Control of synthesis and positioning of a Caulobacter crescentus flagellar protein.

Z. G. Loewy, R. A. Bryan, S. H. Reuter, L. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Caulobacter crescentus flagellum is assembled during a defined time period in the cell cycle. Two genes encoding the major components of the flagellar filament, the 25K and the 27.5K flagellins, are expressed coincident with flagellar assembly. A third gene, flgJ, is also temporally regulated. The synthesis of the product of flgJ, the 29K flagellin, occurs prior to the synthesis of the other flagellin proteins. We demonstrate here that the time of initiation of flgJ expression is independent of chromosomal location but is dependent upon cis-acting sequences present upstream of the flgJ structural gene. Evidence that there is transcriptional control of flgJ expression includes the following: (1) The initial appearance of flgJ message was coincident with the onset of 29K flagellin protein synthesis, and (2) expression of an NPT II reporter gene driven by the flgJ promoter was temporally correct. Post-transcriptional regulation might contribute to the control of expression, because the flgJ mRNA persisted for a longer period of time than did the synthesis of the 29K protein. The 29K flagellin was found only in the progeny swarmer cell after cell division. In a mutant strain that failed to assemble a flagellum, the 29K flagellin still segregated to the presumptive swarmer cell, demonstrating that positioning of the protein is independent of filament assembly. Analysis of a chimeric flgJ-NPT II transcriptional fusion showed that the flgJ regulatory sequences do not control the segregation of the 29K flagellin to the swarmer cell progeny, suggesting that correct segregation depends on the protein product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)626-635
Number of pages10
JournalGenes & development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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