Spx, a member of the ArsC (arsenate reductase) protein family, is conserved in Gram-positive bacteria, and interacts with RNA polymerase to activate transcription in response to toxic oxidants. In Bacillus anthracis str. Sterne, resistance to oxidative stress requires the activity of two paralogues, SpxA1 and SpxA2. Suppressor mutations were identified in spxA1 mutant cells that conferred resistance to hydrogen peroxide. The mutations generated null alleles of the saiR gene and resulted in elevated spxA2 transcription. The saiR gene resides in the spxA2 operon and encodes a member of the Rrf2 family of transcriptional repressors. Derepression of spxA2 in a saiR mutant required SpxA2, indicating an autoregulatory mechanism of spxA2 control. Reconstruction of SaiR-dependent control of spxA2 was accomplished in Bacillus subtilis, where deletion analysis uncovered two cis-elements within the spxA2 regulatory region that are required for repression. Mutations to one of the sequences of dyad symmetry substantially reduced SaiR binding and SaiR-dependent repression of transcription from the spxA2 promoter in vitro. Previous studies have shown that spxA2 is one of the most highly induced genes in a macrophage infected with B. anthracis. The work reported herein uncovered a key regulator, SaiR, of the Spx system of stress response control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology