The asymmetric distribution of the essential histidine kinase PdhS indicates a differentiation event in Brucella abortus

Régis Hallez, Johann Mignolet, Vincent Van Mullem, Maxime Wery, Jean Vandenhaute, Jean-Jacques Letesson, Christine Jacobs-Wagner, Xavier De Bolle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Many organisms use polar localization of signalling proteins to control developmental events in response to completion of asymmetric cell division. Asymmetric division was recently reported for Brucella abortus, a class III facultative intracellular pathogen generating two sibling cells of slightly different size. Here we characterize PdhS, a cytoplasmic histidine kinase essential for B. abortus viability and homologous to the asymmetrically distributed PleC and DivJ histidine kinases from Caulobacter crescentus. PdhS is localized at the old pole of the large cell, and after division and growth, the small cell acquires PdhS at its old pole. PdhS may therefore be considered as a differentiation marker as it labels the old pole of the large cell. Moreover, PdhS colocalizes with its paired response regulator DivK. Finally, PdhS is able to localize at one pole in other alpha-proteobacteria, suggesting that a polar structure associating PdhS with one pole is conserved in these bacteria. We propose that a differentiation event takes place after the completion of cytokinesis in asymmetrically dividing alpha-proteobacteria. Altogether, these data suggest that prokaryotic differentiation may be much more widespread than expected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1444-55
Number of pages12
JournalThe EMBO journal
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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