Coordinate transcriptional control in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus

Cynthia Haseltine, Rafael Montalvo-Rodriguez, Elisabetta Bini, Audrey Carl, Paul Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The existence of a global gene regulatory system in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus is described. The system is responsive to carbon source quality and acts at the level of transcription to coordinate synthesis of three physically unlinked glycosyl hydrolases implicated in carbohydrate utilization. The specific activities of three enzymes, an α-glucosidase (malA), a β-glycosidase (lacS), and an α- amylase, were reduced 4-, 20-, and 10-fold, respectively, in response to the addition of supplementary carbon sources to a minimal sucrose medium. Western blot analysis using anti-α-glucosidase and anti-β-glycosidase antibodies indicated that reduced enzyme activities resulted exclusively from decreased enzyme levels. Northern blot analysis of malA and lacS mRNAs revealed that changes in enzyme abundance arose primarily from reductions in transcript concentrations. Culture conditions precipitating rapid changes in lacS gene expression were established to determine the response time of the regulatory system in vivo. Full induction occurred within a single generation whereas full repression occurred more slowly, requiring nearly 38 generations. Since lacS mRNA abundance changed much more rapidly in response to a nutrient down shift than to a nutrient up shift, transcript synthesis rather than degradation likely plays a role in the regulatory response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3920-3927
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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