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Hernandez-Valle, Jose; Sanchez-Flores, Alejandro; Poggio, Sebastian; Dreyfus, Georges; Camarena, Laura (2020)

THE CTRA REGULON OF RHODOBACTER SPHAEROIDES FAVORS ADAPTATION TO A PARTICULAR LIFESTYLE

J. Bacteriol. 202(7):
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Activation of the two-component system formed by CckA, ChpT, and CtrA (kinase, phosphotransferase, and response regulator, respectively) in does not occur under the growth conditions commonly used in the laboratory. However, it is possible to isolate a gain-of-function mutant in CckA that turns the system on. Using massive parallel transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq), we identified 321 genes that are differentially regulated by CtrA. From these genes, 239 were positively controlled and 82 were negatively regulated. Genes encoding the Fla2 polar flagella and gas vesicle proteins are strongly activated by CtrA. Genes involved in stress responses as well as several transcriptional factors are also positively controlled, whereas the photosynthetic and CO fixation genes are repressed. Potential CtrA-binding sites were bioinformatically identified, leading to the proposal that at least 81 genes comprise the direct regulon. Based on our results, we ponder that the transcriptional response orchestrated by CtrA enables a lifestyle in which will effectively populate the surface layer of a water body enabled by gas vesicles and will remain responsive to chemotactic stimuli using the chemosensoring system that controls the Fla2 flagellum. Simultaneously, fine-tuning of photosynthesis and stress responses will reduce the damage caused by heat and high light intensity in this water stratum. In summary, in this bacterium CtrA has evolved to control physiological responses that allow its adaptation to a particular lifestyle instead of controlling the cell cycle as occurs in other species. Cell motility in is frequently controlled by the CckA, ChpT, and CtrA two-component system. Under the growth conditions commonly used in the laboratory, is transcriptionally inactive in , and motility depends on the Fla1 flagellar system that was acquired by a horizontal transfer event. Likely, the incorporation of this flagellar system released CtrA from the strong selective pressure of being the main motility regulator, allowing this two-component system to specialize and respond to some specific conditions. Identifying the genes that are directly regulated by CtrA could help us understand the conditions in which the products of this regulon are required. Massive parallel transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed that CtrA orchestrates an adaptive response that contributes to the colonization of a particular environmental niche.