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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nhat Khai Bui,
Professor Waldemar Vollmer
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Bacterial cell morphogenesis requires coordination among multiple cellular systems, including the bacterial cytoskeleton and the cell wall. In the vibrioid bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, the intermediate filament-like protein crescentin forms a cell envelope-associated cytoskeletal structure that controls cell wall growth to generate cell curvature. We undertook a genetic screen to find other cellular components important for cell curvature. Here we report that deletion of a gene (wbqL) involved in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis pathway abolishes cell curvature. Loss of WbqL function leads to the accumulation of an aberrant O-polysaccharide species and to the release of the S layer in the culture medium. Epistasis and microscopy experiments show that neither S-layer nor O-polysaccharide production is required for curved cell morphology per se but that production of the altered O-polysaccharide species abolishes cell curvature by apparently interfering with the ability of the crescentin structure to associate with the cell envelope. Our data suggest that perturbations in a cellular pathway that is itself fully dispensable for cell curvature can cause a disruption of cell morphogenesis, highlighting the delicate harmony among unrelated cellular systems. Using the wbqL mutant, we also show that the normal assembly and growth properties of the crescentin structure are independent of its association with the cell envelope. However, this envelope association is important for facilitating the local disruption of the stable crescentin structure at the division site during cytokinesis.
Author(s): Cabeen MT, Murolo MA, Briegel A, Bui NK, Vollmer W, Ausmees N, Jensen GJ, Jacobs-Wagner C
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Bacteriology
Print publication date: 01/07/2010
ISSN (print): 0021-9193
ISSN (electronic): 1067-8832
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
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