The properties of NodD were affected by mere variation in length within its hinge region
In Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae, NodD, a member of the LysR-type transcriptional regulators, while auto-regulating, activates transcription of other nod genes in the presence of naringenin. A hinge region of NodD was previously identified in our laboratory as a functional region independent of its N-terminal DNA-binding and C-terminal regulatory domain. Further study was carried out to see the possible effect of the length variation in the hinge region on NodD's properties. To our surprise, as many as seven classes of phenotypes were observed. Class I is deficient of activating nodA transcription and abolishes auto-regulation; class II is able to activate nodA transcription independently of naringenin and abolishes auto-regulation; class III retains auto-regulating but partial activating ability; class IV is able to activate transcription independently of naringenin and retains auto-regulation; in class V, nodA is transcribed constitutively but the transcription level is drastically down-regulated in the presence of naringenin; in class VI, nodA is transcribed constitutively with higher induction ratio; in class VII, nodA is transcribed constitutively with lower induction ratio. To learn more about the possible mechanism, circular permutation assays were done, which showed that the length variation of the hinge of NodD caused by mutation led to the change in bend angles of nod promoter. This finding should help to get an insight into how transcriptional regulation is mediated by NodD at the molecular level as well as to understand the regulatory system of this important family.