Molecular characterization of Vibrio cholerae ΔrelA ΔspoT double mutants
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In Escherichia coli cellular levels of pppGpp and ppGpp, collectively called (p)ppGpp, are maintained by the products of two genes, relA and spoT. Like E. coli, Vibrio cholerae also possesses relA and spoT genes. Here we show that similar to E. coli, V. cholerae ΔrelA cells can accumulate (p)ppGpp upon carbon starvation but not under amino acid starved condition. Although like in E. coli, the spoT gene function was found to be essential in V. cholerae relA + background, but unlike E. coli, several V. cholerae ΔrelA ΔspoT mutants constructed in this study accumulated (p)ppGpp under glucose starvation. The results suggest a cryptic source of (p)ppGpp synthesis in V. cholerae, which is induced upon glucose starvation. Again, unlike E. coli ΔrelA ΔspoT mutant (ppGpp0 strain), the V. cholerae ΔrelA ΔspoT mutants showed certain unusual phenotypes, which are (a) resistance towards 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole (AT); (b) growth in nutrient poor M9 minimal medium; (c) ability to stringently regulate cellular rRNA accumulation under glucose starvation and (d) initial growth defect in nutrient rich medium. Since these phenotypes of ΔrelA ΔspoT mutants could be reverted back to ΔrelA phenotypes by providing SpoT in trans, it appears that the spoT gene function is crucial in V. cholerae.
KeywordsVibrio cholerae relA spoT (p)ppGpp Stringent response
BD is grateful to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Government of India, for a research fellowship. The work was partially supported by the research grant (SMM003) from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India.
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