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J Bacteriol. 2004 Dec;186(24):8424-32.

Terminal oxidases are essential to bypass the requirement for ResD for full Pho induction in Bacillus subtilis.

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  • 1Laboratory for Molecular Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, 900 S. Ashland Ave. (M/C 567), Chicago, IL 60607, USA.


The Bacillus subtilis Pho signal transduction network, which regulates the cellular response to phosphate starvation, integrates the activity of three signal transduction systems to regulate the level of the Pho response. This signal transduction network includes a positive feedback loop between the PhoP/PhoR and ResD/ResE two-component systems. Within this network, ResD is responsible for 80% of the Pho response. To date, the role of ResD in the generation of the Pho response has not been understood. Expression of two terminal oxidases requires ResD function, and expression of at least one terminal oxidase is needed for the wild-type Pho response. Previously, our investigators have shown that strains bearing mutations in resD are impaired for growth and acquire secondary mutations which compensate for the loss of the a-type terminal oxidases by allowing production of cytochrome bd. We report here that the expression of cytochrome bd in a DeltaresDE background is sufficient to compensate for the loss of ResD for full Pho induction. A ctaA mutant strain, deficient in the production of heme A, has the same Pho induction phenotype as a DeltaresDE strain. This demonstrates that the production of a-type terminal oxidases is the basis for the role of ResD in Pho induction. Terminal oxidases affect the redox state of the quinone pool. Reduced quinones inhibit PhoR autophosphorylation in vitro, consistent with a requirement for terminal oxidases for full Pho induction in vivo.

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