SigB-dependent general stress response in Bacillus subtilis and related gram-positive bacteria

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2007;61:215-36. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.61.080706.093445.


One of the strongest and most noticeable responses of Bacillus subtilis cells to a range of stress and starvation stimuli is the dramatic induction of about 150 SigB-dependent general stress genes. The activity of SigB itself is tightly regulated by a complex signal transduction cascade with at least three main signaling pathways that respond to environmental stress, energy depletion, or low temperature. The SigB-dependent response is conserved in related gram-positive bacteria but is missing in strictly anaerobic or in some facultatively anaerobic gram-positive bacteria. It covers functions from nonspecific and multiple stress resistance to the control of virulence in pathogenic bacteria. A comprehensive understanding of this crucial stress response is essential not only for bacterial physiology but also for applied microbiology, including pathogenicity and pathogen control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Genes, Bacterial / physiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / physiology*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Regulon
  • Sigma Factor / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • SigB protein, Bacteria
  • Sigma Factor