skip to main content

Title: Cell cycle control and environmental response by second messengers in Caulobacter crescentus
Abstract Background Second messengers, c-di-GMP and (p)ppGpp, are vital regulatory molecules in bacteria, influencing cellular processes such as biofilm formation, transcription, virulence, quorum sensing, and proliferation. While c-di-GMP and (p)ppGpp are both synthesized from GTP molecules, they play antagonistic roles in regulating the cell cycle. In C. crescentus , c-di-GMP works as a major regulator of pole morphogenesis and cell development. It inhibits cell motility and promotes S-phase entry by inhibiting the activity of the master regulator, CtrA. Intracellular (p)ppGpp accumulates under starvation, which helps bacteria to survive under stressful conditions through regulating nucleotide levels and halting proliferation. (p)ppGpp responds to nitrogen levels through RelA-SpoT homolog enzymes, detecting glutamine concentration using a nitrogen phosphotransferase system (PTS Ntr ). This work relates the guanine nucleotide-based second messenger regulatory network with the bacterial PTS Ntr system and investigates how bacteria respond to nutrient availability. Results We propose a mathematical model for the dynamics of c-di-GMP and (p)ppGpp in C. crescentus and analyze how the guanine nucleotide-based second messenger system responds to certain environmental changes communicated through the PTS Ntr system. Our mathematical model consists of seven ODEs describing the dynamics of nucleotides and PTS Ntr enzymes. Our simulations are consistent with experimental more » observations and suggest, among other predictions, that SpoT can effectively decrease c-di-GMP levels in response to nitrogen starvation just as well as it increases (p)ppGpp levels. Thus, the activity of SpoT (or its homologues in other bacterial species) can likely influence the cell cycle by influencing both c-di-GMP and (p)ppGpp. Conclusions In this work, we integrate current knowledge and experimental observations from the literature to formulate a novel mathematical model. We analyze the model and demonstrate how the PTS Ntr system influences (p)ppGpp, c-di-GMP, GMP and GTP concentrations. While this model does not consider all aspects of PTS Ntr signaling, such as cross-talk with the carbon PTS system, here we present our first effort to develop a model of nutrient signaling in C. crescentus . « less
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1909122
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10201015
Journal Name:
BMC Bioinformatics
Volume:
21
Issue:
S14
ISSN:
1471-2105
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Stress and starvation causes bacterial cells to activate the stringent response. This results in down-regulation of energy-requiring processes related to growth, as well as an upregulation of genes associated with survival and stress responses. Guanosine tetra- and pentaphosphates (collectively referred to as (p)ppGpp) are critical for this process. In Gram-positive bacteria, a main function of (p)ppGpp is to limit cellular levels of GTP, one consequence of which is reduced transcription of genes that require GTP as the initiating nucleotide, such as rRNA genes. In Streptomycetes, the stringent response is also linked to complex morphological differentiation and to production of secondary metabolites, including antibiotics. These processes are also influenced by the second messenger c-di-GMP. Since GTP is a substrate for both (p)ppGpp and c-di-GMP, a finely tuned regulation of cellular GTP levels is required to ensure adequate synthesis of these guanosine derivatives. Here, we discuss mechanisms that operate to control guanosine metabolism and how they impinge on the production of antibiotics in Streptomyces species.
  2. O’Toole, George (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Transitions between individual and communal lifestyles allow bacteria to adapt to changing environments. Bacteria must integrate information encoded in multiple sensory cues to appropriately undertake these transitions. Here, we investigate how two prevalent sensory inputs converge on biofilm morphogenesis: quorum sensing, which endows bacteria with the ability to communicate and coordinate group behaviors, and second messenger c-di-GMP signaling, which allows bacteria to detect and respond to environmental stimuli. We use Vibrio cholerae as our model system, the autoinducer AI-2 to modulate quorum sensing, and the polyamine norspermidine to modulate NspS-MbaA-mediated c-di-GMP production. Individually, AI-2 and norspermidine drive opposing biofilm phenotypes, with AI-2 repressing and norspermidine inducing biofilm formation. Surprisingly, however, when AI-2 and norspermidine are simultaneously detected, they act synergistically to increase biofilm biomass and biofilm cell density. We show that this effect is caused by quorum-sensing-mediated activation of nspS - mbaA expression, which increases the levels of NspS and MbaA, and in turn, c-di-GMP biosynthesis, in response to norspermidine. Increased MbaA-synthesized c-di-GMP activates the VpsR transcription factor, driving elevated expression of genes encoding key biofilm matrix components. Thus, in the context of biofilm morphogenesis in V. cholerae, quorum-sensing regulation of c-di-GMP-metabolizing receptor levels connects changes in cell populationmore »density to detection of environmental stimuli. IMPORTANCE The development of multicellular communities, known as biofilms, facilitates beneficial functions of gut microbiome bacteria and makes bacterial pathogens recalcitrant to treatment. Understanding how bacteria regulate the biofilm life cycle is fundamental to biofilm control in industrial processes and in medicine. Here, we demonstrate how two major sensory inputs—quorum-sensing communication and second messenger c-di-GMP signaling—jointly regulate biofilm morphogenesis in the global pathogen Vibrio cholerae. We characterize the mechanism underlying a surprising synergy between quorum-sensing and c-di-GMP signaling in controlling biofilm development. Thus, the work connects changes in cell population density to detection of environmental stimuli in a pathogen of clinical significance.« less
  3. ABSTRACT The dinucleotide second messenger c-di-GMP has emerged as a central regulator of reversible cell attachment during bacterial biofilm formation. A prominent cell adhesion mechanism first identified in pseudomonads combines two c-di-GMP-mediated processes: transcription of a large adhesin and its cell surface display via posttranslational proteolytic control. Here, we characterize an orthologous c-di-GMP effector system and show that it is operational in Vibrio cholerae , where it regulates two distinct classes of adhesins. Through structural analyses, we reveal a conserved autoinhibition mechanism of the c-di-GMP receptor that controls adhesin proteolysis and present a structure of a c-di-GMP-bound receptor module. We further establish functionality of the periplasmic protease controlled by the receptor against the two adhesins. Finally, transcription and functional assays identify physiological roles of both c-di-GMP-regulated adhesins in surface attachment and biofilm formation. Together, our studies highlight the conservation of a highly efficient signaling effector circuit for the control of cell surface adhesin expression and its versatility by revealing strain-specific variations. IMPORTANCE Vibrio cholerae , the causative agent of the diarrheal disease cholera, benefits from a sessile biofilm lifestyle that enhances survival outside the host but also contributes to host colonization and infectivity. The bacterial second messenger c-di-GMP has beenmore »identified as a central regulator of biofilm formation, including in V. cholerae ; however, our understanding of the pathways that contribute to this process is incomplete. Here, we define a conserved signaling system that controls the stability of large adhesion proteins at the cell surface of V. cholerae , which are important for cell attachment and biofilm formation. Insight into the regulatory circuit underlying biofilm formation may inform targeted strategies to interfere with a process that renders this bacterium remarkably adaptable to changing environments.« less
  4. Brun, Yves V. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Bacteria have a variety of mechanisms for adapting to environmental perturbations. Changes in oxygen availability result in a switch between aerobic and anaerobic respiration, whereas iron limitation may lead to siderophore secretion. In addition to metabolic adaptations, many organisms respond by altering their cell shape. Caulobacter crescentus , when grown under phosphate-limiting conditions, dramatically elongates its polar stalk appendage. The stalk is hypothesized to facilitate phosphate uptake; however, the mechanistic details of stalk synthesis are not well characterized. We used a chemical mutagenesis approach to isolate and characterize stalk-deficient mutants, one of which had two mutations in the phosphomannose isomerase gene ( manA ) that were necessary and sufficient to inhibit stalk elongation. Transcription of the pho regulon was unaffected in the manA mutant; therefore, ManA plays a unique regulatory role in stalk synthesis. The mutant ManA had reduced enzymatic activity, resulting in a 5-fold increase in the intracellular fructose 6-phosphate/mannose 6-phosphate ratio. This metabolic imbalance impaired the synthesis of cellular envelope components derived from mannose 6-phosphate, namely, lipopolysaccharide O-antigen and exopolysaccharide. Furthermore, the manA mutations prevented C. crescentus cells from efficiently entering stationary phase. Deletion of the stationary-phase response regulator gene spdR inhibited stalk elongation in wild-type cells,more »while overproduction of the alarmone ppGpp, which triggers growth arrest and stationary-phase entry, increased stalk length in the manA mutant strain. These results demonstrate that sugar-phosphate metabolism regulates stalk elongation independently of phosphate starvation. IMPORTANCE Metabolic control of bacterial cell shape is an important mechanism for adapting to environmental perturbations. Caulobacter crescentus dramatically elongates its polar stalk appendage in response to phosphate starvation. To investigate the mechanism of this morphological adaptation, we isolated stalk-deficient mutants, one of which had mutations in the phosphomannose isomerase gene ( manA ) that blocked stalk elongation, despite normal activation of the phosphate starvation response. The mutant ManA resulted in an imbalance in sugar-phosphate concentrations, which had effects on the synthesis of cellular envelope components and entry into stationary phase. Due to the interconnectivity of metabolic pathways, our findings may suggest more generally that the modulation of bacterial cell shape involves the regulation of growth phase and the synthesis of cellular building blocks.« less
  5. Abstract

    The nucleotide messenger (p)ppGpp allows bacteria to adapt to fluctuating environments by reprogramming the transcriptome. Despite its well-recognized role in gene regulation, (p)ppGpp is only known to directly affect transcription in Proteobacteria by binding to the RNA polymerase. Here, we reveal a different mechanism of gene regulation by (p)ppGpp in Firmicutes: (p)ppGpp directly binds to the transcription factor PurR to downregulate purine biosynthesis gene expression upon amino acid starvation. We first identified PurR as a receptor of (p)ppGpp in Bacillus anthracis. A co-structure with Bacillus subtilis PurR reveals that (p)ppGpp binds to a PurR pocket reminiscent of the active site of phosphoribosyltransferase enzymes that has been repurposed to serve a purely regulatory role, where the effectors (p)ppGpp and PRPP compete to allosterically control transcription. PRPP inhibits PurR DNA binding to induce transcription of purine synthesis genes, whereas (p)ppGpp antagonizes PRPP to enhance PurR DNA binding and repress transcription. A (p)ppGpp-refractory purR mutant in B. subtilis fails to downregulate purine synthesis genes upon amino acid starvation. Our work establishes the precedent of (p)ppGpp as an effector of a classical transcription repressor and reveals the key function of (p)ppGpp in regulating nucleotide synthesis through gene regulation, from soil bacteria to pathogens.