Cross-talk between two global regulators in Streptomyces: PhoP and AfsR interact in the control of afsS, pstS and phoRP transcription

Mol Microbiol. 2009 Apr;72(1):53-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.06624.x. Epub 2009 Feb 11.


The regulatory proteins AfsR and PhoP control expression of the biosynthesis of actinorhodin and undecylprodigiosin in Streptomyces coelicolor. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that PhoP(DBD) does not bind directly to the actII-ORF4, redD and atrA promoters, but it binds to the afsS promoter, in a region overlapping with the AfsR operator. DNase I footprinting studies revealed a PhoP protected region of 26 nt (PHO box; two direct repeats of 11 nt) that overlaps with the AfsR binding sequence. Binding experiments indicated a competition between AfsR and PhoP; increasing concentrations of PhoP(DBD) resulted in the disappearance of the AfsR-DNA complex. Expression studies using the reporter luxAB gene coupled to afsS promoter showed that PhoP downregulates afsS expression probably by a competition with the AfsR activator. Interestingly, AfsR binds to other PhoP-regulated promoters including those of pstS (a component of the phosphate transport system) and phoRP (encoding the two component system itself). Analysis of the AfsR-protected sequences in each of these promoters allowed us to distinguish the AfsR binding sequence from the overlapping PHO box. The reciprocal regulation of the phoRP promoter by AfsR and of afsS by PhoP suggests a fine interplay of these regulators on the control of secondary metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • DNA Footprinting
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / genetics*
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • PhoP protein, Bacteria
  • AfsR protein, Streptomyces coelicolor