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Title: Orphan Hybrid Histidine Protein Kinase SinK Acts as a Signal Integrator To Fine-Tune Multicellular Behavior in Myxococcus xanthus
ABSTRACT His-Asp phosphorelay (also known as two-component signal transduction) proteins are the predominant mechanism used in most bacteria to control behavior in response to changing environmental conditions. In addition to systems consisting of a simple two-component system utilizing an isolated histidine kinase/response regulator pair, some bacteria are enriched in histidine kinases that serve as signal integration proteins; these kinases are usually characterized by noncanonical domain architecture, and the responses that they regulate may be difficult to identify. The environmental bacterium Myxococcus xanthus is highly enriched in these noncanonical histidine kinases. M. xanthus is renowned for a starvation-induced multicellular developmental program in which some cells are induced to aggregate into fruiting bodies and then differentiate into environmentally resistant spores. Here, we characterize the M. xanthus orphan hybrid histidine kinase SinK (Mxan_4465), which consists of a histidine kinase transmitter followed by two receiver domains (REC 1 and REC 2 ). Nonphosphorylatable sinK mutants were analyzed under two distinct developmental conditions and using a new high-resolution developmental assay. These assays revealed that SinK autophosphorylation and REC 1 impact the onset of aggregation and/or the mobility of aggregates, while REC 2 impacts sporulation efficiency. SinK activity is controlled by a genus-specific hypothetical protein (SinM; more » Mxan_4466). We propose that SinK serves to fine-tune fruiting body morphology in response to environmental conditions. IMPORTANCE Biofilms are multicellular communities of microorganisms that play important roles in host disease or environmental biofouling. Design of preventative strategies to block biofilms depends on understanding the molecular mechanisms used by microorganisms to build them. The production of biofilms in bacteria often involves two-component signal transduction systems in which one protein component (a kinase) detects an environmental signal and, through phosphotransfer, activates a second protein component (a response regulator) to change the transcription of genes necessary to produce a biofilm. We show that an atypical kinase, SinK, modulates several distinct stages of specialized biofilm produced by the environmental bacterium Myxococcus xanthus . SinK likely integrates multiple signals to fine-tune biofilm formation in response to distinct environmental conditions. « less
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Journal of Bacteriology
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National Science Foundation
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