Binding of the Lactococcal Drug Dependent Transcriptional Regulator LmrR to Its Ligands and Responsive Promoter Regions

PLoS One. 2015 Aug 12;10(8):e0135467. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135467. eCollection 2015.


The heterodimeric ABC transporter LmrCD from Lactococcus lactis is able to extrude several different toxic compounds from the cell, fulfilling a role in the intrinsic and induced drug resistance. The expression of the lmrCD genes is regulated by the multi-drug binding repressor LmrR, which also binds to its own promoter to autoregulate its own expression. Previously, we reported the crystal structure of LmrR in the presence and absence of the drugs Hoechst 33342 and daunomycin. Analysis of the mechanism how drugs control the repressor activity of LmrR is impeded by the fact that these drugs also bind to DNA. Here we identified, using X-ray crystallography and fluorescence, that riboflavin binds into the drug binding cavity of LmrR, adopting a similar binding mode as Hoechst 33342 and daunomycin. Microscale thermophoresis was employed to quantify the binding affinity of LmrR to its responsive promoter regions and to evaluate the cognate site of LmrR in the lmrCD promoter region. Riboflavin reduces the binding affinity of LmrR for the promoter regions. Our results support a model wherein drug binding to LmrR relieves the LmrR dependent repression of the lmrCD genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Lactococcus lactis / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Protein Binding
  • Riboflavin / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Riboflavin

Grants and funding

Support was provided by Ubbo Emmius Bursary of the University of Groningen to JB and PM.