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Proper Control of Caulobacter crescentus Cell Surface Adhesion Requires the General Protein Chaperone DnaK.


ABSTRACT: Growth in a surface-attached bacterial community, or biofilm, confers a number of advantages. However, as a biofilm matures, high-density growth imposes stresses on individual cells, and it can become less advantageous for progeny to remain in the community. Thus, bacteria employ a variety of mechanisms to control attachment to and dispersal from surfaces in response to the state of the environment. The freshwater oligotroph Caulobacter crescentus can elaborate a polysaccharide-rich polar organelle, known as the holdfast, which enables permanent surface attachment. Holdfast development is strongly inhibited by the small protein HfiA; mechanisms that control HfiA levels in the cell are not well understood. We have discovered a connection between the essential general protein chaperone, DnaK, and control of C. crescentus holdfast development. C. crescentus mutants partially or completely lacking the C-terminal substrate binding "lid" domain of DnaK exhibit enhanced bulk surface attachment. Partial or complete truncation of the DnaK lid domain increases the probability that any single cell will develop a holdfast by 3- to 10-fold. These results are consistent with the observation that steady-state levels of an HfiA fusion protein are significantly diminished in strains that lack the entire lid domain of DnaK. While dispensable for growth, the lid domain of C. crescentus DnaK is required for proper chaperone function, as evidenced by observed dysregulation of HfiA and holdfast development in strains expressing lidless DnaK mutants. We conclude that DnaK is an important molecular determinant of HfiA stability and surface adhesion control.Regulatory control of cell adhesion ensures that bacterial cells can transition between free-living and surface-attached states. We define a role for the essential protein chaperone, DnaK, in the control of Caulobacter crescentus cell adhesion. C. crescentus surface adhesion is mediated by an envelope-attached organelle known as the holdfast. Holdfast development is tightly controlled by HfiA, a small protein inhibitor that directly interacts with a WecG/TagA-family glycosyltransferase required for holdfast biosynthesis. We demonstrate that the C-terminal lid domain of DnaK is not essential for growth but is necessary for proper control of HfiA levels in the cell and for control of holdfast adhesin development.

SUBMITTER: Eaton DS 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5019048 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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