Multiple regulatory elements for the glpA operon encoding anaerobic glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and the glpD operon encoding aerobic glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase in Escherichia coli: further characterization of respiratory control.
In Escherichia coli, sn-glycerol-3-phosphate can be oxidized by two different flavo-dehydrogenases, an anaerobic enzyme encoded by the glpACB operon and an aerobic enzyme encoded by the glpD operon. These two operons belong to the glp regulon specifying the utilization of glycerol, sn-glycerol-3-phosphate, and glycerophosphodiesters. In glpR mutant cells grown under conditions of low catabolite repression, the glpA operon is best expressed anaerobically with fumarate as the exogenous electron acceptor, whereas the glpD operon is best expressed aerobically. Increased anaerobic expression of glpA is dependent on the fnr product, a pleiotropic activator of genes involved in anaerobic respiration. In this study we found that the expression of a glpA1(Oxr) (oxygen-resistant) mutant operon, selected for increased aerobic expression, became less dependent on the FNR protein but more dependent on the cyclic AMP-catabolite gene activator protein complex mediating catabolite repression. Despite the increased aerobic expression of glpA1(Oxr), a twofold aerobic repressibility persisted. Moreover, anaerobic repression by nitrate respiration remained normal. Thus, there seems to exist a redox control apart from the FNR-mediated one. We also showed that the anaerobic repression of the glpD operon was fully relieved by mutations in either arcA (encoding a presumptive DNA recognition protein) or arcB (encoding a presumptive redox sensor protein). The arc system is known to mediate pleiotropic control of genes of aerobic function.