- Shuman, Howard A.
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- National Science Foundation
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Sugar-Phosphate Metabolism Regulates Stationary-Phase Entry and Stalk Elongation in Caulobacter crescentusBrun, 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 »
Cellular differentiation is a fundamental strategy used by cells to generate specialized functions at specific stages of development. The bacterium
Caulobacter crescentusemploys a specialized dimorphic life cycle consisting of two differentiated cell types. How environmental cues, including mechanical inputs such as contact with a surface, regulate this cell cycle remain unclear. Here, we find that surface sensing by the physical perturbation of retracting extracellular pilus filaments accelerates cell-cycle progression and cellular differentiation. We show that physical obstruction of dynamic pilus activity by chemical perturbation or by a mutation in the outer-membrane pilus secretin CpaC stimulates early initiation of chromosome replication. In addition, we find that surface contact stimulates cell-cycle progression by demonstrating that surface-stimulated cells initiate early chromosome replication to the same extent as planktonic cells with obstructed pilus activity. Finally, we show that obstruction of pilus retraction stimulates the synthesis of the cell-cycle regulator cyclic diguanylate monophosphate (c-di-GMP) through changes in the activity and localization of two key regulatory histidine kinases that control cell fate and differentiation. Together, these results demonstrate that surface contact and sensing by alterations in pilus activity stimulate C. crescentusto bypass its developmentally programmed temporal delay in cell differentiation to more quickly adapt to a surface-associated lifestyle.
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 experimentalmore »
Agrobacterium tumefaciens Growth Pole Ring Protein: C Terminus and Internal Apolipoprotein Homologous Domains Are Essential for Function and Subcellular LocalizationSloan Siegrist, M. (Ed.)ABSTRACT The Agrobacterium growth pole ring (GPR) protein forms a hexameric ring at the growth pole (GP) that is essential for polar growth. GPR is large (2,115 amino acids) and contains 1,700 amino acids of continuous α-helices. To dissect potential GPR functional domains, we created deletions of regions with similarity to human apolipoprotein A-IV (396 amino acids), itself composed of α-helical domains. We also tested deletions of the GPR C terminus. Deletions were inducibly expressed as green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion proteins and tested for merodiploid interference with wild-type (WT) GPR function, for partial function in cells lacking GPR, and for formation of paired fluorescent foci (indicative of hexameric rings) at the GP. Deletion of domains similar to human apolipoprotein A-IV in GPR caused defects in cell morphology when expressed in trans to WT GPR and provided only partial complementation to cells lacking GPR. Agrobacterium -specific domains A-IV-1 and A-IV-4 contain predicted coiled coil (CC) regions of 21 amino acids; deletion of CC regions produced severe defects in cell morphology in the interference assay. Mutants that produced the most severe effects on cell shape also failed to form paired polar foci. Modeling of A-IV-1 and A-IV-4 reveals significant similarity tomore »
Localized cardiolipin synthesis is required for the assembly of MreB during the polarized cell division of Chlamydia trachomatisDerré, Isabelle (Ed.)Pathogenic Chlamydia species are coccoid bacteria that use the rod-shape determining protein MreB to direct septal peptidoglycan synthesis during their polarized cell division process. How the site of polarized budding is determined in this bacterium, where contextual features like membrane curvature are seemingly identical, is unclear. We hypothesized that the accumulation of the phospholipid, cardiolipin (CL), in specific regions of the cell membrane induces localized membrane changes that trigger the recruitment of MreB to the site where the bud will arise. To test this, we ectopically expressed cardiolipin synthase (Cls) and observed a polar distribution for this enzyme in Chlamydia trachomatis . In early division intermediates, Cls was restricted to the bud site where MreB is localized and peptidoglycan synthesis is initiated. The localization profile of 6xHis tagged Cls (Cls_6xH) throughout division mimicked the distribution of lipids that stain with NAO, a dye that labels CL. Treatment of Chlamydia with 3’,6-dinonylneamine (diNN), an antibiotic targeting CL-containing membrane domains, resulted in redistribution of Cls_6xH and NAO-staining phospholipids. In addition, 6xHis tagged MreB localization was altered by diNN treatment, suggesting an upstream regulatory role for CL-containing membranes in directing the assembly of MreB. This hypothesis is consistent with the observation that themore »