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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Regulation and expression of the arsenic resistance operon from Staphylococcus aureus plasmid pI258.

The arsenic resistance operon from Staphylococcus aureus plasmid pI258 was cloned and sequenced. The DNA sequence contains three genes in the order arsR, arsB, and arsC. The predicted amino acid sequences of the gene products are homologous with those of the products of the ars operons of plasmids pSX267 from Staphylococcus xylosus and R773 from Escherichia coli. The cloned staphylococcal ars operon confers resistances to arsenate, arsenite, and antimonite in S. aureus and Bacillus subtilis. The same operon was also expressed in E. coli and conferred resistance to arsenite but less resistance to arsenate and antimonite. Regulation of the pI258 ars operon was studied by using a translational arsB-blaZ fusion in S. aureus and a transcriptional arsB-luxAB fusion in E. coli. The ars operon was induced by arsenate [As(V)], arsenite [As(III)], and antimonite [Sb(III)], to which the strains were resistant, plus Bi(III) in S. aureus. Only arsenate and arsenite induced the operon in E. coli. Northern (RNA) blot DNA-RNA hybridization analysis showed inducible synthesis of a full-length ars mRNA, about 2.1 kb in size, both in S. aureus and in E. coli. S. aureus ars proteins were expressed in E. coli from the T7 phage promoter under the control of the T7 RNA polymerase. Primer extension (reverse transcriptase) analysis showed that the ars mRNA started at the same position (nucleotides 17 and 18 upstream from the arsR ATG) both in S. aureus and in E. coli. An internal deletion mutation in arsB resulted in decreased resistance to arsenate and total loss of arsenite and antimonite resistances. Partial deletion of 56 bp from the 3' end of the arsC gene resulted in loss of resistance to arsenate; the determinant retained arsenite and antimonite resistances.[1]


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