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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

sigmaR, an RNA polymerase sigma factor that modulates expression of the thioredoxin system in response to oxidative stress in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2).

We have identified an RNA polymerase sigma factor, sigmaR, that is part of a system that senses and responds to thiol oxidation in the Gram-positive, antibiotic-producing bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). Deletion of the gene (sigR) encoding sigmaR caused sensitivity to the thiol-specific oxidant diamide and to the redox cycling compounds menadione and plumbagin. This correlated with reduced levels of disulfide reductase activity and an inability to induce this activity on exposure to diamide. The trxBA operon, encoding thioredoxin reductase and thioredoxin, was found to be under the direct control of sigmaR. trxBA is transcribed from two promoters, trxBp1 and trxBp2, separated by 5-6 bp. trxBp1 is transiently induced at least 50-fold in response to diamide treatment in a sigR-dependent manner. Purified sigmaR directed transcription from trxBp1 in vitro, indicating that trxBp1 is a target for sigmaR. Transcription of sigR itself initiates at two promoters, sigRp1 and sigRp2, which are separated by 173 bp. The sigRp2 transcript was undetectable in a sigR-null mutant, and purified sigmaR could direct transcription from sigRp2 in vitro, indicating that sigR is positively autoregulated. Transcription from sigRp2 was also transiently induced (70-fold) following treatment with diamide. We propose a model in which sigmaR induces expression of the thioredoxin system in response to cytoplasmic disulfide bond formation. Upon reestablishment of normal thiol levels, sigmaR activity is switched off, resulting in down-regulation of trxBA and sigR. We present evidence that the sigmaR system also functions in the actinomycete pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis.[1]


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