• DncV Synthesizes Cyclic GMP-AMP and Regulates Biofilm Formation and Motility in ECOR31.

      Li, Fengyang; Cimdins, Annika; Rohde, Manfred; Jänsch, Lothar; Kaever, Volkhard; Nimtz, Manfred; Römling, Ute; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (ASM, 2019-03-05)
      Cyclic dinucleotides (cDNs) act as intracellular second messengers, modulating bacterial physiology to regulate the fundamental life style transition between motility and sessility commonly known as biofilm formation. Cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP), synthesized by the dinucleotide cyclase DncV, is a newly discovered cDN second messenger involved in virulence and chemotaxis in Vibrio cholerae O1 biovar El Tor. Here we report a novel role for horizontally transferred DncV in cGAMP production and regulation of biofilm formation and motility in the animal commensal strain Escherichia coli ECOR31. ECOR31 expresses a semiconstitutive temperature-independent rdar (red, dry, and rough) morphotype on Congo red agar plates characterized by the extracellular matrix components cellulose and curli fimbriae which requires activation by the major biofilm regulator CsgD and cyclic di-GMP signaling. In contrast, C-terminal His-tagged DncV negatively regulates the rdar biofilm morphotype and cell aggregation via downregulation of csgD mRNA steady-state level. Furthermore, DncV sequentially promotes and inhibits adhesion to the abiotic surface after 24 h and 48 h of growth, respectively. DncV also suppresses swimming and swarming motility posttranscriptional of the class 1 flagellum regulon gene flhD Purified DncV produced different cDNs, cyclic di-GMP, cyclic di-AMP, an unknown product(s), and the dominant species 3'3'-cGAMP. In vivo, only the 3'3'-cGAMP concentration was elevated upon short-term overexpression of dncV, making this work a first report on cGAMP production in E. coli Regulation of rdar biofilm formation and motility upon overexpression of untagged DncV in combination with three adjacent cotransferred gene products suggests a novel temperature-dependent cGAMP signaling module in E. coli ECOR31.IMPORTANCE The ability of bacteria to sense and respond to environmental signals is critical for survival. Bacteria use cyclic dinucleotides as second messengers to regulate a number of physiological processes, such as the fundamental life style transition between motility and sessility (biofilm formation). cGAMP, which is synthesized by a dinucleotide cyclase called DncV, is a newly discovered second messenger involved in virulence and chemotaxis in the Vibrio cholerae biovar El Tor causing the current 7th cholera pandemic. However, to what extent cGAMP exists and participates in physiological processes in other bacteria is still unknown. In this study, we found an elevated cGAMP level to possibly regulate biofilm formation and motility in the animal commensal E. coli strain ECOR31. Thus, we detected a novel role for cGAMP signaling in regulation of physiological processes other than those previously reported in proteobacterial species.
    • A Highly Polymorphic Receptor Governs Many Distinct Self-Recognition Types within the Myxococcales Order.

      Cao, Pengbo; Wei, Xueming; Awal, Ram Prasad; Müller, Rolf; Wall, Daniel; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Society of Microbiology, 2019-02-12)
      Self-recognition underlies sociality in many group-living organisms. In bacteria, cells use various strategies to recognize kin to form social groups and, in some cases, to transition into multicellular life. One strategy relies on a single genetic locus that encodes a variable phenotypic tag (“greenbeard”) for recognizing other tag bearers. Previously, we discovered a polymorphic cell surface receptor called TraA that directs self-identification through homotypic interactions in the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. Recognition by TraA leads to cellular resource sharing in a process called outer membrane exchange (OME). A second gene in the traA operon, traB, is also required for OME but is not involved in recognition. Our prior studies of TraA identified only six recognition groups among closely related M. xanthus isolates. Here we hypothesize that the number of traA polymorphisms and, consequently, the diversity of recognition in wild isolates are much greater. To test this hypothesis, we expand the scope of TraA characterization to the order Myxococcales. From genomic sequences within the three suborders of Myxococcales, we identified 90 traA orthologs. Sequence analyses and functional characterization of traAB loci suggest that OME is well maintained among diverse myxobacterial taxonomic groups. Importantly, TraA orthologs are highly polymorphic within their variable domain, the region that confers selectivity in self-recognition. We experimentally defined 10 distinct recognition groups and, based on phylogenetic and experimental analyses, predicted >60 recognition groups among the 90 traA alleles. Taken together, our findings revealed a widespread greenbeard locus that mediates the diversity of self-recognition across the order Myxococcales.