The small protein HemP is a transcriptional activator for the hemin uptake operon in Burkholderia multivorans ATCC 17616

Takuya Sato, Shouta Nonoyama, Akane Kimura, Yuji Nagata, Yoshiyuki Ohtsubo, Masataka Tsuda

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Iron and heme play very important roles in various metabolic functions in bacteria, and their intracellular homeostasis is maintained because high concentrations of free forms of these molecules greatly facilitate the Fenton reaction-mediated production of large amounts of reactive oxygen species that severely damage various biomolecules. The ferric uptake regulator (Fur) from Burkholderia multivorans ATCC 17616 is an iron-responsive global transcriptional regulator, and its fur deletant exhibits pleiotropic phenotypes. In this study, we found that the phenotypes of the fur deletant were suppressed by an additional mutation in hemP. The transcription of hemP was negatively regulated by Fur under iron-replete conditions and was constitutive in the fur deletant. Growth of a hemP deletant was severely impaired in a medium containing hemin as the sole iron source, demonstrating the important role of HemP in hemin utilization. HemP was required as a transcriptional activator that specifically binds the promoter-containing region upstream of a Fur-repressive hmuRSTUV operon, which encodes the proteins for hemin uptake. A hmuR deletant was still able to grow using hemin as the sole iron source, albeit at a rate clearly lower than that of the wild-type strain. These results strongly suggested (i) the involvement of HmuR in hemin uptake and (ii) the presence in ATCC 17616 of at least part of other unknown hemin uptake systems whose expression depends on the HemP function. Our in vitro analysis also indicated high-affinity binding of HemP to hemin, and such a property might modulate transcriptional activation of the hmu operon.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00479-17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 1


  • Burkholderia
  • Hemin
  • HemP
  • Iron
  • Regulator


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