Streptomyces coelicolor XdhR is a direct target of (p)ppGpp that controls expression of genes encoding xanthine dehydrogenase to promote purine salvage

Mol Microbiol. 2016 May;100(4):701-18. doi: 10.1111/mmi.13342. Epub 2016 Feb 29.


The gene encoding Streptomyces coelicolor xanthine dehydrogenase regulator (XdhR) is divergently oriented from xdhABC, which encodes xanthine dehydrogenase (Xdh). Xdh is required for purine salvage pathways. XdhR was previously shown to repress xdhABC expression. We show that XdhR binds the xdhABC-xdhR intergenic region with high affinity (Kd ∼ 0.5 nM). DNaseI footprinting reveals that this complex formation corresponds to XdhR binding the xdhR gene promoter at two adjacent sites; at higher protein concentrations, protection expands to a region that overlaps the transcriptional and translational start sites of xdhABC. While substrates for Xdh have little effect on DNA binding, GTP and ppGpp dissociate the DNA-XdhR complex. Progression of cells to stationary phase, a condition associated with increased (p)ppGpp production, leads to elevated xdhB expression; in contrast, inhibition of Xdh by allopurinol results in xdhB repression. We propose that XdhR is a direct target of (p)ppGpp, and that expression of xdhABC is upregulated during the stringent response to promote purine salvage pathways, maintain GTP homeostasis and ensure continued (p)ppGpp synthesis. During exponential phase growth, basal levels of xdhABC expression may be achieved by GTP serving as a lower-affinity XdhR ligand.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allopurinol / pharmacology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Guanosine Pentaphosphate / metabolism*
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Purines / metabolism*
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / drug effects
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / enzymology
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / genetics*
  • Streptomyces coelicolor / growth & development
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Xanthine / metabolism
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase / metabolism


  • Purines
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xanthine
  • Guanosine Pentaphosphate
  • Allopurinol
  • Guanosine Triphosphate
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase