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Keywords:

  • mycobacteria;
  • tuberculosis;
  • σ factor;
  • posttranslational regulation;
  • stress response;
  • virulence

Abstract

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a remarkable pathogen capable of adapting and surviving in various harsh conditions. Correct gene expression regulation is essential for the success of this process. The reversible association of different σ factors is a common mechanism for reprogramming bacterial RNA polymerase and modulating the transcription of numerous genes. Thirteen putative σ factors are encoded in the M. tuberculosis genome, several being important for virulence. Here, we analyse the latest information available on mycobacterial σ factors and discuss their roles in the physiology and virulence of M. tuberculosis.