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Mol Gen Genet. 1997 Oct;256(4):416-25.

SigX of Bacillus subtilis replaces the ECF sigma factor fecI of Escherichia coli and is inhibited by RsiX.

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Mikrobiologie II, Universität Tübingen, Germany.


Analysis of the Bacillus subtilis genome sequence revealed two open reading frames, designated sigX and ypuN (now termed rsiX), that are homologous to fecI and fecR, respectively, of Escherichia coli. fecI encodes a sigma 70-type factor that is necessary for transcription of the ferric citrate transport genes fecABCDE. fecR encodes a cytoplasmic transmembrane protein that is required for the induction of fec transport gene transcription by ferric citrate binding to the FecA outer membrane receptor protein. Investigation of the SigX and RsiX activities disclosed that they are not involved in ferric citrate utilization--since ferric citrate did not serve as an iron source for B. subtilis SG64--or in the regulation of any other ferric siderophore transport system tested. Strains deleted for sigX or rsiX displayed no phenotype under aerobic or anoxic conditions. However, cloned sigX complemented an E. coli fecI mutant, and the Fur box upstream of sigX responded to the E. coli iron regulatory protein Fur. The purified SigX protein was required for in vitro transcription of a sigX-containing DNA fragment by the E. coli RNA polymerase core enzyme. Autoregulation of sigX was also found in vivo using a sigX'-lacZ gene fusion. RsiX inhibited SigX activity in vivo and in vitro and stabilized the SigX protein. RsiX was localized in the membrane fraction. When RsiX is present, SigX is found in the membrane fraction; in the absence of RsiX, some SigX is detectable in the cytoplasm. We conclude that SigX is a sigma factor that belongs to the ECF (extracytoplasmic function) sigma 70-factor family. It is not known which promoters are recognized by SigX in B. subtilis. SigX may be involved in the regulation of iron metabolism, as evidenced by its activity in E. coli.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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