Rsd family proteins make simultaneous interactions with regions 2 and 4 of the primary sigma factor

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Bacterial anti-σ factors typically regulate σ factor function by restricting the access of their cognate σ factors to the RNA polymerase (RNAP) core enzyme. The Escherichia coli Rsd protein forms a complex with the primary σ factor, σ70, inhibits σ70-dependent transcription in vitro, and has been proposed to function as a σ70-specific anti-σ factor, thereby facilitating the utilization of alternative σ factors. In prior work, Rsd has been shown to interact with conserved region 4 of σ70, but it is not known whether this interaction suffices to account for the regulatory functions of Rsd. Here we show that Rsd and the Rsd orthologue AlgQ, a global regulator of gene expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, interact with conserved region 2 of σ70. We show further that Rsd and AlgQ can interact simultaneously with regions 2 and 4 of σ70. Our findings establish that the abilities of Rsd and AlgQ to interact with σ70 region 2 are important determinants of their in vitro and in vivo activities.

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