1887

Abstract

Expression of DNA transfer () genes of F-type conjugative plasmids is required for the assembly of a functional type IV secretion machinery and subsequent plasmid DNA transfer from donor to recipient cells. Transcription of genes depends on the activation of a single promoter, designated P, by the plasmid encoded TraJ protein. We here determine plasmid specificity of TraJ proteins from various subgroups of F-like plasmids and find that plasmid R1 conjugation and P promoter activation can be achieved only by its cognate activator and by TraJ of the plasmid pSLT and not by F or R100 TraJ proteins. In addition, we characterize the P promoter of plasmid R1. We show that TraJ binds to P DNA and that H-NS acts as a silencer of the P promoter. In the natural plasmid context, H-NS silences transfer gene expression and horizontal plasmid DNA transfer. In contrast to what was found for the F plasmid, lack of H-NS did not abolish the requirement for ArcA and TraJ to reach full gene expression and DNA transfer activity. We propose that, besides a passive de-silencing activity, both ArcA and TraJ play a direct role in synergistically stimulating operon transcription and subsequent DNA transfer.

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2013-12-01
2021-07-31
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