Transcriptional regulation and immunity in mycobacteriophage Bxb1

Mol Microbiol. 2000 Dec;38(5):971-85. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2000.02184.x.


Mycobacteriophage Bxb1 is a temperate phage of Mycobacterium smegmatis that shares a similar genome organization to mycobacteriophage L5, although the two phages are heteroimmune. We have investigated the regulatory circuitry of Bxb1 and found that it encodes a repressor, gp69, which regulates at least two promoters, an early lytic promoter, Pleft, and the divergent promoter, Pright. Bxb1 gp69 is 41% identical to the L5 repressor (gp71) and binds to repressor binding sites that conform to a similar, but distinct, 13 bp asymmetric consensus sequence to that for the L5 gp71 binding sites. The two phage repressors have a strong preference for their cognate binding sites, thus accounting for their immunity phenotypes. The Bxb1 genome contains 34 putative repressor binding sites located throughout the genome, but situated within short intergenic spaces and orientated in only one direction relative to the direction of transcription. Comparison with the locations of repressor binding sites within the L5 genome provides insights into how these unusual regulatory systems evolve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mycobacteriophages / genetics*
  • Mycobacteriophages / immunology*
  • Mycobacterium smegmatis / virology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Repressor Proteins / chemistry
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Viral Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*


  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • gp69 protein, Mycobacteriophage Bxb1