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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The guanosine nucleotide (p)ppGpp initiates development and A-factor production in myxococcus xanthus.

Guanosine 3'-di-5'-(tri)di-phosphate nucleotides [(p)ppGpp], synthesized in response to amino acid limitation, induce early gene expression leading to multicellular fruiting body formation in Myxococcus xanthus. A mutant (DK527) that fails to accumulate (p)ppGpp in response to starvation was found to be blocked in development prior to aggregation. By use of a series of developmentally regulated Tn5lac transcriptional fusion reporters, the time of developmental arrest in DK527 was narrowed to within the few hours of development, the period of starvation recognition. The mutant is also defective in the production of A-factor, an early extracellular cell-density signal. The relA gene from Escherichia coli, which encodes a ribosome-dependent (p)ppGpp synthetase, rescues this mutant. We also demonstrate that inactivation of the M. xanthus relA homolog blocks development and the accumulation of (p)ppGpp. Moreover, the wild-type allele of Myxococcus relA rescues DK527. These observations support a model in which accumulation of (p)ppGpp, in response to starvation, initiates the program of fruiting body development, including the production of A-factor.[1]


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