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Free Content Phosphorylation of Bacillus subtilis gene regulator AbrB modulates its DNA‐binding properties

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AbrB is a global gene regulator involved in transition phase phenomena in B acillus subtilis. It participates in a complex regulatory network governing the expression of stationary‐phase functions. AbrB was previously found to be phosphorylated on serine 86 located close to its C‐terminal oligomerization domain. Here we report that AbrB can be phosphorylated by three B . subtilis serine/threonine kinases expressed during the transition and stationary phase: PrkC, PrkD and YabT. Our in vitro findings suggest that AbrB phosphorylation impedes its DNA binding and abolishes binding cooperativity. In vivo we established that a phospho‐mimetic mutation abrB S86D leads to a significant loss of AbrB control over several key target functions: exoprotease production, competence development and sporulation. A wider transcriptome analysis of abrB S86D and S86A mutant strains revealed deregulation of a large number of target genes. We therefore propose that AbrB phosphorylation serves as an additional input for fine‐tuning the activity of this ambiactive gene regulator.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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