Identification of the Helicobacter pylori anti-sigma28 factor

Mol Microbiol. 2001 Jul;41(2):477-87. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2001.02537.x.


Flagellar motility is essential for colonization of the human gastric mucosa by Helicobacter pylori. The flagellar filament is composed of two subunits, FlaA and FlaB. Transcription of the genes encoding these proteins is controlled by the sigma28 and sigma54 factors of RNA polymerase respectively. The expression of flagellar genes is regulated, but no sigma28-specific effector was identified. It was also unclear whether H. pylori possessed a checkpoint for flagellar synthesis, and no gene encoding an anti-sigma28 factor, FlgM, could be identified by sequence similarity searches. To investigate the sigma28-dependent regulation, a new approach based on genomic data was used. Two-hybrid screening with the H. pylori proteins identified a protein of unknown function (HP1122) interacting with the sigma28 factor and defined the C-terminal part of HP1122 (residues 48-76) as the interaction domain. HP1122 interacts with region 4 of sigma28 and prevents its association with the beta-region of H. pylori RNA polymerase. Thus, HP1122 presented the characteristics of an anti-sigma28 factor. This was confirmed in H. pylori by RNA dot-blot hybridization and electron microscopy. The level of sigma28-dependent flaA transcription was higher in a HP1122-deficient strain and was decreased by the overproduction of HP1122. The overproduction of HP1122 also resulted in H. pylori cells with highly truncated flagella. These results demonstrate that HP1122 is the H. pylori anti-sigma28 factor, FlgM, a major regulator of flagellum assembly. Potential anti-sigma28 factors were identified in Campylobacter jejuni, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Thermotoga maritima by sequence homology with the C-terminal region of HP1122.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / chemistry
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism
  • Flagella / metabolism
  • Flagella / ultrastructure
  • Flagellin / genetics
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Helicobacter pylori / cytology
  • Helicobacter pylori / genetics*
  • Helicobacter pylori / metabolism
  • Helicobacter pylori / ultrastructure
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sigma Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Sigma Factor / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • FliA protein, Bacteria
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • Sigma Factor
  • Flagellin
  • flaA protein, bacteria
  • FlgM protein, Bacteria
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases