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

Transcription of the pst operon of Clostridium acetobutylicum is dependent on phosphate concentration and pH.

The pst operon of Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824 comprises five genes, pstS, pstC, pstA, pstB, and phoU, and shows a gene architecture identical to that of Escherichia coli. Deduced proteins are predicted to represent a high-affinity phosphate-specific ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transport system (Pst) and a protein homologous to PhoU, a negative phosphate regulon regulator. We analyzed the expression patterns of the pst operon in P(i)-limited chemostat cultures during acid production at pH 5.8 or solvent production at pH 4.5 and in response to P(i) pulses. Specific mRNA transcripts were found only when external P(i) concentrations had dropped below 0.2 mM. Two specific transcripts were detected, a 4.7-kb polycistronic mRNA spanning the whole operon and a quantitatively dominating 1.2-kb mRNA representing the first gene, pstS. The mRNA levels clearly differed depending on the external pH. The amounts of the full-length mRNA detected were about two times higher at pH 5.8 than at pH 4. 5. The level of pstS mRNA increased by a factor of at least 8 at pH 5.8 compared to pH 4.5 results. Primer extension experiments revealed only one putative transcription start point 80 nucleotides upstream of pstS. Thus, additional regulatory sites are proposed in the promoter region, integrating two different extracellular signals, namely, depletion of inorganic phosphate and the pH of the environment. After phosphate pulses were applied to a phosphate-limited chemostat we observed faster phosphate consumption at pH 5.8 than at pH 4.5, although higher optical densities were recorded at pH 4.5.[1]


  1. Transcription of the pst operon of Clostridium acetobutylicum is dependent on phosphate concentration and pH. Fischer, R.J., Oehmcke, S., Meyer, U., Mix, M., Schwarz, K., Fiedler, T., Bahl, H. J. Bacteriol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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