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Science 322 (5898): 92-96

Copyright © 2008 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Molecular Architecture of the "Stressosome," a Signal Integration and Transduction Hub

Jon Marles-Wright,1* Tim Grant,2* Olivier Delumeau,1{dagger} Gijs van Duinen,2{ddagger} Susan J. Firbank,1 Peter J. Lewis,3 James W. Murray,1§ Joseph A. Newman,1 Maureen B. Quin,1 Paul R. Race,1 Alexis Rohou,2 Willem Tichelaar,2|| Marin van Heel,2 Richard J. Lewis1

Abstract: A commonly used strategy by microorganisms to survive multiple stresses involves a signal transduction cascade that increases the expression of stress-responsive genes. Stress signals can be integrated by a multiprotein signaling hub that responds to various signals to effect a single outcome. We obtained a medium-resolution cryo–electron microscopy reconstruction of the 1.8-megadalton "stressosome" from Bacillus subtilis. Fitting known crystal structures of components into this reconstruction gave a pseudoatomic structure, which had a virus capsid–like core with sensory extensions. We suggest that the different sensory extensions respond to different signals, whereas the conserved domains in the core integrate the varied signals. The architecture of the stressosome provides the potential for cooperativity, suggesting that the response could be tuned dependent on the magnitude of chemophysical insult.

1 Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE2 4HH, UK.
2 Faculty of Natural Sciences, Division of Molecular Biosciences, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.
3 School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Collaghan, Newcastle, NSW 2308, Australia.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} Present address: Laboratoire de Génétique Microbienne, Domaine de Vilvert, Institut de la Recherche Agronomique INRA, 78350 Jouy-en-Josas, France.

{ddagger} Present address: FEI Europe, Achtseweg Noord 5, 5651 GG Eindhoven, Netherlands.

§ Present address: Faculty of Natural Sciences, Division of Molecular Biosciences, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

|| Present address: European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: r.lewis{at} and m.vanheel{at}

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