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Global Characterization Of Disulfide Stress In Bacillus Subtilis

Lars Ingo Ole Leichert, Christian Scharf, Michael Hecker

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ABSTRACT We used DNA macroarray and proteome analysis to analyze the regulatory networks in Bacillus subtilis that are affected by disulfide stress. To induce disulfide stress, we used the specific thiol oxidant diamide. After addition of 1 mM diamide to an exponentially growing culture, cell growth stopped until the medium was cleared of diamide. Global analysis of the mRNA expression pattern during growth arrest revealed 350 genes that were induced by disulfide stress by greater than threefold. Strongly induced genes included known oxidative stress genes that are under the control of the global repressor PerR and heat shock genes controlled by the global repressor CtsR. Other genes that were strongly induced encode putative regulators of gene expression and proteins protecting against toxic elements and heavy metals. Many genes were substantially repressed by disulfide stress, among them most of the genes belonging to the negative stringent response. Two-dimensional gels of radioactively labeled protein extracts allowed us to visualize and quantitate the massive changes in the protein expression pattern that occurred in response to disulfide stress. The observed dramatic alteration in the protein pattern reflected the changes found in the transcriptome experiments. The response to disulfide stress seems to be a complex combination of different regulatory networks, indicating that redox-sensing cysteines play a key role in different signaling pathways sensing oxidative stress, heat stress, toxic element stress, and growth inhibition.