Extragenic pleiotropic mutations that repress glycosyl hydrolase expression in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus

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

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27 Scopus citations


The hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus employs a catabolite repression-like regulatory system to control enzymes involved in carbon and energy metabolism. To better understand the basis of this system, spontaneous glycosyl hydrolase mutants were isolated using a genetic screen for mutations, which reduced expression of the lacS gene. The specific activities of three glycosyl hydrolases, including an α-glucosidase (malA), a β-glycosidase (lacS), and the major secreted α-amylase, were measured in the mutant strains using enzyme activity assays, Western blot analysis, and Northern blot analysis. On the basis of these results the mutants were divided into two classes. Group I mutants exhibited a pleiotropic defect in glycosyl hydrolase expression, while a single group II mutant was altered only in lacS expression. PCR, Southern blot analysis, comparative heterologous expression in Escherichia coli, and DNA sequence analysis excluded cis-acting mutations as the explanation for reduced lacS expression in group I mutants. In contrast lacS and flanking sequences were deleted in the group II mutant. Revertants were isolated from group I mutants using a lacS-specific screen and selection. These revertants were pleiotropic and restored glycosyl hydrolase activity either partially or completely to wild- type levels as indicated by enzyme assays and Western blots. The lacS mutation in the group II mutant, however, was nonrevertible. The existence of group I mutants and their revertants reveals the presence of a trans-acting transcriptional regulatory system for glycosyl hydrolase expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1353-1361
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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