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Description: buffering protein for development, dampens transitions to spore, biofilm exopolysaccharide and competence expression , targets ComK and ComS to ClpC-ClpP degradation machine (in log Phase), inhibits the transcriptional activity of Spo0A?P by direct interaction

Name: mecA
Locus: BSU11520BsubCyc
pI: 4.0
MW: 25.0 kDa
Protein length: 218 aaBLASTSequence
Gene length: 654 bpBLASTSequenceSequence + Flanks
Function: control of ComK degradation, regulation of competence
Product: adaptor protein
Essential: no
E.C. number:
Databases: SubtiListKEGGUniProtExpression data browser

Categories containing this gene/protein

genetic competence, proteolysis

This gene is a member of the following regulons


  • Coordinates on the chromosome (coding sequence): 1,229,068 -> 1,229,724
  • The protein

    Catalyzed reaction/ biological activity

    Protein family

  • mecA family (according to Swiss-Prot)
  • Paralogous protein(s)

  • YpbH
  • Kinetic information


  • N-terminal domain (1 ... 120): recruitment of protein substrates PubMed
  • C-terminal domain (121 ... 218): facilitates assembly of the ClpC-ClpP oligomer and acts as a degradation tag PubMed
  • Modification


    Effectors of protein activity


  • 3JTP (C-terminal domain) PubMed
  • 3PXG, 3J3U 3J3U (the MecA-ClpC complex) PubMed
  • Localization


  • MecA-ComK PubMed
  • MecA-ComS PubMed
  • ClpC-MecA PubMed
  • MecA-Spo0A PubMed
  • Additional information

    Expression and Regulation


  • mecA PubMed
  • Sigma factor

  • SigA PubMed
  • Regulation

    Regulatory mechanism

    Additional information

    Biological materials


  • GP813 (spc), GP814 (aphA3) both available in the Stülke lab
  • Expression vector

    lacZ fusion

    GFP fusion

    two-hybrid system

  • B. pertussis adenylate cyclase-based bacterial two hybrid system (BACTH), available in Jörg Stülke's lab
  • FLAG-tag construct


    Labs working on this gene/protein



    Molière N, Turgay K

    General and regulatory proteolysis in Bacillus subtilis

    Subcell Biochem. 2013;66:73-103. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-5940-4_4. Review. PubMed PMID: 23479438.
    Battesti A, Gottesman S

    Roles of adaptor proteins in regulation of bacterial proteolysis

    Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013 Apr;16(2):140-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2013.01.002. Epub 2013 Jan 31. Review. PubMed PMID: 23375660; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3646950.
    Kirstein J, Molière N, Dougan DA, Turgay K

    Adapting the machine: adaptor proteins for Hsp100/Clp and AAA+ proteases

    Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Aug;7(8):589-99. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2185. Review. PubMed PMID: 19609260.

    Original Publications

    Liu J, Mei Z, Li N, Qi Y, Xu Y, Shi Y, Wang F, Lei J, Gao N

    Structural dynamics of the MecA-ClpC complex: a type II AAA+ protein unfolding machine

    J Biol Chem. 2013 Jun 14;288(24):17597-608. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.458752. Epub 2013 Apr 17. PubMed PMID: 23595989; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3682559.
    Prepiak P, Defrancesco M, Spadavecchia S, Mirouze N, Albano M, Persuh M, Fujita M, Dubnau D

    MecA dampens transitions to spore, biofilm exopolysaccharide and competence expression by two different mechanisms

    Mol Microbiol. 2011 May;80(4):1014-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07627.x. Epub 2011 Apr 11. PubMed PMID: 21435029; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3102577.
    Wang F, Mei Z, Qi Y, Yan C, Hu Q, Wang J, Shi Y

    Structure and mechanism of the hexameric MecA-ClpC molecular machine

    Nature. 2011 Mar 17;471(7338):331-5. doi: 10.1038/nature09780. Epub 2011 Mar 2. PubMed PMID: 21368759.
    Wang F, Mei Z, Qi Y, Yan C, Xiang S, Zhou Z, Hu Q, Wang J, Shi Y

    Crystal structure of the MecA degradation tag

    J Biol Chem. 2009 Dec 4;284(49):34376-81. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.053033. Epub 2009 Oct 2. PubMed PMID: 19801546; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2797205.
    Mei Z, Wang F, Qi Y, Zhou Z, Hu Q, Li H, Wu J, Shi Y

    Molecular determinants of MecA as a degradation tag for the ClpCP protease

    J Biol Chem. 2009 Dec 4;284(49):34366-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.053017. Epub 2009 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 19767395; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2797204.
    Kojetin DJ, McLaughlin PD, Thompson RJ, Dubnau D, Prepiak P, Rance M, Cavanagh J

    Structural and motional contributions of the Bacillus subtilis ClpC N-domain to adaptor protein interactions

    J Mol Biol. 2009 Apr 3;387(3):639-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.01.046. Epub 2009 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 19361434; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2692191.
    Hamze K, Julkowska D, Autret S, Hinc K, Nagorska K, Sekowska A, Holland IB, Séror SJ

    Identification of genes required for different stages of dendritic swarming in Bacillus subtilis, with a novel role for phrC

    Microbiology. 2009 Feb;155(Pt 2):398-412. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.021477-0. PubMed PMID: 19202088.
    Prepiak P, Dubnau D

    A peptide signal for adapter protein-mediated degradation by the AAA+ protease ClpCP

    Mol Cell. 2007 Jun 8;26(5):639-47. PubMed PMID: 17560370; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2041856.
    Kirstein J, Schlothauer T, Dougan DA, Lilie H, Tischendorf G, Mogk A, Bukau B, Turgay K

    Adaptor protein controlled oligomerization activates the AAA+ protein ClpC

    EMBO J. 2006 Apr 5;25(7):1481-91. Epub 2006 Mar 9. PubMed PMID: 16525504; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1440321.
    Schlothauer T, Mogk A, Dougan DA, Bukau B, Turgay K

    MecA, an adaptor protein necessary for ClpC chaperone activity

    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Mar 4;100(5):2306-11. Epub 2003 Feb 21. PubMed PMID: 12598648; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC151336.
    Nakano MM, Nakano S, Zuber P

    Spx (YjbD), a negative effector of competence in Bacillus subtilis, enhances ClpC-MecA-ComK interaction

    Mol Microbiol. 2002 Jun;44(5):1341-9. PubMed PMID: 12028382.
    Berka RM, Hahn J, Albano M, Draskovic I, Persuh M, Cui X, Sloma A, Widner W, Dubnau D

    Microarray analysis of the Bacillus subtilis K-state: genome-wide expression changes dependent on ComK

    Mol Microbiol. 2002 Mar;43(5):1331-45. PubMed PMID: 11918817.
    Persuh M, Mandic-Mulec I, Dubnau D

    A MecA paralog, YpbH, binds ClpC, affecting both competence and sporulation

    J Bacteriol. 2002 Apr;184(8):2310-3. PubMed PMID: 11914365; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC134970.
    Nakano MM, Hajarizadeh F, Zhu Y, Zuber P

    Loss-of-function mutations in yjbD result in ClpX- and ClpP-independent competence development of Bacillus subtilis

    Mol Microbiol. 2001 Oct;42(2):383-94. PubMed PMID: 11703662.
    Persuh M, Turgay K, Mandic-Mulec I, Dubnau D

    The N- and C-terminal domains of MecA recognize different partners in the competence molecular switch

    Mol Microbiol. 1999 Aug;33(4):886-94. PubMed PMID: 10447896.
    Ogura M, Liu L, Lacelle M, Nakano MM, Zuber P

    Mutational analysis of ComS: evidence for the interaction of ComS and MecA in the regulation of competence development in Bacillus subtilis

    Mol Microbiol. 1999 May;32(4):799-812. PubMed PMID: 10361283.
    Turgay K, Hahn J, Burghoorn J, Dubnau D

    Competence in Bacillus subtilis is controlled by regulated proteolysis of a transcription factor

    EMBO J. 1998 Nov 16;17(22):6730-8. PubMed PMID: 9890793; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1171018.
    Msadek T, Dartois V, Kunst F, Herbaud ML, Denizot F, Rapoport G

    ClpP of Bacillus subtilis is required for competence development, motility, degradative enzyme synthesis, growth at high temperature and sporulation

    Mol Microbiol. 1998 Mar;27(5):899-914. PubMed PMID: 9535081.
    Turgay K, Hamoen LW, Venema G, Dubnau D

    Biochemical characterization of a molecular switch involving the heat shock protein ClpC, which controls the activity of ComK, the competence transcription factor of Bacillus subtilis

    Genes Dev. 1997 Jan 1;11(1):119-28. PubMed PMID: 9000055.
    Kong L, Siranosian KJ, Grossman AD, Dubnau D

    Sequence and properties of mecA, a negative regulator of genetic competence in Bacillus subtilis

    Mol Microbiol. 1993 Jul;9(2):365-73. PubMed PMID: 8412687.
    Hahn J, Kong L, Dubnau D

    The regulation of competence transcription factor synthesis constitutes a critical control point in the regulation of competence in Bacillus subtilis

    J Bacteriol. 1994 Sep;176(18):5753-61. PubMed PMID: 8083167; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC196779.
    Kong L, Dubnau D

    Regulation of competence-specific gene expression by Mec-mediated protein-protein interaction in Bacillus subtilis

    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jun 21;91(13):5793-7. PubMed PMID: 8016067; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC44083.
    Msadek T, Kunst F, Rapoport G

    MecB of Bacillus subtilis, a member of the ClpC ATPase family, is a pleiotropic regulator controlling competence gene expression and growth at high temperature

    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jun 21;91(13):5788-92. PubMed PMID: 8016066; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC44082.
    Roggiani M, Hahn J, Dubnau D

    Suppression of early competence mutations in Bacillus subtilis by mec mutations

    J Bacteriol. 1990 Jul;172(7):4056-63. PubMed PMID: 2113920; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC213392.
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