively acting gene conferring resistance to tetracycline. A cosmid clone conferring resistance to tetracycline in Escherichia coli and Agrobacterium was isolated from a genomic bank of one such mutant. Subcloning, transposon mutagenesis, and DNA sequence analysis revealed that this DNA fragment contained two divergently transcribed genes, tetA and tetR, encoding products that were very similar to proteins of the Tet(A) class of tetracycline resistance systems. In the clone from this mutant, tetR was disrupted by an IS426. The homologous region from wild-type NT1 contained an intact tetR gene and did not confer resistance to tetracycline. Hybridization analysis showed that of 22 members of the genus Agrobacterium surveyed, only strains C58 and T37 contained the tet determinant. Moreover, only these two strains mutated to resistance to this antibiotic. Unlike other Tet(A) systems, neither tetracycline nor a series of its derivatives induced the expression of this tet gene unit. Other polycyclic compounds, including many of plant origin, also did not induce this tet gene system. The divergent promoter region of this tet system contained a single inverted repeat element identical to one such operator repeat in the promoter region of the tet determinant from the IncP1alpha R plasmid RP4. TetR repressor proteins from the Agrobacterium tet system and from RP4 interacted with the heterologous operators. While the repressive effect of the TetR protein from strain C58 (TetRC58) on the tetA gene from strain RP4 (tetARP4) was not relieved by tetracycline, repression of tetAC58 by TetRRP4 was lifted by this antibiotic.