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Mol Microbiol. 2008 Aug;69(4):954-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06331.x. Epub 2008 Jun 28.

A previously unidentified sigma factor and two accessory proteins regulate oxalate decarboxylase expression in Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


We have investigated the function of a cell envelope stress-inducible gene, yvrI, which encodes a 22.5 kDa protein that includes a predicted sigma(70) region 4 domain, but lacks an apparent region 2 domain. YvrI interacts with RNA polymerase and overexpression of YvrI results in induction of OxdC, an oxalate decarboxylase maximally expressed under low-pH conditions. We have used microarray-based analyses to define the YvrI regulon. YvrI is required for the transcription of three operons (oxdC-yvrL, yvrJ and yvrI-yvrHa) each of which is preceded by a highly similar promoter sequence. Activation of these promoters requires both YvrI and the product of the second gene in the yvrI-yvrHa operon, YvrHa. YvrI and YvrHa together allow recognition of the oxdC promoter, stimulate DNA melting and activate transcription by core RNA polymerase. Together, these results suggest that YvrI is a previously unrecognized sigma factor in Bacillus subtilis and that the 9.5 kDa YvrHa protein acts as a required co-activator of transcription. A yvrL deletion results in the upregulation of YvrI activity suggesting that YvrL is a negative regulator of YvrI-dependent transcription, possibly functioning as an anti-sigma factor.

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