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Involvement of RpoN in Regulating Bacterial Arsenite Oxidation

In this study with the model organism Agrobacterium tumefaciens, we used a combination of lacZ gene fusions, reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), and deletion and insertional inactivation mutations to show unambiguously that the alternative sigma factor RpoN participates in the regulation of As-III oxidation. A deletion mutation that removed the RpoN binding site from the aioBA promoter and an aacC3 (gentamicin resistance) cassette insertional inactivation of the rpoN coding region eliminated aioBA expression and As-III oxidation, although rpoN expression was not related to cell exposure to As-III. Putative RpoN binding sites were identified throughout the genome and, as examples, included promoters for aioB, phoB1, pstS1, dctA, glnA, glnB, and flgB that were examined by using qualitative RT-PCR and lacZ reporter fusions to assess the relative contribution of RpoN to their transcription. The expressions of aioB and dctA in the wild-type strain were considerably enhanced in cells exposed to As-III, and both genes were silent in the rpoN::aacC3 mutant regardless of As-III. The expression level of glnA was not influenced by As-III but was reduced (but not silent) in the rpoN::aacC3 mutant and further reduced in the mutant under N starvation conditions. The rpoN::aacC3 mutation had no obvious effect on the expression of glnB, pstS1, phoB1, or flgB. These experiments provide definitive evidence to document the requirement of RpoN for As-III oxidation but also illustrate that the presence of a consensus RpoN binding site does not necessarily link the associated gene with regulation by As-III or by this sigma factor


Kang, YS., Bothner, B., Rensing, C., & McDermott, TR. (2012). Involvement of RpoN in Regulating Bacterial Arsenite Oxidation. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78(16), 5638-5645. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00238-12

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