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Systematic Production of Inactivating and Non-Inactivating Suppressor Mutations at the relA Locus That Compensate the Detrimental Effects of Complete spoT Loss and Affect Glycogen Content in Escherichia coli

AuthorsMontero, Manuel ; Rahimpour, Mehdi ; Viale, Alejandro M. ; Almagro, Goizeder ; Eydallin, Gustavo ; Muñoz Pérez, Francisco José ; Baroja-Fernández, Edurne ; Bahaji, Abdellatif ; Pozueta Romero, Javier
Issue Date4-Sep-2014
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 9(9): e106938 (2014)
AbstractIn Escherichia coli, ppGpp is a major determinant of growth and glycogen accumulation. Levels of this signaling nucleotide are controlled by the balanced activities of the ppGpp RelA synthetase and the dual-function hydrolase/synthetase SpoT. Here we report the construction of spoT null (DspoT) mutants obtained by transducing a DspoT allele from DrelADspoT double mutants into relA+ cells. Iodine staining of randomly selected transductants cultured on a rich complex medium revealed differences in glycogen content among them. Sequence and biochemical analyses of 8 DspoT clones displaying glycogen-deficient phenotypes revealed different inactivating mutations in relA and no detectable ppGpp when cells were cultured on a rich complex medium. Remarkably, although the co-existence of DspoT with relA proficient alleles has generally been considered synthetically lethal, we found that 11 DspoT clones displaying high glycogen phenotypes possessed relA mutant alleles with non-inactivating mutations that encoded stable RelA proteins and ppGpp contents reaching 45-85% of those of wild type cells. None of the DspoT clones, however, could grow on M9-glucose minimal medium. Both Sanger sequencing of specific genes and high-throughput genome sequencing of the DspoT clones revealed that suppressor mutations were restricted to the relA locus. The overall results (a) defined in around 4 nmoles ppGpp/g dry weight the threshold cellular levels that suffice to trigger net glycogen accumulation, (b) showed that mutations in relA, but not necessarily inactivating mutations, can be selected to compensate total SpoT function(s) loss, and (c) provided useful tools for studies of the in vivo regulation of E. coli RelA ppGpp synthetase.
DescriptionPozueta Romero, Javier et al.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0106938
Identifiersdoi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106938
issn: 1932-6203
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