Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15901700
J. Bacteriol. 2005 Jun;187(11):3762-78
Cysteine and methionine availability influences many processes in the cell. In bacteria, transcription of the specific genes involved in the synthesis of these two amino acids is usually regulated by different mechanisms or regulators. Pathways for the synthesis of cysteine and methionine and their interconversion were experimentally determined for Lactococcus lactis, a lactic acid bacterium commonly found in food. A new gene, yhcE, was shown to be involved in methionine recycling to cysteine. Surprisingly, 18 genes, representing almost all genes of these pathways, are under the control of a LysR-type activator, FhuR, also named CmbR. DNA microarray experiments showed that FhuR targets are restricted to this set of 18 genes clustered in seven transcriptional units, while cysteine starvation modifies the transcription level of several other genes potentially involved in oxidoreduction processes. Purified FhuR binds a 13-bp box centered 46 to 53 bp upstream of the transcriptional starts from the seven regulated promoters, while a second box with the same consensus is present upstream of the first binding box, separated by 8 to 10 bp. O-Acetyl serine increases FhuR binding affinity to its binding boxes. The overall view of sulfur amino acid metabolism and its regulation in L. lactis indicates that CysE could be a master enzyme controlling the activity of FhuR by providing its effector, while other controls at the enzymatic level appear to be necessary to compensate the absence of differential regulation of the genes involved in the interconversion of methionine and cysteine and other biosynthesis genes.