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A divergent CheW confers plasticity to nucleoid-associated chemosensory arrays

By Annick Guiseppi, Juan Jesus Vicente, Julien Herrou, Deborah Byrne, Aurelie Barneoud, Audrey Moine, Leon Espinosa, Marie-Jeanne Basse, Virginie Molle, Tâm Mignot, Philippe Roche, Emilia M.F. Mauriello

Posted 23 Dec 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/239202 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008533)

Chemosensory systems are highly organized signaling pathways that allow bacteria to adapt to environmental changes. The Frz chemosensory system from M. xanthus possesses two CheW-like proteins, FrzA (the core CheW) and FrzB. We found that FrzB does not interact with FrzE (the cognate CheA) as it lacks the amino acid region responsible for this interaction. FrzB, instead, acts upstream of FrzCD in the regulation of M. xanthus chemotaxis behaviors and activates the Frz pathway by allowing the formation and distribution of multiple chemosensory clusters on the nucleoid. These results, together, show that the lack of the CheA-interacting region in FrzB confers new functions to this small protein. AUTHOR SUMMARY Chemosensory systems are signaling complexes that are widespread in bacteria and allow the modulation of different cellular functions, such as taxis and development, in response to the environment. We show that the Myxococcus xanthus FrzB is a divergent CheW lacking the region involved in the interaction with the histidine kinase FrzE. Instead, it acts upstream of FrzCD to allow the formation of multiple distributed Frz chemosensory arrays at the nucleoid. The loss of the CheA-interacting region in FrzB might have been selected to confer plasticity to nucleoid-associated chemosensory systems. By unraveling a new accessory protein and its function, this work opens new insights into the knowledge of the regulatory potentials of bacterial chemosensory systems.

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