Background: Several cis-acting regulatory sequences functioning at the level of mRNA or nascent peptide and specifically influencing transcription or translation have been described. These regulatory elements often respond to specific chemicals.Results: We have developed a method that allows us to select cis-acting regulatory sequences that respond to diverse chemicals. The method is based on the β-lactamase gene containing a random sequence inserted into the beginning of the ORF. Several rounds of selection are used to isolate sequences that suppress β-lactamase expression in response to the compound under study. We have isolated sequences that respond to erythromycin, troleandomycin, chloramphenicol, meta-toluate and homoserine lactone. By introducing synonymous and non-synonymous mutations we have shown that at least in the case of erythromycin the sequences act at the peptide level. We have also tested the cross-activities of the constructs and found that in most cases the sequences respond most strongly to the compound on which they were isolated.Conclusions: Several selected peptides showed ligand-specific changes in amino acid frequencies, but no consensus motif could be identified. This is consistent with previous observations on natural cis-acting peptides, showing that it is often impossible to demonstrate a consensus. Applying the currently developed method on a larger scale, by selecting and comparing an extended set of sequences, might allow the sequence rules underlying the activity of cis-acting regulatory peptides to be identified. © 2010 Allas and Tenson; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Allas, Ü., & Tenson, T. (2010). A method for selecting cis-acting regulatory sequences that respond to small molecule effectors. BMC Molecular Biology, 11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2199-11-56