Identification of a Hypochlorite-specific Transcription Factor from Escherichia coli

The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2012, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.287219, 287, 6892-6903 published on 24.02.2012
The Journal of Biological Chemistry, online article
Hypochlorite is a powerful oxidant produced by neutrophils to kill invading microorganisms. Despite this important physiological role of HOCl in fighting bacterial infections, no hypochlorite-specific stress response has been identified yet. Here, we identified a hypochlorite-responsive transcription factor, YjiE, which is conserved in proteobacteria and eukaryotes. YjiE forms unusual dodecameric ring-like structures in vitro that undergo large DNA-induced conformational changes to form dimers and tetramers as shown by transmission electron microscopy and analytical ultracentrifugation. Such smaller oligomers are predominant in hypochlorite-stressed cells and are the active species as shown by fluorescence anisotropy and analytical ultracentrifugation. YjiE regulates a large number of genes upon hypochlorite stress. Among them are genes involved in cysteine, methionine biosynthesis, and sulfur metabolism (up-regulated) and genes involved in iron acquisition and homeostasis (down-regulated), thus supposedly replenishing oxidized metabolites and decreasing the hypochlorite-mediated amplification of intracellular reactive oxygen species. As a result, YjiE specifically confers hypochlorite resistance to E. coli cells. Thus, to our knowledge, YjiE is the first described hypochlorite-specific transcription factor.  

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