Periplasmic stress and ECF sigma factors

T. L. Raivio, T. J. Silhavy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

320 Scopus citations


Envelope stress responses play important pysiological roles in a variety of processes, including protein folding, cell wall biosynthesis, and pathogenesis. Many of these responses are controlled by extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factors that respond to external signals by means of a membrane-localized anti-sigma factor. One of the best-characterized, ECF-regulated responses is the σE envelope stress response of Escherichia coli. The σE pathway ensures proper assembly of outer-membrane proteins (OMP) by controlling expression of genes involved in OMP folding and degradation in response to envelope stresses that disrupt these processes. Prevailing evidence suggests that, in E. coli, a second envelope stress response controlled by the Cpx two-component system ensures proper pilus assembly. The sensor kinase CpxA recognizes misfolded periplasmic proteins, such as those generated during pilus assembly, and transduces this signal to the response regulator CpxR through conserved phosphotransfer reactions. Phosphorylated CpxR activates transcription of periplasmic factors necessary for pilus assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-624
Number of pages34
JournalAnnual Review of Microbiology
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology


  • Envelope stress
  • Protein folding
  • Signal transduction


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