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Nat Commun. 2015 May 8;6:7005. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8005.

Topological control of the Caulobacter cell cycle circuitry by a polarized single-domain PAS protein.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Genomics in Geneva (iGE3), Faculty of Medicine/CMU, University of Geneva, Rue Michel Servet 1, Genève 4 1211, Switzerland.


Despite the myriad of different sensory domains encoded in bacteria, only a few types are known to control the cell cycle. Here we use a forward genetic screen for Caulobacter crescentus motility mutants to identify a conserved single-domain PAS (Per-Arnt-Sim) protein (MopJ) with pleiotropic regulatory functions. MopJ promotes re-accumulation of the master cell cycle regulator CtrA after its proteolytic destruction is triggered by the DivJ kinase at the G1-S transition. MopJ and CtrA syntheses are coordinately induced in S-phase, followed by the sequestration of MopJ to cell poles in Caulobacter. Polarization requires Caulobacter DivJ and the PopZ polar organizer. MopJ interacts with DivJ and influences the localization and activity of downstream cell cycle effectors. Because MopJ abundance is upregulated in stationary phase and by the alarmone (p)ppGpp, conserved systemic signals acting on the cell cycle and growth phase control are genetically integrated through this conserved single PAS-domain protein.

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