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  • Description: spore killing factor

Gene name skfA
Synonyms ybcO
Essential no
Product spore killing factor
Function killing of sister cells
Gene expression levels in SubtiExpress: skfA
Interactions involving this protein in SubtInteract: SkfA
MW, pI 5 kDa, 10.648
Gene length, protein length 165 bp, 55 aa
Immediate neighbours ybcM, skfB
Sequences Protein DNA DNA_with_flanks
Genetic context
YbcO context.gif
This image was kindly provided by SubtiList
Expression at a glance   PubMed
SkfA expression.png

Categories containing this gene/protein

toxins, antitoxins and immunity against toxins, prophage 1

This gene is a member of the following regulons

AbrB regulon, PhoP regulon, Spo0A regulon

The gene

Basic information

  • Locus tag: BSU01910

Phenotypes of a mutant

Database entries

  • DBTBS entry: [1]
  • SubtiList entry: [2]

Additional information

The protein

Basic information/ Evolution

  • Catalyzed reaction/ biological activity:
  • Protein family:
  • Paralogous protein(s):

Extended information on the protein

  • Kinetic information:
  • Domains:
  • Modification: the mature SKF is cyclic 26-amino acid peptide that is posttranslationally modified with one disulfide and one cysteine thioether bridged to the alpha-position of a methionine PubMed, the thioether bond is generated by SkfB PubMed
  • Cofactor(s):
  • Effectors of protein activity:

Database entries

  • Structure:
  • KEGG entry: [3]
  • E.C. number:

Additional information

Expression and regulation

  • Regulation:
    • repressed by glucose (33-fold) PubMed
    • expressed under conditions that trigger sporulation (Spo0A) PubMed
    • repressed during logrithmic growth (AbrB) PubMed
    • induced by phosphate starvation (PhoP) PubMed
    • induced by rhamnogalacturonan PubMed
  • Additional information:
    • Northern blotting during during phosphate limitation showed an intense 0.25 kb skfA-specific transcript, and a weaker 6.5 kb skfA-skfB-skfC-skfE-skfF-skfG-skfH transcript.
    • The skfA transcript is stabilized by a stem-loop structure in the skfA-skfB intergenic region. PubMed
    • The mRNA is very stable (half-life > 15 min) PubMed

Biological materials

  • Mutant:
  • Expression vector:
  • lacZ fusion:
  • GFP fusion:
  • two-hybrid system:
  • Antibody:

Labs working on this gene/protein

Your additional remarks



José Eduardo González-Pastor
Cannibalism: a social behavior in sporulating Bacillus subtilis.
FEMS Microbiol. Rev.: 2011, 35(3);415-24
[PubMed:20955377] [] [DOI] (I p)

Original Publications

Additional publications: PubMed

Allison V Banse, Arnaud Chastanet, Lilah Rahn-Lee, Errett C Hobbs, Richard Losick
Parallel pathways of repression and antirepression governing the transition to stationary phase in Bacillus subtilis.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.: 2008, 105(40);15547-52
[PubMed:18840696] [] [DOI] (I p)

Mark A Strauch, Benjamin G Bobay, John Cavanagh, Fude Yao, Angelo Wilson, Yoann Le Breton
Abh and AbrB control of Bacillus subtilis antimicrobial gene expression.
J. Bacteriol.: 2007, 189(21);7720-32
[PubMed:17720793] [] [DOI] (P p)

Akihito Ochiai, Takafumi Itoh, Akiko Kawamata, Wataru Hashimoto, Kousaku Murata
Plant cell wall degradation by saprophytic Bacillus subtilis strains: gene clusters responsible for rhamnogalacturonan depolymerization.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.: 2007, 73(12);3803-13
[PubMed:17449691] [] [DOI] (P p)

Nicholas E E Allenby, Carys A Watts, Georg Homuth, Zoltán Prágai, Anil Wipat, Alan C Ward, Colin R Harwood
Phosphate starvation induces the sporulation killing factor of Bacillus subtilis.
J. Bacteriol.: 2006, 188(14);5299-303
[PubMed:16816204] [] [DOI] (P p)

Helga Westers, Peter G Braun, Lidia Westers, Haike Antelmann, Michael Hecker, Jan D H Jongbloed, Hirofumi Yoshikawa, Teruo Tanaka, Jan Maarten van Dijl, Wim J Quax
Genes involved in SkfA killing factor production protect a Bacillus subtilis lipase against proteolysis.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.: 2005, 71(4);1899-908
[PubMed:15812018] [] [DOI] (P p)

Masaya Fujita, José Eduardo González-Pastor, Richard Losick
High- and low-threshold genes in the Spo0A regulon of Bacillus subtilis.
J. Bacteriol.: 2005, 187(4);1357-68
[PubMed:15687200] [] [DOI] (P p)

Virginie Molle, Masaya Fujita, Shane T Jensen, Patrick Eichenberger, José E González-Pastor, Jun S Liu, Richard Losick
The Spo0A regulon of Bacillus subtilis.
Mol. Microbiol.: 2003, 50(5);1683-701
[PubMed:14651647] [] [DOI] (P p)

G Hambraeus, C von Wachenfeldt, L Hederstedt
Genome-wide survey of mRNA half-lives in Bacillus subtilis identifies extremely stable mRNAs.
Mol. Genet. Genomics: 2003, 269(5);706-14
[PubMed:12884008] [] [DOI] (P p)

Hans-Matti Blencke, Georg Homuth, Holger Ludwig, Ulrike Mäder, Michael Hecker, Jörg Stülke
Transcriptional profiling of gene expression in response to glucose in Bacillus subtilis: regulation of the central metabolic pathways.
Metab. Eng.: 2003, 5(2);133-49
[PubMed:12850135] [] [DOI] (P p)

José E González-Pastor, Errett C Hobbs, Richard Losick
Cannibalism by sporulating bacteria.
Science: 2003, 301(5632);510-3
[PubMed:12817086] [] [DOI] (I p)