One of the earliest events in the Myxococcus xanthus developmental cycle is production of an extracellular cell density signal called A-signal (or A-factor). Previously, we showed that cells carrying an insertion in the asgE gene fail to produce normal levels of this cell-cell signal. In this study we found that expression of asgE is growth phase regulated and developmentally regulated. Several lines of evidence indicate that asgE is cotranscribed with an upstream gene during development. Using primer extension analyses, we identified two 5′ ends for this developmental transcript. The DNA sequence upstream of one 5′ end has similarity to the promoter regions of several genes that are A-signal dependent, whereas sequences located upstream of the second 5′ end show similarity to promoter elements identified for genes that are C-signal dependent. Consistent with this result is our finding that mutants failing to produce A-signal or C-signal are defective for developmental expression of asgE. In contrast to developing cells, the large majority of the asgE transcript found in vegetative cells appears to be monocistronic. This finding suggests that asgE uses different promoters for expression during vegetative growth and development. Growth phase regulation of asgE is abolished in a relA mutant, indicating that this vegetative promoter is induced by starvation. The data presented here, in combination with our previous results, indicate that the level of AsgE in vegetative cells is sufficient for this protein to carry out its function during development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology