Based upon DNA sequence data and positive immunochemical reactivity of expressed protein, novel homologues of the FNR family were identified in four representative oral facultative anaerobes: Capnocytophaga ochracea, Capnocytophaga sputigena, Haemophilus aphrophilus, and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. The similarity to E. coli FNR and to HlyX (itself 71% similar to E. coli FNR, while regulating expression of hemolysin operon in Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae) was estimated from the deduced partial amino acid sequence to be, in the above order of tested species, 98, 98, 86, and 85%, and 75, 75, 88, and 88%, respectively. The phylogenetic relatedness indicates a rather closer link of HlyX to the FNR homologues from both pathogens, H. aphrophilus and A. actinomycetemcomitans. The possibility that the A. actinomycetemcomitans FNR homologue functions as a redox-sensing transcriptional factor to regulate, in addition to anaerobic respiration, microaerobic expression of the leukotoxin operon (ltx gene) is suggested.
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