Caulobacter crescentus intrinsic dimorphism provides a prompt bimodal response to copper stress

Émeline Lawaree, Sébastien Gillet, Gwennaëlle Louis, Françoise Tilquin, Sophie Le Blastier, Pierre Cambier, Jean-Yves Matroule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Stress response to fluctuating environments often implies a time-consuming reprogramming of gene expression. In bacteria, the so-called bet hedging strategy, which promotes phenotypic stochasticity within a cell population, is the only fast stress response described so far 1. Here, we show that Caulobacter crescentus asymmetrical cell division allows an immediate bimodal response to a toxic metals-rich environment by allocating specific defence strategies to morphologically and functionally distinct siblings. In this context, a motile swarmer cell favours negative chemotaxis to flee from a copper source, whereas a sessile stalked sibling engages a ready-to-use PcoAB copper homeostasis system, providing evidence of a prompt stress response through intrinsic bacterial dimorphism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16098
JournalNature Microbiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016

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  • Equipment

    Morphology - Imaging

    Charles Nicaise (Manager) & Francesca Cecchet (Manager)

    Technological Platform Morphology - Imaging

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