1887

Abstract

Bacterial natural genetic competence – well studied in – enables cells to take up and integrate extracellularly supplied DNA into their own genome. However, little is known about competence development and its regulation in other members of the genus, although DNA uptake machineries are routinely encoded. Auxotrophic 9945A derivatives, obtained from repeated rounds of random mutagenesis, were long known to develop natural competence. Inspection of the colony morphology and extracellular enzyme secretion of two of these derivatives, M28 and M18, suggested that regulator genes are collaterally hit. M28 emerged as a 14 bp deletion mutant concomitantly displaying a shift in the reading frame of that encodes the sensor histidine kinase, which is part of the molecular switch that directs cells to genetic competence, the synthesis of extracellular enzymes or biofilm formation, while for M18, sequencing of the suspected gene revealed a 375 bp deletion in , encoding the major transition state regulator. With respect to colony morphology, enzyme secretion and competence development, both of the mutations, when newly generated on the wild-type 9945A genetic background, resulted in phenotypes resembling M28 and M18, respectively. All of the known naturally competent representatives, hitherto thoroughly investigated in this regard, carry mutations in regulator genes, and hence genetic competence observed in domesticated strains supposedly results from deregulation.

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2014-10-01
2019-11-19
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