Characterization of three cDNA species encoding plastid RNA polymerase sigma factors in Arabidopsis thaliana: evidence for the sigma factor heterogeneity in higher plant plastids

FEBS Lett. 1997 Aug 18;413(2):309-13. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(97)00906-x.


By database search analysis, we identified three Arabidopsis EST (Expression Sequence Tag) entries having similarity to eubacterial RNA polymerase sigma factors. cDNA clones corresponding to these partial sequences were isolated, and the complete nucleotide sequences were determined. All three sequences encode proteins highly homologous to cyanobacterial and plastid sigma factors, and the gene products have N-terminal extensions which are assumed to function as plastid-targeting transit peptides. Thus we have concluded that the gene products are RNA polymerase sigma factors of plastids, and named sigA, sigB and sigC, respectively. Expression of these genes was analyzed by RNA gel-blot analysis and shown to be induced by illumination after a short-term dark adaptation. This strongly suggests that light regulation of the nuclear encoded sigma factor genes is involved in light-dependent activation of plastid promoters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics*
  • DNA, Plant / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / radiation effects
  • Light
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plastids / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Plant / analysis
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sigma Factor / genetics*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA, Plant
  • Plant Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • SigA protein, Arabidopsis
  • SigB protein, Arabidopsis
  • SigC protein, Arabidopsis
  • Sigma Factor

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB004293
  • GENBANK/D89993
  • GENBANK/D89994