An SmtB-like repressor from Synechocystis PCC 6803 regulates a zinc exporter

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Sep 1;95(18):10728-33. doi: 10.1073/pnas.95.18.10728.


ORF slr0798, now designated ziaA, from Synechocystis PCC 6803 encodes a polypeptide with sequence features of heavy metal transporting P-type ATPases. Increased Zn2+ tolerance and reduced 65Zn accumulation was observed in Synechococcus PCC 7942, strain R2-PIM8(smt), containing ziaA and upstream regulatory sequences, compared with control cells. Conversely, reduced Zn2+ tolerance was observed following disruption of ziaA in Synechocystis PCC 6803, and ziaA-mediated restoration of Zn2+ tolerance has subsequently been used as a selectable marker for transformation. Nucleotide sequences upstream of ziaA, fused to a promoterless lacZ gene, conferred Zn2+-dependent beta-galactosidase activity when introduced into R2-PIM8(smt). The product of ORF sll0792, designated ZiaR, is a Zn2+-responsive repressor of ziaA transcription. Reporter gene constructs lacking ziaR conferred elevated Zn2+-independent expression from the ziaA operator-promoter in R2-PIM8(smt). Gel retardation assays detected ZiaR-dependent complexes forming with the zia operator-promoter and ZiaR-DNA binding was enhanced by treatment with a metal-chelator in vitro. Two mutants of ZiaR (C71S/C73S and H116R) bound to, and repressed expression from, the ziaA operator-promoter but were unable to sense Zn2+. Metal coordination to His-imidazole and Cys-thiolate ligands at these residues of ZiaR is thus implicated in Zn2+-perception by Synechocystis PCC 6803.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Chelating Agents
  • Cyanobacteria / genetics*
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Ion Transport
  • Operator Regions, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Chelating Agents
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Zinc