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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Feb 16;10(3):203-12. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2720.

ppGpp: magic beyond RNA polymerase.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Health Sciences Building K116, 1959 NE Pacific St., Box 357710, Seattle, Washington 98195-7710, USA.


During stress, bacteria undergo extensive physiological transformations, many of which are coordinated by ppGpp. Although ppGpp is best known for enhancing cellular resilience by redirecting the RNA polymerase (RNAP) to certain genes, it also acts as a signal in many other cellular processes in bacteria. After a brief overview of ppGpp biosynthesis and its impact on promoter selection by RNAP, we discuss how bacteria exploit ppGpp to modulate the synthesis, stability or activity of proteins or regulatory RNAs that are crucial in challenging environments, using mechanisms beyond the direct regulation of RNAP activity.

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