An SOS regulon under control of a noncanonical LexA-binding motif in the Betaproteobacteria

Neus Sanchez-Alberola, Susana Campoy, David Emerson, Jordi Barbé, Ivan Erill

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8 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, American Society for Microbiology. The SOS response is a transcriptional regulatory network governed by the LexA repressor that activates in response to DNA damage. In the Betaproteobacteria, LexA is known to target a palindromic sequence with the consensus sequence CTGT-N8- ACAG. We report the characterization of a LexA regulon in the iron-oxidizing betaproteobacterium Sideroxydans lithotrophicus. In silico and in vitro analyses show that LexA targets six genes by recognizing a binding motif with the consensus sequence GAACGaaCGTTC, which is strongly reminiscent of the Bacillus subtilis LexA-binding motif. We confirm that the closely related Gallionella capsiferriformans shares the same LexA-binding motif, and in silico analyses indicate that this motif is also conserved in the Nitrosomonadales and the Methylophilales. Phylogenetic analysis of LexA and the alpha subunit of DNA polymerase III (DnaE) reveal that the organisms harboring this noncanonical LexA form a compact taxonomic cluster within the Betaproteobacteria. However, their lexA gene is unrelated to the standard Betaproteobacteria lexA, and there is evidence of its spread through lateral gene transfer. In contrast to other reported cases of noncanonical LexA-binding motifs, the regulon of S. lithotrophicus is comparable in size and function to that of many other Betaproteobacteria, suggesting that a convergent SOS regulon has reevolved under the control of a new LexA protein. Analysis of the DNA-binding domain of S. lithotrophicus LexA reveals little sequence similarity with that of other LexA proteins targeting similar binding motifs, suggesting that network structure may limit site evolution or that structural constrains make the B. subtilis-type motif an optimal interface for multiple LexA sequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2622-2630
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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