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eLife

c-di-GMP heterogeneity is generated by the chemotaxis machinery to regulate flagellar motility.


PMID 24347546

Abstract

Individual cell heterogeneity is commonly observed within populations, although its molecular basis is largely unknown. Previously, using FRET-based microscopy, we observed heterogeneity in cellular c-di-GMP levels. In this study, we show that c-di-GMP heterogeneity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is promoted by a specific phosphodiesterase partitioned after cell division. We found that subcellular localization and reduction of c-di-GMP levels by this phosphodiesterase is dependent on the histidine kinase component of the chemotaxis machinery, CheA, and its phosphorylation state. Therefore, individual cell heterogeneity in c-di-GMP concentrations is regulated by the activity and the asymmetrical inheritance of the chemotaxis organelle after cell division. c-di-GMP heterogeneity results in a diversity of motility behaviors. The generation of diverse intracellular concentrations of c-di-GMP by asymmetric partitioning is likely important to the success and survival of bacterial populations within the environment by allowing a variety of motility behaviors. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01402.001.