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Summary

The facultative anaerobe Pseudomonas aeruginosa has multiple aerobic electron transport pathways, one of which is terminated by a cyanide-insensitive oxidase (CIO). This study characterizes a P. aeruginosa two-component system that regulates CIO production. The response regulator of this system (RoxR) has significant amino acid sequence similarity to PrrA of Rhodobacter sphaeroides and related proteins in other α-proteobacteria. In heterologous complementation analysis, R. sphaeroides PrrA rescued the growth defect of a P. aeruginosa mutant lacking RoxR, and RoxR enabled photosynthetic growth of an R. sphaeroides PrrA mutant. Also, RoxR could substitute for PrrA in activating transcription in vitro, demonstrating that these proteins are functional homologues. P. aeruginosa strains lacking RoxR or the sensor kinase (RoxS) were more sensitive than wild type to the respiratory inhibitors cyanide and azide. The phenotypes of these mutant strains correlated with reduced cyanide-insensitive O2 utilization and less cyanide-dependent expression of the locus encoding the CIO (cioAB). The ability of purified RoxR to bind to the cioAB promoter region also suggests that this protein acts directly to regulate cioAB transcription. Therefore, RoxR appears to play a role in regulating the transcription of loci for P. aeruginosa energy-generating enzymes similar to that of its homologues in α-proteobacteria.