J Bacteriol 195(1) , 29-38 (Jan 2013)
Accurate detection of transcriptional regulatory elements is essential for high-quality genome annotation, metabolic reconstruction, and modeling of regulatory networks. We developed a computational approach for reconstruction of regulons operated by transcription factors (TFs) from large protein families and applied this novel approach to three TF families in 10 Desulfovibrionales genomes. Phylogenetic analyses of 125 regulators from the ArsR, Crp/Fnr, and GntR families revealed that 65% of these regulators (termed reference TFs) are well conserved in Desulfovibrionales, while the remaining 35% of regulators (termed singleton TFs) are species specific and show a mosaic distribution. For regulon reconstruction in the group of singleton TFs, the standard orthology-based approach was inefficient, and thus, we developed a novel approach based on the simultaneous study of all homologous TFs from the same family in a group of genomes. As a result, we identified binding for 21 singleton TFs and for all reference TFs in all three analyzed families. Within each TF family we observed structural similarities between DNA-binding motifs of different reference and singleton TFs. The collection of reconstructed regulons is available at the RegPrecise database (http://regprecise.lbl.gov/RegPrecise/Desulfovibrionales.jsp).