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Chapter 15 : The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria

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Abstract:

The development of stalked bacteria like is an integral part of cell growth and occurs in each cell division cycle. This chapter introduces the life cycle of stalked bacteria and then focuses on the best-studied example, . Recent progress in understanding the regulation of stalk and holdfast synthesis and of cell division are reviewed. The holdfast, the adhesion organelle that allows to attach to surfaces, appears at the tip of nascent stalks during swarmer cell differentiation. Phosphate starvation dramatically induces stalk synthesis in , whereas starvation for nitrogen can block the differentiation of swarmer cells. cells undergo drastic morphological changes when cultured in stationary phase for an extended period. The isolation of mecillinam-resistant short-stalked mutants of also suggests that penicillin binding proteins (PBPs) play an important role in stalk synthesis. The increase in surface-to-volume ratio caused by stalk elongation during phosphate starvation is thought to allow cells to take up phosphate and other nutrients more efficiently. The holdfast is an adhesive organelle, found at the tips of stalks in , which mediates attachment to substrates. The study of bacterial development has had a major impact on one’s understanding of the bacterial cell.

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

Life cycles of prosthecate bacteria. Each life cycle is depicted starting with the swarmer cell. Swarmer cells have a polar flagellum and are chemotactically competent. They are unable to replicate DNA and divide. After remaining in the swarmer stage of the life cycle for a fixed period, the cells differentiate into stalked cells. This differentiation involves release of the flagellum, growth of a stalk and holdfast, and initiation of DNA replication. In and the stalk is synthesized at the pole that shed the flagellum. In two stalks are synthesized opposite one another at the midpoint of the cell. In and the holdfast attachment organelle is synthesized at the previously flagellated pole, resulting in its association with the tip of the stalk in but not in synthesizes an extracellular polysaccharide capsule involved in surface attachment around the body of the stalked cell. In all cases, cellular growth and synthesis of a new flagellum result in the formation of an asymmetric predivisional cell. In growth occurs by budding at the tip of the stalk, with a flagellum synthesized at the growing pole of the cell. Growth also appears to be polar in Cell division produces a swarmer cell and a stalked cell that can immediately reenter the cell cycle. In septation occurs at the stalk-daughter cell junction.

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

Marine species. Transmission electron micrograph of different cell types: D, daughter cell; M, mother cell; H, hypha (stalk) of predivisional cell. The arrow shows the beginning of stalk synthesis in the daughter cell. Bar, 500 nm. (Photo by Ellen Quardokus.)

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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Image of FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3

Life cycle of The transmission electron micrographs show cells at different stages of the cell cycle. The outline of the flagellum was enhanced for illustration purposes. Pili are not visible but would be present at the flagellated poles of swarmer cells. Polar structures are indicated. The life cycle is described in the text and in the legend to Fig. 1. (Photos by Yves Brun.)

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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Image of FIGURE 4
FIGURE 4

transmission electron micrograph of a stalked cell and a predivisional cell. F, flagellar pole; ST, stalked pole. The presence of a holdfast at the stalked pole is shown by WGA-FITC binding as a bright fluorescent spot (arrow) in the phase-contrast picture in the inset. Bar, 500 nm. (Photos by Ellen Quardokus.)

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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Image of FIGURE 5
FIGURE 5

Effect of phosphate starvation on wild-type cells and on and mutants. The thin structures at the poles of cells are stalks. Flagella are not visible. (A to C) Wild-type cells; (D to F) mutant; (G to H) mutants. The left panels show cells grown in a rich peptone-yeast extract medium. The middle panels show cells grown in a minimal salts-glucose medium with a high concentration (10 mM) of phosphate. The right panels show cells grown in a minimal salts-glucose medium with a low concentration (30 µM) of phosphate.

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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Image of FIGURE 6
FIGURE 6

Rosette of cells. The transmission electron micrograph shows cells attached to one another by their holdfasts (arrow) and forming a rosette. The inset shows an enlargement of the holdfast area. (Photo by Yves Brun.)

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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Image of FIGURE 7
FIGURE 7

Effect of cell division inhibition on polar development. The consequence of inhibition of cell division at DIVi (division initiation) and DIVp (division progression) is compared to a block after these stages but before CS (cell separation). A black dot marks the pole affected by the cell division block.

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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Image of FIGURE 8
FIGURE 8

Cell cycle regulation and transcription by CtrA. The genetic organization and promoters of the region are shown at the top. The thick arrows represent genes, the thin arrows represent transcriptional units, and the bent arrows represent promoters. A transcriptional terminator uncouples the transcription of and The arrow and barred line going from CtrA to the promoters are genetic arrows indicating a positive interaction for the promoter and a negative interaction for the promoter. The boxed curves represent the rate of transcription for and and the protein concentration for CtrA during the cell cycle. The bottom diagram shows the cell cycle. The shaded and dark areas inside the cells represent the concentration of CtrA.

Citation: Bum Y, Janakiraman R. 2000. The Dimorphic Life Cycle of and Stalked Bacteria, p 297-317. In Brun Y, Shimkets L (ed), Prokaryotic Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818166.ch15
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