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1.  Dam- and OxyR-Dependent Phase Variation of agn43: Essential Elements and Evidence for a New Role of DNA Methylation 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(12):3338-3347.
Phase variation of the outer membrane protein Ag43 in E. coli requires deoxyadenosine methylase (Dam) and OxyR. Previously, it was shown that OxyR is required for repression of the Ag43-encoding gene, agn43, and that Dam-dependent methylation of three GATC target sequences in the regulatory region abrogates OxyR binding. Here we report further characterization of agn43 transcription and its regulation. Transcription was initiated from a σ70-dependent promoter at the G residue of the upstream GATC sequence. Template DNA and RNA polymerase were sufficient to obtain transcription in vitro, but DNA methylation enhanced the level of transcription. Analyses of transcription in vivo of agn′-lacZ with mutated Dam target sequences support this conclusion. Since methylation also abrogates OxyR binding, this indicates that methylation plays a dual role in facilitating agn43 transcription. In vitro transcription from an unmethylated template was repressed by OxyR(C199S), which resembles the reduced form of OxyR. Consistent with this and the role of Dam in OxyR binding, OxyR(C199S) protected from DNase I digestion the agn43 regulatory region from −16 to +42, which includes the three GATC sequences. Deletion analyses of the regulatory region showed that a 101-nucleotide region of the agn43 regulatory region containing the promoter and this OxyR binding region was sufficient for Dam- and OxyR-dependent phase variation
PMCID: PMC135096  PMID: 12029051
2.  Phase Variation of Ag43 Is Independent of the Oxidation State of OxyR 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(7):2203-2209.
OxyR is a DNA binding protein that differentially regulates a cell's response to hydrogen peroxide-mediated oxidative stress. We previously reported that the reduced form of OxyR is sufficient for repression of transcription of agn43 from unmethylated template DNA, which is essential for deoxyadenosine methylase (Dam)- and OxyR-dependent phase variation of agn43. Here we provide evidence that the oxidized form of OxyR [OxyR(ox)] also represses agn43 transcription. In vivo, we found that exogenous addition of hydrogen peroxide, sufficient to oxidize OxyR, did not affect the expression of agn43. OxyR(ox) repressed in vitro transcription but only from an unmethylated agn43 template. The −10 sequence of the promoter and three Dam target sequences were protected in an in vitro DNase I footprint assay by OxyR(ox). Furthermore, OxyR(ox) bound to the agn43 regulatory region DNA with an affinity similar to that for the regulatory regions of katG and oxyS, which are activated by OxyR(ox), indicating that binding at agn43 can occur at biologically relevant concentrations. OxyR-dependent regulation of Ag43 expression is therefore unusual in firstly that OxyR binding at agn43 is dependent on the methylation state of Dam target sequences in its binding site and secondly that OxyR-dependent repression appears to be independent of hydrogen-peroxide mediated oxidative stress and the oxidation state of OxyR.
PMCID: PMC151510  PMID: 12644490
3.  The Major Catalase Gene (katA) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 Is under both Positive and Negative Control of the Global Transactivator OxyR in Response to Hydrogen Peroxide▿ § 
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;192(2):381-390.
The adaptive response to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa involves the major catalase, KatA, and OxyR. However, neither the molecular basis nor the relationship between the aforementioned proteins has been established. Here, we demonstrate that the transcriptional activation of the katA promoter (katAp) in response to H2O2 was abrogated in the P. aeruginosa PA14 oxyR null mutant. Promoter deletion analyses revealed that H2O2-mediated induction was dependent on a region of DNA −76 to −36 upstream of the H2O2-responsive transcriptional start site. This region harbored the potential operator sites (OxyR-responsive element [ORE]) of the Escherichia coli OxyR binding consensus. Deletion of the entire ORE not only abolished H2O2-mediated induction but also elevated the basal transcription, suggesting the involvement of OxyR and the ORE in both transcriptional activation and repression. OxyR bound to the ORE both in vivo and in vitro, demonstrating that OxyR directly regulates the katAp. Three distinct mobility species of oxidized OxyR were observed in response to 1 mM H2O2, as assessed by free thiol trapping using 4-acetamido-4′-maleimidylstilbene-2,2′-disulfonic acid. These oxidized species were not observed for the double mutants with mutations in the conserved cysteine (Cys) residues (C199 and C208). The uninduced transcription of katAp was elevated in an oxyR mutant with a mutation of Cys to serine at 199 (C199S) and even higher in the oxyR mutant with a mutation of Cys to alanine at 199 (C199A) but not in oxyR mutants with mutations in C208 (C208S and C208A). In both the C199S and the C208S mutant, however, katAp transcription was still induced by H2O2 treatment, unlike in the oxyR null mutant and the C199A mutant. The double mutants with mutations in both Cys residues (C199S C208S and C199A C208S) did not differ from the C199A mutant. Taken together, our results suggest that P. aeruginosa OxyR is a bona fide transcriptional regulator of the katA gene, sensing H2O2 based on the conserved Cys residues, involving more than one oxidation as well as activation state in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2805318  PMID: 19933365
4.  Escherichia coli OxyR modulation of bacteriophage Mu mom expression in dam+ cells can be attributed to its ability to bind hemimethylated Pmom promoter DNA. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1997;25(21):4385-4388.
Transcription of the bacteriophage Mu mom operon is strongly repressed by the host OxyR protein in dam - but not dam + cells. In this work we show that the extent of mom modification is sensitive to the relative levels of the Dam and OxyR proteins and OxyR appears to modulate the level of mom expression even in dam + cells. In vitro studies demonstrated that OxyR is capable of binding hemimethylated P mom , although its affinity is reduced slightly compared with unmethylated DNA. Thus, OxyR modulation of mom expression in dam + cells can be attributed to its ability to bind hemimethylated P mom DNA, the product of DNA replication.
PMCID: PMC147061  PMID: 9336472
5.  Computation-Directed Identification of OxyR DNA Binding Sites in Escherichia coli 
Journal of Bacteriology  2001;183(15):4571-4579.
A computational search was carried out to identify additional targets for the Escherichia coli OxyR transcription factor. This approach predicted OxyR binding sites upstream of dsbG, encoding a periplasmic disulfide bond chaperone-isomerase; upstream of fhuF, encoding a protein required for iron uptake; and within yfdI. DNase I footprinting assays confirmed that oxidized OxyR bound to the predicted site centered 54 bp upstream of the dsbG gene and 238 bp upstream of a known OxyR binding site in the promoter region of the divergently transcribed ahpC gene. Although the new binding site was near dsbG, Northern blotting and primer extension assays showed that OxyR binding to the dsbG-proximal site led to the induction of a second ahpCF transcript, while OxyR binding to the ahpCF-proximal site leads to the induction of both dsbG and ahpC transcripts. Oxidized OxyR binding to the predicted site centered 40 bp upstream of the fhuF gene was confirmed by DNase I footprinting, but these assays further revealed a second higher-affinity site in the fhuF promoter. Interestingly, the two OxyR sites in the fhuF promoter overlapped with two regions bound by the Fur repressor. Expression analysis revealed that fhuF was repressed by hydrogen peroxide in an OxyR-dependent manner. Finally, DNase I footprinting experiments showed OxyR binding to the site predicted to be within the coding sequence of yfdI. These results demonstrate the versatile modes of regulation by OxyR and illustrate the need to learn more about the ensembles of binding sites and transcripts in the E. coli genome.
PMCID: PMC95352  PMID: 11443092
6.  Mutational analysis of the redox-sensitive transcriptional regulator OxyR: regions important for oxidation and transcriptional activation. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1995;177(5):1275-1284.
OxyR is a redox-sensitive transcriptional regulator of the LysR family which activates the expression of genes important for the defense against hydrogen peroxide in Escherichia coli and Samonella typhimurium. OxyR is sensitive to oxidation and reduction, and only oxidized OxyR is able to activate transcription of its target genes. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we found that one cysteine residue (C-199) is critical for the redox sensitivity of OxyR, and a C-199-->S mutation appears to lock the OxyR protein in the reduced form. We also used a random mutagenesis approach to isolate eight constitutively active mutants. All of the mutations are located in the C-terminal half of the protein, and four of the mutations map near the critical C-199 residue. In vivo as well as in vitro transcription experiments showed that the constitutive mutant proteins were able to activate transcription under both oxidizing and reducing conditions, and DNase I footprints showed that this activation is due to the ability of the mutant proteins to induce cooperative binding of RNA polymerase. Unexpectedly, RNA polymerase was also found to reciprocally affect OxyR binding.
PMCID: PMC176734  PMID: 7868602
7.  Interactions of OxyR with the promoter region of the oxyR and ahpC genes from Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(7):2401-2409.
In contrast to the intact oxyR gene (a homolog of the central regulator of peroxide stress response in enteric bacteria) in Mycobacterium leprae, this gene is inactive in all strains of M. tuberculosis. In both species, oxyR is divergently transcribed from ahpC, which encodes a homolog of alkyl hydroperoxide reductase. To initiate investigations of the regulation of oxidative stress in mycobacteria and consequences of the elimination of oxyR in M. tuberculosis, in this work we tested the hypothesis that mycobacterial OxyR acts as a DNA binding protein and analyzed its interactions with the oxyR and ahpC promoters. M. leprae OxyR was overproduced and purified, and its binding to the oxyR-ahpC intergenic region of M. leprae was demonstrated. By using a sequential series of overlapping DNA fragments, the minimal OxyR binding site was delimited to a 30-bp DNA segment which included a palindromic sequence conforming with the established rules for the LysR family of regulators. A consensus sequence for the mycobacterial OxyR recognition site (cTTATCggc-N3-gccGATAAg) was deduced based on its conservation in different mycobacteria. A variance in two potentially critical nucleotides within this site was observed in M. tuberculosis, in keeping with its reduced affinity for OxyR. Transcription of plasmid-borne M. leprae oxyR and ahpC was investigated in M. smegmatis and M. bovis BCG by S1 nuclease protection and transcriptional fusion analyses. Two mRNA 5' ends were detected in each direction: (i) P1oxyR and P2oxyR and (ii) P1ahpC and P2ahpC. The binding site for OxyR overlapped P1oxyR, reminiscent of the autoregulatory loops controlling expression of oxyR in enteric bacteria and characteristic of the LysR superfamily in general. This site was also centered 65 bp upstream of P1ahpC, matching the usual position of LysR-type recognition sequences in relationship to positively controlled promoters. Superimposed on these features was the less orthodox presence of multiple transcripts and their unique arrangement, including a region of complementarity at the 5' ends of the P2ahpC and P2oxyR mRNAs, suggesting the existence of complex regulatory relationships controlling oxyR and ahpC expression in mycobacteria.
PMCID: PMC178979  PMID: 9079928
8.  Role of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa oxyR-recG Operon in Oxidative Stress Defense and DNA Repair: OxyR-Dependent Regulation of katB-ankB, ahpB, and ahpC-ahpF 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(16):4533-4544.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa possesses an extensive armament of genes involved in oxidative stress defense, including katB-ankB, ahpB, and ahpC-ahpF. Transcription of these genes was regulated in response to H2O2, paraquat, or organic peroxides. Expression of katB-lacZ and the observed KatB catalase levels in P. aeruginosa PAO1 were induced up to 250-fold after exposure to oxidative stress-generating compounds. Also, ahpB-lacZ and ahpC-lacZ expression was 90- and 3-fold higher, respectively, upon exposure to paraquat. The dose- and time-response curves revealed that 1 μM paraquat was sufficient for half-maximal activation of each reporter fusion within 5 min of exposure. Expression of these genes was not observed in a ΔoxyR mutant, indicating that OxyR was essential for this response. The transcriptional start sites of katB-ankB, ahpB, and ahpC-ahpF were mapped, putative OxyR-binding sites were identified upstream of the −35 promoter elements, and direct binding of purified OxyR protein to these target promoters was demonstrated. The oxyR mutant was hypersusceptible to oxidative stress-generating agents, including H2O2 and paraquat, in spite of total KatA catalase activity being comparable to that of the wild type. The oxyR phenotype was fully complemented by a plasmid containing the oxyR gene, while any of the katB, ahpB, or ahpCF genes alone resulted in only marginal complementation. Increased katB-lacZ expression and higher KatB catalase levels were detected in a ΔahpCF background compared to wild-type bacteria, suggesting a compensatory function for KatB in the absence of AhpCF. In P. aeruginosa, oxyR is located upstream of recG, encoding a putative DNA repair enzyme. oxyR-lacZ and recG-lacZ reporter activities and oxyR-recG mRNA analysis showed that oxyR and recG are organized in an operon and expressed constitutively with regard to oxidative stress from a single promoter upstream of oxyR. Mutants affected in recG but not oxyR were dramatically impaired in DNA damage repair as measured by sensitivity to UV irradiation. In conclusion, we present evidence that the oxyR-recG locus is essential for oxidative stress defense and for DNA repair.
PMCID: PMC94625  PMID: 10913087
9.  An Ortholog of OxyR in Legionella pneumophila Is Expressed Postexponentially and Negatively Regulates the Alkyl Hydroperoxide Reductase (ahpC2D) Operon▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(10):3444-3455.
Legionella pneumophila expresses two peroxide-scavenging alkyl hydroperoxide reductase systems (AhpC1 and AhpC2D) that are expressed differentially during the bacterial growth cycle. Functional loss of the postexponentially expressed AhpC1 system is compensated for by increased expression of the exponentially expressed AhpC2D system. In this study, we used an acrylamide capture of DNA-bound complexes (ACDC) technique and mass spectrometry to identify proteins that bind to the promoter region of the ahpC2D operon. The major protein captured was an ortholog of OxyR (OxyRLp). Genetic studies indicated that oxyRLp was an essential gene expressed postexponentially and only partially complemented an Escherichia coli oxyR mutant (GS077). Gel shift assays confirmed specific binding of OxyRLp to ahpC2D promoter sequences, but not to promoters of ahpC1 or oxyRLp; however, OxyRLp weakly bound to E. coli OxyR-regulated promoters (katG, oxyR, and ahpCF). DNase I protection studies showed that the OxyRLp binding motif spanned the promoter and transcriptional start sequences of ahpC2 and that the protected region was unchanged by treatments with reducing agents or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Moreover, the OxyRLp (pBADLpoxyR)-mediated repression of an ahpC2-gfp reporter construct in E. coli GS077 (the oxyR mutant) was not reversed by H2O2 challenge. Alignments with other OxyR proteins revealed several amino acid substitutions predicted to ablate thiol oxidation or conformational changes required for activation. We suggest these mutations have locked OxyRLp in an active DNA-binding conformation, which has permitted a divergence of function from a regulator of oxidative stress to a cell cycle regulator, perhaps controlling gene expression during postexponential differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2394990  PMID: 18359810
10.  In vitro transcriptional activation of the phage Mu mom promoter by C protein. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1994;176(10):2885-2891.
The phage Mu gene C encodes a 16.5-kDa site-specific DNA-binding protein that functions as a trans-activator of the four phage "late" operons, including mom. We have overexpressed and purified C and used it for DNase I footprinting and transcription analyses in vitro. The footprinting results are summarized as follows. (i) As shown previously (V. Balke, V. Nagaraja, T. Gindlesperger, and S. Hattman, Nucleic Acids Res. 12:2777-2784, 1992) in vivo, Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (RNAP) bound the wild-type (wt) mom promoter at a site slightly upstream from the functionally active site bound on the C-independent tin7 mutant promoter. (ii) In the presence of C, however, RNAP bound the wt promoter at the same site as tin7. (iii) C and RNAP were both bound by the mom promoter at overlapping sites, indicating that they were probably on different faces of the DNA helix. The minicircle system of Choy and Adhya (H. E. Choy and S. Adhya, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90:472-476, 1993) was used to compare transcription in vitro from the wt and tin7 promoters. This analysis showed the following. (i) Few full-length transcripts were observed from the wt promoter in the absence of C, but addition of increasing amounts of C greatly stimulated transcription. (ii) RNA was transcribed from the tin7 promoter in the absence of C, but addition of C had a small stimulatory effect. (iii) Transcription from linearized minicircles or restriction fragment templates was greatly reduced (although still stimulated by C) with both the wt and tin7 promoters. These results show that C alone is capable of activating rightward transcription in vitro by promoting RNAP binding at a functionally active site. Additionally, DNA topology plays an important role in transcriptional activation in vitro.
PMCID: PMC205443  PMID: 8188589
11.  A Novel OxyR Sensor and Regulator of Hydrogen Peroxide Stress with One Cysteine Residue in Deinococcus radiodurans 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(2):e1602.
In bacteria, OxyR is a peroxide sensor and transcription regulator, which can sense the presence of reactive oxygen species and induce antioxidant system. When the cells are exposed to H2O2, OxyR protein is activated via the formation of a disulfide bond between the two conserved cysteine residues (C199 and C208). In Deinococcus radiodurans, a previously unreported special characteristic of DrOxyR (DR0615) is found with only one conserved cysteine. dr0615 gene mutant is hypersensitive to H2O2, but only a little to ionizing radiation. Site-directed mutagenesis and subsequent in vivo functional analyses revealed that the conserved cysteine (C210) is necessary for sensing H2O2, but its mutation did not alter the binding characteristics of OxyR on DNA. Under oxidant stress, DrOxyR is oxidized to sulfenic acid form, which can be reduced by reducing reagents. In addition, quantitative real-time PCR and global transcription profile results showed that OxyR is not only a transcriptional activator (e.g., katE, drb0125), but also a transcriptional repressor (e.g., dps, mntH). Because OxyR regulates Mn and Fe ion transporter genes, Mn/Fe ion ratio is changed in dr0615 mutant, suggesting that the genes involved in Mn/Fe ion homeostasis, and the genes involved in antioxidant mechanism are highly cooperative under extremely oxidant stress. In conclusion, these findings expand the OxyR family, which could be divided into two classes: typical 2-Cys OxyR and 1-Cys OxyR.
PMCID: PMC2225504  PMID: 18270589
12.  The structure of a reduced form of OxyR from Neisseria meningitidis 
Survival of the human pathogen, Neisseria meningitidis, requires an effective response to oxidative stress resulting from the release of hydrogen peroxide by cells of the human immune system. In N. meningitidis, expression of catalase, which is responsible for detoxifying hydrogen peroxide, is controlled by OxyR, a redox responsive LysR-type regulator. OxyR responds directly to intracellular hydrogen peroxide through the reversible formation of a disulphide bond between C199 and C208 in the regulatory domain of the protein.
We report the first crystal structure of the regulatory domain of an OxyR protein (NMB0173 from N. meningitidis) in the reduced state i.e. with cysteines at positions 199 and 208. The protein was crystallized under reducing conditions and the structure determined to a resolution of 2.4 Å. The overall fold of the Neisseria OxyR shows a high degree of similarity to the structure of a C199S mutant OxyR from E. coli, which cannot form the redox sensitive disulphide. In the neisserial structure, C199 is located at the start of helix α3, separated by 18 Å from C208, which is positioned between helices α3 and α4. In common with other LysR-type regulators, full length OxyR proteins are known to assemble into tetramers. Modelling of the full length neisserial OxyR as a tetramer indicated that C199 and C208 are located close to the dimer-dimer interface in the assembled tetramer. The formation of the C199-C208 disulphide may thus affect the quaternary structure of the protein.
Given the high level of structural similarity between OxyR from N. meningitidis and E. coli, we conclude that the redox response mechanism is likely to be similar in both species, involving the reversible formation of a disulphide between C199-C208. Modelling suggests that disulphide formation would directly affect the interface between regulatory domains in an OxyR tetramer which in turn may lead to an alteration in the spacing/orientation of the DNA-binding domains and hence the interaction of OxyR with its DNA binding sites.
PMCID: PMC2881104  PMID: 20478059
13.  Regulation of Catalase-Peroxidase KatG Is OxyR Dependent and Fur Independent in Caulobacter crescentus▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(7):1734-1744.
Most organisms that grow in the presence of oxygen possess catalases and/or peroxidases, which are necessary for scavenging the H2O2 produced by aerobic metabolism. In this work we investigate the pathways that regulate the Caulobacter crescentus katG gene, encoding the only enzyme with catalase-peroxidase function in this bacterium. The transcriptional start site of the katG gene was determined, showing a short 5′ untranslated region. The katG regulatory region was mapped by serial deletions, and the results indicate that there is a single promoter, which is responsible for induction at stationary phase. An oxyR mutant strain was constructed; it showed decreased katG expression, and no KatG protein or catalase-peroxidase activity was detected in stationary-phase cell extracts, implying that OxyR is the main positive regulator of the C. crescentus katG gene. Purified OxyR protein bound to the katG regulatory region between nucleotides −42 and −91 from the transcription start site, as determined by a DNase I footprinting assay, and a canonical OxyR binding site was found in this region. Moreover, OxyR binding was shown to be redox dependent, given that only oxidized proteins bound adjacent to the −35 sequence of the promoter and the katG P1 promoter was activated by OxyR in an H2O2-dependent manner. On the other hand, this work showed that the iron-responsive regulator Fur does not regulate C. crescentus katG, since a fur mutant strain presented wild-type levels of katG transcription and catalase-peroxidase production and activity, and the purified Fur protein was not able to bind to the katG regulatory region.
PMCID: PMC3067672  PMID: 21257767
14.  Structures of the Porphyromonas gingivalis OxyR regulatory domain explain differences in expression of the OxyR regulon in Escherichia coli and P. gingivalis  
Differences in OxyR regulated expression of oxidative stress genes between Escherichia coli and Porphyromonas gingivalis are explained by very minor differences in structure and amino-acid sequence of the respective oxidized and reduced OxyR regulatory domains. These differences affect OxyR quaternary structures and are predicted from model building of full length OxyR–DNA complexes to confer distinct modes of DNA binding on this transcriptional regulator.
OxyR transcriptionally regulates Escherichia coli oxidative stress response genes through a reversibly reducible cysteine disulfide biosensor of cellular redox status. Structural changes induced by redox changes in these cysteines are conformationally transmitted to the dimer subunit interfaces, which alters dimer and tetramer interactions with DNA. In contrast to E. coli OxyR regulatory-domain structures, crystal structures of Porphyromonas gingivalis OxyR regulatory domains show minimal differences in dimer configuration on changes in cysteine disulfide redox status. This locked configuration of the P. gingivalis OxyR regulatory-domain dimer closely resembles the oxidized (activating) form of the E. coli OxyR regulatory-domain dimer. It correlates with the observed constitutive activation of some oxidative stress genes in P. gingivalis and is attributable to a single amino-acid insertion in P. gingivalis OxyR relative to E. coli OxyR. Modelling of full-length P. gingivalis, E. coli and Neisseria meningitidis OxyR–DNA complexes predicts different modes of DNA binding for the reduced and oxidized forms of each.
PMCID: PMC3792645  PMID: 24100327
OxyR; Porphyromonas gingivalis; regulatory domain
15.  Lack of expression of the global regulator OxyR in Haemophilus influenzae has a profound effect on growth phenotype. 
Infection and Immunity  1996;64(11):4618-4629.
A pBR322-based library of chromosomal DNA from the nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae TN106 was screened for the expression of transferrin-binding activity in Escherichia coli. A recombinant clone expressing transferrin-binding activity contained a 3.7-kb fragment of nontypeable H. influenzae DNA. Nucleotide sequence analysis of this insert revealed the presence of two complete open reading frames encoding proteins of approximately 26 and 34 kDa. Mini-Tn10kan transposon mutagenesis at different sites within the open reading frame encoding the 34-kDa protein resulted in the abolition of transferrin-binding activity in the recombinant E. coli clone. The deduced amino acid sequence of the 34-kDa protein had 70% identity with the OxyR protein of E. coli; this latter macromolecule is a member of the LysR family of transcriptional activators. When a mutated H. influenzae oxyR gene was introduced into the chromosome of the wild-type H. influenzae strain by allelic exchange, the resulting oxyR mutant still exhibited wild-type levels of transferrin-binding activity but was unable to grow on media containing the heme precursor protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) in place of heme. This mutant also exhibited reduced growth around disks impregnated with heme sources. Supplementation of the PPIX-based growth media with catalase or sodium pyruvate resulted in normal growth of the H. influenzae oxyR mutant. Provision of the wild-type H. influenzae oxyR gene in trans also permitted the growth of this mutant on a PPIX-based medium. Exogenously supplied catalase restored the growth of this mutant with heme sources to nearly wild-type levels. These results indicate that expression of a wild-type OxyR protein by H. influenzae is essential to allow this organism to protect itself against oxidative stresses in vitro.
PMCID: PMC174422  PMID: 8890216
16.  Characterization of OxyR as a Negative Transcriptional Regulator That Represses Catalase Production in Corynebacterium diphtheriae 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e31709.
Corynebacterium diphtheriae and Corynebacterium glutamicum each have one gene (cat) encoding catalase. In-frame Δcat mutants of C. diphtheriae and C. glutamicum were hyper-sensitive to growth inhibition and killing by H2O2. In C. diphtheriae C7(β), both catalase activity and cat transcription decreased ∼2-fold during transition from exponential growth to early stationary phase. Prototypic OxyR in Escherichia coli senses oxidative stress and it activates katG transcription and catalase production in response to H2O2. In contrast, exposure of C. diphtheriae C7(β) to H2O2 did not stimulate transcription of cat. OxyR from C. diphtheriae and C. glutamicum have 52% similarity with E. coli OxyR and contain homologs of the two cysteine residues involved in H2O2 sensing by E. coli OxyR. In-frame ΔoxyR deletion mutants of C. diphtheriae C7(β), C. diphtheriae NCTC13129, and C. glutamicum were much more resistant than their parental wild type strains to growth inhibition by H2O2. In the C. diphtheriae C7(β) ΔoxyR mutant, cat transcripts were about 8-fold more abundant and catalase activity was about 20-fold greater than in the C7(β) wild type strain. The oxyR gene from C. diphtheriae or C. glutamicum, but not from E. coli, complemented the defect in ΔoxyR mutants of C. diphtheriae and C. glutamicum and decreased their H2O2 resistance to the level of their parental strains. Gel-mobility shift, DNaseI footprint, and primer extension assays showed that purified OxyR from C. diphtheriae C7(β) bound, in the presence or absence of DTT, to a sequence in the cat promoter region that extends from nucleotide position −55 to −10 with respect to the +1 nucleotide in the cat ORF. These results demonstrate that OxyR from C. diphtheriae or C. glutamicum functions as a transcriptional repressor of the cat gene by a mechanism that is independent of oxidative stress induced by H2O2.
PMCID: PMC3306370  PMID: 22438866
17.  Functionally distinct RNA polymerase binding sites in the phage Mu mom promoter region. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1992;20(11):2777-2784.
Transcription of the phage Mu com/mom operon is trans-activated by another phage gene product, C, a site-specific DNA binding protein. To gain insight into the mechanism by which C activates transcription, we carried out footprinting analyses of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (= RNAP) binding to various com-lacZ fusion plasmids. KMnO4-sensitive sites (diagnostic of the melted regions in open-complexes) and DNase I-sensitive sites were located by primer-extension analysis. The results are summarized as follows: (i) in vivo, in the absence of C, RNAP bound in the wild-type (wt) promoter region at a site designated P2; in vitro DNase I-footprinting showed that P2 extends from -74 to -24 with respect to transcription initiation. This overlaps a known strong C-binding site (at -35 to -54). RNAP bound at P2 appeared to be in an open-complex, as evidenced by the presence of KMnO4-hypersensitive sites. (ii) In contrast, when C was present in vivo, RNAP bound in the wt promoter region at a different site, designated P1, located downstream and partially overlapping P2. RNAP bound at P1 also appeared to be in an open-complex, as evidenced by the presence of KMnO4-hypersensitive sites. (iii) Two C-independent mutants, which initiate transcription at the same position as the wt, were also analyzed. In vivo, in the absence of C, RNAP bound mutant tin7 (contains a T to G substitution at -14) predominantly at P1; in vitro DNase I-footprinting showed that P1 extends from -56 to +21. With mutant tin6 (a 63 base-pair deletion removing P2, as well as part of P1 and the C-binding site from -35 to -54), RNAP bound to P1 independent of C. We conclude that P1 is the 'functional' RNAP binding site for mom-transcription initiation, and that C activates transcription by promoting binding at P1, while blocking binding at P2.
PMCID: PMC336922  PMID: 1535436
18.  OxyR and SoxRS Regulation of fur 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(15):4639-4643.
The cytotoxic effects of reactive oxygen species are largely mediated by iron. Hydrogen peroxide reacts with iron to form the extremely reactive and damaging hydroxyl radical via the Fenton reaction. Superoxide anion accelerates this reaction because the dismutation of superoxide leads to increased levels of hydrogen peroxide and because superoxide elevates the intracellular concentration of iron by attacking iron-sulfur proteins. We found that regulators of the Escherichia coli responses to oxidative stress, OxyR and SoxRS, activate the expression of Fur, the global repressor of ferric ion uptake. A transcript encoding Fur was induced by hydrogen peroxide in a wild-type strain but not in a ΔoxyR strain, and DNase I footprinting assays showed that OxyR binds to the fur promoter. In cells treated with the superoxide-generating compound paraquat, we observed the induction of a longer transcript encompassing both fur and its immediate upstream gene fldA, which encodes a flavodoxin. This polycistronic mRNA is induced by paraquat in a wild-type strain but not in a ΔsoxRS strain, and SoxS was shown to bind to the fldA promoter. These results demonstrate that iron metabolism is coordinately regulated with the oxidative stress defenses.
PMCID: PMC103597  PMID: 10419964
19.  Oxidative Stress Response and Characterization of the oxyR-ahpC and furA-katG Loci in Mycobacterium marinum 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(18):4856-4864.
Oxidative stress response in pathogenic mycobacteria is believed to be of significance for host-pathogen interactions at various stages of infection. It also plays a role in determining the intrinsic susceptibility to isoniazid in mycobacterial species. In this work, we characterized the oxyR-ahpC and furA-katG loci in the nontuberculous pathogen Mycobacterium marinum. In contrast to Mycobacterium smegmatis and like Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae, M. marinum was shown to possess a closely linked and divergently oriented equivalents of the regulator of peroxide stress response oxyR and its subordinate gene ahpC, encoding a homolog of alkyl hydroperoxide reductase. Purified mycobacterial OxyR was found to bind to the oxyR-ahpC promoter region from M. marinum and additional mycobacterial species. Mobility shift DNA binding analyses using OxyR binding sites from several mycobacteria and a panel of in vitro-generated mutants validated the proposed consensus mycobacterial recognition sequence. M. marinum AhpC levels detected by immunoblotting, were increased upon treatment with H2O2, in keeping with the presence of a functional OxyR and its binding site within the promoter region of ahpC. In contrast, OxyR did not bind to the sequences upstream of the katG structural gene, and katG expression did not follow the pattern seen with ahpC. Instead, a new open reading frame encoding a homolog of the ferric uptake regulator Fur was identified immediately upstream of katG in M. marinum. The furA-katG linkage and arrangement are ubiquitous in mycobacteria, suggesting the presence of additional regulators of oxidative stress response and potentially explaining the observed differences in ahpC and katG expression. Collectively, these findings broaden our understanding of oxidative stress response in mycobacteria. They also suggest that M. marinum will be useful as a model system for studying the role of oxidative stress response in mycobacterial physiology, intracellular survival, and other host-pathogen interactions associated with mycobacterial diseases.
PMCID: PMC107510  PMID: 9733688
20.  Mapping of the OxyR protein contact site in the C-terminal region of RNA polymerase alpha subunit. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1995;177(23):6740-6744.
The Escherichia coli OxyR protein requires the C-terminal contact site I region of the RNA polymerase alpha subunit for cooperative interaction with and transcription activation at OxyR-dependent promoters, suggesting direct protein-protein contact between OxyR and the C-terminal region of the alpha subunit. To determine the precise location of the OxyR protein contact site(s) in this region, we carried out mutational analysis of the 3' half of E. coli rpoA, the gene encoding the alpha subunit of RNA polymerase. We isolated a number of rpoA mutants defective in oxyR-dependent transcription activation at the E. coli katG promoter. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the rpoA gene from these mutants revealed that the mutations showing clear phenotypes are all clustered at two narrow regions (amino acid residues 265 to 269 and 293 to 300) within the C terminus of the alpha subunit. Reconstituted RNA polymerases containing the mutant alpha subunits were unable to respond to transcription activation in vitro at the katG, ahpC, and oxyX promoters by OxyR. These results suggest that these two regions comprise the contact surfaces on the alpha subunit for OxyR.
PMCID: PMC177537  PMID: 7592462
21.  Regulation of Hydrogen Peroxide-Dependent Gene Expression in Rhodobacter sphaeroides: Regulatory Functions of OxyR▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(10):3784-3792.
Genome-wide transcriptome profiling was used to reveal hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-dependent regulatory mechanisms in the facultatively photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides. In this study we focused on the role of the OxyR protein, a known regulator of the H2O2 response in bacteria. The transcriptome profiles of R. sphaeroides wild-type and oxyR mutant strains that were exposed to 1 mM H2O2 for 7 min or were not exposed to H2O2 were analyzed. Three classes of OxyR-dependent genes were identified based on their expression patterns in the wild type of oxyR mutant strains with differing predicted roles of oxidized and reduced OxyR as activators of transcription. DNA binding studies revealed that OxyR binds upstream of class I genes, which are induced by H2O2 and exhibit similar basal levels of expression in the wild-type and oxyR mutant strains. The effect of OxyR on class II genes, which are also induced by H2O2 but exhibit significantly lower basal levels of expression in the wild-type strain than in the mutant, is indirect. Interestingly, reduced OxyR also activates expression of few genes (class III). The role of reduced OxyR as an activator is shown for the first time. Our data reveal that the OxyR-mediated response is fast and transient. In addition, we found that additional regulatory pathways are involved in the H2O2 response.
PMCID: PMC1913319  PMID: 17351037
22.  Role of OxyR as a Peroxide-Sensing Positive Regulator in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(19):5214-5222.
Genes encoding a homolog of Escherichia coli OxyR (oxyR) and an alkyl hydroperoxide reductase system (ahpC and ahpD) have been isolated from Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). The ahpC and ahpD genes constitute an operon transcribed divergently from the oxyR gene. Expression of both ahpCD and oxyR genes was maximal at early exponential phase and decreased rapidly as cells entered mid-exponential phase. Overproduction of OxyR in Streptomyces lividans conferred resistance against cumene hydroperoxide and H2O2. The oxyR mutant produced fewer ahpCD and oxyR transcripts than the wild type, suggesting that OxyR acts as a positive regulator for their expression. Both oxyR and ahpCD transcripts increased more than fivefold within 10 min of H2O2 treatment and decreased to the normal level in 50 min, with kinetics similar to those of the CatR-mediated induction of the catalase A gene (catA) by H2O2. The oxyR mutant failed to induce oxyR and ahpCD genes in response to H2O2, indicating that OxyR is the modulator for the H2O2-dependent induction of these genes. Purified OxyR protein bound specifically to the intergenic region between ahpC and oxyR, suggesting its direct role in regulating these genes. These results demonstrate that in S. coelicolor OxyR mediates H2O2 induction of its own gene and genes for alkyl hydroperoxide reductase system, but not the catalase gene (catA), unlike in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.
PMCID: PMC137946  PMID: 12218006
23.  Mutational Analysis To Define an Activating Region on the Redox-Sensitive Transcriptional Regulator OxyR▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(24):8335-8342.
The OxyR transcription factor is a key regulator of the Escherichia coli response to oxidative stress. Previous studies showed that OxyR binding to a target promoter enhances RNA polymerase binding and vice versa, suggesting a direct interaction between OxyR and RNA polymerase. To identify the region of OxyR that might contact RNA polymerase, we carried out alanine scanning and random mutagenesis of oxyR. The combination of these approaches led to the identification of several mutants defective in the activation of an OxyR target gene. A subset of the mutations map to the DNA-binding domain, other mutations appear to affect dimerization of the regulatory domain, while another group is suggested to affect disulfide bond formation. The two mutations, D142A and R273H, giving the most dramatic phenotype are located in a patch on the surface of the oxidized OxyR protein and possibly define an activating region on OxyR.
PMCID: PMC1698235  PMID: 17012382
24.  A Serratia marcescens OxyR Homolog Mediates Surface Attachment and Biofilm Formation▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(20):7262-7272.
OxyR is a conserved bacterial transcription factor with a regulatory role in oxidative stress response. From a genetic screen for genes that modulate biofilm formation in the opportunistic pathogen Serratia marcescens, mutations in an oxyR homolog and predicted fimbria structural genes were identified. S. marcescens oxyR mutants were severely impaired in biofilm formation, in contrast to the hyperbiofilm phenotype exhibited by oxyR mutants of Escherichia coli and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Further analysis revealed that OxyR plays a role in the primary attachment of cells to a surface. Similar to what is observed in other bacterial species, S. marcescens OxyR is required for oxidative stress resistance. Mutations in oxyR and type I fimbrial genes resulted in severe defects in fimbria-associated phenotypes, revealing roles in cell-cell and cell-biotic surface interactions. Transmission electron microscopy revealed the absence of fimbria-like surface structures on an OxyR-deficient strain and an enhanced fimbrial phenotype in strains bearing oxyR on a multicopy plasmid. The hyperfimbriated phenotype conferred by the multicopy oxyR plasmid was absent in a type I fimbrial mutant background. Real-time reverse transcriptase PCR indicated an absence of transcripts from a fimbrial operon in an oxyR mutant that were present in the wild type and a complemented oxyR mutant strain. Lastly, chromosomal Plac-mediated expression of fimABCD was sufficient to restore wild-type levels of yeast agglutination and biofilm formation to an oxyR mutant. Together, these data support a model in which OxyR contributes to early stages of S. marcescens biofilm formation by influencing fimbrial gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2168423  PMID: 17675374
25.  Haemophilus influenzae OxyR: Characterization of Its Regulation, Regulon and Role in Fitness 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50588.
To prevent damage by reactive oxygen species, many bacteria have evolved rapid detection and response systems, including the OxyR regulon. The OxyR system detects reactive oxygen and coordinates the expression of numerous defensive antioxidants. In many bacterial species the coordinated OxyR-regulated response is crucial for in vivo survival. Regulation of the OxyR regulon of Haemophilus influenzae was examined in vitro, and significant variation in the regulated genes of the OxyR regulon among strains of H. influenzae was observed. Quantitative PCR studies demonstrated a role for the OxyR-regulated peroxiredoxin/glutaredoxin as a mediator of the OxyR response, and also indicated OxyR self-regulation through a negative feedback loop. Analysis of transcript levels in H. influenzae samples derived from an animal model of otitis media demonstrated that the members of the OxyR regulon were actively upregulated within the chinchilla middle ear. H. influenzae mutants lacking the oxyR gene exhibited increased sensitivity to challenge with various peroxides. The impact of mutations in oxyR was assessed in various animal models of H. influenzae disease. In paired comparisons with the corresponding wild-type strains, the oxyR mutants were unaffected in both the chinchilla model of otitis media and an infant model of bacteremia. However, in weanling rats the oxyR mutant was significantly impaired compared to the wild-type strain. In contrast, in all three animal models when infected with a mixture of equal numbers of both wild-type and mutant strains the mutant strain was significantly out competed by the wild-type strain. These findings clearly establish a crucial role for OxyR in bacterial fitness.
PMCID: PMC3511568  PMID: 23226321

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