Identification of the sigmaB regulon of Bacillus cereus and conservation of sigmaB-regulated genes in low-GC-content gram-positive bacteria

W. van Schaik, M. van der Voort, D. Molenaar, R. Moezelaar, W.M. de Vos, T. Abee

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41 Citations (Scopus)


The alternative sigma factor B has an important role in the acquisition of stress resistance in many gram-positive bacteria, including the food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus. Here, we describe the identification of the set of B-regulated genes in B. cereus by DNA microarray analysis of the transcriptome upon a mild heat shock. Twenty-four genes could be identified as being B dependent as witnessed by (i) significantly lower expression levels of these genes in mutants with a deletion of sigB and rsbY (which encode the alternative sigma factor B and a crucial positive regulator of B activity, respectively) than in the parental strain B. cereus ATCC 14579 and (ii) increased expression of these genes upon a heat shock. Newly identified B-dependent genes in B. cereus include a histidine kinase and two genes that have predicted functions in spore germination. This study shows that the B regulon of B. cereus is considerably smaller than that of other gram-positive bacteria. This appears to be in line with phylogenetic analyses where B of the B. cereus group was placed close to the ancestral form of B in gram-positive bacteria. The data described in this study and previous studies in which the complete B regulon of the gram-positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus were determined enabled a comparison of the sets of B-regulated genes in the different gram-positive bacteria. This showed that only three genes (rsbV, rsbW, and sigB) are conserved in their B dependency in all four bacteria, suggesting that the B regulon of the different gram-positive bacteria has evolved to perform niche-specific functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4384-4390
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • stress-response
  • staphylococcus-aureus
  • listeria-monocytogenes
  • subtilis spores
  • virulence
  • germination
  • sequence
  • sigb
  • atcc-14579
  • receptors

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