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Mol Microbiol. 2011 Jun;80(6):1598-612. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07668.x. Epub 2011 May 12.

A two-component system, an anti-sigma factor and two paralogous ECF sigma factors are involved in the control of general stress response in Caulobacter crescentus.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


The extracytoplasmic function sigma factor σ(T) is the master regulator of general stress response in Caulobacter crescentus and controls the expression of its paralogue σ(U). In this work we showed that PhyR and NepR act, respectively, as positive and negative regulators of σ(T) expression and function. Biochemical data also demonstrated that NepR directly binds σ(T) and the phosphorylated form of PhyR. We also described the essential role of the histidine kinase gene CC3474, here denominated phyK, for expression of σ(T)-dependent genes and for resistance to stress conditions. Additionally, in vivo evidence of PhyK-dependent phosphorylation of PhyR is presented. This study also identified a conserved cysteine residue (C95) located in the periplasmic portion of PhyK that is crucial for the function of the protein. Furthermore, we showed that PhyK, PhyR and σ(T) regulate the same set of genes and that σ(T) apparently directly controls most of its regulon. In contrast, σ(U) seems to have a very modest contribution to the expression of a subset of σ(T)-dependent genes. In conclusion, this report describes the molecular mechanism involved in the control of general stress response in C. crescentus.

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