Cross-regulation between two common ancestral response regulators, HprR and CusR, in Escherichia coli

Microbiology (Reading). 2017 Feb;163(2):243-252. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000410. Epub 2017 Mar 9.


The uncharacterized two-component system YedVW of Escherichia coli is involved in stress response to hydrogen peroxide. To identify the H2O2-sensing role of YedV, a set of single Cys-to-Ala substitution mutants were constructed. One particular mutant with C165A substitution in the membrane domain rendered YedV inactive in H2O2-dependent transcription of its regulatory target hiuH. We then proposed to rename YedVW to HprSR (hydrogen peroxide response sensor/regulator). One unique characteristic of HprR is the overlapping of its recognition sequence with that of the Cu(II)-response two-component system regulator CusR. Towards understanding this unique regulation system, in this study we analysed the interplay between HprR and CusR with respect to transcription of hiuH, a regulatory target of HprR, and cusC, a target of CusR. Under low protein concentrations in vitro and in vivo, two regulators recognize and transcribe both hiuH and cusC promoters, albeit at different efficiency, apparently in a collaborative fashion. This is a new type of transcription regulation of the common target genes in response to different external signals. Upon increase in protein concentrations, however, HprR and CusR compete with each other in transcription of the common targets, thereby exhibiting a competitive interplay.

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Prealbumin / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics


  • CusR protein, E coli
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • HprR protein, E coli
  • Prealbumin
  • Trans-Activators
  • hiuH protein, E coli
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Oxidoreductases