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Mol Microbiol. 2019 May 20. doi: 10.1111/mmi.14280. [Epub ahead of print]

Shedding light on a Group IV (ECF11) alternative σ factor.

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Bacteriology Department, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Wisconsin Energy Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53726, USA.


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of σ70 as a protein factor that was needed for bacterial RNA polymerase to accurately transcribe a promoter in vitro. It was 25 years later that the Group IV alternative σs were described as a distinct family of proteins related to σ70 . In the intervening time, there has been an ever-growing list of Group IV σs, numbers of genes they transcribe, insight into the diverse suite of processes they control, and appreciation for their impact on bacterial lifestyles. This work summarizes knowledge of the Rhodobacter sphaeroides σE -ChrR pair, a member of the ECF11 subfamily of Group IV alternative σs, in protecting cells from the reactive oxygen species, singlet oxygen. It describes lessons learned from analyzing ChrR, a zinc-dependent anti-σ factor, that are generally applicable to Group IV σs and relevant to the response to single oxygen. This MicroReview also illustrates insights into stress responses in this and other bacteria that have been acquired by analyzing or modeling the activity of the σE -ChrR across the bacterial phylogeny.


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