BIOL 2416 Chapter 17: Bacterial Operons Regulation of Gene Expression in Bacteria Functionally related genes clustered in operons (Jacob and Monod) Operon genes transcribed together into polycistronic mRNA (operon = single promoter,
shared operator, + operon genes) Strong selective pressure for avoiding making unnecessary proteins (dont want to slow cellular replication, lose evolutionary foothold) Short prokaryotic mRNA half lives mean transcriptional control very effective. Operons are either under POSITIVE or NEGATIVE CONTROL NEGATIVE:
POSITIVE: Uses a repressor Uses an activator Repressors and activators are PROTEINS encoded by CONSTITUTIVE (= always on) REGULATORY genes.
Operons are either REPRESSIBLE or INDUCIBLE REPRESSIBLE: INDUCIBLE: Involves binding a Involves binding an co-repressor
inducer (metabolite/end(metabolite/starting product) to substrate) to repress/turn OFF induce/turn ON operon transcription operon transcription 3 combinations found in nature: REPRESSIBLE
INDUCIBLE NEGATIVE This operon uses a This operon uses repressor that a repressor that binds a cobinds an inducer
repressor to to induce txn. repress txn. POSITIVE This operon uses an activator that binds an inducer to induce txn.
Not found. Example #1: The Lac operon of E. coli makes the three enzymes needed for lactose breakdown: LacZ encodes Beta-galactosidase breaks up lactose into glucose and galactose (galactose also converted to glucose for metabolism) Isomerizes lactose into allolactose inducer
(presence of lactose means presence of allolactose) LacY encodes permease For lactose transport across cell membrane LacA encodes transacetylase Poorly understood function The Lac operon has 2 control circuits: NEGATIVE INDUCIBLE Uses a repressor that binds an inducer (allolactose) to induce operon txn.
Car ignition Requires presence of lactose POSITIVE INDUCIBLE Uses an activator (CAP) that binds an inducer (cyclic AMP) to induce operon txn. Gas pedal Requires absence of (preferred) glucose So how does it work?
First well need allolactose to start the car: LAC OPERON NEGATIVE INDUCIBLE CONTROL CIRCUIT: In the absence of lactose, an active repressor protein binds to the operator and blocks transcription by RNA Polymerase:
When lactose is present in the cell, allolactose, an isomer of lactose, binds to the repressor. This inactivates the repressor, because it can no longer bind the operator. Now RNA Polymerase can transcribe the Lac operon: Copyright 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings But RNA Polymerase has low affinity for the Lac operon
promoter. so even though the Lac operon is turned on by the presence of lactose, it is transcribed at low levels (like your car merely starting to roll forward after the ignition key is turned). So once the car is turned on, how do we step on the gas?
LAC OPERON POSITIVE INDUCIBLE CONTROL CIRCUIT If glucose levels are low (along with overall ATP energy levels), then cAMP is high. cAMP binds to CAP (a.k.a. CRP)
which activates Lac operon transcription. Copyright 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings Fig. 16.8a Cis-dominant effect of lacOc mutation in a partial-diploid strain of E. coli Where LacI = repressor gene,
LacO = operator, P = promoters. Peter J. Russell, iGenetics: Copyright Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings. Fig. 16.8b Cis-dominant effect of lacOc mutation in a partial-diploid strain of E. coli TRY Table 16, Pg. 465
Example #2: The Trp operon of E. coli encodes five enzymes needed to catalyze the synthesis of Tryptophan: TrpE gene product
TrpD gene product TrpC gene product TrpB gene product TrpA gene product The Trp operon has 2 control mechanisms NEGATIVE REPRESSIBLE OPERON Uses a repressor that binds a co-repressor (end product Trp) to repress operon transcription by 70-fold
Requires presence of Trp ATTENUATION Acts / represses on top of above mechanism by another 8 to 10-fold Involves premature txn termination Requires high Trp levels TRP OPERON NEGATIVE REPRESSIBLE CONTROL CIRCUIT: By itself, the operon is on. RNA
polymerase can bind to the promotor and moves freely through the operator to transcribe the genes: When co-repressor (end-product) Trp is present, it binds to the repressor. This activates the repressor, causing it to bind the operator to block Trp operon transcription: Copyright 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings
TRP OPERON ATTENUATION MECHANISM: involves 3 alternate ways to fold mRNA: Pairing of 1 and 2 causes ribosomes to load onto mRNA right after RNA Pol. (COUPLING txn + tln)
Fig. 16.17a Models for attenuation in the trp operon of E.coli Peter J. Russell, iGenetics: Copyright Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings. Fig. 16.17b Models for attenuation in the trp operon of E.coli Peter J. Russell, iGenetics: Copyright Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings.
Regulation of gene expression in Lambda Phage - overview Recall lysogeny (integrated prophage) vs. lytic cycle: The lambda phage which infects E. coli demonstrates the cycles of a temperate phage. Copyright 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings
Fig. 18.5 How does Lambda choose between lysogeny and lytic cycle? Fig. 16.20 A map of phage , showing the major genes Peter J. Russell, iGenetics: Copyright Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings.
Establishing lysogeny: Usually when nutrients are low, virus will lay dormant until things improve. Starving E. coli cells make lots of cAMP Upon infection, a very unstable CII protein is made. High cAMP inhibits the host enzymes that would normally rapidly degrade CII CII stimulates production of CI repressor and integrase
CI stimulates its own production and inhibits txn of lytic genes. Entering the lytic cycle: Usually due to stress (e.g. UV light) resulting in DNA damage. Host cell DNA damages initiates host cell SOS response, including making host cell RecA protein. Host cell RecA protein destroys CI
repressor and stimulates CRO production. CRO represses CI and CII genes and stimulates lytic genes.
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