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Summary

Gene regulatory networks can be reconstructed by combining transcriptome data from many different experiments to elucidate relations between the activity of certain transcription factors and the genes they control. To obtain insight in the regulatory network of Lactobacillus plantarum, microarray transcriptome data from more than 70 different experimental conditions were combined and the expression profiles of the transcriptional units (TUs) were compared. The TUs that displayed correlated expression were used to identify putative cis-regulatory elements by searching the upstream regions of the TUs for conserved motifs. Predicted motifs were extended and refined by searching for motifs in the upstream regions of additional TUs with correlated expression. In this way, cis-acting elements were identified for 41 regulons consisting of at least four TUs (correlation > 0.7). This set of regulons included the known regulons of CtsR and LexA, but also several novel ones encompassing genes with coherent biological functions. Visualization of the regulons and their connections revealed a highly interconnected regulatory network. This network contains several subnetworks that encompass genes of correlated biological function, such as sugar and energy metabolism, nitrogen metabolism and stress response.