Azer, a transcriptional regulator that responds to azelaic acid in pseudomonas nitroreducens

Cristina Bez, Sree Gowrinadh Javvadi, Iris Bertani, Giulia Devescovi, Corrado Guarnaccia, David J. Studholme, Alexander M. Geller, Asaf Levy, Vittorio Venturi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that has recently been shown to play a role in plant-bacteria signalling and also occurs naturally in several cereals. Several bacteria have been reported to be able to utilize azelaic acid as a unique source of carbon and energy, including Pseudomonas nitroreducens. In this study, we utilize P. nitroreducens as a model organism to study bacterial degradation of and response to azelaic acid. We report genetic evidence of azelaic acid degradation and the identification of a transcriptional regulator that responds to azelaic acid in P. nitroreducens DSM 9128. Three mutants possessing transposons in genes of an acyl-CoA ligase, an acyl-CoA dehydrogenase and an isocitrate lyase display a deficient ability in growing in azelaic acid. Studies on transcriptional regulation of these genes resulted in the identification of an IclR family repressor that we designated as AzeR, which specifically responds to azelaic acid. A bioinformatics survey reveals that AzeR is confined to a few proteobacterial genera that are likely to be able to degrade and utilize azelaic acid as the sole source of carbon and energy.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number000865
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalMicrobiology (United Kingdom)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C.B. and S.G.J. are beneficiary of an ICGEB fellowship. We thank ICGEB for supporting this work. The bacterial P. nitroreducens strain DSM9128 sequenced in this work was obtained from the DSMZ collection and was isolated by Janot-Bassalik and Wright as cited in this work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors.


  • Abbreviations: AZ
  • Azelaic acid
  • Azelaic acid
  • Bacteria
  • GLU
  • Gene regulation
  • Glucose
  • Pseudomonas


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