Sequence inspection identified several potential IHF binding sites adjacent to the Rhizobium leguminosarum dctA promoter. IHF protected the -30 to -76 region from DNase I digestion, but systematic error in quantitative assays suggested that this protein-DNA interaction is complex. IHF stimulated DctD-mediated transcriptional activation from the R. leguminosarum dctA promoter both in vivo and in vitro. In contrast to R. leguminosarum dctA, the Sinorhizobium meliloti dctA promoter region was found to have a much weaker match to the consensus IHF binding site and a low affinity for IHF. Moreover, IHF had no effect on transcriptional activation from the S. meliloti dctA promoter in vitro. A base substitution was introduced into the IHF binding site of R. leguminosarum dctA that reduced the affinity of the promoter regulatory region for IHF by ~30-fold and resulted in an eight-fold decrease in transcriptional activation in both R. leguminosarum and S. meliloti. These data suggest that both rhizobial species have an IHF homolog that stimulates DctD-mediated transcriptional activation from the R. leguminosarum dctA promoter. Consistent with this hypothesis, a 12.5 kDa protein was identified from R. leguminosarum as a putative homolog of IHF subunit β by immunoblotting and N-terminal sequence analysis. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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