Enhancer-binding proteins with a forkhead-associated domain and the sigma(54) regulon in Myxococcus xanthus fruiting body development

Lars Jelsbak, Michael Christian Givskov, D. Kaiser

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    In response to starvation, Myxococcus xanthus initiates a developmental program that results in the formation of spore-filled, multicellular fruiting bodies. Many developmentally regulated genes in M. xanthus are transcribed from sigma(54) promoters, and these genes require enhancer-binding proteins. Here we report the finding of an unusual group of 12 genes encoding sigma(54)-dependent enhancer-binding proteins containing a forkhead-associated (FHA) domain as their N-terminal sensory domain. FHA domains in other proteins recognize phosphothreonine residues. An insertion mutation in one of these genes, Mx4885, caused a cell autonomous aggregation and sporulation defect. In-frame deletion mutants showed that the FHA domain is necessary for proper Mx4885 function. The altered pattern of developmental gene expression in the mutant implied that Mx4885 is on the pathway of response to the morphogenetic C-signal. Immunoblots specific for C-signa I and FruA imply that the site of Mx4885 action is downstream of FruA synthesis on the C-signal transduction pathway. Mx4885 may help to coordinate the level of intracellular phosphorylated FruA (FruA-P) with the level of C-signal displayed on the signal donor cell. Because FHA domains respond to phosphothreonine-containing proteins, these results suggest a regulatory link to the abundant Ser/Thr protein kinases in M. xanthus.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)3010-3015
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • protein kinase
    • cell-cell signaling
    • developmental gene expression

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