This review discusses various mechanisms that regulatory proteins use to control gene expression in response to alterations in redox. The transcription factor SoxR contains stable [2Fe-2S] centers that promote transcription activation when oxidized. FNR contains [4Fe-4S] centers that disassemble under oxidizing conditions, which affects DNA-binding activity. FixL is a histidine sensor kinase that utilizes heme as a cofactor to bind oxygen, which affects its autophosphorylation activity. NifL is a flavoprotein that contains FAD as a redox responsive cofactor. Under oxidizing conditions, NifL binds and inactivates NifA, the transcriptional activator of the nitrogen fixation genes. OxyR is a transcription factor that responds to redox by breaking or forming disulfide bonds that affect its DNA-binding activity. The ability of the histidine sensor kinase ArcB to promote phosphorylation of the response regulator ArcA is affected by multiple factors such as anaerobic metabolites and the redox state of the membrane. The global regulator of anaerobic gene expression in α-purple proteobacteria, RegB, appears to directly monitor respiratory activity of cytochrome oxidase. The aerobic repressor of photopigment synthesis, CrtJ, seems to contain a redox responsive cysteine. Finally, oxygen-sensitive rhizobial NifA proteins presumably bind a metal cofactor that senses redox. The functional variability of these regulatory proteins demonstrates that prokaryotes apply many different mechanisms to sense and respond to alterations in redox.

Keyword(s): ArcBCrtJFixLFNRNifANifLOxyRRegBSoxR

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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