Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 11320220
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2001 May;98(10):5844-9
Clostridium difficile, a causative agent of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and its potentially lethal form, pseudomembranous colitis, produces two large protein toxins that are responsible for the cellular damage associated with the disease. The level of toxin production appears to be critical for determining the severity of the disease, but the mechanism by which toxin synthesis is regulated is unknown. The product of a gene, txeR, that lies just upstream of the tox gene cluster was shown to be needed for tox gene expression in vivo and to activate promoter-specific transcription of the tox genes in vitro in conjunction with RNA polymerases from C. difficile, Bacillus subtilis, or Escherichia coli. TxeR was shown to function as an alternative sigma factor for RNA polymerase. Because homologs of TxeR regulate synthesis of toxins and a bacteriocin in other Clostridium species, TxeR appears to be a prototype for a novel mode of regulation of toxin genes.