Regulation of tetralin biodegradation and identification of genes essential for expression of thn operons.
ABSTRACT: The tetralin biodegradation genes of Sphingomonas macrogolitabida strain TFA are clustered in two closely linked and divergent operons. To analyze expression of both operons under different growth conditions, transcriptional and translational gene fusions of the first genes of each operon to lacZ have been constructed in plasmids unable to replicate in Sphingomonas and integrated by recombination into the genome of strain TFA. Expression analysis indicated that the transcription of both genes is induced in similar ways by the presence of tetralin. Gene expression in both operons is also subjected to overimposed catabolic repression. Two additional genes named thnR and thnY have been identified downstream of thnCA3A4 genes. ThnR is similar to LysR-type regulators, and mutational analysis indicated that ThnR is strictly required for expression of the thn operons. Unlike other LysR-type regulators, ThnR does not repress its own synthesis. In fact, ThnR activates its own expression, since thnR is cotranscribed with the thnCA3A4 genes. ThnY is similar to the ferredoxin reductase components of dioxygenase systems and shows the fer2 domain, binding a Cys4[2Fe-2S] iron sulfur center, and the FAD-binding domain, common to those reductases. However, it lacks the NAD-binding domain. Intriguingly, ThnY has a regulatory role, since it is also strictly required for expression of the thn operons. Given the similarity of ThnY to reductases and the possibility of its being present in the two redox states, it is tempting to speculate that ThnY is a regulatory component connecting expression of the thn operons to the physiological status of the cell.
Project description:The genes for tetralin (thn) utilization in Sphingomonasmacrogolitabida strain TFA are regulated at the transcriptional level by ThnR, ThnY and ThnA3. ThnR, a LysR-type transcriptional activator activates transcription specifically in response to tetralin, and ThnY is an iron-sulfur flavoprotein that may activate ThnR by protein-protein interaction. ThnA3, a Rieske-type ferredoxin that transfers electrons to the tetralin dioxygenase, prevents transcription of thn genes when the inducer molecule of the pathway is a poor substrate for the dioxygenase. The mechanism by which ThnA3 transduces this signal to the regulatory system is a major question concerning thn gene regulation. Here, we have confirmed the discriminatory function of ThnA3 and the negative role of its reduced form. We have generated ThnY variants with amino acid exchanges in the [2Fe-2S], FAD and NAD(P) H binding domains and their regulatory properties have been analyzed. Two variants, ThnY-C40S and ThnY-N201G,S206P have completely lost the discriminatory function of the regulatory system because they induced thn gene expression with different molecules such us cis-decalin, cyclohexane, trans-decalin, or benzene, which are not real inducers of the pathway. These results support a model in which ThnA3 exerts its negative modulation via the regulator ThnY.
Project description:A new cluster of genes has been found downstream of the previously identified thnA2 gene. The gene products are similar to nonacylating aldehyde dehydrogenases (ThnG) and to proteins representing a complete beta-oxidation pathway (ThnH to ThnP). ThnG has a nonacylating NAD-dependent pimelic semialdehyde dehydrogenase activity that renders pimelic acid a seven-carbon dicarboxylic acid. For further metabolism via beta-oxidation, pimelic acid could be acylated by a constitutive acyl coenzyme A (acyl-CoA) ligase found in Sphingomonas macrogolitabida strain TFA or by ThnH, which would transfer CoA from a previously acylated molecule. The first round of beta-oxidation is expected to render glutaryl-CoA and acetyl-CoA. Glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase (ThnN) would catalyze the oxidation and decarboxylation of glutaryl-CoA and yield crotonyl-CoA, which enters the central metabolism via acetyl-CoA. Mutagenesis studies have shown that these genes are not essential for growth on tetralin or fatty acids, although a thnG disruption mutant showed threefold less pimelic semialdehyde dehydrogenase activity. Transcriptional analysis indicated that these genes are induced by tetralin, subjected to catabolite repression, and regulated by the same regulatory factors previously identified to regulate other thn structural genes. In the present study, transcription initiation upstream of thnH and thnM has been detected by primer extension analysis, and putative promoters were identified by sequence analysis. In addition, binding of the activator ThnR to its putative binding sites at the PH and PM promoter regions has been characterized. These results provide a complete characterization of the biodegradation pathway of tetralin to central metabolites and describe the transcriptional organization of the thn operons in S. macrogolitabida strain TFA.
Project description:The tetralin biodegradation pathway in Rhodococcus sp. strain TFB, a Gram-positive bacterium resistant to genetic manipulation, was characterized using a proteomic approach. Relative protein expression in cell free extracts from tetralin- and glucose-grown cells was compared using the 2D-DIGE technique. Identification of proteins specifically expressed in tetralin-grown cells was used to characterize a complete set of genes involved in tetralin degradation by reverse genetics. We propose a tetralin degradation pathway analogous to that described for Sphingomonas macrogolitabida strain TFA. TFB thn genes are organized into three operons; two contain all of the structural genes and are transcribed in the same direction, while the third operon, thnST, is transcribed in the opposite direction and encodes a two-component regulatory system, whose transcription is higher in tetralin-grown cells. In addition to tetralin induction, TFB thn structural genes are subject to glucose repression. Primer extension assays and translational thnA1::gfp and thnS::gfp fusions were used to characterize putative promoter regions. A mutational analysis of the thnA1 promoter region allowed us to define nucleotides within the cis regulatory elements that are important for the control of thn gene expression.
Project description:Bacterial dioxygenase systems are multicomponent enzymes that catalyze the initial degradation of many environmentally hazardous compounds. In Sphingopyxis granuli strain TFA tetralin dioxygenase hydroxylates tetralin, an organic contaminant. It consists of a ferredoxin reductase (ThnA4), a ferredoxin (ThnA3) and a oxygenase (ThnA1/ThnA2), forming a NAD(P)H-ThnA4-ThnA3-ThnA1/ThnA2 electron transport chain. ThnA3 has also a regulatory function since it prevents expression of tetralin degradation genes (thn) in the presence of non-metabolizable substrates of the catabolic pathway. This role is of physiological relevance since avoids gratuitous and wasteful production of catabolic enzymes. Our hypothesis for thn regulation implies that ThnA3 exerts its action by diverting electrons towards the regulator ThnY, an iron-sulfur flavoprotein that together with the transcriptional activator ThnR is necessary for thn gene expression. Here we analyze electron transfer among ThnA4, ThnA3 and ThnY by using stopped-flow spectrophotometry and determination of midpoint reduction potentials. Our results indicate that when accumulated in its reduced form ThnA3 is able to fully reduce ThnY. In addition, we have reproduced in vitro the regulatory circuit in the proposed physiological direction, NAD(P)H-ThnA4-ThnA3-ThnY. ThnA3 represents an unprecedented way of communication between a catabolic pathway and its regulatory system to prevent gratuitous induction.
Project description:Five genes involved in the two initial steps of the tetralin biodegradation pathway of Sphingomonas macrogolitabida strain TFA have been characterized. ThnA1A2 and ThnA3A4, components of the ring-hydroxylating dioxygenase, were encoded in divergently transcribed operons. ThnA1, ThnA2, and ThnA3 were essential for tetralin ring-hydroxylating dioxygenase activity. ThnB was identified as a dehydrogenase required for tetralin biodegradation.
Project description:A strain designated TFA which very efficiently utilizes tetralin has been isolated from the Rhine river. The strain has been identified as Sphingomonas macrogoltabidus, based on 16S rDNA sequence similarity. Genetic analysis of tetralin biodegradation has been performed by insertion mutagenesis and by physical analysis and analysis of complementation between the mutants. The genes involved in tetralin utilization are clustered in a region of 9 kb, comprising at least five genes grouped in two divergently transcribed operons.
Project description:Regulation of tetralin biodegradation operons is one of the examples of unconventional LysR-type mediated transcriptional regulation. ThnR activates transcription from two divergent and closely located promoters PB and PC. Although ThnR activates each promoter independently, transcription from each one increases when both promoters are together. Mutational analysis of the intergenic region shows that cooperative transcription is achieved through formation of a ThnR complex when bound to its respective sites at each promoter, via formation of a DNA loop. Mutations also defined ThnR contact sites that are important for independent transcriptional activation at each promoter. A mutation at the PB promoter region, which abolishes its independent transcription, does not affect at all PB transcription in the presence of the divergent promoter PC, thus indicating that the complex formed via DNA loop can compensate for the deficiencies in the correct protein-DNA interaction at one of the promoters. Combination of mutations in both promoters identifies a region at PC that is not important for its independent transcription but it is essential for cooperative transcription from both promoters. This work provides new insights into the diversity and complexity of activation mechanisms used by the most abundant type of bacterial transcriptional regulators.
Project description:A gene designated thnD, which is required for biodegradation of the organic solvent tetralin by Sphingomonas macrogoltabidus strain TFA, has been identified. Sequence comparison analysis indicated that thnD codes for a carbon-carbon bond serine hydrolase showing highest similarity to hydrolases involved in biodegradation of biphenyl. An insertion mutant defective in ThnD accumulates the ring fission product which results from the extradiol cleavage of the aromatic ring of dihydroxytetralin. The gene product has been purified and characterized. ThnD is an octameric thermostable enzyme with an optimum reaction temperature at 65 degrees C. ThnD efficiently hydrolyzes the ring fission intermediate of the tetralin pathway and also 2-hydroxy-6-oxo-6-phenylhexa-2,4-dienoic acid, the ring fission product of the biphenyl meta-cleavage pathway. However, it is not active towards the equivalent intermediates of meta-cleavage pathways of monoaromatic compounds which have small substituents in C-6. When ThnD hydrolyzes the intermediate in the tetralin pathway, it cleaves a C-C bond comprised within the alicyclic ring of tetralin instead of cleaving a linear C-C bond, as all other known hydrolases of meta-cleavage pathways do. The significance of this activity of ThnD for the requirement of other activities to mineralize tetralin is discussed.
Project description:Tetralin (1,2,3,4-tetrahydonaphthalene) is a recalcitrant compound that consists of an aromatic and an alicyclic ring. It is found in crude oils, produced industrially from naphthalene or anthracene, and widely used as an organic solvent. Its toxicity is due to the alteration of biological membranes by its hydrophobic character and to the formation of toxic hydroperoxides. Two unrelated bacteria, Sphingopyxis granuli strain TFA and Rhodococcus sp. strain TFB were isolated from the same niche as able to grow on tetralin as the sole source of carbon and energy. In this review, we provide an overview of current knowledge on tetralin catabolism at biochemical, genetic and regulatory levels in both strains. Although they share the same biodegradation strategy and enzymatic activities, no evidences of horizontal gene transfer between both bacteria have been found. Moreover, the regulatory elements that control the expression of the gene clusters are completely different in each strain. A special consideration is given to the complex regulation discovered in TFA since three regulatory systems, one of them involving an unprecedented communication between the catabolic pathway and the regulatory elements, act together at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels to optimize tetralin biodegradation gene expression to the environmental conditions.
Project description:A genomic region involved in tetralin biodegradation was recently identified in Sphingomonas strain TFA. We have cloned and sequenced from this region a gene designated thnC, which codes for an extradiol dioxygenase required for tetralin utilization. Comparison to similar sequences allowed us to define a subfamily of 1, 2-dihydroxynaphthalene extradiol dioxygenases, which comprises two clearly different groups, and to show that ThnC clusters within group 2 of this subfamily. 1,2-Dihydroxy-5,6,7, 8-tetrahydronaphthalene was found to be the metabolite accumulated by a thnC insertion mutant. The ring cleavage product of this metabolite exhibited behavior typical of a hydroxymuconic semialdehyde toward pH-dependent changes and derivatization with ammonium to give a quinoline derivative. The gene product has been purified, and its biochemical properties have been studied. The enzyme is a decamer which requires Fe(II) for activity and shows high activity toward its substrate (V(max), 40.5 U mg(-1); K(m), 18. 6 microM). The enzyme shows even higher activity with 1, 2-dihydroxynaphthalene and also significant activity toward 1, 2-dihydroxybiphenyl or methylated catechols. The broad substrate specificity of ThnC is consistent with that exhibited by other extradiol dioxygenases of the same group within the subfamily of 1, 2-dihydroxynaphthalene dioxygenases.