Bacterial Nucleoid-Associated Protein Uncouples Transcription Levels from Transcription Timing
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American Academy of Microbiology
SalmonellaProtein domainsGene expression
Zwir, I.; et al. Bacterial Nucleoid-Associated Protein Uncouples Transcription Levels from Transcription Timing. mBio, 5(5): e01485 (2014). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/35300]
SponsorshipThis work was supported, in part, by grant AI49561 from the National Institutes of Health to E.A.G., who is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The histone-like nucleoid-structuring (H-NS) protein binds to horizontally acquired genes in the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, silencing their expression. We now report that overcoming the silencing effects of H-NS imposes a delay in the expression of genes activated by the transcriptional regulator PhoP. We determine that PhoP-activated genes ancestral to Salmonella are expressed before those acquired horizontally. This expression timing reflects the in vivo occupancy of the corresponding promoters by the PhoP protein. These results are surprising because some of these horizontally acquired genes reached higher mRNA levels than ancestral genes expressed earlier and were transcribed from promoters harboring PhoP-binding sites with higher in vitro affinity for the PhoP protein. Our findings challenge the often-made assumption that for genes coregulated by a given transcription factor, early genes are transcribed to higher mRNA levels than those transcribed at later times. Moreover, they provide a singular example of how gene ancestry can impact expression timing.