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J Bacteriol. 2010 Jul;192(13):3406-13. doi: 10.1128/JB.00329-10. Epub 2010 Apr 30.

Direct and indirect control of late sporulation genes by GerR of Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Structural and Functional Biology, Federico II University, via Cinthia 4, 80126 Naples, Italy.


GerR is a sporulation-specific transcriptional factor of Bacillus subtilis that has been identified as a negative regulator of genes transcribed by sigma(E)-containing RNA polymerase and as a positive effector of the expression of three late sporulation genes. Here we confirmed that gerR transcription is dependent on sigma(E)-containing RNA polymerase but also observed that it requires the transcriptional regulator SpoIIID. The study of the role of GerR in regulating the expression of several late sporulation genes allowed us to observe that its effect is strongly positive on spoVIF, cotC, and cotG, weakly positive on cotB, and negative on cotU. The results of chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments indicated that GerR binds to the promoter regions of some, but not all, of the GerR-controlled genes, leading us to propose that GerR controls late sporulation genes in two ways: (i) directly, by acting on the transcription of cotB, cotU and spoVIF; and (ii) indirectly, through the activation of SpoVIF, which stabilizes the transcriptional activator GerE and consequently induces the expression of the GerE-dependent genes cotC and cotG.

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