The stressosome: molecular architecture of a signalling hub

Biochem Soc Trans. 2010 Aug;38(4):928-33. doi: 10.1042/BST0380928.

Abstract

The stressosome co-ordinates the response of Bacillus subtilis to the imposition of a variety of physical and environmental insults. These stresses include fluctuations in salt concentration, the presence of ethanol, changes in pH and even the level of UV light. Despite the obvious and significant differences between these quite different physicochemical stimuli, the result is the same: the stressosome is phosphorylated by a key kinase to initiate the sigma(B) cascade. The phosphorylation of the stressosome initiates a signal transduction system that up-regulates the expression of stress-responsive genes so that the Bacillus can survive the imposition of stress. Hence the stressosome acts as a hub, receiving manifold different stimuli to effect a single outcome. Using single-particle analysis of cryo-electron micrographs, we have been able to reconstruct a series of molecular envelopes of the stressosome. These maps have been interpreted at near-atomic resolution with crystal structures of the individual components of the stressosome to provide the first visualization of this unique signalling hub. The macromolecular structure adopted by the stressosome provides the signalling cascade with the potential for co-operative behaviour, which we have also measured in live bacteria. These experiments are consistent with the tuning of the response of B. subtilis to stress relative to the magnitude of the insult.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism
  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways* / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship

Substances

  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Proteome