Integrative and quantitative view of the CtrA regulatory network in a stalked budding bacterium

Autoři: Oliver Leicht aff001;  Muriel C. F. van Teeseling aff001;  Gaël Panis aff002;  Celine Reif aff001;  Heiko Wendt aff001;  Patrick H. Viollier aff002;  Martin Thanbichler aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Biology, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany aff001;  Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Genomics in Geneva (iGE3), Faculty of Medicine/CMU, University of Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland aff002;  Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO), Marburg, Germany aff003;  Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: Integrative and quantitative view of the CtrA regulatory network in a stalked budding bacterium. PLoS Genet 16(4): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008724
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008724


The Alphaproteobacteria show a remarkable diversity of cell cycle-dependent developmental patterns, which are governed by the conserved CtrA pathway. Its central component CtrA is a DNA-binding response regulator that is controlled by a complex two-component signaling network, mediating distinct transcriptional programs in the two offspring. The CtrA pathway has been studied intensively and was shown to consist of an upstream part that reads out the developmental state of the cell and a downstream part that integrates the upstream signals and mediates CtrA phosphorylation. However, the role of this circuitry in bacterial diversification remains incompletely understood. We have therefore investigated CtrA regulation in the morphologically complex stalked budding alphaproteobacterium Hyphomonas neptunium. Compared to relatives dividing by binary fission, H. neptunium shows distinct changes in the role and regulation of various pathway components. Most notably, the response regulator DivK, which normally links the upstream and downstream parts of the CtrA pathway, is dispensable, while downstream components such as the pseudokinase DivL, the histidine kinase CckA, the phosphotransferase ChpT and CtrA are essential. Moreover, CckA is compartmentalized to the nascent bud without forming distinct polar complexes and CtrA is not regulated at the level of protein abundance. We show that the downstream pathway controls critical functions such as replication initiation, cell division and motility. Quantification of the signal flow through different nodes of the regulatory cascade revealed that the CtrA pathway is a leaky pipeline and must involve thus-far unidentified factors. Collectively, the quantitative system-level analysis of CtrA regulation in H. neptunium points to a considerable evolutionary plasticity of cell cycle regulation in alphaproteobacteria and leads to hypotheses that may also hold in well-established model organisms such as Caulobacter crescentus.

Klíčová slova:

Cell cycle and cell division – Cell polarity – Gene regulation – Phosphorylation – Regulator genes – Regulons – Neptunium – Caulobacter crescentus


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