Group II biotin protein ligases (BPLs) are characterized by the presence of an N-terminal DNA binding domain that functions in transcriptional regulation of the genes of biotin biosynthesis and transport. The Staphylococcus aureus Group II BPL which is called BirA has been reported to bind an imperfect inverted repeat located upstream of the biotin synthesis operon. DNA binding by other Group II BPLs requires dimerization of the protein which is triggered by synthesis of biotinoyl-AMP (biotinoyl-adenylate), the intermediate in the ligation of biotin to its cognate target proteins. However, the S. aureus BirA was reported to dimerize and bind DNA in the absence of biotin or biotinoyl-AMP (Soares da Costa et al. (2014) Mol Microbiol 91: 110–120). These in vitro results argued that the protein would be unable to respond to the levels of biotin or acceptor proteins and thus would lack the regulatory properties of the other characterized BirA proteins. We tested the regulatory function of the protein using an in vivo model system and examined its DNA binding properties in vitro using electrophoretic mobility shift and fluorescence anisotropy analyses. We report that the S. aureus BirA is an effective regulator of biotin operon transcription and that the prior data can be attributed to artifacts of mobility shift analyses. We also report that deletion of the DNA binding domain of the S. aureus BirA results in loss of virtually all of its ligation activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology