Although the basic mechanisms of prokaryotic transcription are conserved, it has become evident that some bacteria require additional factors to allow for efficient gene transcription. CarD is an RNA polymerase (RNAP)-binding protein conserved in numerous bacterial species and essential in mycobacteria. Despite the importance of CarD, its function at transcription complexes remains unclear. We have generated a panel of mutations that individually target three independent functional modules of CarD: the RNAP interaction domain, the DNA-binding domain, and a conserved tryptophan residue. We have dissected the roles of each functional module in CarD activity and built a model where each module contributes to stabilizing RNAP-promoter complexes. Our work highlights the requirement of all three modules of CarD in the obligate pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but not in Mycobacterium smegmatis. We also report divergent use of the CarD functional modules in resisting oxidative stress and pigmentation. These studies provide new information regarding the functional domains involved in transcriptional regulation by CarD while also improving understanding of the physiology of M. tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-697
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014


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