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PLoS Genet. 2020 Jan 21;16(1):e1008591. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008591. eCollection 2020 Jan.

The conserved transcriptional regulator CdnL is required for metabolic homeostasis and morphogenesis in Caulobacter.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States of America.
2
Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
3
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
4
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MA, United States of America.
5
Department of Fundamental Microbiology, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Abstract

Bacterial growth and division require regulated synthesis of the macromolecules used to expand and replicate components of the cell. Transcription of housekeeping genes required for metabolic homeostasis and cell proliferation is guided by the sigma factor σ70. The conserved CarD-like transcriptional regulator, CdnL, associates with promoter regions where σ70 localizes and stabilizes the open promoter complex. However, the contributions of CdnL to metabolic homeostasis and bacterial physiology are not well understood. Here, we show that Caulobacter crescentus cells lacking CdnL have severe morphological and growth defects. Specifically, ΔcdnL cells grow slowly in both rich and defined media, and are wider, more curved, and have shorter stalks than WT cells. These defects arise from transcriptional downregulation of most major classes of biosynthetic genes, leading to significant decreases in the levels of critical metabolites, including pyruvate, α-ketoglutarate, ATP, NAD+, UDP-N-acetyl-glucosamine, lipid II, and purine and pyrimidine precursors. Notably, we find that ΔcdnL cells are glutamate auxotrophs, and ΔcdnL is synthetic lethal with other genetic perturbations that limit glutamate synthesis and lipid II production. Our findings implicate CdnL as a direct and indirect regulator of genes required for metabolic homeostasis that impacts morphogenesis through availability of lipid II and other metabolites.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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