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The bacterial world is full of varying cell shapes and sizes, and individual species perpetuate a defined morphology generation after generation. We review recent findings and ideas about how bacteria use the cytoskeleton and other strategies to regulate cell growth in time and space to produce different shapes and sizes.
The cytoskeleton is a key regulator of cell morphogenesis. Crescentin, a bacterial intermediate filament-like protein, is required for the curved shape of Caulobacter crescentus and localizes to the inner cell curvature. Here, we show that crescentin forms a single filamentous structure that collapses into a helix when detached from the cell membrane,(More)
Life in oligotrophic environments necessitates quick adaptive responses to a sudden lack of nutrients. Secretion of specific degradative enzymes into the extracellular medium is a means to mobilize the required nutrient from nearby sources. The aquatic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus must often face changes in its environment such as phosphate limitation.(More)
The propagation of cell shape across generations is remarkably robust in most bacteria. Even when deformations are acquired, growing cells progressively recover their original shape once the deforming factors are eliminated. For instance, straight-rod-shaped bacteria grow curved when confined to circular microchambers, but straighten in a growth-dependent(More)
Secreted virulence factors of the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa are often under quorum sensing control. Cells lacking the quorum-sensing regulator LasR show reduced virulence factor production under typical laboratory conditions and are hypo-virulent in short-term animal infection models, yet lasR mutants are frequently associated with long-term(More)
The peptidoglycan (PG) is a macromolecular component of the bacterial cell wall that maintains the shape and integrity of the cell. The PG of Caulobacter crescentus, unlike that of many other Gram-negative bacteria, has repeatedly been shown to contain significant amounts of glycine. This compositional peculiarity has been deemed an intrinsic characteristic(More)
We develop an optical imaging technique for spatially and temporally tracking biofilm growth and the distribution of the main phenotypes of a Bacillus subtilis strain with a triple-fluorescent reporter for motility, matrix production, and sporulation. We develop a calibration procedure for determining the biofilm thickness from the transmission images,(More)
Crescentin is a bacterial filament-forming protein that exhibits domain organization features found in metazoan intermediate filament (IF) proteins. Structure-function studies of eukaryotic IFs have been hindered by a lack of simple genetic systems and easily quantifiable phenotypes. Here we exploit the characteristic localization of the crescentin(More)