Transcriptional control of gonococcal pilE expression: involvement of an alternate sigma factor

Susan Boyle-Vavra, Magdalene So, H. Steven Seifert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The pilE gene encoding Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gc) pilin contains two putative promoter sequences 5' to the transcription start point (tsp), a Pribnow box and an RpoN-binding consensus sequence. Sequence analysis shows that the nucleotide (nt) sequence of the pilE promoter region is completely conserved among eight different Gc isolates. Using a pilE::lacZ transcriptional fusion, we demonstrate that the RpoN σ factor can function in Escherichia coli to increase pilE transcription when the NifA activator from Klebsiella is present in trans. In addition, over-production of the native pilin protein using RpoN and NifA is lethal to E. coli. Finally, we show that the RpoN σ factor decreases the basal expression of pilE when an activator is not present. These results suggest that, in Gc, pilE transcription may be regulated by RpoN in conjunction with an activator and that σ70 can also act to direct transcription of pilE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-236
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 31 1993


  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • NifA
  • Pilin
  • Pribnow box
  • RpoN
  • lacZ fusion
  • σ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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