Molecular characterization of the pH-inducible and growth phase-dependent promoter P170 of Lactococcus lactis

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In a previous study, we described the use of transposon Tn917-LTV1 for identification of environmentally regulated promoters in Lactococcus lactis. Here, we report the molecular analysis of one of these promoters, P170, that is upregulated at low pH during the transition to stationary phase. The minimal DNA region required for both promoter activity and pH regulation was mapped to a 51 bp fragment located 7 bp upstream of the transcriptional start site. This fragment lacked the consensus -35 promoter region, but it contained an 'extended' -10 promoter region. When a 28 bp segment, containing the consensus -35 region and 22 bp upstream of this in a constitutive promoter, was replaced with the corresponding sequence of P170, the hybrid promoter became regulated by pH and growth phase. This demonstrates that the P170 segment contains a cis-acting sequence involved in the control of promoter regulation. Transcriptional analysis showed that P170 is responsible for the transcription of a monocistronic gene orfX encoding a polypeptide homologous to a hypothetical protein from Bacillus subtilis. Analysis of total RNA from L. lactis grown at constant pH confirmed that transcription from P170 was induced between pH 6.5 and pH 6.0, but only when the culture entered stationary phase. Deletion analysis and chemical mutagenesis of P170 defined a specific region within the untranslated mRNA leader that is able to modulate the expression level directed by the P170 promoter. Deletion of a 72 bp HaeIII fragment from this leader region resulted in a 150- to 200-fold increase in the level of gene expression, without affecting the regulation. The functionality was confirmed by introducing this modulating element downstream of other lactococcal promoters.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ID: 44306332