Comparative genomics of DtxR family regulons for metal homeostasis in Archaea

J Bacteriol. 2015 Feb;197(3):451-8. doi: 10.1128/JB.02386-14. Epub 2014 Nov 17.


The DtxR family consists of metal-dependent transcription factors (DtxR-TFs) that regulate the expression of genes involved in metal homeostasis in the cell. The majority of characterized DtxR-TFs belong to Bacteria. In the current work, we applied a comparative genomics approach to predict DNA-binding sites and reconstruct regulons for DtxR-TFs in Archaea. As a result, we inferred 575 candidate binding sites for 139 DtxR-TFs in 77 genomes from 15 taxonomic orders. Novel DNA motifs of archaeal DtxR-TFs that have a common palindromic structure were classified into 10 distinct groups. By combining functional regulon reconstructions with phylogenetic analysis, we selected 28 DtxR-TF clades and assigned them metal specificities and regulator names. The reconstructed FetR (ferrous iron), MntR (manganese), and ZntR (zinc) regulons largely contain known or putative metal uptake transporters from the FeoAB, NRAMP, ZIP, and TroA families. A novel family of putative iron transporters (named Irt), including multiple FetR-regulated paralogs, was identified in iron-oxidizing Archaea from the Sulfolobales order. The reconstructed DtxR-TF regulons were reconciled with available transcriptomics data in Archaeoglobus, Halobacterium, and Thermococcus spp.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / genetics*
  • Archaea / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • Computational Biology
  • DNA, Archaeal / genetics
  • Gene Order
  • Genomics
  • Homeostasis*
  • Metals / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Regulon*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • DNA, Archaeal
  • Metals
  • Transcription Factors