CrvA and CrvB form a curvature-inducing module sufficient to induce cell-shape complexity in Gram-negative bacteria.

TitleCrvA and CrvB form a curvature-inducing module sufficient to induce cell-shape complexity in Gram-negative bacteria.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsMartin, NR, Blackman, E, Bratton, BP, Chase, KJ, Bartlett, TM, Gitai, Z
JournalNat Microbiol
Date Published2021 Jul
KeywordsBacterial Proteins, Cell Wall, Cytoskeleton, Evolution, Molecular, Gram-Negative Bacteria, Peptidoglycan, Periplasm, Vibrio cholerae

<p>Bacterial species have diverse cell shapes that enable motility, colonization and virulence. The cell wall defines bacterial shape and is primarily built by two cytoskeleton-guided synthesis machines, the elongasome and the divisome. However, the mechanisms producing complex shapes, like the curved-rod shape of Vibrio cholerae, are incompletely defined. Previous studies have reported that species-specific regulation of cytoskeleton-guided machines enables formation of complex bacterial shapes such as cell curvature and cellular appendages. In contrast, we report that CrvA and CrvB are sufficient to induce complex cell shape autonomously of the cytoskeleton in V. cholerae. The autonomy of the CrvAB module also enables it to induce curvature in the Gram-negative species Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Caulobacter crescentus and Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Using inducible gene expression, quantitative microscopy and biochemistry, we show that CrvA and CrvB circumvent the need for patterning via cytoskeletal elements by regulating each other to form an asymmetrically localized, periplasmic structure that binds directly to the cell wall. The assembly and disassembly of this periplasmic structure enables dynamic changes in cell shape. Bioinformatics indicate that CrvA and CrvB may have diverged from a single ancestral hybrid protein. Using fusion experiments in V. cholerae, we find that a synthetic CrvA/B hybrid protein is sufficient to induce curvature on its own, but that expression of two distinct proteins, CrvA and CrvB, promotes more rapid curvature induction. We conclude that morphological complexity can arise independently of cell-shape specification by the core cytoskeleton-guided synthesis machines.</p>

Alternate JournalNat Microbiol
PubMed ID34183815
PubMed Central IDPMC8764749
Grant ListDP1 AI124669 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
T32 GM007388 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States