A novel promoter architecture for microaerobic activation by the anaerobic transcription factor FNR

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • F Marshall
  • S Messenger
  • N Wyborn
  • J Guest
  • J Green

Colleges, School and Institutes


The yfiD gene of Escherichia coli has an unusual promoter architecture in which an FNR dimer located at -93.5 inhibits transcription activation mediated by another FNR dimer bound at the typical class II position (-40.5). In vitro transcription from the yfiD promoter indicated that FNR alone can downregulate yfiD expression. Analysis of yfiD::lac reporters showed that five turns of the DNA helix between FNR sites was optimal for downregulation. FNR heterodimers, in which one subunit carried a defective repression surface, revealed that the upstream subunit of the -40.5 dimer and the downstream subunit of the -93.5 dimer were most important for downregulating yfiD expression. Deletion of the C-terminal domain of the alpha-subunit of RNA polymerase (RNAP) did not affect FNR-mediated repression, suggesting that repression is mediated through FNR-FNR and not FNR-RNAP interactions. Maximum yfiD::lac expression was observed in cultures exposed to 10 microM oxygen. More or less oxygen reduced expression dramatically. This pattern of response was dependent on the combination of a high-affinity site at the activating class II position and a lower affinity site at the upstream position.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-753
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2001