Melanie B. Berkmen

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Amino acid starvation in Escherichia coli results in a spectrum of changes in gene expression, including inhibition of rRNA and tRNA promoters and activation of certain promoters for amino acid biosynthesis and transport. The unusual nucleotide ppGpp plays an important role in both negative and positive regulation. Previously, we and others suggested that(More)
Regulation of transcription initiation is generally attributable to activator/repressor proteins that bind to specific DNA sequences. However, regulators can also achieve specificity by binding directly to RNA polymerase (RNAP) and exploiting the kinetic variation intrinsic to different RNAP-promoter complexes. We report here a previously unknown(More)
DNA replication occurs at discrete sites in the cell. To gain insight into the spatial and temporal organization of the Bacillus subtilis replication cycle, we simultaneously visualized replication origins and the replication machinery (replisomes) inside live cells. We found that the origin of replication is positioned near midcell prior to replication.(More)
In many bacteria, there is a strong bias for genes to be encoded on the leading strand of DNA, resulting in coorientation of replication and transcription. In Bacillus subtilis, transcription of the majority of genes (75%) is cooriented with replication. By using genome-wide profiling of replication with DNA microarrays, we found that this coorientation(More)
BACKGROUND Bacillus subtilis encounters a wide range of environmental pH. The bacteria maintain cytoplasmic pH within a narrow range. Response to acid stress is a poorly understood function of external pH and of permeant acids that conduct protons into the cytoplasm. METHODS AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Cytoplasmic acidification and the benzoate transcriptome(More)
Regions of bacterial chromosomes occupy characteristic locations within the cell. In Bacillus subtilis, the origin of replication, oriC, is located at 0 degrees /360 degrees on the circular chromosome. After duplication, sister 0 degrees regions rapidly move to and then reside near the cell quarters. It has been hypothesized that origin function or oriC(More)
Identification of the RNA polymerase (RNAP) binding site for ppGpp, a central regulator of bacterial transcription, is crucial for understanding its mechanism of action. A recent high-resolution X-ray structure defined a ppGpp binding site on Thermus thermophilus RNAP. We report here effects of ppGpp on 10 mutant Escherichia coli RNAPs with substitutions(More)
The ability of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis to regulate their cytoplasmic pH is well studied in cell suspensions but is poorly understood in individual adherent cells and biofilms. We observed the cytoplasmic pH of individual cells using ratiometric pHluorin. A standard curve equating the fluorescence ratio with pH was obtained by perfusion at a(More)
Horizontal gene transfer contributes to evolution and the acquisition of new traits. In bacteria, horizontal gene transfer is often mediated by conjugative genetic elements that transfer directly from cell to cell. Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs; also known as conjugative transposons) are mobile genetic elements that reside within a host genome(More)
ICEBs1 is an integrative and conjugative element found in the chromosome of Bacillus subtilis. ICEBs1 encodes functions needed for its excision and transfer to recipient cells. We found that the ICEBs1 gene conE (formerly yddE) is required for conjugation and that conjugative transfer of ICEBs1 requires a conserved ATPase motif of ConE. ConE belongs to the(More)