Morphological and functional asymmetry in alpha-proteobacteria

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The release of an increasing number of complete bacterial genomic sequences allows the evolutionary analysis of processes such as regulatory networks. CtrA is a response regulator of the OmpR subfamily, belonging to a complex regulatory network in the dimorphic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus. It coordinates the cell cycle with an asymmetric division, which is part of the adaptation of Caulobacter to poor-nutrient environments. CtrA is only found in alpha-proteobacteria, a group of bacteria encompassing genera with very distinct lifestyles, including host-associated bacteria. Analyses of CtrA regulatory networks and morphological examinations of some alpha-proteobacteria are presented. Our observations suggest that the core of the CtrA regulation network is conserved and that alpha-proteobacteria divide asymmetrically. We propose that the two daughter cells might be differentiated bacteria, each one displaying specific functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-5
Number of pages5
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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