SrnR from Streptomyces griseus is a nickel-binding transcriptional activator

March 24, 2020


SrnR from Streptomyces griseus is a nickel-binding transcriptional activator


Ylenia Beniamino, Giulia Pesce, Annamaria Zannoni, Davide Roncarati, Barbara Zambelli




Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry


Nickel ions are crucial components for the catalysis of biological reactions in prokaryotic organisms. As an uncontrolled nickel trafficking is toxic for living organisms, nickel-dependent bacteria have developed tightly regulated strategies to maintain the correct intracellular metal ion quota. These mechanisms require transcriptional regulator proteins that respond to nickel concentration, activating or repressing the expression of specific proteins related to Ni(II) metabolism. In Streptomyces griseus, a Gram-positive bacterium used for antibiotic production, SgSrnR and SgSrnQ regulate the nickel-dependent antagonistic expression of two superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzymes, a Ni-SOD and a FeZn-SOD. According to a previously proposed model, SgSrnR and SgSrnQ form a protein complex in which SgSrnR works as repressor, binding directly to the promoter of the gene coding for FeZn-SOD, while SgSrnQ is the Ni(II)-dependent co-repressor. The present work focuses on the determination of the biophysical and functional properties of SgSrnR. The protein was heterologously expressed and purified from Escherichia coli. The structural and metal-binding analysis, carried out by circular dichroism, light scattering, fluorescence and isothermal titration calorimetry, showed that the protein is a well-structured homodimer, able to bind nickel with moderate affinity. DNase I footprinting and β-galactosidase gene reporter assays revealed that apo-SgSrnR is able to bind its DNA operator and activates a transcriptional response. The structural and functional properties of this protein are discussed relatively to its role as a Ni(II)-dependent sensor.




Circular dichroism, Secondary structure, Ligand binding, Thermal stability, Protein denaturation, Protein folding, Thermodynamics, Tertiary structure, Biochemistry