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J Bacteriol. 1997 Jan;179(2):514-21.

The Caulobacter heat shock sigma factor gene rpoH is positively autoregulated from a sigma32-dependent promoter.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544-1014, USA.


Sigma factor sigma32, encoded by rpoH, is required for the recognition of heat shock genes during normal growth conditions and in response to heat shock and other stresses. Unlike the well-studied Escherichia coli rpoH gene, which is transcribed from four promoters recognized by either a sigma70 (sigmaD)- or sigma24 (sigmaE)-containing RNA polymerase, the Caulobacter crescentus rpoH gene is transcribed from two promoters, P1 and P2. In this study, we have examined the structure and expression of these promoters and shown that the rpoH P2 promoter is sigma32 dependent. We present evidence here that P2 is specifically recognized and transcribed by the reconstituted C. crescentus Esigma32 RNA polymerase holoenzyme. We show that site-directed mutations within either the -10 or the -35 regions of P2 have substantial effects on the levels of transcription by the Esigma32 polymerase predicted from the sigma32 promoter consensus sequence. The mutations have similar effects in vivo as assayed with rpoH-lacZ transcription fusions. Analysis of the rpoH P1 promoter provided evidence that it is sigma70 dependent. S1 nuclease protection assays of rpoH P1- and P2-specific expression after heat shock at 42 or 50 degrees C and during synchronous cell division cycles under normal growth conditions showed that the two promoters are differentially regulated. Mutations within the rpoH P2 promoter consensus sequences abolished the response to heat shock induction in C. crescentus. We conclude from these results that, unlike rpoH genes studied previously in other bacteria, the major transcriptional response of the C. crescentus rpoH gene to heat shock depends on positive autoregulation of the sigma32-dependent promoter.

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