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Toxin-Antitoxin systems eliminate defective cells and preserve symmetry in Bacillus subtilis biofilms

Citation:

Bloom-Ackermann, Z. ; Steinberg, N. ; Rosenberg, G. ; Oppenheimer-Shaanan, Y. ; Pollack, D. ; Ely, S. ; Storzi, N. ; Levy, A. ; Kolodkin-Gal, I. Toxin-Antitoxin systems eliminate defective cells and preserve symmetry in Bacillus subtilis biofilms. Environmental MicrobiologyEnvironmental MicrobiologyEnviron Microbiol 2016, 18, 5032 - 5047.

Date Published:

2016

Abstract:

Summary Toxin-antitoxin modules are gene pairs encoding a toxin and its antitoxin, and are found on the chromosomes of many bacteria, including pathogens. Here, we characterize the specific contribution of the TxpA and YqcG toxins in elimination of defective cells from developing Bacillus subtilis biofilms. On nutrient limitation, defective cells accumulated in the biofilm breaking its symmetry. Deletion of the toxins resulted in accumulation of morphologically abnormal cells, and interfered with the proper development of the multicellular community. Dual physiological responses are of significance for TxpA and YqcG activation: nitrogen deprivation enhances the transcription of both TxpA and YqcG toxins, and simultaneously sensitizes the biofilm cells to their activity. Furthermore, we demonstrate that while both toxins when overexpressed affect the morphology of the developing biofilm, the toxin TxpA can act to lyse and dissolve pre-established B. subtilis biofilms.

Notes:

doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13471

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