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Biochemistry Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4360285, 13 pages
Research Article

A Bioinformatics Analysis Reveals a Group of MocR Bacterial Transcriptional Regulators Linked to a Family of Genes Coding for Membrane Proteins

1Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche, Sapienza Università di Roma, 00185 Roma, Italy
2Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 00185 Roma, Italy

Received 27 November 2015; Accepted 26 May 2016

Academic Editor: Gary A. Lorigan

Copyright © 2016 Teresa Milano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The MocR bacterial transcriptional regulators are characterized by an N-terminal domain, 60 residues long on average, possessing the winged-helix-turn-helix (wHTH) architecture responsible for DNA recognition and binding, linked to a large C-terminal domain (350 residues on average) that is homologous to fold type-I pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) dependent enzymes like aspartate aminotransferase (AAT). These regulators are involved in the expression of genes taking part in several metabolic pathways directly or indirectly connected to PLP chemistry, many of which are still uncharacterized. A bioinformatics analysis is here reported that studied the features of a distinct group of MocR regulators predicted to be functionally linked to a family of homologous genes coding for integral membrane proteins of unknown function. This group occurs mainly in the Actinobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria phyla. An analysis of the multiple sequence alignments of their wHTH and AAT domains suggested the presence of specificity-determining positions (SDPs). Mapping of SDPs onto a homology model of the AAT domain hinted at possible structural/functional roles in effector recognition. Likewise, SDPs in wHTH domain suggested the basis of specificity of Transcription Factor Binding Site recognition. The results reported represent a framework for rational design of experiments and for bioinformatics analysis of other MocR subgroups.