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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Use of a promiscuous, constitutively-active bacterial enhancer-binding protein to define the ?54 (RpoN) regulon of Salmonella Typhimurium LT2

  • Author(s): Samuels, David J
  • Frye, Jonathan G
  • Porwollik, Steffen
  • McClelland, Michael
  • Mrazek, Jan
  • Hoover, Timothy R
  • Karls, Anna C
  • et al.


Sigma54, or RpoN, is an alternative σ factor found widely in eubacteria. A significant complication in analysis of the global σ54 regulon in a bacterium is that the σ54 RNA polymerase holoenzyme requires interaction with an active bacterial enhancer-binding protein (bEBP) to initiate transcription at a σ54-dependent promoter. Many bacteria possess multiple bEBPs, which are activated by diverse environmental stimuli. In this work, we assess the ability of a promiscuous, constitutively-active bEBP—the AAA+ ATPase domain of DctD from Sinorhizobium meliloti—to activate transcription from all σ54-dependent promoters for the characterization of the σ54 regulon of Salmonella Typhimurium LT2.


The AAA+ ATPase domain of DctD was able to drive transcription from nearly all previously characterized or predicted σ54-dependent promoters in Salmonella under a single condition. These promoters are controlled by a variety of native activators and, under the condition tested, are not transcribed in the absence of the DctD AAA+ ATPase domain. We also identified a novel σ54-dependent promoter upstream of STM2939, a homolog of the cas1 component of a CRISPR system. ChIP-chip analysis revealed at least 70 σ54 binding sites in the chromosome, of which 58% are located within coding sequences. Promoter-lacZ fusions with selected intragenic σ54 binding sites suggest that many of these sites are capable of functioning as σ54-dependent promoters.


Since the DctD AAA+ ATPase domain proved effective in activating transcription from the diverse σ54-dependent promoters of the S. Typhimurium LT2 σ54 regulon under a single growth condition, this approach is likely to be valuable for examining σ54 regulons in other bacterial species. The S. Typhimurium σ54 regulon included a high number of intragenic σ54 binding sites/promoters, suggesting that σ54 may have multiple regulatory roles beyond the initiation of transcription at the start of an operon.

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