Nitrogen fixation and molecular oxygen: Comparative genomic reconstruction of transcription regulation in Alphaproteobacteria
Biological nitrogen fixation plays a crucial role in the nitrogen cycle. An ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, reducing it to ammonium, was described for multiple species of Bacteria and Archaea. The transcriptional regulatory network for nitrogen fixation was extensively studied in several representatives of the class Alphaproteobacteria. This regulatory network includes the activator of nitrogen fixation NifA, working in tandem with the alternative sigma-factor RpoN as well as oxygen-responsive regulatory systems, one-component regulators FnrN/FixK and two-component system FixLJ. Here we used a comparative genomics approach for in silico study of the transcriptional regulatory network in 50 genomes of Alphaproteobacteria. We extended the known regulons and proposed the scenario for the evolution of the nitrogen fixation transcriptional network. The reconstructed network substantially expands the existing knowledge of transcriptional regulation in nitrogen-fixing microorganisms and can be used for genetic experiments, metabolic reconstruction, and evolutionary analysis. © 2016 Tsoy, Ravcheev, Čuklina and Gelfand.