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Regulation of ferulic catabolic genes in Pseudomonas fluorescens BF13: involvement of a MarR family regulator


In Pseudomonas fluorescens BF13, the cluster of genes essential for degradation of ferulic to vanillic acid (ech, vdh and fcs) is expressed in ferulic but not in succinic-grown cells. In the upstream region, we identified a gene, ferR, encoding a protein homologous to transcriptional regulators of the MarR family. A ferR knockout mutant (BF13–89) showed a 3.5-fold increase in expression of an ech-reporter gene fusion compared with the parent strain in succinic-grown cells, indicating that the ferR gene product negatively regulates expression of the ferulic catabolic operon in P. fluorescens BF13. Consistent with the increased expression of the catabolic genes in the ferR mutant, BF13-89 showed a shorter (relative to its FerR+ parent) lag phase during carbon source shift from succinic to ferulic acid. However, expression of ech-lacZ fusion did not increase in BF13–89 grown in the presence of ferulic acid, indicating that FerR has a second function as transcriptional activator. Expression of ech-lacZ in a feruloyl-CoA synthetase-deficient strain revealed unambiguously that FerR-mediated activation of the ferulic catabolic operon is dependent on the thioester product of the feruloyl-CoA synthetase reaction.

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The authors acknowledge the Italian MIUR (PRIN) for funding the project.

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Correspondence to M. Ruzzi.

Additional information

C. Calisti and A.G. Ficca contributed equally.

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Calisti, C., Ficca, A.G., Barghini, P. et al. Regulation of ferulic catabolic genes in Pseudomonas fluorescens BF13: involvement of a MarR family regulator. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 80, 475–483 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-008-1557-4

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  • Ferulic acid catabolism
  • Pseudomonas
  • MarR family regulator
  • FerR
  • CoA thioester
  • Gene transcription