PloS one

Bacillus cereus ATCC 14579 RpoN (Sigma 54) Is a Pleiotropic Regulator of Growth, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Motility, Biofilm Formation and Toxin Production.

PMID 26241851


Sigma 54 is a transcriptional regulator predicted to play a role in physical interaction of bacteria with their environment, including virulence and biofilm formation. In order to study the role of Sigma 54 in Bacillus cereus, a comparative transcriptome and phenotypic study was performed using B. cereus ATCC 14579 WT, a markerless rpoN deletion mutant, and its complemented strain. The mutant was impaired in many different cellular functions including low temperature and anaerobic growth, carbohydrate metabolism, sporulation and toxin production. Additionally, the mutant showed lack of motility and biofilm formation at air-liquid interphase, and this correlated with absence of flagella, as flagella staining showed only WT and complemented strain to be highly flagellated. Comparative transcriptome analysis of cells harvested at selected time points during growth in aerated and static conditions in BHI revealed large differences in gene expression associated with loss of phenotypes, including significant down regulation of genes in the mutant encoding enzymes involved in degradation of branched chain amino acids, carbohydrate transport and metabolism, flagella synthesis and virulence factors. Our study provides evidence for a pleiotropic role of Sigma 54 in B. cereus supporting its adaptive response and survival in a range of conditions and environments.