Logo of jbacterPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalJB ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
J Bacteriol. Mar 1997; 179(6): 1980–1984.
PMCID: PMC178922

Stress activation of Bacillus subtilis sigma B can occur in the absence of the sigma B negative regulator RsbX.


Environmental stress activates sigma B, the general stress response sigma factor of Bacillus subtilis, by a pathway that is negatively controlled by the RsbX protein. To determine whether stress activation of sigma B occurs by a direct effect of stress on RsbX, we constructed B. subtilis strains which synthesized various amounts of RsbX or lacked RsbX entirely and subjected these strains to ethanol stress. Based on the induction of a sigma B-dependent promoter, stress activation of sigma B can occur in the absence of RsbX. Higher levels of RsbX failed to detectably influence stress induction, but reduced levels of RsbX resulted in greater and longer-lived sigma B activation. The data suggest that RsbX is not a direct participant in the sigma B stress induction process but rather serves as a device to limit the magnitude of the stress response.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (365K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Alper S, Dufour A, Garsin DA, Duncan L, Losick R. Role of adenosine nucleotides in the regulation of a stress-response transcription factor in Bacillus subtilis. J Mol Biol. 1996 Jul 12;260(2):165–177. [PubMed]
  • Arigoni F, Duncan L, Alper S, Losick R, Stragier P. SpoIIE governs the phosphorylation state of a protein regulating transcription factor sigma F during sporulation in Bacillus subtilis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Apr 16;93(8):3238–3242. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Benson AK, Haldenwang WG. Characterization of a regulatory network that controls sigma B expression in Bacillus subtilis. J Bacteriol. 1992 Feb;174(3):749–757. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Benson AK, Haldenwang WG. Regulation of sigma B levels and activity in Bacillus subtilis. J Bacteriol. 1993 Apr;175(8):2347–2356. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Benson AK, Haldenwang WG. The sigma B-dependent promoter of the Bacillus subtilis sigB operon is induced by heat shock. J Bacteriol. 1993 Apr;175(7):1929–1935. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Benson AK, Haldenwang WG. Bacillus subtilis sigma B is regulated by a binding protein (RsbW) that blocks its association with core RNA polymerase. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Mar 15;90(6):2330–2334. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Boylan SA, Redfield AR, Brody MS, Price CW. Stress-induced activation of the sigma B transcription factor of Bacillus subtilis. J Bacteriol. 1993 Dec;175(24):7931–7937. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dufour A, Haldenwang WG. Interactions between a Bacillus subtilis anti-sigma factor (RsbW) and its antagonist (RsbV). J Bacteriol. 1994 Apr;176(7):1813–1820. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dufour A, Voelker U, Voelker A, Haldenwang WG. Relative levels and fractionation properties of Bacillus subtilis sigma(B) and its regulators during balanced growth and stress. J Bacteriol. 1996 Jul;178(13):3701–sigma. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Duncan L, Alper S, Arigoni F, Losick R, Stragier P. Activation of cell-specific transcription by a serine phosphatase at the site of asymmetric division. Science. 1995 Oct 27;270(5236):641–644. [PubMed]
  • Kalman S, Duncan ML, Thomas SM, Price CW. Similar organization of the sigB and spoIIA operons encoding alternate sigma factors of Bacillus subtilis RNA polymerase. J Bacteriol. 1990 Oct;172(10):5575–5585. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kang CM, Brody MS, Akbar S, Yang X, Price CW. Homologous pairs of regulatory proteins control activity of Bacillus subtilis transcription factor sigma(b) in response to environmental stress. J Bacteriol. 1996 Jul;178(13):3846–3853. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Voelker U, Dufour A, Haldenwang WG. The Bacillus subtilis rsbU gene product is necessary for RsbX-dependent regulation of sigma B. J Bacteriol. 1995 Jan;177(1):114–122. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Völker U, Engelmann S, Maul B, Riethdorf S, Völker A, Schmid R, Mach H, Hecker M. Analysis of the induction of general stress proteins of Bacillus subtilis. Microbiology. 1994 Apr;140(Pt 4):741–752. [PubMed]
  • Voelker U, Voelker A, Haldenwang WG. Reactivation of the Bacillus subtilis anti-sigma B antagonist, RsbV, by stress- or starvation-induced phosphatase activities. J Bacteriol. 1996 Sep;178(18):5456–5463. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Voelker U, Voelker A, Maul B, Hecker M, Dufour A, Haldenwang WG. Separate mechanisms activate sigma B of Bacillus subtilis in response to environmental and metabolic stresses. J Bacteriol. 1995 Jul;177(13):3771–3780. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wise AA, Price CW. Four additional genes in the sigB operon of Bacillus subtilis that control activity of the general stress factor sigma B in response to environmental signals. J Bacteriol. 1995 Jan;177(1):123–133. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Yang X, Kang CM, Brody MS, Price CW. Opposing pairs of serine protein kinases and phosphatases transmit signals of environmental stress to activate a bacterial transcription factor. Genes Dev. 1996 Sep 15;10(18):2265–2275. [PubMed]
  • Yasbin RE, Wilson GA, Young FE. Transformation and transfection in lysogenic strains of Bacillus subtilis 168. J Bacteriol. 1973 Feb;113(2):540–548. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Bacteriology are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...