Changes in gene expression are important for the landmark morphological events that occur during Myxococcus xanthus fruiting body development. Enhancer binding proteins (EBPs), which are transcriptional activators, play prominent roles in the coordinated expression of developmental genes. A mutation in the EBP gene nla4 affects the timing of fruiting body formation, the morphology of mature fruiting bodies, and the efficiency of sporulation. In this study, we showed that the nla4 mutant accumulates relatively low levels of the stringent nucleotide ppGpp. We also found that the nla4 mutant is defective for early developmental events and for vegetative growth, phenotypes that are consistent with a deficiency in ppGpp accumulation. Further studies revealed that nla4 cells produce relatively low levels of GTP, a precursor of RelA-dependent synthesis of (p)ppGpp. In addition, the normal expression patterns of all stringent response-associated genes tested, including the M. xanthus ppGpp synthetase gene relA, are altered in nla4 mutant cells. These findings indicate that Nla4 is part of regulatory pathway that is important for mounting a stringent response and for initiating fruiting body development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology