Main content area

DNA Consensus Sequence Motif for Binding Response Regulator PhoP, a Virulence Regulator of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

He, Xiaoyuan, Wang, Shuishu
Biochemistry 2014 v.53 no.51 pp. 8008-8020
DNA, DNA fragmentation, HIV infections, Human immunodeficiency virus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, calorimetry, consensus sequence, drug resistance, drugs, gel electrophoresis, genes, human health, pathogens, phosphorylation, promoter regions, systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment, titration, transcription (genetics), tuberculosis, virulence
Tuberculosis has reemerged as a serious threat to human health because of the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant strains and synergetic infection with HIV, prompting an urgent need for new and more efficient treatments. The PhoP–PhoR two-component system of Mycobacterium tuberculosis plays an important role in the virulence of the pathogen and thus represents a potential drug target. To study the mechanism of gene transcription regulation by response regulator PhoP, we identified a high-affinity DNA sequence for PhoP binding using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment. The sequence contains a direct repeat of two 7 bp motifs separated by a 4 bp spacer, TCACAGC(N₄)TCACAGC. The specificity of the direct-repeat sequence for PhoP binding was confirmed by isothermal titration calorimetry and electrophoretic mobility shift assays. PhoP binds to the direct repeat as a dimer in a highly cooperative manner. We found many genes previously identified to be regulated by PhoP that contain the direct-repeat motif in their promoter sequences. Synthetic DNA fragments at the putative promoter-binding sites bind PhoP with variable affinity, which is related to the number of mismatches in the 7 bp motifs, the positions of the mismatches, and the spacer and flanking sequences. Phosphorylation of PhoP increases the affinity but does not change the specificity of DNA binding. Overall, our results confirm the direct-repeat sequence as the consensus motif for PhoP binding and thus pave the way for identification of PhoP directly regulated genes in different mycobacterial genomes.