A magnesium-dependent mreB null mutant: implications for the role of mreB in Bacillus subtilis

Molecular Microbiology
Alex Formstone, Jeffery Errington

Abstract

MreB shares a common prokaryotic ancestor with actin and is present in almost all rod-shaped bacteria. MreB proteins have been implicated in a range of important cell processes, including cell morphogenesis, chromosome segregation and cell polarity. The mreB gene frequently lies at the beginning of a cluster of genes, immediately upstream of the conserved mreC and mreD genes. RNA analysis showed that in Bacillus subtilis mreB is co-transcribed with mreC and that these genes form part of an operon under the control of a promoter(s) upstream of mreB. Construction of an in-frame deletion of mreB and its complementation by mreB(+) only, in trans, established that the gene is important for maintenance of cell width and cell viability under normal growth conditions, independent of polar effects on downstream genes. Remarkably, virtually normal growth was restored to the mreB null mutant in the presence of high concentrations of magnesium, especially when high concentrations of the osmoprotectant, sucrose were also present. Under these conditions, cells could be maintained in the complete absence of an mreB gene, with almost normal morphology. No detectable effect on chromosome segregation was evident in the mutant, nor was there an e...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Natto Bacteria
Bacterial Proteins
Cell Wall
Chromosomes, Bacterial
Genes, Bacterial
Cis-Trans Test
Magnesium
Morphogenesis
Osmotic Stress
Pseudomurein

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