Gene expression is regulated at many levels in bacteria. Figure 14.1 in your textbook displays a summary of regulatory mechanisms used to control gene expression. The expression of bacterial genes is controlled by the action of diffusible repressors andactivators. Tetracycline is an antibiotic used to treat respiratory infections, infections of the skin, including acne, and infections of the genitourinary system. Over time however, many bacteria have become resistant to tetracycline. The mechanism often utilized by resistant strains is the synthesis and use of an efflux pump. While there are multiple types, in general, this pump consists of a membrane‐spanning protein that extrudes the antibiotic from the cell. Since efflux pumps are energetically expensive to make, they are only produced when tetracycline is present. A repressor protein, TetR, has been identified and characterized in resistant strains. The efflux‐pump is negatively controlled by TetR. TetR binds to theoperator region when there is no tetracycline available. When tetracycline is present, TetR is released from the DNA. TetR gene transcription is inhibited by the repressorprotein. We can also look at an example of positivecontrol. Regulatory proteins can bind to activator binding sites in the presence of a key nutrient or other chemical in the cell. The cell is “sensing” the presence of this nutrient and the activator can then turn on genes in response. This is the case with the transcription of fimbriae genes in some pathogens. In order to conserve resources, fimbrial genes are only transcribed when the pathogen is in the nutrient rich environment of the host where the amino acid leucine is abundant. Under these conditions, the pathogen develops fimbriae and attaches itself to the epithelium of the host.
For this discussion you characterize a transcriptional regulatory system like the ones just described. However, for our purposes this should be entirely fictional. You can even invent your own bacterial species!!
In your initial discussion board post, please include the following:
- Make up an operon, the regulatory proteins, the cellular process and the molecules being “sensed”.
- Describe your fictional operon with legitimate details about the orientation of the genes and the promoter/operator sequences or activator binding site.
- Provide details about the repressor/activator and inducer/inhibitor proteins.
- Explain how the operon helps your pathogen survive and possibly thrive in its host.
- Include details about conditions that trigger expression of the gene(s).
To complete this discussion, respond to at least two other initial posts. Collaboration is vital to productive and innovative science, so please respond to the others’ initial posts as if you were collaborating in order to combat antibiotic resistance. Propose a use for an artificial repressor or activator for controlling gene expression in this pathogen, disarm virulence and make impotent the most potent of pathogens!