The alarmones (p)ppGpp are part of the heat shock response of Bacillus subtilis

Autoři: Heinrich Schäfer aff001;  Bertrand Beckert aff003;  Christian K. Frese aff002;  Wieland Steinchen aff004;  Aaron M. Nuss aff005;  Michael Beckstette aff005;  Ingo Hantke aff001;  Kristina Driller aff002;  Petra Sudzinová aff006;  Libor Krásný aff006;  Volkhard Kaever aff007;  Petra Dersch aff005;  Gert Bange aff004;  Daniel N. Wilson aff003;  Kürşad Turgay aff001
Působiště autorů: Institute of Microbiology, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hannover, Germany aff001;  Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany aff002;  Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany aff003;  Philipps-University Marburg, Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO) and Department of Chemistry, Marburg, Germany aff004;  Department of Molecular Infection Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany aff005;  Institute of Microbiology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic aff006;  Hannover Medical School, Research Core Unit Metabolomics, Hannover, Germany aff007;  Institute of Infectiology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany aff008
Vyšlo v časopise: The alarmones (p)ppGpp are part of the heat shock response of Bacillus subtilis. PLoS Genet 16(3): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008275
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008275


Bacillus subtilis cells are well suited to study how bacteria sense and adapt to proteotoxic stress such as heat, since temperature fluctuations are a major challenge to soil-dwelling bacteria. Here, we show that the alarmones (p)ppGpp, well known second messengers of nutrient starvation, are also involved in the heat stress response as well as the development of thermo-resistance. Upon heat-shock, intracellular levels of (p)ppGpp rise in a rapid but transient manner. The heat-induced (p)ppGpp is primarily produced by the ribosome-associated alarmone synthetase Rel, while the small alarmone synthetases RelP and RelQ seem not to be involved. Furthermore, our study shows that the generated (p)ppGpp pulse primarily acts at the level of translation, and only specific genes are regulated at the transcriptional level. These include the down-regulation of some translation-related genes and the up-regulation of hpf, encoding the ribosome-protecting hibernation-promoting factor. In addition, the alarmones appear to interact with the activity of the stress transcription factor Spx during heat stress. Taken together, our study suggests that (p)ppGpp modulates the translational capacity at elevated temperatures and thereby allows B. subtilis cells to respond to proteotoxic stress, not only by raising the cellular repair capacity, but also by decreasing translation to concurrently reduce the protein load on the cellular protein quality control system.

Klíčová slova:

Bacillus subtilis – Cellular stress responses – DNA transcription – Heat shock response – Protein translation – Ribosomal RNA – Ribosomes – Thermal stresses


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