At a specific time in the Caulobacter crescentus cell cycle, a single flagellar filament and multiple receptor sites for the swarmer-specific phage φCbk are assembled at one pole of the predivisional cell. One cluster of genes required for this morphogenesis, the flaYG region, includes the flgJKL genes, which encode structural proteins of the flagellar filament. These flagellin genes are flanked by genes required for filament assembly, the flaYE genes at one end and the flaF-flbT-flbA-flaG genes at the other. In this study, we characterized mutants carrying large chromosomal deletions within this region. Several of these strains are φCbK resistant and produce a novel 22-kDa flagellin that is not assembled into flagella. Merodiploid strains containing either the entire flaFG region or individual fla transcription units from this region were constructed. These strains were used to correlate the presence or absence of specific gene products to changes in flagellin synthesis, filament assembly, or phage sensitivity. As a result of these studies, we were able to conclude that (i) the production of the 22-kDa flagellin results from the absence of the flbA and flaG gene products, which appear to be components of a flagellin-processing pathway common to the 25-, 27-, and 29-kDa flagellins; (ii) flbT negatively modulates the synthesis of the 27- and 25-kDa flagellins from two genetically unlinked gene clusters; (iii) flgL is the only flagellin gene able to encode the 27- kDa flagellin, and this flagellin appears to be required for the efficient assembly of the 25-kDa flagellins; (iv) flaF is required for filament assembly; and (v) φCbK resistance results from the deletion of at least two genes in the flaFG region.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology