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SoxR and SoxS constitute an intracellular signal response system that rapidly detects changes in superoxide levels and modulates gene expression in E. coli. A time series microarray design was used to identify co-regulated SoxRS-dependent and independent genes modulated by superoxide minutes after exposure to stress.

Methodology/Principal Findings

soxS mRNA levels surged to near maximal levels within the first few minutes of exposure to paraquat, a superoxide-producing compound, followed by a rise in mRNA levels of known SoxS-regulated genes. Based on a new method for determining the biological significance of clustering results, a total of 138 genic regions, including several transcription factors and putative sRNAs were identified as being regulated through the SoxRS signaling pathway within 10 minutes of paraquat treatment. A statistically significant two-block SoxS motif was identified through analysis of the SoxS-regulated genes. The SoxRS-independent response included members of the OxyR, CysB, IscR, BirA and Fur regulons. Finally, the relative sensitivity to superoxide was measured in 94 strains carrying deletions in individual, superoxide-regulated genes.


By integrating our microarray time series results with other microarray data, E. coli databases and the primary literature, we propose a model of the primary transcriptional response containing 226 protein-coding and sRNA sequences. From the SoxS dependent network the first statistically significant SoxS-related motif was identified.






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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.