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The dynamic process of differentiation depends on the architecture, quantitative parameters, and noise of underlying genetic circuits. However, it remains unclear how these elements combine to control cellular behavior. We analyzed the probabilistic and transient differentiation of Bacillus subtilis cells into the state of competence. A few key parameters(More)
Genomic studies have revealed the presence of Ser/Thr kinases and phosphatases in many bacterial species, although their physiological roles have largely been unclear. Here we review bacterial Ser/Thr kinases (eSTKs) that show homology in their catalytic domains to eukaryotic Ser/Thr kinases and their partner phosphatases (eSTPs) that are homologous to(More)
Environmental signals induce diverse cellular differentiation programs. In certain systems, cells defer differentiation for extended time periods after the signal appears, proliferating through multiple rounds of cell division before committing to a new fate. How can cells set a deferral time much longer than the cell cycle? Here we study Bacillus subtilis(More)
Bacteria can respond to adverse environmental conditions by drastically reducing or even ceasing metabolic activity. They must then determine that conditions have improved before exiting dormancy, and one indication of such a change is the growth of other bacteria in the local environment. Growing bacteria release muropeptide fragments of the cell wall into(More)
The activity of the transcription factor sigmaF is confined to one (the forespore) of two cells created by asymmetric division during sporulation in B. subtilis. We show that sigmaF activation is partly governed by the position of the gene for the unstable anti-sigmaF factor SpoIIAB. Because cytokinesis precedes chromosome segregation, most of the(More)
During Bacillus subtilis sporulation, an endocytic-like process called engulfment results in one cell being entirely encased in the cytoplasm of another cell. The driving force underlying this process of membrane movement has remained unclear, although components of the machinery have been characterized. Here we provide evidence that synthesis of(More)
Although peptidoglycan synthesis is one of the best-studied metabolic pathways in bacteria, the mechanism underlying the membrane translocation of lipid II, the undecaprenyl-disaccharide pentapeptide peptidoglycan precursor, remains mysterious. Recently, it was proposed that the essential Escherichia coli mviN gene encodes the lipid II flippase. Bacillus(More)
The requirement of peptidoglycan synthesis for growth complicates the analysis of interactions between proteins involved in this pathway. In particular, the latter steps that involve membrane-linked substrates have proven largely recalcitrant to in vivo analysis. Here, we have taken advantage of the peptidoglycan synthesis that occurs during sporulation in(More)
Development normally occurs similarly in all individuals within an isogenic population, but mutations often affect the fates of individual organisms differently. This phenomenon, known as partial penetrance, has been observed in diverse developmental systems. However, it remains unclear how the underlying genetic network specifies the set of possible(More)