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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 1995 Oct;17(3):331-40.

Sigma factor and sporulation genes in Clostridium.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany.


The genus Clostridium, represented by Gram-positive, anaerobic, spore-forming bacteria, is well known for its clinical importance and considerable biotechnological potential. Recently, evidence for a functional role of the transcription factors sigma A, sigma E, sigma G, and sigma K in this genus was provided by cloning and sequencing these genes from C. acetobutylicum. In C. kluyveri, a partially sequenced open reading frame was found to encode the N terminus of the putative sigma factor L with significant similarity to members of the sigma 54 family. The identification of sequences with high similarity to the Bacillus sigma F (C. acetobutylicum), sigma H (several clostridial species), and sigma D (C. thermocellum)-controlled consensus promoters renders the existence of these transcription factors in clostridia very likely. These data are in agreement with information obtained by RNA transcript mapping (sigma A, sigma H), heterologous DNA hybridization (sigma D, sigma H), and immuno characterization of purified proteins (sigma A) from various clostridial species. Thus, the picture emerges that a fundamental similarity exists at the genetic level between the regulation of various cellular responses, in particular sporulation, in the genera Bacillus and Clostridium. The different induction patterns of sporulation in Bacillus spp. (nutrient starvation) and many clostridial species (cessation of growth or exposure to oxygen in the presence of excess nutrients) are most interestingly not reflected in the general regulatory features of this developmental process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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