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PLoS Genet. 2014 Jan;10(1):e1004101. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004101. Epub 2014 Jan 23.

A cell cycle and nutritional checkpoint controlling bacterial surface adhesion.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
2
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Institute of Genetics & Genomics in Geneva (iGE3), University of Geneva Medical School, Geneva, Switzerland.
3
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America ; Committee on Microbiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

Abstract

In natural environments, bacteria often adhere to surfaces where they form complex multicellular communities. Surface adherence is determined by the biochemical composition of the cell envelope. We describe a novel regulatory mechanism by which the bacterium, Caulobacter crescentus, integrates cell cycle and nutritional signals to control development of an adhesive envelope structure known as the holdfast. Specifically, we have discovered a 68-residue protein inhibitor of holdfast development (HfiA) that directly targets a conserved glycolipid glycosyltransferase required for holdfast production (HfsJ). Multiple cell cycle regulators associate with the hfiA and hfsJ promoters and control their expression, temporally constraining holdfast development to the late stages of G1. HfiA further functions as part of a 'nutritional override' system that decouples holdfast development from the cell cycle in response to nutritional cues. This control mechanism can limit surface adhesion in nutritionally sub-optimal environments without affecting cell cycle progression. We conclude that post-translational regulation of cell envelope enzymes by small proteins like HfiA may provide a general means to modulate the surface properties of bacterial cells.

PMID:
24465221
PMCID:
PMC3900383
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1004101
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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