When starved for nutrients, Myxococcus xanthus produces a biofilm that contains a mat of rod-shaped cells, known as peripheral rods, and aerial structures called fruiting bodies, which house thousands of dormant and stress-resistant spherical spores. Because rod-shaped cells differentiate into spherical, stress-resistant spores and spore differentiation occurs only in nascent fruiting bodies, many genes and multiple levels of regulation are required. Over the past 2 decades, many regulators of the temporal and spatial expression of M. xanthus sporulation genes have been uncovered. Of these sporulation gene regulators, twocomponent signal transduction circuits, which typically contain a histidine kinase sensor protein and a transcriptional regulator known as response regulator, are among the best characterized. In this review, we discuss prototypical two-component systems (Nla6S/Nla6 and Nla28S/Nla28) that regulate an early, preaggregation phase of sporulation gene expression during fruiting body development. We also discuss orphan response regulators (ActB and FruA) that regulate a later phase of sporulation gene expression, which begins during the aggregation stage of fruiting body development. In addition, we summarize the research on a complex two-component system (Esp) that is important for the spatial regulation of sporulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology