Background: Brucella abortus is the etiological agent of a worldwide zoonosis called brucellosis. This alpha-proteobacterium is dividing asymmetrically, and PdhS, an essential histidine kinase, was reported to be an old pole marker. Results: We were interested to identify functions that could be recruited to bacterial poles. The Brucella ORFeome, a collection of cloned predicted coding sequences, was placed in fusion with yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) coding sequence and screened for polar localizations in B. abortus. We report that AidB-YFP was systematically localized to the new poles and at constrictions sites in B. abortus, either in culture or inside infected HeLa cells or RAW264.7 macrophages. AidB is an acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (ACAD) homolog, similar to E. coli AidB, an enzyme putatively involved in destroying alkylating agents. Accordingly, a B. abortus aidB mutant is more sensitive than the wild-type strain to the lethality induced by methanesulphonic acid ethyl ester (EMS). The exposure to EMS led to a very low frequency of constriction events, suggesting that cell cycle is blocked during alkylation damage. The localization of AidB-YFP at the new poles and at constriction sites seems to be specific for this ACAD homolog since two other ACAD homologs fused to YFP did not show specific localization. The overexpression of aidB, but not the two other ACAD coding sequences, leads to multiple morphological defects. Conclusions: Data reported here suggest that AidB is a marker of new poles and constriction sites, that could be considered as sites of preparation of new poles in the sibling cells originating from cell division. The possible role of AidB in the generation or the function of new poles needs further investigation. © 2011 Dotreppe et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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