An extracellular matrix-associated zinc metalloprotease is required for dilauroyl phosphatidylethanolamine chemotactic excitation in Myxococcus xanthus.
ABSTRACT: An extracellular matrix connects bacteria that live in organized assemblages called biofilms. While the role of the matrix in the regulation of cell behavior has not been extensively examined in bacteria, we suggest that, like mammalian cells, the matrix facilitates cell-cell interactions involved with regulation of cohesion, motility, and sensory transduction. The extracellular matrix of the soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus is essential for biofilm formation and fruiting body development. The matrix material is extruded as long, thin fibrils that mediate adhesion to surfaces, cohesion to other cells, and excitation by the chemoattractant dilauroyl phosphatidylethanolamine. We report the identification of a putative matrix-associated zinc metalloprotease called FibA (fibril protein A). Western blotting with FibA-specific monoclonal antibody 2105 suggests extensive proteolytic processing of FibA during assembly into fibrils, consistent with the autoprocessing observed with other members of the M4 metalloprotease family. Disruption of fibA had no obvious effect on the structure of the fibrils and did not inhibit cell cohesion, excitation by dioleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine, or activity of the A- or S-motility motors. However, the cells lost the ability to respond to dilauroyl phosphatidylethanolamine and to form well-spaced fruiting bodies, though substantial aggregation was observed. Chemotactic excitation of the fibA mutant was restored by incubation with purified wild-type fibrils. The results suggest that this metalloprotease is involved in sensory transduction.
Project description:In Myxococcus xanthus the extracellular matrix is essential for type IV pili-dependent motility and starvation-induced fruiting body formation. Proteins of two-component systems including the orphan DNA binding response regulator DigR are essential in regulating the composition of the extracellular matrix. We identify the orphan hybrid histidine kinase SgmT as the partner kinase of DigR. In addition to kinase and receiver domains, SgmT consists of an N-terminal GAF domain and a C-terminal GGDEF domain. The GAF domain is the primary sensor domain. The GGDEF domain binds the second messenger bis-(3'-5')-cyclic-dimeric-GMP (c-di-GMP) and functions as a c-di-GMP receptor to spatially sequester SgmT. We identify the DigR binding site in the promoter of the fibA gene, which encodes an abundant extracellular matrix metalloprotease. Whole-genome expression profiling experiments in combination with the identified DigR binding site allowed the identification of the DigR regulon and suggests that SgmT/DigR regulates the expression of genes for secreted proteins and enzymes involved in secondary metabolite synthesis. We suggest that SgmT/DigR regulates extracellular matrix composition and that SgmT activity is regulated by two sensor domains with ligand binding to the GAF domain resulting in SgmT activation and c-di-GMP binding to the GGDEF domain resulting in spatial sequestration of SgmT.
Project description:In Myxococcus xanthus, two-component systems have crucial roles in regulating motility behavior and development. Here we describe an orphan response regulator, consisting of an N-terminal receiver domain and a C-terminal DNA binding domain, which is required for A and type IV pilus-dependent gliding motility. Genetic evidence suggests that phosphorylation of the conserved, phosphorylatable aspartate residue in the receiver domain is required for DigR activity. Consistent with the defect in type IV pilus-dependent motility, a digR mutant is slightly reduced in type IV pilus biosynthesis, and the composition of the extracellular matrix fibrils is abnormal, with an increased content of polysaccharides and decreased accumulation of the FibA metalloprotease. By using genome-wide transcriptional profiling, 118 genes were identified that are directly or indirectly regulated by DigR. These 118 genes include only 2, agmQ and cheY4, previously implicated in A and type IV pilus-dependent motility, respectively. In silico analyses showed that 36% of the differentially expressed genes are likely to encode exported proteins. Moreover, four genes encoding homologs of extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factors, which typically control aspects of cell envelope homeostasis, are differentially expressed in a digR mutant. We suggest that the DigR response regulator has an important function in cell envelope homeostasis and that the motility defects in a digR mutant are instigated by the abnormal cell envelope and abnormal expression of agmQ and cheY4.
Project description:In Myxococcus xanthus, two component systems have crucial roles in regulating motility behavior and development. Here, we describe an orphan response regulator consisting of an N-terminal receiver domain and a C-terminal DNA binding domain, which is required for A- and type IV pili dependent gliding motility. Genetic evidence suggests that phosphorylation of the conserved, phosphorylatable aspartate residue in the receiver domain is required for DigR activity. Consistent with the defect in type IV pili dependent motility, a digR mutant is slightly reduced in type IV pili biosynthesis and the composition of the extracellular matrix fibrils is abnormal with an increased content of polysaccharides and decreased accumulation of the FibA metalloprotease. Using genome-wide transcriptional profiling, 118 genes were identified that are directly or indirectly regulated by DigR. These genes only include two genes, agmQ and cheY4, previously implicated in A- and type IV pili dependent motility, respectively. In silico analyses showed that 36% of the differentially expressed genes are likely to encode exported proteins. Moreover, four genes encoding homologs of ECF sigma factors, which typically control aspects of cell envelope homeostasis, are differentially expressed in a digR mutant. We suggest that the DigR response regulator has an important function in cell envelope homeostasis and that the motility defects in a digR mutant are instigated by the abnormal cell envelope and abnormal expression of agmQ and cheY4. Keywords: vegetative analysis (delta)DigR / DK1622 (wt) Overall design: 5 biological replicates each; normalized ratios to vegetative cells of DK1622 (wt)
Project description:The mts locus in salt-tolerant Myxococcus fulvus HW-1 was found to be critical for gliding motility, fruiting-body formation, and sporulation. The homologous genes in Myxococcus xanthus are also important for social motility and fruiting-body development. The mts genes were determined to be involved in cell-cell cohesion in both myxobacterial species.
Project description:Fruiting body formation of Myxococcus xanthus, like biofilm formation of many other organisms, involves the production of an extracellular matrix (ECM). While the polysaccharide component has been studied, the protein component has been largely unexplored. Proteins associated with the ECM were solubilized from purified ECM by boiling with sodium dodecyl sulfate and were identified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry of tryptic fragments. The ECM is enriched in proteins of novel function; putative functions were assigned for only 5 of the 21 proteins. Thirteen putative ECM proteins had lipoprotein secretion signals. The genes for many ECM proteins were disrupted in the wild-type (WT), fibA, and pilA backgrounds. Disruption of the MXAN4860 gene had no effect in the WT or fibA background but in the pilA background resulted in a 24-h delay in aggregation and sporulation compared to its parent. The results of this study show that the M. xanthus ECM proteome is diverse and novel.
Project description:Myxococcus xanthus is a gram-negative soil bacterium best known for its remarkable life history of social swarming, social predation, and multicellular fruiting body formation. Very little is known about genetic diversity within this species or how social strategies might vary among neighboring strains at small spatial scales. To investigate the small-scale population structure of M. xanthus, 78 clones were isolated from a patch of soil (16 by 16 cm) in Tübingen, Germany. Among these isolates, 21 genotypes could be distinguished from a concatemer of three gene fragments: csgA (developmental C signal), fibA (extracellular matrix-associated zinc metalloprotease), and pilA (the pilin subunit of type IV pili). Accumulation curves showed that most of the diversity present at this scale was sampled. The pilA gene contains both conserved and highly variable regions, and two frequency-distribution tests provide evidence for balancing selection on this gene. The functional domains in the csgA gene were found to be conserved. Three instances of lateral gene transfer could be inferred from a comparison of individual gene phylogenies, but no evidence was found for linkage equilibrium, supporting the view that M. xanthus evolution is largely clonal. This study shows that M. xanthus is surrounded by a variety of distinct conspecifics in its natural soil habitat at a spatial scale at which encounters among genotypes are likely.
Project description:The extracellular matrix fibrils of Myxococcus xanthus are essential for the social lifestyle of this unusual bacterium. These fibrils form networks linking or encasing cells and are tightly correlated with cellular cohesion, development, and social (S) gliding motility. Previous studies identified a set of bacterial chemotaxis homologs encoded by the dif locus. It was determined that difA, difC, and difE, encoding respective homologs of a methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein, CheW, and CheA, are required for fibril production and therefore S motility and development. Here we report the studies of three additional genes residing at the dif locus, difB, difD, and difG. difD and difG encode homologs of chemotaxis proteins CheY and CheC, respectively. difB encodes a positively charged protein with limited homology at its N terminus to conserved bacterial proteins with unknown functions. Unlike the previously characterized dif genes, none of these three newly studied dif genes are essential for fibril production, S motility, or development. The difB mutant showed no obvious defects in any of the processes examined. In contrast, the difD and the difG mutants were observed to overproduce fibril polysaccharides in comparison with production by the wild type. The observation that DifD and DifG negatively regulate fibril polysaccharide production strengthens our hypothesis that the M. xanthus dif genes define a chemotaxis-like signal transduction pathway which regulates fibril biogenesis. To our knowledge, this is the first report of functional studies of a CheC homolog in proteobacteria. In addition, during this study, we slightly modified previously developed assays to easily quantify fibril polysaccharide production in M. xanthus.
Project description:The cell-dependent polymerization of intercellular fibronectin fibrils can stimulate cells to self-assemble into multicellular structures. The local physical cues that support fibronectin-mediated cellular self-assembly are largely unknown. Here, fibronectin matrix analogs were used as synthetic adhesive substrates to model cell-matrix fibronectin fibrils having different integrin-binding specificity, affinity, and/or density. We utilized this model to quantitatively assess the relationship between adhesive forces derived from cell-substrate interactions and the ability of fibronectin fibril assembly to induce cellular self-assembly. Results indicate that the strength of initial, rather than mature, cell-substrate attachments correlates with the ability of substrates to support fibronectin-mediated cellular self-assembly. The cellular response to soluble fibronectin was bimodal and independent of the integrin-binding specificity of the substrate; increasing soluble fibronectin levels above a critical threshold increased aggregate cohesion on permissive substrates. Once aggregates formed, continuous fibronectin polymerization was necessary to maintain cohesion. During self-assembly, soluble fibronectin decreased cell-substrate adhesion strength and induced aggregate cohesion via a Rho-dependent mechanism, suggesting that the balance of contractile forces derived from fibronectin fibrils within cell-cell versus cell-substrate adhesions controls self-assembly and aggregate cohesion. Thus, initial cell-substrate attachment strength may provide a quantitative basis with which to build predictive models of fibronectin-mediated microtissue fabrication on a variety of substrates.Cellular self-assembly is a process by which cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins spontaneously organize into three-dimensional (3D) tissues in the absence of external forces. Cellular self-assembly can be initiated in vitro, and represents a potential tool for tissue engineers to organize cells into modular building blocks for artificial tissue fabrication. Fibronectin is an ECM protein that plays a key role in tissue formation during embryonic development. Additionally, the cell-mediated process of converting soluble fibronectin into insoluble, ECM-associated fibrils has been shown to initiate cellular self-assembly in vitro. In this study, we examine the relationship between the strength of cell-substrate adhesions and the ability of fibronectin fibril assembly to induce cellular self-assembly. Our results indicate that substrate composition and density play cooperative roles with cell-mediated fibronectin matrix assembly to control the transition of cells from 2D monolayers into 3D multicellular aggregates. Results of this study provide a quantitative approach to build predictive models of cellular self-assembly, as well as a simple cell-culture platform to produce biomimetic units for modular tissue engineering.
Project description:In bacteria with multiple sets of chemotaxis genes, the deletion of homologous genes or even different genes in the same operon can result in disparate phenotypes. Myxococcus xanthus is a bacterium with multiple sets of chemotaxis genes and/or homologues. It was shown previously that difA and difE, encoding homologues of the methyl-accepting chemoreceptor protein (MCP) and the CheA kinase, respectively, are required for M. xanthus social gliding (S) motility and development. Both difA and difE mutants were also defective in the biogenesis of the cell surface appendages known as extracellular matrix fibrils. In this study, we investigated the roles of the CheW homologue encoded by difC, a gene at the same locus as difA and difE. We showed that difC mutations resulted in defects in M. xanthus developmental aggregation, sporulation, and S motility. We demonstrated that difC is indispensable for wild-type cellular cohesion and fibril biogenesis but not for pilus production. We further illustrated the ectopic complementation of a difC in-frame deletion by a wild-type difC. The identical phenotypes of difA, difC, and difE mutants are consistent and supportive of the hypothesis that the Dif chemotaxis homologues constitute a chemotaxis-like signal transduction pathway that regulates M. xanthus fibril biogenesis and S motility.
Project description:Three independent Tn5-lac insertions in the S1 locus of Myxococcus xanthus inactivate the sglK gene, which is nonessential for growth but required for social motility and multicellular development. The sequence of sglK reveals that it encodes a homologue of the chaperone HSP70 (DnaK). The sglK gene is cotranscribed with the upstream grpS gene, which encodes a GrpE homologue. Unlike sglK, grpS is not required for social motility or development. Wild-type M. xanthus is encased in extracellular polysaccharide filaments associated with the multimeric fibrillin protein. Mutations in sglK inhibit cell cohesion, the binding of Congo red, and the synthesis or secretion of fibrillin, indicating that sglK mutants do not make fibrils. The fibR gene, located immediately upstream of the grpS-sglK operon, encodes a product which is predicted to have a sequence similar to those of the repressors of alginate biosynthesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas putida. Inactivation of fibR leads to the overproduction of fibrillin, suggesting that M. xanthus fibril production and Pseudomonas alginate production are regulated in analogous ways. M. xanthus and Pseudomonas exopolysaccharides may play similar roles in a mechanism of social motility conserved in these gram-negative bacteria.