It is well established that the ferric uptake regulatory protein (Fur) functions as a repressor of gene transcription in a number of diverse microorganisms. In the previously funded RO1 we conducted studies to test the hypothesis that in Neisseria gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis the Fur protein functions as a global regulatory protein as both a repressor and activator of gene transcription. We established in N. gonorrhoeae by in silico analysis, DNA binding studies, and transcriptional analysis, that the partial gonococcal Fur regulon included genes that were both repressed or activated by iron. We also demonstrated that several genes encompassing the N. gonorrhoeae Fur regulon are expressed during natural gonococcal infection. Using DNA microarray technology we demonstrated that in N. meningitidis, more than 200 genes are regulated in response to growth with iron (repressed or activated) and that approximately 50% of these genes had the potential to be regulated by Fur. Recent analysis of a newly constructed N. gonorrhoeae fur mutant have identified several genes whose transcription is regulated by Fur, but too which the Fur protein does not bind to operator regions suggesting that Fur could function indirectly to activate transcription of these genes. Based on these observations we propose that N. gonorrhoeae Fur functions as an activator of transcription through both direct and indirect mechanisms. Whereas the repressive mechanisms of Fur have been thoroughly investigated, the mechanisms of direct and indirect -activation by this protein have not been elucidated. This study is positioned to define the mechanisms by which Fur functions to activate gene transcription and the following Aims are proposed:
Aim 1. To fully define and characterize the complete N. gonorrhoeae Fur regulon.
Aim 2. To characterize Fur mediated transcriptional activation through an indirect mechanism in which Fur functions to repress a repressor.
Aim 3. To characterize Fur mediated transcriptional activation through an indirect mechanism in which Fur functions through small regulatory RNAs.
Aim 4. To characterize Fur mediated transcriptional activation through a direct mechanism in which Fur interacts with the operator regions of Fur activated genes. Molecular characterization of the mechanisms by which Fur functions as an activator will yield new information on the control of gene transcription in this sexually transmitted pathogen. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Bacterial Pathogenesis Study Section (BACP)
Program Officer
Hiltke, Thomas J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Boston University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Yu, Chunxiao; McClure, Ryan; Nudel, Kathleen et al. (2016) Characterization of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae Iron and Fur Regulatory Network. J Bacteriol 198:2180-91
Yu, Chunxiao; Lopez, Carlos A; Hu, Han et al. (2014) A high-throughput method to examine protein-nucleotide interactions identifies targets of the bacterial transcriptional regulatory protein fur. PLoS One 9:e96832
McClure, Ryan; Balasubramanian, Divya; Sun, Yan et al. (2013) Computational analysis of bacterial RNA-Seq data. Nucleic Acids Res 41:e140
Daou, Nadine; Yu, Chunxiao; McClure, Ryan et al. (2013) Neisseria prophage repressor implicated in gonococcal pathogenesis. Infect Immun 81:3652-61
Yu, Chunxiao; Genco, Caroline Attardo (2012) Fur-mediated activation of gene transcription in the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. J Bacteriol 194:1730-42
Mellin, J R; McClure, Ryan; Lopez, Delia et al. (2010) Role of Hfq in iron-dependent and -independent gene regulation in Neisseria meningitidis. Microbiology 156:2316-26
Follows, S A; Murlidharan, J; Massari, P et al. (2009) Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection protects human endocervical epithelial cells from apoptosis via expression of host antiapoptotic proteins. Infect Immun 77:3602-10
Agarwal, Sarika; Sebastian, Shite; Szmigielski, Borys et al. (2008) Expression of the gonococcal global regulatory protein Fur and genes encompassing the Fur and iron regulon during in vitro and in vivo infection in women. J Bacteriol 190:3129-39
Mellin, J R; Goswami, Sulip; Grogan, Susan et al. (2007) A novel fur- and iron-regulated small RNA, NrrF, is required for indirect fur-mediated regulation of the sdhA and sdhC genes in Neisseria meningitidis. J Bacteriol 189:3686-94
Agarwal, Sarika; King, Carol A; Klein, Ellen K et al. (2005) The gonococcal Fur-regulated tbpA and tbpB genes are expressed during natural mucosal gonococcal infection. Infect Immun 73:4281-7

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications