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Bacterial cell cycle and growth phase switch by the essential transcriptional regulator CtrA

Publication date2019
Abstract

Many bacteria acquire dissemination and virulence traits in G1-phase. CtrA, an essential and conserved cell cycle transcriptional regulator identified in the dimorphic alpha-proteobacterium Caulobacter crescentus, first activates promoters in late S-phase and then mysteriously switches to different target promoters in G1-phase. We uncovered a highly conserved determinant in the DNA-binding domain (DBD) of CtrA uncoupling this promoter switch. We also show that it reprograms CtrA occupancy in stationary cells inducing a (p)ppGpp alarmone signal perceived by the RNA polymerase beta subunit. A simple side chain modification in a critical residue within the core DBD imposes opposing developmental phenotypes and transcriptional activities of CtrA and a proximal residue can direct CtrA towards activation of the dispersal (G1-phase) program. Hence, we propose that this conserved determinant in the CtrA primary structure dictates promoter reprogramming during the growth transition in other alpha-proteobacteria that differentiate from replicative cells into dispersal cells.

Funding
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 31003A 182576
Citation (ISO format)
DELABY, Marie, PANIS, Gaël, VIOLLIER, Patrick. Bacterial cell cycle and growth phase switch by the essential transcriptional regulator CtrA. In: Nucleic Acids Research, 2019. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz846
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Article (Published version)
Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0305-1048
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Creation10/12/2019 9:48:00 AM
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