Sigma F, the first compartment-specific transcription factor of B. subtilis, is regulated by an anti-sigma factor that is also a protein kinase

Cell. 1993 Aug 27;74(4):735-42. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(93)90520-z.


The establishment of compartment-specific transcription in sporulating cells of B. subtilis is governed at the level of the activity of transcription factor sigma F. Genetic experiments have suggested that SpoIIAA and SpoIIAB, the other products of the sigma F operon, are involved in regulating sigma F activity. This activity is inhibited in the predivisional cell but specifically released from inhibition in the prespore about 1.5 hr after sporulation is induced. We now show that purified SpoIIAB inhibits transcription directed by sigma F in vitro. We note that the amino acid sequence of SpoIIAB shows some similarity to a group of bacterial histidine protein kinases, and we find that SpoIIAB is indeed a protein kinase that phosphorylates SpoIIAA on a serine residue. We suggest that this phosphorylation is responsible for the compartment-specific release of sigma F activity, perhaps through the formation of a tight complex between SpoIIAB and phosphorylated SpoIIAA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism*
  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology
  • Bacterial Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Operon
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sigma Factor*
  • Spores, Bacterial / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Amino Acids
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • FliA protein, Bacteria
  • Sigma Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • spoIIR protein, Bacillus subtilis
  • spore-specific proteins, Bacillus
  • Protein Kinases