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Feb 13, 2017
Nature Microbiology
To adapt to changing environments, bacteria have evolved numerous pathways that activate stress response genes. In Gram-positive bacteria, the stressosome, a cytoplasmic complex, relays external cues and activates the sigma B regulon. The stressosome is structurally well-characterized in Bacillus, but how it senses stress remains elusive. Here, we report a genome-wide N-terminomic approach in Listeria that strikingly led to the discovery of 19 internal translation initiation sites and 6 miniproteins, among which one, Prli42, is conserved in Firmicutes. Prli42 is membrane-anchored and interacts with orthologues of Bacillus stressosome components. We reconstituted the Listeria stressosome in vitro and visualized its supramolecular structure by electron microscopy. Analysis of a series of Prli42 mutants demonstrated that Prli42 is important for sigma B activation, bacterial growth following oxidative stress and for survival in macrophages. Taken together, our N-terminonic approach unveiled Prli42 as a long-sought link between stress and the stressosome.

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