Purple nonsulfur bacteria adapt their physiology to a wide variety of environmental conditions often through the control of transcription. One of the main transcription factors involved in controlling expression of the Rhodobacter capsulatus photosystem is CrtJ, which functions as an aerobic repressor of photosystem genes. Recently, we reported that a vitamin B12 binding antirepressor of CrtJ called AerR is required for anaerobic expression of the photosystem. However, the mechanism whereby AerR regulates CrtJ activity is unclear. In this study, we used a combination of next-generation sequencing and biochemical methods to globally identify genes under control of CrtJ and the role of AerR in controlling this regulation. Our results indicate that CrtJ has a much larger regulon than previously known, with a surprising regulatory function under both aerobic and anaerobic photosynthetic growth conditions. A combination of in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation-DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq) and ChIP-seq and exonuclease digestion (ChIP-exo) studies and in vitro biochemical studies demonstrate that AerR forms a 1:2 complex with CrtJ (AerR-CrtJ2) and that this complex binds to many promoters under photosynthetic conditions. The results of in vitro and in vivo DNA binding studies indicate that AerR-CrtJ2 anaerobically forms an extended interaction with the bacteriochlorophyll bchC promoter to relieve repression by CrtJ. This is contrasted by aerobic growth conditions where CrtJ alone functions as an aerobic repressor of bchC expression. These results indicate that the DNA binding activity of CrtJ is modified by interacting with AerR in a redox-regulated manner and that this interaction alters CrtJ’s function.
Fang M, & C. E. Bauer (2017) The vitamin B12-dependent photoreceptor AerR relieves photosystem gene repression by extending the interaction of CrtJ with photosystem promoters. mBio 8:e00261-17. https://mbio.asm.org/content/8/2/e00261-17.