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J Bacteriol. 1999 Jul;181(14):4381-90.

Genetic and molecular analysis of cglB, a gene essential for single-cell gliding in Myxococcus xanthus.

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Environmental Engineering and Science, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-4020, USA.


Gliding movements of individual isolated Myxococcus xanthus cells depend on the genes of the A-motility system (agl and cgl genes). Mutants carrying defects in those genes are unable to translocate as isolated cells on solid surfaces. The motility defect of cgl mutants can be transiently restored to wild type by extracellular complementation upon mixing mutant cells with wild-type or other motility mutant cells. To develop a molecular understanding of the function of a Cgl protein in gliding motility, we cloned the cglB wild-type allele by genetic complementation of the mutant phenotype. The nucleotide sequence of a 2.85-kb fragment was determined and shown to encode two complete open reading frames. The CglB protein was determined to be a 416-amino-acid putative lipoprotein with an unusually high cysteine content. The CglB antigen localized to the membrane fraction. The swarming and gliding defects of a constructed DeltacglB mutant were fully restored upon complementation with the cglB wild-type allele. Experiments with a cglB allele encoding a CglB protein with a polyhistidine tag at the C terminus showed that this allele also promoted wild-type levels of swarming and single-cell gliding, but was unable to stimulate DeltacglB cells to move. Possible functions of CglB as a mechanical component or as a signal protein in single cell gliding are discussed.

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