Chapter 1 : Regulation of Bacterial Transcription by Anti-σ Factors

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In bacteria, gene expression is regulated primarily at the step of transcription initiation. The DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP), the central enzyme of transcription, comprises an evolutionarily conserved, 400-kDa catalytic core of five subunits (aβ β'ω). The transcription cycle begins when the σ factor associates with core RNAP to form the holoenzyme, which then locates promoters through sequence-specific interactions between elements of σ and the promoter DNA. The studies described in this chapter were performed with group 1, or primary, σ factors, which transcribe genes necessary for exponential growth under favorable conditions. The chapter focuses on cognate anti-σ/σ pairs for which structural studies have provided insights into function and regulation. A signal transduction pathway involving ECF σ factors related to σ plays an important role in pathogenesis in some organisms. The evolution of structurally and functionally diverse anti-σ factors provide much more flexibility for the regulation of transcription initiation. Thus, the authors propose that the functional and structural diversity of anti-σ factors reflects the need for bacteria to relay a wide variety of environmental cues to the core transcriptional apparatus via regulation of the structurally conserved σ factors.

Citation: Campbell E, Darst S. 2005. Regulation of Bacterial Transcription by Anti-σ Factors, p 1-16. In Waksman G, Caparon M, Hultgren S (ed), Structural Biology of Bacterial Pathogenesis. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818395.ch1
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