The nitrogen regulatory circuit of Neurospora crassa contains structural genes that encode nitrogen catabolic enzymes which are subject to complex genetic and metabolic regulation. This set of genes is controlled by nitrogen limitation, by specific induction, and by the action of nit-2, a major positive-acting regulatory gene, and nmr, a negative-acting control gene. The complete nucleotide sequence of alc, the gene that encodes allantoicase, a purine catabolic enzyme, is presented. The alc gene contains a single intron, is transcribed from two initiation sites situated approximately 50 nb upstream of the translation start site, and encodes a protein comprised of 354 amino acids. Mobility shift and DNA footprint experiments identified a single binding site for the NIT2 regulatory protein in the alc promoter region. The binding site contains a 10 nucleotide base pair symmetrical sequence which is flanked by two possible core binding sequences, TATCT and TATCG. Mutant NIT2/β-gal fusion proteins with amino acid substitutions in a putative zinc-finger motif were shown to be completely deficient in the ability to bind to the alc promoter DNA fragment.
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