DksA involvement in transcription fidelity buffers stochastic epigenetic change.
ABSTRACT: DksA is an auxiliary transcription factor that interacts with RNA polymerase and influences gene expression. Depending on the promoter, DksA can be a positive or negative regulator of transcription initiation. Moreover, DksA has a substantial effect on transcription elongation where it prevents the collision of transcription and replication machineries, plays a key role in maintaining transcription elongation when translation and transcription are uncoupled and has been shown to be involved in transcription fidelity. Here, we assessed the role of DksA in transcription fidelity by monitoring stochastic epigenetic switching in the lac operon (with and without an error-prone transcription slippage sequence), partial phenotypic suppression of a lacZ nonsense allele, as well as monitoring the number of lacI mRNA transcripts produced in the presence and absence of DksA via an operon fusion and single molecule fluorescent in situ hybridization studies. We present data showing that DksA acts to maintain transcription fidelity in vivo and the role of DksA seems to be distinct from that of the GreA and GreB transcription fidelity factors.
Project description:Escherichia coli DksA, GreA, and GreB have similar structures and bind to the same location on RNA polymerase (RNAP), the secondary channel. We show that GreB can fulfil some roles of DksA in vitro, including shifting the promoter-open complex equilibrium in the dissociation direction, thus allowing rRNA promoters to respond to changes in the concentration of ppGpp and NTPs. However, unlike deletion of the dksA gene, deletion of greB had no effect on rRNA promoters in vivo. We show that the apparent affinities of DksA and GreB for RNAP are similar, but the cellular concentration of GreB is much lower than that of DksA. When over-expressed and in the absence of competing GreA, GreB almost completely complemented the loss of dksA in control of rRNA expression, indicating its inability to regulate rRNA transcription in vivo results primarily from its low concentration. In contrast to GreB, the apparent affinity of GreA for RNAP was weaker than that of DksA, GreA affected rRNA promoters only modestly in vitro and, even when over-expressed, GreA did not affect rRNA transcription in vivo. Thus, binding in the secondary channel is necessary but insufficient to explain the effect of DksA on rRNA transcription. Neither Gre factor was capable of fulfilling two other functions of DksA in transcription initiation: co-activation of amino acid biosynthetic gene promoters with ppGpp and compensation for the loss of the omega subunit of RNAP in the response of rRNA promoters to ppGpp. Our results provide important clues to the mechanisms of both negative and positive control of transcription initiation by DksA.
Project description:Escherichia coli DksA works in conjunction with the small-molecule ppGpp to regulate transcription initiation negatively or positively, depending on the identity of the promoter. DksA is in a class of transcription factors that do not bind directly to DNA such as classical repressors or activators but rather bind in the RNA polymerase (RNAP) secondary channel such as the transcription elongation factors GreA and GreB in E. coli and TFIIS in eukaryotes. We found that substitution for either of two residues in its coiled-coil tip, D74 or A76, eliminates DksA function without affecting its apparent affinity for RNAP. The properties of DksA-Gre factor chimeras indicated that the coiled-coil tip is responsible for the DksA-specific effects on open complex formation. A conservative substitution at position 74, D74E, resulted in a loss of DksA function in both negative and positive control, and an E44D substitution at the analogous position in GreA resulted in a gain of function in both negative and positive control. That a single methylene group has such an extraordinary effect on these transcription factors highlights the critical nature of the identity of coiled-coil tip interactions with RNAP for open complex formation.
Project description:Strains devoid of ppGpp (ΔrelA ΔspoT; called ppGpp0), and ppGpp0 dksA- exhibit several amino acid requirements for growth on minimal media. We found that overexpression of DksA can complement some of those requirements. Since DksA is a factor that binds to the RNA polymerase secondary channel, we wondered if other secondary channel proteins might also exert a similar role with respect to growth on minimal media. In our study we found that GreA and partially GreB can in fact complement these requirements under certain conditions. Here, we wished to investigate a broader effect of GreA and GreB on ppGpp0 and ppGpp0 dksA- strains. Since the parent strains are unable to grow in minimal media, we had to supplement the M9 glucose medium with a set of amino acids (DFHILQSTV). We found that both, GreA and GreB can affect a much larger set of genes in the absence of dksA, than in its presence. Also, GreA seems to affect more genes than GreB, under both conditions. We used microarrays to detail the effects of overproducing either GreA or GreB in cells devoid of ppGpp, in the dksA+ or dksA- background Overall design: E. coli cells harbouring plasmids carrying either greA (pA = pHM1873) or greB (pB = pHM1874) genes, or vector control (pGB2), were monitored in an effort to elucidate the effects of their protein products. This was done in two backgrounds- either in E. coli ppGpp0 cells (ΔrelA, ΔspoT) carrying wt dksA gene or a dksA deletion.
Project description:Although mutations are the basis for adaptation and heritable genetic change, transient errors occur during transcription at rates that are orders of magnitude higher than the mutation rate. High rates of transcription errors can be detrimental by causing the production of erroneous proteins that need to be degraded. Two transcription fidelity factors, GreA and GreB, have previously been reported to stimulate the removal of errors that occur during transcription, and a third fidelity factor, DksA, is thought to decrease the error rate through an unknown mechanism. Because the majority of transcription-error assays of these fidelity factors were performed in vitro and on individual genes, we measured the in vivo transcriptome-wide error rates in all possible combinations of mutants of the three fidelity factors. This method expands measurements of these fidelity factors to the full spectrum of errors across the entire genome. Our assay shows that GreB and DksA have no significant effect on transcription error rates, and that GreA only influences the transcription error rate by reducing G-to-A errors.
Project description:Strains devoid of ppGpp (ΔrelA ΔspoT; called ppGpp0), and ppGpp0 dksA- exhibit several amino acid requirements for growth on minimal media. We found that overexpression of DksA can complement some of those requirements. Since DksA is a factor that binds to the RNA polymerase secondary channel, we wondered if other secondary channel proteins might also exert a similar role with respect to growth on minimal media. In our study we found that GreA and partially GreB can in fact complement these requirements under certain conditions. Here, we wished to investigate a broader effect of GreA and GreB on ppGpp0 and ppGpp0 dksA- strains. Since the parent strains are unable to grow in minimal media, we had to supplement the M9 glucose medium with a set of amino acids (DFHILQSTV). We found that both, GreA and GreB can affect a much larger set of genes in the absence of dksA, than in its presence. Also, GreA seems to affect more genes than GreB, under both conditions. We used microarrays to detail the effects of overproducing either GreA or GreB in cells devoid of ppGpp, in the dksA+ or dksA- background E. coli cells harbouring plasmids carrying either greA (pA = pHM1873) or greB (pB = pHM1874) genes, or vector control (pGB2), were monitored in an effort to elucidate the effects of their protein products. This was done in two backgrounds- either in E. coli ppGpp0 cells (ΔrelA, ΔspoT) carrying wt dksA gene or a dksA deletion.
Project description:Bacterial transcription factors DksA and GreB belong to a family of coiled-coil proteins that bind within the secondary channel of RNA polymerase (RNAP). These proteins display structural homology but play different regulatory roles. DksA disrupts RNAP interactions with promoter DNA and inhibits formation of initiation complexes, sensitizing rRNA synthesis to changes in concentrations of ppGpp and NTPs. Gre proteins remodel the RNAP active site and facilitate cleavage of the nascent RNA in elongation complexes. However, DksA and GreB were shown to have overlapping effects during initiation, and in vivo studies suggested that DksA may also function at post-initiation steps. Here we show that DksA has many features of an elongation factor: it inhibits both RNA chain extension and RNA shortening by exonucleolytic cleavage or pyrophosphorolysis and increases intrinsic termination in vitro and in vivo. However, DksA has no effect on Rho- or Mfd-mediated RNA release or nascent RNA cleavage in backtracked complexes, the regulatory target of Gre factors. Our results reveal that DksA effects on elongating RNAP are very different from those of GreB, suggesting that these regulators recognize distinct states of the transcription complex.
Project description:The auxiliary factor DksA is a global transcription regulator and, with the help of ppGpp, controls the nutritional stress response in Escherichia coli. Although the consequences of its modulation of RNA polymerase (RNAP) are becoming better explained, it is still not fully understood how the two proteins interact. We employed a series of genetic suppressor selections to find residues in RNAP that alter its sensitivity to DksA. Our approach allowed us to identify and genetically characterize in vivo three single amino acid substitutions: ?' E677G, ? V146F, and ? G534D. We demonstrate that the mutation ?' E677G affects the activity of both DksA and its homolog, TraR, but does not affect the action of other secondary interactors, such as GreA or GreB. Our mutants provide insight into how different auxiliary transcription factors interact with RNAP and contribute to our understanding of how different stages of transcription are regulated through the secondary channel of RNAP in vivo.
Project description:Actively dividing cells perform robust and accurate DNA replication during fluctuating nutrient availability, yet factors that prevent disruption of replication remain largely unknown. Here we report that DksA, a nutrient-responsive transcription factor, ensures replication completion in Escherichia coli by removing transcription roadblocks. In the absence of DksA, replication is rapidly arrested upon amino acid starvation. This arrest requires active transcription and is alleviated by RNA polymerase mutants that compensate for DksA activity. This replication arrest occurs independently of exogenous DNA damage, yet it induces the DNA-damage response and recruits the main recombination protein RecA. This function of DksA is independent of its transcription initiation activity but requires its less-studied transcription elongation activity. Finally, GreA/B elongation factors also prevent replication arrest during nutrient stress. We conclude that transcription elongation factors alleviate fundamental conflicts between replication and transcription, thereby protecting replication fork progression and DNA integrity.
Project description:Collisions between paused transcription elongation complexes and replication forks inevitably happen, which may lead to collapse of replication fork and could be detrimental to cells. Bacterial transcription factor DksA and its cofactor alarmone ppGpp were proposed to contribute to prevention of such collisions, although the mechanism of this activity remains elusive. Here we show that DksA/ppGpp do not destabilise transcription elongation complexes or inhibit their backtracking, as was proposed earlier. Instead, we show, both in vitro and in vivo, that DksA/ppGpp increase fidelity of transcription elongation by slowing down misincorporation events. As misincorporation events cause temporary pauses, contribution to fidelity suggests the mechanism by which DksA/ppGpp contribute to prevention of collisions of transcription elongation complexes with replication forks. DksA is only the second known accessory factor, after transcription factor Gre, that increases fidelity of RNA synthesis in bacteria.
Project description:There is a growing appreciation for the diverse regulatory consequences of the family of proteins that bind to the secondary channel of E. coli RNA polymerase (RNAP), such as GreA, GreB or DksA. Similar binding sites could suggest a competition between them. GreA is characterised to rescue stalled RNAP complexes due to its antipause activity, but also it is involved in transcription fidelity and proofreading. Here, overexpression of GreA is noted to be lethal independent of its antipause activity. A library of random GreA variants has been used to isolate lethality suppressors to assess important residues for GreA functionality and its interaction with the RNA polymerase. Some mutant defects are inferred to be associated with altered binding competition with DksA, while other variants seem to have antipause activity defects that cannot reverse a GreA-sensitive pause site in a fliC::lacZ reporter system. Surprisingly, apparent binding and cleavage defects are found scattered throughout both the coiled-coil and globular domains. Thus, the coiled-coil of GreA is not just a measuring stick ensuring placement of acidic residues precisely at the catalytic centre but also seems to have binding functions. These lethality suppressor mutants may provide valuable tools for future structural and functional studies.