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J Biomed Sci. 2000 Nov-Dec;7(6):475-83.

Role of flhDC in the expression of the nuclease gene nucA, cell division and flagellar synthesis in Serratia marcescens.

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School and Graduate Institute of Medical Technology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taiwan, ROC.


We investigated in Serratia marcescens the functions of the flhDC operon, which controls motility and cell division in enteric bacteria. Included in our evaluations were investigation of cell division, flagellar synthesis and regulation of the expression of nuclease (encoded by the nucA(Sm) gene, one of the virulence factors). Interruption of the chromosomal flhDC operon in S. marcescens CH-1 resulted in aberrant cell division and loss of nuclease and flagella. Expression of nucA(Sm) and other mutated phenotypes was restored in the flhDC mutant by the induction of overexpression of flhDC in a multicopy plasmid. Multicopied flhDC also induced the formation of differentiated cells (polyploid aseptate cells with oversynthesis of peritrichous flagella) in broth culture using minimal growth medium. Expression of the flhDC operon showed positive autoregulation, and was growth phase dependent (upregulated in early log phase). In addition, flhDC expression was inhibited when the temperature increased from 30 to 37 degrees C, and when osmolarity was increased, but was not influenced by glucose catabolite repression. These results show that FlhD/FlhC is a multifunctional transcriptional activator involved in the process of cell differentiation, swarming and virulence factor expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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