The novel ECF56 SigG1-RsfG system modulates morphological differentiation and metal-ion homeostasis in Streptomyces tsukubaensis
Extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factors are key transcriptional regulators that prokaryotes have evolved to respond to environmental challenges. Streptomyces tsukubaensis harbours 42 ECFs to reprogram stress-responsive gene expression. Among them, SigG1 features a minimal conserved ECF s2s4 architecture and an additional C-terminal extension that encodes a SnoaL_2 domain, which is characteristic for ECF s factors of group ECF56. Although proteins with such domain organisation are widely found among Actinobacteria, the functional role of ECFs with a fused SnoaL_2 domain remains unknown. Our results show that in addition to predicted self-regulatory intramolecular amino acid interactions between the SnoaL_2 domain and the ECF core, SigG1 activity is controlled by the cognate anti-sigma protein RsfG, encoded by a co-transcribed sigG1-neighbouring gene. Characterisation of ?sigG1 and ?rsfG strains combined with RNA-seq and ChIP-seq experiments, suggests the involvement of SigG1 in the morphological differentiation programme of S. tsukubaensis. SigG1 regulates the expression of alanine dehydrogenase, ald and the WhiB-like regulator, wblC required for differentiation, in addition to iron and copper trafficking systems. Overall, our work establishes a model in which the activity of a s factor of group ECF56, regulates morphogenesis and metal-ions homeostasis during development to ensure the timely progression of multicellular differentiation.