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

Positive regulation of phenolic catabolism in Agrobacterium tumefaciens by the pcaQ gene in response to beta-carboxy-cis,cis-muconate.

An Escherichia coli system for generating a commercially unavailable catabolite in vivo was developed and was used to facilitate molecular genetic studies of phenolic catabolism. Introduction of the plasmid-borne Acinetobacter pcaHG genes, encoding the 3,4-dioxygenase which acts on protocatechuate, into E. coli resulted in bioconversion of exogenously supplied protocatechuate into beta-carboxy-cis,cis-muconate. This compound has been shown to be an inducer of the protocatechuate (pca) genes required for catabolism of protocatechuate to tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates in Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii. The E. coli bioconversion system was used to explore regulation of the pca genes in a related bacterium, Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The pcaD gene, which encodes beta-ketoadipate enol-lactone hydrolase, from A. tumefaciens A348 was cloned and was shown to be adjacent to a regulatory region which responds strongly to beta-carboxy-cis,cis-muconate in E. coli. Site-specific insertional mutagenesis of the regulatory region eliminated expression of the pcaD gene in E. coli. When the mutation was incorporated into the A. tumefaciens chromosome, it eliminated expression of the pcaD gene and at least three other pca genes as well. The regulatory region was shown to activate gene expression in trans. The novel regulatory gene was termed pcaQ to differentiate it from pca regulatory genes identified in other microbes, which bind different metabolites.[1]


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