The blue-light receptor YtvA acts in the environmental stress signaling pathway of Bacillus subtilis

J Bacteriol. 2006 Sep;188(17):6387-95. doi: 10.1128/JB.00691-06.


The general stress response of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis is regulated by a partner-switching mechanism in which serine and threonine phosphorylation controls protein interactions in the stress-signaling pathway. The environmental branch of this pathway contains a family of five paralogous proteins that function as negative regulators. Here we present genetic evidence that a sixth paralog, YtvA, acts as a positive regulator in the same environmental signaling branch. We also present biochemical evidence that YtvA and at least three of the negative regulators can be isolated from cell extracts in a large environmental signaling complex. YtvA differs from these associated negative regulators by its flavin mononucleotide (FMN)-containing light-oxygen-voltage domain. Others have shown that this domain has the photochemistry expected for a blue-light sensor, with the covalent linkage of the FMN chromophore to cysteine 62 composing a critical part of the photocycle. Consistent with the view that light intensity modifies the output of the environmental signaling pathway, we found that cysteine 62 is required for YtvA to exert its positive regulatory role in the absence of other stress. Transcriptional analysis of the ytvA structural gene indicated that it provides the entry point for at least one additional environmental input, mediated by the Spx global regulator of disulfide stress. These results support a model in which the large signaling complex serves to integrate multiple environmental signals in order to modulate the general stress response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cysteine
  • Disulfides
  • Flavin Mononucleotide / metabolism
  • Flavoproteins / chemistry
  • Flavoproteins / genetics*
  • Flavoproteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sigma Factor / genetics
  • Sigma Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Disulfides
  • Flavoproteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • SigB protein, Bacteria
  • Sigma Factor
  • Flavin Mononucleotide
  • Cysteine