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J Bacteriol. 2002 Sep;184(17):4881-90.

Genome-wide analysis of the stationary-phase sigma factor (sigma-H) regulon of Bacillus subtilis.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Building 68-530, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Sigma-H is an alternative RNA polymerase sigma factor that directs the transcription of many genes that function at the transition from exponential growth to stationary phase in Bacillus subtilis. Twenty-three promoters, which drive transcription of 33 genes, are known to be recognized by sigma-H-containing RNA polymerase. To identify additional genes under the control of sigma-H on a genome-wide basis, we carried out transcriptional profiling experiments using a DNA microarray containing >99% of the annotated B. subtilis open reading frames. In addition, we used a bioinformatics-based approach aimed at the identification of promoters recognized by RNA polymerase containing sigma-H. This combination of approaches was successful in confirming most of the previously described sigma-H-controlled genes. In addition, we identified 26 putative promoters that drive expression of 54 genes not previously known to be under the direct control of sigma-H. Based on the known or inferred function of most of these genes, we conclude that, in addition to its previously known roles in sporulation and competence, sigma-H controls genes involved in many physiological processes associated with the transition to stationary phase, including cytochrome biogenesis, generation of potential nutrient sources, transport, and cell wall metabolism.

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