Editors' ChoiceProtein Modification

Transcriptional Repressor Dissected

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Science Signaling  09 Jun 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 74, pp. ec194
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.274ec194

Living organisms have quality-control mechanisms to eliminate proteins damaged by environmental stresses. In the model organism Bacillus subtilis, the transcriptional repressor CtsR controls the expression of genes that are key to the heat-shock response. CtsR is activated by the kinase McsB to allow transcription of stress-response genes; however, the mechanism of activation is unclear. Fuhrmann et al. now describe structural and biochemical studies showing that McsB inhibits DNA binding of CtsR by specifically phosphorylating arginine residues in its DNA binding domain. This study provides a basis for exploring a potential wider role of arginine phosphorylation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcriptional regulation.

J. Fuhrmann, A. Schmidt, S. Spiess, A. Lehner, K. Turgay, K. Mechtler, E. Charpentier, T. Clausen, McsB is a protein arginine kinase that phosphorylates and inhibits the heat-shock regulator CtsR. Science 324, 1323–1327 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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