Competence gene regulatory network. Significant quantities of ComK will activate downstream competence genes. ComK expression is regulated pre-transcription by repressor proteins and regulated post-translation by degradation by the MecA/ClpC/ClpP protease complex, where ComS competes with ComK to bind to the MecA adapter protein. Increased ComS production will then decrease degradation of the ComK protein. ComK is also upregulated by binding to its own promoter to enhance its further expression through an autoregulatory loop. The transcription regulator DegU is shown in yellow.