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Journal of bacteriology

Caulobacter crescentus requires RodA and MreB for stalk synthesis and prevention of ectopic pole formation.


PMID 15629926

Abstract

Caulobacter crescentus cells treated with amdinocillin, an antibiotic which specifically inhibits the cell elongation transpeptidase penicillin binding protein 2 in Escherichia coli, exhibit defects in stalk elongation and morphology, indicating that stalk synthesis may be a specialized form of cell elongation. In order to investigate this possibility further, we examined the roles of two other proteins important for cell elongation, RodA and MreB. We show that, in C. crescentus, the rodA gene is essential and that RodA depletion leads to a loss of control over stalk and cell body diameter and a stalk elongation defect. In addition, we demonstrate that MreB depletion leads to a stalk elongation defect and conclude that stalk elongation is a more constrained form of cell elongation. Our results strongly suggest that MreB by itself does not determine the diameter of the cell body or stalk. Finally, we show that cells recovering from MreB depletion exhibit a strong budding and branching cell body phenotype and possess ectopic poles, as evidenced by the presence of multiple, misplaced, and sometimes highly branched stalks at the ends of these buds and branches. This phenotype is also seen to a lesser extent in cells recovering from RodA depletion and amdinocillin treatment. We conclude that MreB, RodA, and the target(s) of amdinocillin all contribute to the maintenance of cellular polarity in C. crescentus.

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