Temporal hierarchy of gene expression mediated by transcription factor binding affinity and activation dynamics.
ABSTRACT: UNLABELLED:Understanding cellular responses to environmental stimuli requires not only the knowledge of specific regulatory components but also the quantitative characterization of the magnitude and timing of regulatory events. The two-component system is one of the major prokaryotic signaling schemes and is the focus of extensive interest in quantitative modeling and investigation of signaling dynamics. Here we report how the binding affinity of the PhoB two-component response regulator (RR) to target promoters impacts the level and timing of expression of PhoB-regulated genes. Information content has often been used to assess the degree of conservation for transcription factor (TF)-binding sites. We show that increasing the information content of PhoB-binding sites in designed phoA promoters increased the binding affinity and that the binding affinity and concentration of phosphorylated PhoB (PhoB~P) together dictate the level and timing of expression of phoA promoter variants. For various PhoB-regulated promoters with distinct promoter architectures, expression levels appear not to be correlated with TF-binding affinities, in contrast to the intuitive and oversimplified assumption that promoters with higher affinity for a TF tend to have higher expression levels. However, the expression timing of the core set of PhoB-regulated genes correlates well with the binding affinity of PhoB~P to individual promoters and the temporal hierarchy of gene expression appears to be related to the function of gene products during the phosphate starvation response. Modulation of the information content and binding affinity of TF-binding sites may be a common strategy for temporal programming of the expression profile of RR-regulated genes. IMPORTANCE:A single TF often orchestrates the expression of multiple genes in response to environmental stimuli. It is not clear how different TF-binding sites within the regulon dictate the expression profile. Our studies of Escherichia coli PhoB, a response regulator that controls expression of a core set of phosphate assimilation genes in response to phosphate starvation, showed that expression levels of PhoB-regulated genes are under sophisticated control and do not follow a simple correlation with the binding affinity of PhoB~P to individual promoters. However, the expression timing correlates with the PhoB-binding affinity and gene functions. Genes involved in direct Pi uptake contain high-affinity sites and are transcribed earlier than genes involved in phosphorus scavenging. This illustrates an elaborate mechanism of temporally programmed gene expression, even for nondevelopmental pathways.
Project description:Bacillus subtilis has an alkaline phosphatase (APase) gene family composed of at least four genes. All members of this gene family are expressed postexponentially, either in response to phosphate starvation or sporulation induction or, in some cases, in response to both. The phoA gene (formerly called phoAIV) and the phoB gene (formerly called phoAIII) products have both been isolated from phosphate-starved cells, and a mutation in either gene decreased the total APase expressed under phosphate starvation conditions. Data presented here show that a phoA phoB double mutant reduced APase production during phosphate starvation by 98%, indicating that these two genes are responsible for most of the APase activity during phosphate-limited growth. The promoter for phoA was cloned and used, with the phoB promoter, to examine phosphate regulation in B. subtilis. phoA-lacZ reporter gene assays showed that the expression of the phoA gene commences as the culture enters stationary phase as a result of limiting phosphate concentrations in the growth medium, thereby mimicking the pattern of total APase expression. Induction persists for approximately 2 h and is then turned off. phoA is transcribed from a single promoter which initiates transcription 19 bp before the translation initiation codon. PhoP and PhoR are members of the two-component signal transduction system believed to regulate gene expression in response to limiting phosphate. The expression of phoA or phoB in response to phosphate starvation was equally dependent on PhoP and PhoR for induction. lacZ-promoter fusions showed that both phoA and phoB were hyperinduced, or failed to turn off induction after 2 h, in a spo0A strain of B. subtilis. Mutations in genes which are required for phosphorylation of Spo0A, spo0B and spo0F, also resulted in phoA and phoB hyperinduction, suggesting that phosphorylation of Spo0A is required for the repression of both APases in wild-type strains. The hyperinduction of either APase gene in a spo0A strain was dependent on PhoP and PhoR. Analysis of a phoP-lacZ promoter fusion showed that the phoPR operon is hyperinduced in a spo0A mutant strain, suggesting that Spo0A approximately P represses APases by repressing phoPR transcription. We propose a model for PHO regulation in B. subtilis whereby the phoPR operon is transcribed in response to limiting phosphate concentration, resulting in activation of the PHO regulon transcription, including transcription of phoA and phoB. When the phosphate response fails to overcome the nutrient deficiency, signals for phosphorylation of Spo0A result in production of Spo0A approximately P, which represses transcription of phoPR, thereby repressing synthesis of the PHO regulon.
Project description:Unlike Pho85 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the highly related PHOA cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) of Aspergillus nidulans plays no role in regulation of enzymes involved in phosphorous acquisition but instead modulates differentiation in response to environmental conditions, including limited phosphorous. Like PHO85, Aspergillus phoA is a nonessential gene. However, we find that expression of dominant-negative PHOA inhibits growth, suggesting it may have an essential but redundant function. Supporting this we have identified another cyclin-dependent kinase, PHOB, which is 77% identical to PHOA. Deletion of phoB causes no phenotype, even under phosphorous-limited growth conditions. To investigate the function of phoA/phoB, double mutants were selected from a cross of strains containing null alleles and by generating a temperature-sensitive allele of phoA in a deltaphoB background. Double-deleted ascospores were able to germinate but had a limited capacity for nuclear division, suggesting a cell cycle defect. Longer germination revealed morphological defects. The temperature-sensitive phoA allele caused both nuclear division and polarity defects at restrictive temperature, which could be complemented by expression of mammalian CDK5. Therefore, an essential function exists in A. nidulans for the Pho85-like kinase pair PHOA and PHOB, which may involve cell cycle control and morphogenesis.
Project description:Gene networks typically involve the regulatory control of multiple genes with related function. This connectivity enables correlated control of the levels and timing of gene expression. Here we study how gene expression timing in the single-input module motif can be encoded in the regulatory DNA of a gene. Using stochastic simulations, we examine the role of binding affinity, TF regulatory function and network size in controlling the mean first-passage time to reach a fixed fraction of steady-state expression for both an auto-regulated TF gene and a target gene. We also examine how the variability in first-passage time depends on these factors. We find that both network size and binding affinity can dramatically speed up or slow down the response time of network genes, in some cases predicting more than a 100-fold change compared to that for a constitutive gene. Furthermore, these factors can also significantly impact the fidelity of this response. Importantly, these effects do not occur at "extremes" of network size or binding affinity, but rather in an intermediate window of either quantity.
Project description:Studies of transcription regulation are often focused on binding of transcription factors (TFs) to a small number of promoters of interest. It is often assumed that TFs are in great excess to their binding sites (TFBSs) and competition for TFs between DNA sites is seldom considered. With increasing evidence that TFBSs are exceedingly abundant for many TFs and significant variations in TF and TFBS numbers occur during growth, the interplay between a TF and all TFBSs should not be ignored. Here, we use additional decoy DNA sites to quantitatively analyze how the relative abundance of a TF to its TFBSs impacts the steady-state level and onset time of gene expression for the auto-activated Escherichia coli PhoB response regulator. We show that increasing numbers of decoy sites progressively delayed transcription activation and lowered promoter activities. Perturbation of transcription regulation by additional TFBSs did not require extreme numbers of decoys, suggesting that PhoB is approximately at capacity for its DNA sites. Addition of decoys also converted a graded response to a bi-modal response. We developed a binding competition model that captures the major features of experimental observations, providing a quantitative framework to assess how variations in TFs and TFBSs influence transcriptional responses.
Project description:In Caulobacter crescentus, stalk biosynthesis is regulated by cell cycle cues and by extracellular phosphate concentration. Phosphate-starved cells undergo dramatic stalk elongation to produce stalks as much as 30 times as long as those of cells growing in phosphate-rich medium. To identify genes involved in the control of stalk elongation, transposon mutants were isolated that exhibited a long-stalk phenotype irrespective of extracellular phosphate concentration. The disrupted genes were identified as homologues of the high-affinity phosphate transport genes pstSCAB of Escherichia coli. In E. coli, pst mutants have a constitutively expressed phosphate (Pho) regulon. To determine if stalk elongation is regulated by the Pho regulon, the Caulobacter phoB gene that encodes the transcriptional activator of the Pho regulon was cloned and mutated. While phoB was not required for stalk synthesis or for the cell cycle timing of stalk synthesis initiation, it was required for stalk elongation in response to phosphate starvation. Both pstS and phoB mutants were deficient in phosphate transport. When a phoB mutant was grown with limiting phosphate concentrations, stalks only increased in length by an average of 1.4-fold compared to the average 9-fold increase in stalk length of wild-type cells grown in the same medium. Thus, the phenotypes of phoB and pst mutants were opposite. phoB mutants were unable to elongate stalks during phosphate starvation, whereas pst mutants made long stalks in both high- and low-phosphate media. Analysis of double pst phoB mutants indicated that the long-stalk phenotype of pst mutants was dependent on phoB. In addition, analysis of a pstS-lacZ transcriptional fusion showed that pstS transcription is dependent on phoB. These results suggest that the signal transduction pathway that stimulates stalk elongation in response to phosphate starvation is mediated by the Pst proteins and the response regulator PhoB.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The phosphorus compounds serve as major building blocks of many biomolecules, and have important roles in signal transduction. The phosphate is involved in many biochemical reactions by the transfer of phosphoryl groups. All living cells sophisticatedly regulate the phosphate uptake, and survive even under phosphate-limiting condition, and thus phosphate metabolism is closely related to the diverse metabolism including energy and central carbon metabolism. In particular, phosphorylation may play important roles in the metabolic regulation at acidic condition and nitrogen limiting condition, which typically appears at the late growth phase in the batch culture. Moreover, phosphate starvation is a relatively inexpensive means of gene induction in practice, and the phoA promoter has been used for overexpression of heterologous genes. A better understanding of phosphate regulation would allow for optimization of such processes.<h4>Results</h4>The effect of phosphate (P) concentration on the metabolism in Escherichia coli was investigated in terms of fermentation characteristics and gene transcript levels for the aerobic continuous culture at the dilution rate of 0.2 h-1. The result indicates that the specific glucose consumption rate and the specific acetate production rate significantly increased, while the cell concentration decreased at low P concentration (10% of the M9 medium). The increase in the specific glucose uptake rate may be due to ATP demand caused by limited ATP production under P-limitation. The lower cell concentration was also caused by less ATP production. The less ATP production by H+-ATPase may have caused less cytochrome reaction affecting in quinone pool, and caused up-regulation of ArcA/B, which repressed TCA cycle genes and caused more acetate production. In the case of phoB mutant (and also phoR mutant), the fermentation characteristics were less affected by P-limitation as compared to the wild type where the PhoB regulated genes were down-regulated, while phoR and phoU changed little. The phoR gene knockout caused phoB gene to be down-regulated as well as PhoB regulated genes, while phoU and phoM changed little. The effect of pH together with lower P concentration on the metabolic regulation was also investigated. In accordance with up-regulation of arcA gene expression, the expressions of the TCA cycle genes such as sdhC and mdh were down-regulated at acidic condition. The gene expression of rpoS was up-regulated, and the expression of gadA was up-regulated at pH 6.0. In accordance with this, PhoB regulated genes were up-regulated in the wild type under P-rich and P-limited conditions at pH 6.0 as compared to those at pH 7.0. Moreover, the effect of nitrogen limitation on the metabolic regulation was investigated, where the result indicates that phoB gene was up-regulated, and PhoB regulated genes were also up-regulated under N-limitation, as well as nitrogen-regulated genes.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The present result shows the complicated nature of the metabolic regulation for the fermentation characteristics upon phosphate limitation, acidic condition, and nitrogen limitation based on the transcript levels of selected genes. The result implies that the regulations under phosphate limitation, acidic condition, and nitrogen limitation, which occur typically at the late growth phase of the batch culture, are interconnected through RpoS and RpoD together with Pho genes.
Project description:The phosphate starvation response in bacteria has been studied extensively for the past few decades and the phosphate-limiting signal is known to be mediated via the PhoBR two-component system. However, the global DNA binding profile of the response regulator PhoB and the PhoB downstream responses are currently unclear. In this study, chromatin immunoprecipitation for PhoB was combined with high-density tiling array (ChIP-chip) as well as gene expression microarray to reveal the first global down-stream responses of the responding regulator, PhoB in E. coli. Based on our ChIP-chip experimental data, forty-three binding sites were identified throughout the genome and the known PhoB binding pattern was updated by identifying the conserved pattern from these sites. From the gene expression microarray data analysis, 287 differentially expressed genes were identified in the presence of PhoB activity. By comparing the results obtained from our ChIP-chip and microarray experiments, we were also able to identify genes that were directly or indirectly affected through PhoB regulation. Nineteen out of these 287 differentially expressed genes were identified as the genes directly regulated by PhoB. Seven of the 19 directly regulated genes (including phoB) are transcriptional regulators. These transcriptional regulators then further pass the signal of phosphate starvation down to the remaining differentially expressed genes. Our results unveiled the genome-wide binding profile of PhoB and the downstream responses under phosphate starvation. We also present the hierarchical structure of the phosphate sensing regulatory network. The data suggest that PhoB plays protective roles in membrane integrity and oxidative stress reduction during phosphate starvation.
Project description:The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Ndt80 protein is the founding member of a class of p53-like transcription factors that is known as the NDT80/PhoG-like DNA-binding family. The number of NDT80-like genes in different fungi is highly variable and their roles, which have been examined in only a few species, include regulation of meiosis, sexual development, biofilm formation, drug resistance, virulence, the response to nutrient stress and programmed cell death. The protein kinase Ime2 regulates the single NDT80 gene present in S. cerevisiae. In this study we used a genetic approach to investigate whether the Aspergillus nidulans Ime2 homolog, ImeB, and/or protein kinases MpkC, PhoA and PhoB regulate the two NDT80-like genes (xprG and ndtA) in A. nidulans. Disruption of imeB, but not mpkC, phoA or phoB, led to increased extracellular protease activity and a defect in mycotoxin production similar to the xprG1 gain-of-function mutation. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that ImeB is a negative regulator of xprG expression and XprG is a negative regulator of xprG and ndtA expression. Thus, in contrast to Ime2, which is a positive regulator of NDT80 in S. cerevisiae, ImeB is a negative regulator as in Neurospora crassa. However, the ability of Ndt80 to autoregulate NDT80 is conserved in A. nidulans though the autoregulatory effect is negative rather than positive. Unlike N. crassa, a null mutation in imeB does not circumvent the requirement for XprG or NdtA. These results show that the regulatory activities of Ime2 and Ndt80-like proteins display an extraordinarily level of evolutionary flexibility.
Project description:Chromatin immunoprecipitation was combined with high-density tiling array (ChIP-chip) and gene expression microarray to reveal the adaptive responses of Escherichia coli to phosphate starvation. The first sketch of the genome-wide distribution of PhoB binding profile was unveiled and 43 regions were identified as the PhoB binding regions. The presence of a significant common motif in these binding regions allowed us to reconstruct the PhoB binding pattern. By comparing the ChIP-chip and microarray datasets, we were also able to identify genes directly or indirectly affected through PhoB regulation. Nineteen out of the 287 differentially expressed genes in the presence and absence of PhoB activity were considered as the genes directly regulated by PhoB. The adaptive responses affected through PhoB regulation are discussed and these responses involve in several important biological functions including transcriptional regulation, transportation, membrane component arrangement, sigma factor modulation and DNA replication inhibition. Under phosphate starvation condition, the gene expression profiles from MG1655 and its PhoB knock-out isogenetic strain are compared to identify the PhoB affected genes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Using motif detection programs it is fairly straightforward to identify conserved cis-sequences in promoters of co-regulated genes. In contrast, the identification of the transcription factors (TFs) interacting with these cis-sequences is much more elaborate. To facilitate this, we explore the possibility of using several bioinformatic and experimental approaches for TF identification. This starts with the selection of co-regulated gene sets and leads first to the prediction and then to the experimental validation of TFs interacting with cis-sequences conserved in the promoters of these co-regulated genes.<h4>Results</h4>Using the PathoPlant database, 32 up-regulated gene groups were identified with microarray data for drought-responsive gene expression from Arabidopsis thaliana. Application of the binding site estimation suite of tools (BEST) discovered 179 conserved sequence motifs within the corresponding promoters. Using the STAMP web-server, 49 sequence motifs were classified into 7 motif families for which similarities with known cis-regulatory sequences were identified. All motifs were subjected to a footprintDB analysis to predict interacting DNA binding domains from plant TF families. Predictions were confirmed by using a yeast-one-hybrid approach to select interacting TFs belonging to the predicted TF families. TF-DNA interactions were further experimentally validated in yeast and with a Physcomitrella patens transient expression system, leading to the discovery of several novel TF-DNA interactions.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The present work demonstrates the successful integration of several bioinformatic resources with experimental approaches to predict and validate TFs interacting with conserved sequence motifs in co-regulated genes.