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

A rationale for autoinduction of a transcriptional activator: ethanolamine ammonia-lyase (EutBC) and the operon activator (EutR) compete for adenosyl-cobalamin in Salmonella typhimurium.

The ethanolamine utilization ( eut) operon of Salmonella typhimurium is controlled by a positive regulatory protein (EutR) which stimulates eut operon expression in response to the simultaneous presence of two effectors, ethanolamine and adenosyl-cobalamin (Ado-B12). Ado-B12 is a cofactor for ethanolamine ammonia-lyase (lyase), the first enzyme in the ethanolamine-degradative pathway. The dependence of this pathway on the use of Ado-B12 as an effector in eut operon induction may be explained by its role in the degradation of ethanolamine and the fact that this cofactor is not always made by S. typhimurium. The eutR gene lies within the eut operon, and its autoinduction is required for maximum operon expression. Evidence is presented that the placement of the eutR regulatory gene within the operon provides a means of balancing the competition between lyase and the regulatory protein for a very small pool of Ado-B12. Since both lyase and the regulatory protein are induced, they can compete more equally for a small pool of Ado-B12. This permits both continued eut operon induction and lyase activity. Two general observations support this model. First, mutations that inactivate lyase allow the operon to be fully induced by a lower level of exogenous cobalamin (CN-B12) than required by a wild-type operon. This increase in sensitivity is measured as a reduction in the apparent Km for operon induction by exogenous CN-B12. Second, the maximum level of operon induction by excess CN-B12 is dictated by the level of EutR regulatory protein, regardless of the level of lyase.[1]


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