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J Bacteriol. 1990 Sep;172(9):5299-306.

CsgA, an extracellular protein essential for Myxococcus xanthus development.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


CsgA mutants of Myxococcus xanthus appear to be defective in producing an extracellular molecule essential for the developmental behaviors of this bacterium. The csgA gene encodes a 17.7-kilodalton polypeptide whose function and cellular location were investigated with immunological probes. Large quantities of the CsgA gene product were obtained from a lacZ-csgA translational gene fusion expressed in Escherichia coli. The chimeric 21-kilodalton protein was purified by preparative sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies raised against the fusion protein were used to determine the cellular location of the native CsgA protein by colloidal gold labeling and transmission electron microscopy. Between 1,100 and 2,200 extracellular molecules of CsgA per developing M. xanthus cell were detected, most of which were associated with the extracellular matrix. The anti-CsgA antibodies inhibited wild-type development unless they were first neutralized with the fusion protein. Together these results suggest that the CsgA gene product has an essential, extracellular function during development, possibly as a pheromone.

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