• Connection Between Chromosomal Location and Function of CtrA Phosphorelay Genes in Alphaproteobacteria.

      Tomasch, Jürgen; Koppenhöfer, Sonja; Lang, Andrew S; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2021-04-29)
      Most bacterial chromosomes are circular, with replication starting at one origin (ori) and proceeding on both replichores toward the terminus (ter). Several studies have shown that the location of genes relative to ori and ter can have profound effects on regulatory networks and physiological processes. The CtrA phosphorelay is a gene regulatory system conserved in most alphaproteobacteria. It was first discovered in Caulobacter crescentus where it controls replication and division into a stalked and a motile cell in coordination with other factors. The locations of the ctrA gene and targets of this response regulator on the chromosome affect their expression through replication-induced DNA hemi-methylation and specific positioning along a CtrA activity gradient in the dividing cell, respectively. Here we asked to what extent the location of CtrA regulatory network genes might be conserved in the alphaproteobacteria. We determined the locations of the CtrA phosphorelay and associated genes in closed genomes with unambiguously identifiable ori from members of five alphaproteobacterial orders. The location of the phosphorelay genes was the least conserved in the Rhodospirillales followed by the Sphingomonadales. In the Rhizobiales a trend toward certain chromosomal positions could be observed. Compared to the other orders, the CtrA phosphorelay genes were conserved closer to ori in the Caulobacterales. In contrast, the genes were highly conserved closer to ter in the Rhodobacterales. Our data suggest selection pressure results in differential positioning of CtrA phosphorelay and associated genes in alphaproteobacteria, particularly in the orders Rhodobacterales, Caulobacterales and Rhizobiales that is worth deeper investigation.
    • Packaging of Dinoroseobacter shibae DNA into Gene Transfer Agent Particles Is Not Random.

      Tomasch, Jürgen; Wang, Hui; Hall, April T K; Patzelt, Diana; Preusse, Matthias; Petersen, Jörn; Brinkmann, Henner; Bunk, Boyke; Bhuju, Sabin; Jarek, Michael; et al. (2018-01-01)
      Gene transfer agents (GTAs) are phage-like particles which contain a fragment of genomic DNA of the bacterial or archaeal producer and deliver this to a recipient cell. GTA gene clusters are present in the genomes of almost all marine Rhodobacteraceae (Roseobacters) and might be important contributors to horizontal gene transfer in the world's oceans. For all organisms studied so far, no obvious evidence of sequence specificity or other nonrandom process responsible for packaging genomic DNA into GTAs has been found. Here, we show that knock-out of an autoinducer synthase gene of Dinoroseobacter shibae resulted in overproduction and release of functional GTA particles (DsGTA). Next-generation sequencing of the 4.2-kb DNA fragments isolated from DsGTAs revealed that packaging was not random. DNA from low-GC conjugative plasmids but not from high-GC chromids was excluded from packaging. Seven chromosomal regions were strongly overrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTA. These packaging peaks lacked identifiable conserved sequence motifs that might represent recognition sites for the GTA terminase complex. Low-GC regions of the chromosome, including the origin and terminus of replication, were underrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTAs. DNA methylation reduced packaging frequency while the level of gene expression had no influence. Chromosomal regions found to be over- and underrepresented in DsGTA-DNA were regularly spaced. We propose that a "headful" type of packaging is initiated at the sites of coverage peaks and, after linearization of the chromosomal DNA, proceeds in both directions from the initiation site. GC-content, DNA-modifications, and chromatin structure might influence at which sides GTA packaging can be initiated.