OrpR is a σ54-dependent activator using an iron-sulfur cluster for redox sensing in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough

Anouchka Fiévet, Meriem Merrouch, Gaël Brasseur, Danaé Eve, Emanuele G. Biondi, Odile Valette, Sofia R. Pauleta, Alain Dolla, Zorah Dermoun, Bénédicte Burlat, Corinne Aubert

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Enhancer binding proteins (EBPs) are key players of σ54-regulation that control transcription in response to environmental signals. In the anaerobic microorganism Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough (DvH), orp operons have been previously shown to be coregulated by σ54-RNA polymerase, the integration host factor IHF and a cognate EBP, OrpR. In this study, ChIP-seq experiments indicated that the OrpR regulon consists of only the two divergent orp operons. In vivo data revealed that (i) OrpR is absolutely required for orp operons transcription, (ii) under anaerobic conditions, OrpR binds on the two dedicated DNA binding sites and leads to high expression levels of the orp operons, (iii) increasing the redox potential of the medium leads to a drastic down-regulation of the orp operons expression. Moreover, combining functional and biophysical studies on the anaerobically purified OrpR leads us to propose that OrpR senses redox potential variations via a redox-sensitive [4Fe–4S]2+ cluster in the sensory PAS domain. Overall, the study herein presents the first characterization of a new Fe–S redox regulator belonging to the σ54-dependent transcriptional regulator family probably advantageously selected by cells adapted to the anaerobic lifestyle to monitor redox stress conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-244
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • anaerobes
  • Desulfovibrio
  • enhancer binding protein
  • iron-sulfur protein
  • redox sensor
  • transcriptional regulator


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