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Open Access Publications from the University of California

LurR is a regulator of the central lactate oxidation pathway in sulfate-reducing Desulfovibrio species


The central carbon/lactate utilization pathway in the model sulfate-reducing bacterium, Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough, is encoded by the highly conserved operon DVU3025-3033. Our earlier in vitro genome-wide study had suggested a network of four two-component system regulators that target this large operon; however, how these four regulators control this operon was not known. Here, we probe the regulation of the lactate utilization operon with mutant strains and DNA-protein binding assays. We show that the LurR response regulator is required for optimal growth and complete lactate utilization, and that it activates the DVU3025-3033 lactate oxidation operon as well as DVU2451, a lactate permease gene, in the presence of lactate. We show by electrophoretic mobility shift assays that LurR binds to three sites in the upstream region of DVU3025, the first gene of the operon. NrfR, a response regulator that is activated under nitrite stress, and LurR share similar binding site motifs and bind the same sites upstream of DVU3025. The DVU3025 promoter also has a binding site motif (Pho box) that is bound by PhoB, a two-component response regulator activated under phosphate limitation. The lactate utilization operon, the regulator LurR, and LurR binding sites are conserved across the order Desulfovibrionales whereas possible modulation of the lactate utilization genes by additional regulators such as NrfR and PhoB appears to be limited to D. vulgaris.

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