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1.  Bistable Expression of CsgD in Biofilm Development of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;192(2):456-466.
Bacterial persistence in the environment and in the infected host is often aided by the formation of exopolymer-enclosed communities known as biofilms. Heterogeneous gene expression takes place in microcompartments formed within the complex biofilm structure. This study describes cell differentiation within an isogenic bacterial cell population based on the example of biofilm formation by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. We analyzed the expression of the major biofilm regulator CsgD at the single-cell level with a chromosomal CsgD-green fluorescent protein (GFP) translational fusion. In individual cells, CsgD-GFP expression is mostly found in the cytoplasm. Quantitative expression analysis and results from three different models of S. Typhimurium biofilms demonstrated that CsgD is expressed in a bistable manner during biofilm development. CsgD expression is, however, monomodal when CsgD is expressed in larger amounts due to a promoter mutation or elevated levels of the secondary signaling molecule c-di-GMP. High levels of CsgD-GFP are associated with cellular aggregation in all three biofilm models. Furthermore, the subpopulation of cells expressing large amounts of CsgD is engaged in cellulose production during red, dry, and rough (rdar) morphotype development and in microcolony formation under conditions of continuous flow. Consequently, bistability at the level of CsgD expression leads to a corresponding pattern of task distribution in S. Typhimurium biofilms.
PMCID: PMC2805326  PMID: 19897646
2.  Influence of CrgA on Assembly of the Cell Division Protein FtsZ during Development of Streptomyces coelicolor 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(4):1540-1550.
The product of the crgA gene of Streptomyces coelicolor represents a novel family of small proteins. A single orthologous gene is located close to the origin of replication of all fully sequenced actinomycete genomes and borders a conserved gene cluster implicated in cell growth and division. In S. coelicolor, CrgA is important for coordinating growth and cell division in sporogenic hyphae. In this study, we demonstrate that CrgA is an integral membrane protein whose peak expression is coordinated with the onset of development of aerial hyphae. The protein localizes to discrete foci away from growing hyphal tips. Upon overexpression, CrgA localizes to apical syncytial cells of aerial hyphae and inhibits the formation of productive cytokinetic rings of the bacterial tubulin homolog FtsZ, leading to proteolytic turnover of this major cell division determinant. In the absence of known prokaryotic cell division inhibitors in actinomycetes, CrgA may have an important conserved function influencing Z-ring formation in these bacteria.
PMCID: PMC1367258  PMID: 16452438
3.  Paenibacillus polymyxa Invades Plant Roots and Forms Biofilms 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2005;71(11):7292-7300.
Paenibacillus polymyxa is a plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium with a broad host range, but so far the use of this organism as a biocontrol agent has not been very efficient. In previous work we showed that this bacterium protects Arabidopsis thaliana against pathogens and abiotic stress (S. Timmusk and E. G. H. Wagner, Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 12:951-959, 1999; S. Timmusk, P. van West, N. A. R. Gow, and E. G. H. Wagner, p. 1-28, in Mechanism of action of the plant growth promoting bacterium Paenibacillus polymyxa, 2003). Here, we studied colonization of plant roots by a natural isolate of P. polymyxa which had been tagged with a plasmid-borne gfp gene. Fluorescence microscopy and electron scanning microscopy indicated that the bacteria colonized predominantly the root tip, where they formed biofilms. Accumulation of bacteria was observed in the intercellular spaces outside the vascular cylinder. Systemic spreading did not occur, as indicated by the absence of bacteria in aerial tissues. Studies were performed in both a gnotobiotic system and a soil system. The fact that similar observations were made in both systems suggests that colonization by this bacterium can be studied in a more defined system. Problems associated with green fluorescent protein tagging of natural isolates and deleterious effects of the plant growth-promoting bacteria are discussed.
PMCID: PMC1287669  PMID: 16269771
4.  Dynamics of FtsZ Assembly during Sporulation in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(9):3227-3237.
FtsZ, the bacterial tubulin homologue, is the main player in at least two distinct processes of cell division during the development of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). It forms cytokinetic rings and is required for the formation of both the widely spaced hyphal cross walls in the substrate mycelium and the specialized septation that converts sporogenic aerial hyphae into spores. The latter developmentally controlled septation involves the coordinated assembly of large numbers of FtsZ rings in each sporulating hyphal cell. We used an FtsZ-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) translational fusion to visualize the progression of FtsZ ring assembly in vivo during sporulation of aerial hyphae. This revealed that the regular placement of multiple FtsZ rings and initiation of cytokinesis was preceded by a protracted phase during which spiral-shaped FtsZ intermediates were detected along the length of the aerial hyphal cell. Time course experiments indicated that they were remodeled and gradually replaced by regularly spaced FtsZ rings. Such spiral-shaped filaments could also be detected with immunofluorescence microscopy using an antiserum against FtsZ. Based on our observations, we propose a model for the progression of Z-ring assembly during sporulation of S. coelicolor. Furthermore, mutants lacking the developmental regulatory genes whiA, whiB, whiG, whiH, and whiI were investigated. They failed in up-regulation of the expression of FtsZ-EGFP in aerial hyphae, which is consistent with the known effects of these genes on ftsZ transcription.
PMCID: PMC1082811  PMID: 15838050

Results 1-4 (4)