Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 21856858
J. Bacteriol. 2011 Oct;193(20):5675-82
Class 1 integrons are widespread genetic elements responsible for dissemination of antibiotic resistance among Gram-negative bacteria. Integrons allow bacteria to capture and express gene cassettes (GCs) via an integrase (IntI1) and a promoter (Pc) contained in the integron functional platform. GCs are transcribed from Pc, of which 13 variants of different strengths have been described, or, occasionally, from both Pc and a second promoter (P2). The intI1 promoter (PintI1) is repressed by LexA, which is the transcriptional repressor of the global regulatory SOS response network. Moreover, PintI1 lies face to face with Pc and overlaps P2, both configurations being propitious to transcriptional interference (TI). In this study, we analyzed possible transcriptional interference by quantifying transcripts produced from Pc, P2, and PintI1. We found that the Pc promoter interferes with the level of intI1 transcription but that this effect depends on the Pc variant: the strong Pc variant prevents intI1 expression, in contrast to the other variants. Although P2 formation results in LexA binding site disruption and thus prevents SOS regulation of intI1 expression, P2 does not interfere with PintI1. These findings reveal a tight relationship between GC and integrase expression.