To characterize the roles of SigB and SigF in sigma factor regulation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, we used chemically inducible recombinant strains to conditionally overexpress sigB and sigF. Using whole genomic microarray analysis and quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, we investigated the resulting global transcriptional changes after sigB induction, and we specifically tested the relative expression of other sigma factor genes after knock-in expression of sigB and sigF. Overexpression of sigB resulted in significant upregulation of genes encoding several early culture filtrate antigens (ESAT-6-like proteins), ribosomal proteins, PE-PGRS proteins, the keto-acyl synthase, KasA, and the regulatory proteins WhiB2 and IdeR. Of note, the induction of sigB did not alter the expression of other sigma factor genes, indicating that SigB is likely to serve as an end regulator for at least one branch of the M. tuberculosis sigma factor regulatory cascade. Analysis of the 5′-untranslated region (UTR) of SigB-dependent transcripts revealed a putative consensus sequence of NGTGG-N14-18-NNGNNG. This sequence appeared upstream of both sigB (Rv2710) and the gene following it, ideR (Rv2711), and in vitro transcription analysis with recombinant SigB-reconstituted RNA polymerase confirmed SigB-dependent transcription from each of these promoters. Knock-in expression of sigF revealed that only the sigC gene was significantly upregulated 6 and 12 h after sigF induction. The previously identified SigF promoter consensus sequence AGTTTG-N15-GGGTTT was identified in the 5′ UTR of the sigC gene, and SigF-dependent in vitro transcription of the promoter upstream of sigC was confirmed by using recombinant SigF-reconstituted RNA polymerase. These two knock-in recombinant strains were tested in a macrophage model of infection which showed that overexpression of sigB and sigF resulted in reduced rates of M. tuberculosis intracellular growth. These results define the SigB promoter consensus recognition sequence and members of the SigB regulon. Moreover, the data suggest that, in addition to serving as an end regulator in a sigma factor cascade, SigB may auto-amplify its own expression under certain conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology