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Open Access Research

Repressor of temperate mycobacteriophage L1 harbors a stable C-terminal domain and binds to different asymmetric operator DNAs with variable affinity

Tridib Ganguly, Amitava Bandhu, Partho Chattoraj, Palas K Chanda, Malabika Das, Nitai C Mandal and Subrata Sau*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry, Bose Institute, P1/12 CIT Scheme VII M, Kolkata – 700 054, West Bengal, India

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Virology Journal 2007, 4:64  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-4-64

Published: 28 June 2007

Abstract

Background

Lysogenic mode of life cycle of a temperate bacteriophage is generally maintained by a protein called 'repressor'. Repressor proteins of temperate lambdoid phages bind to a few symmetric operator DNAs in order to regulate their gene expression. In contrast, repressor molecules of temperate mycobacteriophages and some other phages bind to multiple asymmetric operator DNAs. Very little is known at present about the structure-function relationship of any mycobacteriophage repressor.

Results

Using highly purified repressor (CI) of temperate mycobacteriophage L1, we have demonstrated here that L1 CI harbors an N-terminal domain (NTD) and a C-terminal domain (CTD) which are separated by a small hinge region. Interestingly, CTD is more compact than NTD at 25°C. Both CTD and CI contain significant amount of α-helix at 30°C but unfold partly at 42°C. At nearly 200 nM concentration, both proteins form appreciable amount of dimers in solution. Additional studies reveal that CI binds to O64 and OL types of asymmetric operators of L1 with variable affinity at 25°C. Interestingly, repressor – operator interaction is affected drastically at 42°C. The conformational change of CI is most possibly responsible for its reduced operator binding affinity at 42°C.

Conclusion

Repressors encoded by mycobacteriophages differ significantly from the repressor proteins of λ and related phages at functional level but at structural level they are nearly similar.