NtrC-like activators regulate the transcription of a wide variety of adaptive genes in bacteria. Previously, we demonstrated that a mutation in the ntrC-like activator gene nla18 causes defects in fruiting body development in Myxococcus xanthus. In this report, we describe the effect that nla18 inactivation has on gene expression patterns during development and vegetative growth. Gene expression in nla18 mutant cells is altered in the early stages of fruiting body development. Furthermore, nla18 mutant cells are defective for two of the earliest events in development, production of the intracellular starvation signal ppGpp and production of A-signal. Taken together, these results indicate that the developmental program in nla18 matant cells goes awry very early. Inactivation of nla18 also causes a dramatic decrease in the vegetative growth rate of M. xanthus cells. DNA microarray analysis revealed that the vegetative expression patterns of more than 700 genes are altered in nla18 mutant cells. Genes coding for putative membrane and membrane-associated proteins are among the largest classes of genes whose expression is altered by nla18 inactivation. This result is supported by our findings that the profiles of membrane proteins isolated from vegetative nla18 mutant and wild-type cells are noticeably different. In addition to genes that code for putative membrane proteins, nla18 inactivation affects the expression of many genes that are likely to be important for protein synthesis and gene regulation. Our data are consistent with a model in which Nla18 controls vegetative growth and development by activating the expression of genes involved in gene regulation, translation, and membrane structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology