Transient growth arrest in Escherichia coli induced by chromosome condensation

Andrea L. Edwards, Dipen P. Sangurdekar, Kyeong S. Jeong, Arkady B Khodursky, Valentin V. Rybenkov

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6 Scopus citations


MukB is a bacterial SMC (structural maintenance of chromosome) protein that regulates the global folding of the Escherichia coli chromosome by bringing distant DNA segments together. We report that moderate overproduction of MukB may lead, depending on strain and growth conditions, to transient growth arrest. In DH5α cells, overproduction of MukB or MukBEF using pBAD expression system triggered growth arrest 2.5 h after induction. The exit from growth arrest was accompanied by the loss of the overproducing plasmid and a decline in the abundance of MukBEF. The arrested cells showed a compound gene expression profile which can be characterized by the following features: (i) a broad and deep downregulation of ribosomal proteins (up to 80-fold); (ii) downregulation of groups of genes encoding enzymes involved in nucleotide metabolism, respiration, and central metabolism; (iii) upregulation of some of the genes responsive to general stress; and (iv) degradation of the patterns of spatial correlations in the transcriptional activity of the chromosome. The transcriptional state of the MukB induced arrest is most similar to stationary cells and cells recovered from stationary phase into a nutrient deprived medium, to amino acid starved cells and to the cells shifting from glucose to acetate. The mukB++ state is dissimilar from all examined transcriptional states generated by protein overexpression with the possible exception of RpoE and RpoH overexpression. Thus, the transcription profile of MukB-arrested cells can be described as a combination of responses typical for other growth-arrested cells and those for overproducers of DNA binding proteins with a particularly deep down-regulation of ribosomal genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere84027
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 23 2013


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