Cloning and characterization of the nitrate reductase-encoding gene from Chlorella vulgaris: structure and identification of transcription start points and initiator sequences.
The reduction of nitrate to nitrite catalyzed by nitrate reductase (NR) is considered to be the rate-limiting and regulated step of nitrate assimilation, a major metabolic pathway occurring in a wide range of organisms which in turn supply the nutritional nitrogen requirements for other forms of life. Chlorella vulgaris NR mRNA levels are very responsive to changes in nitrogen source. In the presence of ammonia as the sole nitrogen source, under repressed conditions, NR mRNA is undetectable. Under inducing conditions, the removal of ammonia and addition of nitrate, rapid NR mRNA synthesis occurs. We are studying the elements involved in regulating the expression of this important gene. Two overlapping genomic clones (NRS1 and NR5') were isolated from a cosmid library. The two clones were sequenced and their sequences were aligned with that of a full-length NR cDNA. The gene is approximately 8 kb long and consists of 19 exons and 18 introns. Unlike NR isolated from other species, the exons which code for the functional domains of C. vulgaris are separated by introns. Two transcription start points (tsp) were identified and each is surrounded by potential initiator sequences. No TATA, CAAT or GC-rich promoter elements were located. A time course of NR induction revealed that while transcription initiation from one tsp remains at a constant level from the point of induction through steady state, the level of initiation from another tsp is high upon induction, but decreases as steady state is attained.
Dawson, HN; Pendleton, LC; Solomonson, LP; Cannons, AC
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