TitleRepression of YdaS Toxin Is Mediated by Transcriptional Repressor RacR in the Cryptic rac Prophage of Escherichia coli K-12.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKrishnamurthi R, Ghosh S, Khedkar S, Seshasayee ASai Narain
Date Published2017 Nov-Dec

Horizontal gene transfer is a major driving force behind the genomic diversity seen in prokaryotes. The cryptic rac prophage in Escherichia coli K-12 carries the gene for a putative transcription factor RacR, whose deletion is lethal. We have shown that the essentiality of racR in E. coli K-12 is attributed to its role in transcriptionally repressing toxin gene(s) called ydaS and ydaT, which are adjacent to and coded divergently to racR. IMPORTANCE Transcription factors in the bacterium E. coli are rarely essential, and when they are essential, they are largely toxin-antitoxin systems. While studying transcription factors encoded in horizontally acquired regions in E. coli, we realized that the protein RacR, a putative transcription factor encoded by a gene on the rac prophage, is an essential protein. Here, using genetics, biochemistry, and bioinformatics, we show that its essentiality derives from its role as a transcriptional repressor of the ydaS and ydaT genes, whose products are toxic to the cell. Unlike type II toxin-antitoxin systems in which transcriptional regulation involves complexes of the toxin and antitoxin, repression by RacR is sufficient to keep ydaS transcriptionally silent.

Alternate JournalmSphere
PubMed ID29205228
PubMed Central IDPMC5700373
Grant List / / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom