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The highly conserved Escherichia coli transcription factor YhaJ regulates aromatic compound degradation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr James ConnollyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


� 2016 Palevsky, Shemer, Connolly and Belkin. The aromatic compound 2,4-dinitrotoluene (DNT), a common impurity in 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) production, has been suggested as a tracer for the presence of TNT-based landmines due to its stability and high volatility. We have previously described an Escherichia coli bioreporter capable of detecting the presence of DNT vapors, harboring a fusion of the yqjF gene promoter to a reporter element. However, the DNT metabolite which is the direct inducer of yqjF, has not yet been identified, nor has the regulatory mechanism of the induction been clarified. We demonstrate here that the YhaJ protein, a member of the LysR type family, acts as a transcriptional regulator of yqjF activation, as well as of a panel of additional E. coli genes. This group of genes share a common sequence motif in their promoters, which is suggested here as a putative YhaJ-box. In addition, we have linked YhaJ to the regulation of quinol-like compound degradation in the cell, and identified yhaK as playing a role in the degradation of DNT.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Palevsky N, Shemer B, Connolly JPR, Belkin S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Microbiology

Year: 2016

Volume: 7

Online publication date: 22/09/2016

Acceptance date: 07/09/2016

Date deposited: 20/09/2019

ISSN (electronic): 1664-302X

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01490


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