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- Regulated intramembrane proteolysis in the control of the Bacillus subtilis anti-sigma factor RsiW. (2010)
- The activity of the extracytoplasmic function (ECF)-sigma factor SigW of the Gram-positive soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis is modulated by a specific membrane-bound anti-sigma factor (RsiW). Initiated most likely by cell wall stress, RsiW is degraded by the mechanism of regulated intramembrane proteolysis (RIP). This process involves two site-specific proteolytic cleavage events in the extracytoplasmic part (site-1) and in the transmembrane domain (site-2) of RsiW. In consequence, SigW is released to interact with the RNApolymerase, and the transcription of SigW-controlled genes is initiated. In general, regulation of differential gene expression by RIP seems to play a major role in prokaryotic stress responses, pathogenesis and antibiosis. However, in most cases the molecular basis is not understood. The main objective of this work was to use B. subtilis SigW/ RsiW as a model to investigate the mechanism of RIP in detail. In particular, there are significant differences to the inducing stress-signal and the site-1 protease that are described for the well investigated Escherichia coli ECF sigma factor SigE-system. The basis of this work were different mutants with a defect in RIP of RsiW that were isolated in a transposon screen. First, PrsW (formerly YpdC) was identified as the site-1 protease. It belongs to a superfamily of potential membrane embedded metalloproteases (MEM) with so far unknown function in bacteria. Further characterization of PrsW in a reconstituted E. coli system showed that PrsW cleaves RsiW in a site-specific manner to form a protein truncated for 40 C-terminal extracytoplasmic amino acid residues. The tail specific protease Tsp was shown to further degrade the extracytoplasmic part of this RsiW site-1 cleavage product, which is crucial for subsequent RasP catalyzed site-2 clipping. Several other peptidases seem to be involved in trimming of RsiW downstream of PrsW and upstream of RasP in B. subtilis. Second, the transposon screen revealed that a defect of the ABC-transporter EcsAB impairs RsiW site-2 cleavage by RasP for unknown reasons. It is conceivable that an EcsAB substrate competitively inhibits RasP activity. In summary, a new model of two proteolytic modules involved in intramembrane proteolysis of RsiW could be established. Each module consists of a site-specific processing peptidase (site-1: PrsW, site-2: RasP) that subjects cleaved RsiW to degradation by unspecific proteases (site-1: Tsp-like, site-2: Clp-proteases).