Cell cycle transition from S-phase to G1 in Caulobacter is mediated by ancestral virulence regulators

Coralie Fumeaux, Sunish Kumar Radhakrishnan, Silvia Ardissone, Laurence Théraulaz, Antonio Frandi, Daniel Martins, Jutta Nesper, Sören Abel, Urs Jenal, Patrick H. Viollier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Zinc-finger domain transcriptional regulators regulate a myriad of functions in eukaryotes. Interestingly, ancestral versions (MucR) from Alpha-proteobacteria control bacterial virulence/symbiosis. Whether virulence regulators can also control cell cycle transcription is unknown. Here we report that MucR proteins implement a hitherto elusive primordial S→G1 transcriptional switch. After charting G1-specific promoters in the cell cycle model Caulobacter crescentus by comparative ChIP-seq, we use one such promoter as genetic proxy to unearth two MucR paralogs, MucR1/2, as constituents of a quadripartite and homeostatic regulatory module directing the S→G1 transcriptional switch. Surprisingly, MucR orthologues that regulate virulence and symbiosis gene transcription in Brucella, Agrobacterium or Sinorhizobium support this S→G1 switch in Caulobacter. Pan-genomic ChIP-seq analyses in Sinorhizobium and Caulobacter show that this module indeed targets orthologous genes. We propose that MucR proteins and possibly other virulence regulators primarily control bacterial cell cycle (G1-phase) transcription, rendering expression of target (virulence) genes periodic and in tune with the cell cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4081
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Jun 18 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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