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J Bacteriol. Mar 1990; 172(3): 1241–1249.
PMCID: PMC208589
virG, an Agrobacterium tumefaciens transcriptional activator, initiates translation at a UUG codon and is a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein.
G J Pazour and A Das
Department of Biochemistry, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108.
Abstract
The Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti plasmid virG locus, in conjunction with virA and acetosyringone, activates transcription of the virulence (vir) genes. Insertional and deoxyoligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis studies showed that both octopine and nopaline Ti plasmid virG genes initiate translation at a UUG codon. VirG protein initiated at this UUG codon was found to be 241 amino acid residues in length and had an apparent molecular mass of 27.1 kilodaltons. A Salmonella typhimurium trp-virG transcriptional fusion was constructed to overproduce VirG. Agrobacterium cells containing this gene fusion showed a large increase in virG activity in the presence of virA and acetosyringone. Since the trp promoter is not under virA-virG control, this result indicates that modification of VirG is necessary for its full activity. VirG overproduced in Escherichia coli was purified from inclusion bodies. It was found to be a DNA-binding protein that preferentially bound DNA fragments containing the 5' nontranscribed regions of the virA, -B, -C, -D, and -G operons. Significant specific binding to the 5' nontranscribed region sequences of virE was not detected. DNase I footprinting of the upstream regions of virC-virD and virG showed that VirG binds to sequences around the vir box region.
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