Regulation of the stringent response is the essential function of the conserved bacterial G protein CgtA in Vibrio cholerae
Raskin, David M. | Judson, Nicholas | Mekalanos, John J.
The gene encoding the conserved bacterial G protein CgtA (Obg) is essential for viability in every organism in which it has been studied. CgtA has been reported to be involved in several diverse bacterial functions, including ribosome assembly, DNA repair, sporulation, and morphological development. However, none of these functions have been identified as essential. Here we show that depletion of CgtA in Vibrio cholerae causes global changes in gene expression that are consistent with induction of a classical low nutrient stress response or "stringent" response. We show that depletion of CgtA leads to increased ppGpp levels that correlate with induction of the global stress response and cessation of growth. The enzyme RelA is responsible for synthesis of the alarmone ppGpp during the stringent response. We show that CgtA is no longer essential in a relA deletion mutant and thus conclude that the essentiality of CgtA is directly linked to its ability to affect ppGpp levels. The enzyme SpoT degrades ppGpp, and here we show that SpoT is essential in a RelA+ CgtA+ background but not in a relA deletion mutant. We also confirmed that CgtA interacts with SpoT in a two-hybrid assay. We suggest that the essential function of CgtA is as a repressor of the stringent response that acts by regulating SpoT activity to maintain low ppGpp levels when bacteria are growing in a nutrient-rich environment.Show more [+] Less [-]