The ResD-ResE signal transduction system is essential for aerobic and anaerobic respiration in Bacillus subtilis. ResDE-dependent gene expression is induced by oxygen limitation, but full induction under anaerobic conditions requires nitrite or nitric oxide (NO). Here we report that NsrR (formerly YhdE) is responsible for the NO-dependent up-regulation of the ResDE regulon. The null mutation of nsrR led to aerobic derepression of hmp (flavohemoglobin gene) partly in a ResDE-independent manner. In addition to its negative role in aerobic hmp expression, NsrR plays an important role under anaerobic conditions for regulation of ResDE-controlled genes, including hmp. ResDE-dependent gene expression was increased by the nsrR mutation in the absence of NO, but the expression was decreased by the mutation when NO was present. Consequently, B. subtilis cells lacking NsrR no longer sense and respond to NO (and nitrite) to up-regulate the ResDE regulon. Exposure to NO did not significantly change the cellular concentration of NsrR, suggesting that NO likely modulates the activity of NsrR. NsrR is similar to the recently described nitrite- or NO-sensitive transcription repressers present in various bacteria. NsrR likely has an Fe-S cluster, and interaction of NO with the Fe-S center is proposed to modulate NsrR activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology