Bacillus subtilis develops genetic competence for the uptake of foreign DNA when cells enter the stationary phase and a high cell density is reached. These signals are integrated by the competence transcription factor ComK which is subject to transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational regulation. Many proteins are involved in the development of competence, both to control ComK activity and to mediate DNA uptake. However, the precise function they play in competence development is often unknown. In this study, we have tested whether proteins required for genetic transformation play a role in the activation of ComK or rather downstream of competence gene expression. While these possibilities could be distinguished for most of the tested factors, two proteins (PNPase and the transcription factor YtrA) are required both for full ComK activity and for the downstream processes of DNA uptake and integration. Further analyses of the role of the transcription factor YtrA for the competence development revealed that the constitutive expression of the YtrBCDEF ABC transporter in the ytrA mutant causes the loss of genetic competence. Moreover, constitutive expression of this ABC transporter also interferes with biofilm formation. Since the ytrGABCDEF operon is induced by cell wall-targeting antibiotics, we tested the cell wall properties upon overexpression of the ABC transporter and observed an increased thickness of the cell wall. The composition and properties of the cell wall are important for competence development and biofilm formation, suggesting that the increased cell wall thickness as a result of YtrBCDEF overexpression causes the observed phenotypes. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 194 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 121,414
- In microbiology: 9,029
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 83,677
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 111,100
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!