Functional domains of the RhlR transcriptional regulator of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.J Bacteriol. 2003 Dec; 185(24):7129-39.JB
The RhlR transcriptional regulator of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, along with its cognate autoinducer, N-butyryl homoserine lactone (C(4)-HSL), regulates gene expression in response to cell density. With an Escherichia coli LexA-based protein interaction system, we demonstrated that RhlR multimerized and that the degree of multimerization was dependent on the C(4)-HSL concentration. Studies with an E. coli lasB::lacZ lysogen demonstrated that RhlR multimerization was necessary for it to function as a transcriptional activator. Deletion analysis of RhlR indicated that the N-terminal domain of the protein is necessary for C(4)-HSL binding. Single amino acid substitutions in the C-terminal domain of RhlR generated mutant RhlR proteins that had the ability to bind C(4)-HSL and multimerize but were unable to activate lasB expression, demonstrating that the C-terminal domain is important for target gene activation. Single amino acid substitutions in both the N-terminal and C-terminal domains of RhlR demonstrated that both domains possess residues involved in multimerization. RhlR with a C-terminal deletion and an RhlR site-specific mutant form that possessed multimerization but not transcriptional activation capabilities were able to inhibit the ability of wild-type RhlR to activate rhlA expression in P. aeruginosa. We conclude that C(4)-HSL binding is necessary for RhlR multimerization and that RhlR functions as a multimer in P. aeruginosa.