, 1999; Schauer et al., 2002), is conserved among all organisms. Because redox status or disulfide bond formation may be important in HemA regulation, each of the three cysteines of HemA was individually changed to alanine, resulting in the mutants C50A, C74A, and C170A. These were expressed in E. coli from a plasmid bearing the native hemA promoter, but controlled by the lac operator and repressor. Both C74A and C170A complemented an E. coli hemA mutant when expressed at physiological levels,
thereby demonstrating that they encode functional 3-MA proteins. As expected, plasmids encoding either a sequenced amber mutant allele of hemA (Q369Am) or the C50A mutant protein were unable to complement in the same test. As a first assessment of the regulatory phenotype of the HemA Cys mutants, HemA was analyzed by Western blot of lysates prepared from overnight cultures (Fig. 2a). In a previous report, we observed that HemA protein is undetectable by Western blot in wild-type cultures grown overnight, http://www.selleckchem.com/products/U0126.html whereas HemA[KK], a regulatory mutant, is maintained at easily detectable levels (Wang et al., 1999b). HemA[C170A] was nearly as
abundant as HemA[KK], whereas HemA levels in C50A, C74A, and wild-type were at or below the limit of detection, suggesting that of the three mutants, C170A alone displays a regulatory defect. To verify this, the CysAla mutants were assessed for correct regulation by comparing HemA levels in the absence and presence of ALA (Fig. 2b). In ALA-supplemented
cultures, where the wild type is unstable, HemA levels were much higher in the C170A mutant compared with the wild-type strain and the C74 mutant (Fig. 2b), and slightly higher than HemA[KK] in a similar test (Fig. 2c). We conclude that HemA[C170A] is a regulatory mutant. This effect was further investigated using purified proteins. Initial attempts to overexpress either native or His-tagged HemA protein using selleck the standard T7 system were unsuccessful (unpublished data); however, we observed that constructs bearing an amber mutant allele of hemA (Q369Am) allowed overexpression of the truncated protein (Wang et al., 1997), at a high level similar to that observed for other proteins we have purified (e.g. HemL, RpoS). This prompted us to test whether relatively short C-terminal truncations could be overexpressed at high levels as well. The hemA gene from S. enterica was inserted into a plasmid derived from pET3 under the control of a T7 promoter (Studier & Moffatt, 1986). Various constructs encoded either full-length HemA (amino acids 1–418) or one of several small C-terminal truncations, all bearing a C-terminal His6 tag in addition. Protein overexpression was induced by a standard protocol in E. coli BL21(DE3)/pLysS (Studier & Moffatt, 1986).