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The polar Ras-like GTPase MglA activates type IV pilus via SgmX to enable twitching motility in Myxococcus xanthus

Abstract : Type IV pili (Tfp) are highly conserved macromolecular structures that fulfill diverse cellular functions, such as adhesion to host cells, the import of extracellular DNA, kin recognition, and cell motility (twitching). Outstandingly, twitching motility enables a poorly understood process by which highly coordinated groups of hundreds of cells move in cooperative manner, providing a basis for multicellular behaviors, such as biofilm formation. In the social bacteria Myxococcus xanthus, we know that twitching motility is under the dependence of the small GTPase MglA, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. Here we show that MglA complexed to GTP recruits a newly characterized Tfp regulator , termed SgmX, to activate Tfp machines at the bacterial cell pole. This mechanism also ensures spatial regulation of Tfp, explaining how MglA switching provokes directional reversals. This discovery paves the way to elucidate how polar Tfp machines are regulated to coordinate multicellular movements, a conserved feature in twitching bacteria. type IV pilus | cell motility | small GTPase | Myxococcus xanthus
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 2:23:59 PM
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Romain Mercier, Sarah Bautista, Maëlle Delannoy, Margaux Gibert, Annick Guiseppi, et al.. The polar Ras-like GTPase MglA activates type IV pilus via SgmX to enable twitching motility in Myxococcus xanthus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, 2020, pp.202002783. ⟨10.1073/pnas.2002783117⟩. ⟨hal-02993159⟩



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