The [2Fe-2S]-containing transcription factor SoxR is conserved in diverse bacteria. SoxR is traditionally known as the regulator of a global oxidative stress response in Escherichia coli, but recent studies suggest that this function may be restricted to enteric bacteria. In the vast majority of nonenterics, SoxR is predicted to mediate a response to endogenously produced redox-active metabolites. We have examined the regulation and function of the SoxR regulon in the model antibiotic-producing filamentous bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor. Unlike the E. coli soxR deletion mutant, the S. coelicolor equivalent is not hypersensitive to oxidants, indicating that SoxR does not potentiate antioxidant defense in the latter. SoxR regulates five genes in S. coelicolor, including those encoding a putative ABC transporter, two oxidoreductases, a monooxygenase, and a possible NAD-dependent epimerase/dehydratase. Expression of these genes depends on the production of the benzochromanequinone antibiotic actinorhodin and requires intact [2Fe-2S] clusters in SoxR. These data indicate that actinorhodin, or a redox-active precursor, modulates SoxR activity in S. coelicolor to stimulate the production of a membrane transporter and proteins with homology to actinorhodin-tailoring enzymes. While the role of SoxR in S. coelicolor remains under investigation, these studies support the notion that SoxR has been adapted to perform distinct physiological functions to serve the needs of organisms that occupy different ecological niches and face different environmental challenges.
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