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Distinct clpP Genes Control Specific Adaptive Responses in Bacillus thuringiensis

Authors
Publisher
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Source
PMC
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Design
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Unknown

Abstract

ClpP and ClpC are subunits of the Clp ATP-dependent protease, which is ubiquitous among prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The role of these proteins in stress tolerance, stationary-phase adaptive responses, and virulence in many bacterial species has been demonstrated. Based on the amino acid sequences of the Bacillus subtilis clpC and clpP genes, we identified one clpC gene and two clpP genes (designated clpP1 and clpP2) in Bacillus thuringiensis. Predicted proteins ClpP1 and ClpP2 have approximately 88 and 67% amino acid sequence identity with ClpP of B. subtilis, respectively. Inactivation of clpC in B. thuringiensis impaired sporulation efficiency. The clpP1 and clpP2 mutants were both slightly susceptible to salt stress, whereas disruption of clpP2 negatively affected sporulation and abolished motility. Virulence of the clp mutants was assessed by injecting bacteria into the hemocoel of Bombyx mori larvae. The clpP1 mutant displayed attenuated virulence, which appeared to be related to its inability to grow at low temperature (25°C), suggesting an essential role for ClpP1 in tolerance of low temperature. Microscopic examination of clpP1 mutant cells grown at 25°C showed altered bacterial division, with cells remaining attached after septum formation. Analysis of lacZ transcriptional fusions showed that clpP1 was expressed at 25 and 37°C during the entire growth cycle. In contrast, clpP2 was expressed at 37°C but not at 25°C, suggesting that ClpP2 cannot compensate for the absence of ClpP1 in the clpP1 mutant cells at low temperature. Our study demonstrates that ClpP1 and ClpP2 control distinct cellular regulatory pathways in B. thuringiensis.

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