Journal of bacteriology

Identification of a putative flavin adenine dinucleotide-binding monooxygenase as a regulator for Myxococcus xanthus development.

PMID 25605309


Gene clusters coding for the chaperone/usher (CU) pathway are widely distributed in many important environmental and pathogenic microbes; however, information about the regulatory machineries controlling CU gene expression during multicellular morphogenesis is missing. The Myxococcus xanthus Mcu system, encoded by the mcuABCD gene cluster, represents a prototype of the archaic CU family that functions in spore coat formation. Using genome-wide transposon mutagenesis, we identified MXAN2872 to be a potential regulator of the mcuABC operon and demonstrated the necessity of MXAN2872 for mcuABC expression and fruiting body morphogenesis in early development. In silico, biochemical, and genetic analyses suggest that MXAN2872 encodes a Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase (BVMO) of flavoproteins, and the potential cofactor-binding site as well as the BVMO fingerprint sequence is important for the regulatory role of the MXAN2872 protein. The expression profile of mcuA in strains with an MXAN2872 deletion and point mutation agrees well with the timing of cell aggregation of these mutants. Furthermore, McuA could not be detected either in a fruA-null mutant, where starvation-induced aggregation was completely blocked, or in the glycerol-induced spores, where sporulation was uncoupled from cell aggregation. In sum, the present work uncovers a positive role for MXAN2872, a metabolic enzyme-encoding gene, in controlling M. xanthus development. MXAN2872 functions by affecting the onset of cell aggregation, thereby leading to a secondary effect on the timing of mcuABC expression of this model organism. Identification of the players that drive Myxococcus xanthus fruiting body formation is necessary for studying the mechanism of multicellular morphogenesis in this model organism. This study identifies MXAN2872, a gene encoding a putative flavin adenine dinucleotide-binding monooxygenase, to be a new interesting regulator regulating the timing of developmental aggregation. In addition, MXAN2872 seems to affect the expression of the chaperone/usher gene cluster mcu in a manner that is aggregation dependent. Thus, in organisms characterized by a developmental cycle, expression of the chaperone/usher pathway can be controlled by morphological checkpoints, demonstrating another layer of complexity in the regulation of this conserved protein secretion pathway.