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Regulation of Growth, Cell Shape, Cell Division, and Gene Expression by Second Messengers (p)ppGpp and Cyclic Di-GMP in Mycobacterium smegmatis

Gupta, Kuldeepkumar Ramnaresh and Baloni, Priyanka and Indi, Shantinath S and Chatterji, Dipankar (2016) Regulation of Growth, Cell Shape, Cell Division, and Gene Expression by Second Messengers (p)ppGpp and Cyclic Di-GMP in Mycobacterium smegmatis. In: JOURNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY, 198 (9). pp. 1414-1422.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.00126-16


The alarmone (p)ppGpp regulates transcription, translation, replication, virulence, lipid synthesis, antibiotic sensitivity, biofilm formation, and other functions in bacteria. Signaling nucleotide cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) regulates biofilm formation, motility, virulence, the cell cycle, and other functions. In Mycobacterium smegmatis, both (p) ppGpp and c-di-GMP are synthesized and degraded by bifunctional proteins Rel(Msm) and DcpA, encoded by rel(Msm) and dcpA genes, respectively. We have previously shown that the Delta rel(Msm) and Delta dcpA knockout strains are antibiotic resistant and defective in biofilm formation, show altered cell surface properties, and have reduced levels of glycopeptidolipids and polar lipids in their cell wall (K. R. Gupta, S. Kasetty, and D. Chatterji, Appl Environ Microbiol 81:2571-2578, 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.03999-14). In this work, we have explored the phenotypes that are affected by both (p) ppGpp and c-di-GMP in mycobacteria. We have shown that both (p) ppGpp and c-di-GMP are needed to maintain the proper growth rate under stress conditions such as carbon deprivation and cold shock. Scanning electron microscopy showed that low levels of these second messengers result in elongated cells, while high levels reduce the cell length and embed the cells in a biofilm-like matrix. Fluorescence microscopy revealed that the elongated Delta rel(Msm) and Delta dcpA cells are multinucleate, while transmission electron microscopy showed that the elongated cells are multiseptate. Gene expression analysis also showed that genes belonging to functional categories such as virulence, detoxification, lipid metabolism, and cell-wall-related processes were differentially expressed. Our results suggests that both (p) ppGpp and c-di-GMP affect some common phenotypes in M. smegmatis, thus raising a possibility of cross talk between these two second messengers in mycobacteria. IMPORTANCE Our work has expanded the horizon of (p) ppGpp and c-di-GMP signaling in Gram-positive bacteria. We have come across a novel observation that M. smegmatis needs (p) ppGpp and c-di-GMP for cold tolerance. We had previously shown that the Delta rel(Msm) and Delta dcpA strains are defective in biofilm formation. In this work, the overproduction of (p) ppGpp and c-di-GMP encased M. smegmatis in a biofilm-like matrix, which shows that both (p) ppGpp and c-di-GMP are needed for biofilm formation. The regulation of cell length and cell division by (p) ppGpp was known in mycobacteria, but our work shows that c-di-GMP also affects the cell size and cell division in mycobacteria. This is perhaps the first report of c-di-GMP regulating cell division in mycobacteria.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 1752 N ST NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20036-2904 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Biochemistry
Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Biophysics Unit
Division of Biological Sciences > Microbiology & Cell Biology
Date Deposited: 12 May 2016 05:12
Last Modified: 12 May 2016 05:12
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/53806

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