Status quo of tet regulation in bacteria

Microb Biotechnol. 2022 Apr;15(4):1101-1119. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.13926. Epub 2021 Oct 29.


The tetracycline repressor (TetR) belongs to the most popular, versatile and efficient transcriptional regulators used in bacterial genetics. In the tetracycline (Tc) resistance determinant tet(B) of transposon Tn10, tetR regulates the expression of a divergently oriented tetA gene that encodes a Tc antiporter. These components of Tn10 and of other natural or synthetic origins have been used for tetracycline-dependent gene regulation (tet regulation) in at least 40 bacterial genera. Tet regulation serves several purposes such as conditional complementation, depletion of essential genes, modulation of artificial genetic networks, protein overexpression or the control of gene expression within cell culture or animal infection models. Adaptations of the promoters employed have increased tet regulation efficiency and have made this system accessible to taxonomically distant bacteria. Variations of TetR, different effector molecules and mutated DNA binding sites have enabled new modes of gene expression control. This article provides a current overview of tet regulation in bacteria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Tetracycline Resistance* / genetics
  • Tetracycline*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tetracycline