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Bioinformatic Identification and Functional Characterisation of ó54 Promoters in Chlamydia trachomatis

Wan, Charles (2005) Bioinformatic Identification and Functional Characterisation of ó54 Promoters in Chlamydia trachomatis. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Chlamydia is a clinically significant organism that exhibits a unique stage-specific developmental cycle, involving the interconversion between two metabolically distinct forms. The completion of eight chlamydial genome sequences identified three different RNA polymerase sigma factor (ó) genes. Temporal gene expression analysis has predicted that each ó may play an integral role in controlling the development cycle. This thesis examines the role of the chlamydial alternate sigma factor, ó54 (rpoN) and the potential mechanism for the control the developmental cycle and disease pathogenesis. To achieve this, we searched the genome for putative ó54 promoters, validated the findings by DNA-binding assays, and examined the roles of the genes predicted to be regulated by ó54.

This study applied a bioinformatics approach to search for additional ó54 regulated genes in C. trachomatis L2. A reduced consensus sequence (TGGCACnnnnnTTGC) identified two previously published ó54 promoter sequences upstream of CT652.1 and CT683. A modified consensus sequence (TGG-N9-TGC) was applied to the C. trachomatis D genome in Findpatterns yielded 512 potential targets of which 20 by virtue of sequence orientation and distance upstream of the predicted ORF start codon

Primer extension analysis of total RNA isolated at 24 hours post-infection mapped the 5' RNA end upstream for acpS (CT100), yhf0_1 (CT258), SAM (CT404), lpxA (CT531), hypothetical proteins CT652.1 and CT683, and htrA (CT823) to the predicted ó54 promoters. Three candidates (CT291, CT404, and CT847) were mapped to putative ó70-like ó66 promoters. No transcript start sites were detected for the remaining ó54 promoter candidates. Two transcripts were detected from predicted ó66 and ó54 tandem promoters upstream of CT404. Primer extension analysis of the CT404 transcripts from RNA isolated at 4, 8, 12, 24 and 32 hours post-infection showed a decrease between 12 hours and 24 hours post-infection in transcripts

thought to be generated from the predicted ó66 promoter. Transcripts from the predicted ó54 promoter were identified throughout development.

Temporal gene expression profiles of the candidate genes with predicted ó54 promoters (CT652.1, CT683, CT100, CT258, CT531 and CT823) were resolved throughout the C. trachomatis L2 developmental cycle using real-time PCR. Transcripts for CT608 and CT609 were detected early in the cycle, while strong transcript levels were detected for CT258, CT531 and CT823 after the appearance of CT609 (rpoN). Low levels of CT652.1 and CT683 were measured, in the mid to late phase of the cycle, and transcripts for CT100 appeared at lower levels during the middle phase of the cycle.

The functional assay of the predicted ó54 promoters required the generation of recombinant C. trachomatis L2 ó54 (rRpoN). The C. trachomatis rpoN was cloned into a bacterial expression system (pQE70) and the recombinant proteins purified for subsequent DNA mobility shift assays. Expression of rRpoN was hampered by low copy numbers, and unusual physical characteristics. DNA binding and mobility shift assays using rRpoN extracts against the chlamydial CT652.1 ó54 promoter, plus two characterised E. coli ó54 promoters (hypA and hycA), were successful if E. coli core RNA polymerase was added to the assay. All 20 candidates with predicted ó54 promoters were analysed with EMSA using rRpoN extract. The promoters upstream of CT100, CT223, CT258, CT322, CT652.1 and CT683 showed affinity towards the recombinant rRpoN-E. coli core RNA polymerase holoenzyme complex.

Searches for potential chlamydial ó54 transcription initiation activators were made using the Multiple Em for Motif Elucidation (MEME) software, looking to identify the DNA binding motifs. The upstream promoter regions of CT100, CT223, CT258, CT322, CT531, CT652.1, CT683 and CT823 in C. trachomatis L2 and orthologs found in other species of Chlamydia were analysed. The software identified a near palindromic sequence upstream of CT100 orthologs in C. trachomatis D and C. trachomatis MoPn (CAACCCAAC and CACCACAAC) where as a CT531- and CT823-specific motif was also discovered (CCGTTGTAGAATCTC).

It is beginning to emerge that ó54 may regulate the expression of proteins required for the formation of the cell wall. Since the expression of the ó54 transcript, rpoN, coincides with the morphological change from the non-infectious RB to the infectious EB, predictions could be made concerning which genes are potentially regulated by ó54.

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ID Code: 16034
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Mathews, Sarah & Timms, Peter
Keywords: Chlamydia, RpoN, ó54, promoter, transcription, electrophoretic mobility shift assay
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Life Sciences
Department: Faculty of Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Charles Wan
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:55
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:42

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