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Differential Spectrum of Mutations That Activate the Escherichia coli bgl Operon in an rpoS Genetic Background

Moorthy, Sudha and Mahadevan, S (2002) Differential Spectrum of Mutations That Activate the Escherichia coli bgl Operon in an rpoS Genetic Background. In: Journal of Bacteriology, 184 (14). pp. 4033-4038.

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The bgl promoter is silent in wild-type Escherichia coli under standard laboratory conditions, and as a result, cells exhibit a beta-glucoside-negative (Bgl-) phenotype. Silencing is brought about by negative elements that flank the promoter and include DNA structural elements and sequences that interact with the nucleoid-associated protein H-NS. Mutations that confer a Bgl+ phenotype arise spontaneously at a detectable frequency. Transposition of DNA insertion elements within the regulatory locus, bglR, constitutes the major class of activating mutations identified in laboratory cultures. The rpoS-encoded sigmaS, the stationary-phase sigma factor, is involved in both physiological as well as genetic changes that occur in the cell under stationary-state conditions. In an attempt to see if the rpoS status of the cell influences the nature of the mutations that activate the bgl promoter, we analyzed spontaneously arising Bgl+ mutants in rpoS+ and rpoS genetic backgrounds. We show that the spectrum of activating mutations in rpoS cells is different from that in rpoS+ cells. Unlike rpoS+ cells, where insertions in bglR are the predominant activating mutations, mutations in hns make up the majority in rpoS cells. The physiological significance of these differences is discussed in the context of survival of natural populations of E. coli.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Bacteriology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Society for Microbiology
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Reproduction, Development & Genetics
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:41
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/12610

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