Rhodobacter sphaeroides LexA has dual activity: Optimising and repressing recA gene transcription

Angels Tapias, Silvia Fernández, Juan C. Alonso, Jordi Barbé

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Transcription of the Rhodobacter sphaeroides recA promoter (PrecA) is induced upon DNA damage in a lexA-dependent manner. In vivo experiments demonstrate that LexA protein represses and might also activate transcription of PrecA. Purified R.sphaeroides LexA protein specifically binds the SOS boxes located within the PrecA region. In vitro transcription analysis, using Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (RNAP), indicated that the presence of LexA may stimulate and repress transcription of PrecA. EMSA and DNase I footprinting experiments show that LexA and RNAP can bind simultaneously to PrecA. At low LexA concentrations it enhances RNAP binding to PrecA, stimulates open complex formation and strand separation beyond the transcription start site. At high LexA concentrations, however, RNAP-promoted strand separation is not observed beyond the +5 region. LexA might repress transcription by interfering with the clearance process instead of blocking the access of RNAP to the promoter region. Based on these findings we propose that the R.sphaeroides LexA protein performs fine tuning of the SOS response, which might provide a physiological advantage by enhancing transcription of SOS genes and delaying full activation of the response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1539-1546
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2002


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