Some proteins need additional processing to become fully functional, for example NiFe-hydrogenases need to be cleaved by endopeptidases for some of their subunits to be active.

Is it known whether transcription regulators could also, in some cases, need such extensive post-translational modification to be effective?

(I am not talking about possible conformational changes that by specific effectors, but rather an obligatory step in the maturation of the protein, that could also be necessary for other genes' expressions.)

To be a bit more precise, I am thinking about a metabolic system where the expressions of most of the involved genes are regulated by a master transcriptional regulator (SurR, an ArsR-type, redox-active regulator involved in Thermococcales’ (Archaea) energy metabolism).

I am wondering what kind of effects a change in the expression of the regulator-encoding gene could have on the whole system. And before getting to an effect on the regulon, I guess it is a good idea to start with the regulator itself: could it be theoretically fully functional in a greater concentration, if I would only consider overexpressing its gene for example?

One type of heavy post-translational modification is maturation by endopeptidase, which can hamper the correct activity of an enzyme if not considered adequately in a case of, let’s say, overexpression attempt. (this example is particularly important here since several enzymes of the regulon need to be importantly modified post-translationnaly)

Since there does not seem to be enough literature on the particular regulator I am interested about, and since a quick research for answers in other systems was not successful on my side, I am thus asking the SE community if anyone may have known about some kind of maturation-like, post-translational process, which could be needed for a fully functional transcriptional regulator. Would I need to worry about other genes than only the one coding for the regulator, to that extent?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to SE Biology. First, it would be useful to know why you are asking this question. As it stands it seems to me, at least, rather arbitrary. Potential responders would have more incentive if you told them why this is important to you. Second I have edited your answer so that it employs standard scientific English terminology. I appreciate this is difficult if you are not a native speaker, but the harsh reality requires all scientists to master this. My approach for other interests is to find a Wikipedia article in my own language and then switch to the foreign language version of it. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Sep 23, 2021 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ In addition to David's excellent advice, please note that this is a very broad question and could be closed due to lack of focus or insufficient prior research. Answers to a question like this are often unsatisfactory (tend to be superficial) because they require enough material for a review article or high-level textbook chapter to answer with any depth. This is not practical on this platform. If you can focus your question then a useful answer may be forthcoming — as it stands the answer is "Yes", which I suspect helps no one. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Sep 24, 2021 at 0:07
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks David and tyersome for your help and remarks. I have edited my initial post to give a bit more context, hope that’s better. $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2021 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ Notch signaling involves the cleavage of the transmembrane Notch protein. This releases the intracellular domain that then enters the nucleus and modifies gene expression. Does that count? Beyond cleavage reactions there are many examples of transcription factors that need to be phosphorylated (also a post-translational modification) for activation. But in your case you appear to be talking about a repressor, and at least LacI and TetR are both fully active repressors without any need for post-translational modifications. My guess is that it's quite general for at least bacterial repressors. $\endgroup$
    – gaspanic
    Sep 25, 2021 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Your title seems to ask a different question (do [ALL] transcription factors...) than the body of your question (...in some cases...). $\endgroup$
    – Armand
    Sep 25, 2021 at 2:46


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