σECF factors of gram-positive bacteria: A focus on Bacillus subtilis and the CMNR group

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Abstract

The survival of bacteria to different environmental conditions depends on the activation of adaptive mechanisms, which are intricately driven through gene regulation. Because transcriptional initiation is considered to be the major step in the control of bacterial genes, we discuss the characteristics and roles of the sigma factors, addressing (1) their structural, functional and phylogenetic classification; (2) how their activity is regulated; and (3) the promoters recognized by these factors. Finally, we focus on a specific group of alternative sigma factors, the so-called σECF factors, in Bacillus subtilis and some of the main species that comprise the CMNR group, providing information on the roles they play in the microorganisms' physiology and indicating some of the genes whose transcription they regulate.

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