Cross-regulation of Pseudomonas motility systems: the intimate relationship between flagella, pili and virulence.
Individual cell heterogeneity is commonly observed within populations, although its molecular basis is largely unknown. Previously, using FRET-based microscopy, we observed heterogeneity in cellular c-di-GMP levels. In this study, we show that c-di-GMP heterogeneity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is promoted by a specific phosphodiesterase partitioned after cell division. We found that subcellular localization and reduction of c-di-GMP levels by this phosphodiesterase is dependent on the histidine kinase component of the chemotaxis machinery, CheA, and its phosphorylation state. Therefore, individual cell heterogeneity in c-di-GMP concentrations is regulated by the activity and the asymmetrical inheritance of the chemotaxis organelle after cell division. c-di-GMP heterogeneity results in a diversity of motility behaviors. The generation of diverse intracellular concentrations of c-di-GMP by asymmetric partitioning is likely important to the success and survival of bacterial populations within the environment by allowing a variety of motility behaviors. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01402.001.