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Polar Localization of the Serine Chemoreceptor of Escherichia coli Is Nucleoid Exclusion-Dependent

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2512-2522
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2016
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Abstract We studied whether nucleoid exclusion contributes to the segregation and retention of Tsr chemoreceptor clusters at the cell poles. Using live time-lapse, single-cell microscopy measurements, we show that the single-cell spatial distributions of Tsr clusters have heterogeneities and asymmetries that are consistent with nucleoid exclusion and cannot be explained by the diffusion-and-capture mechanism supported by Tol-Pal complexes at the poles. Also, in cells subjected to ampicillin, which enhances relative nucleoid lengths, Tsr clusters locate relatively closer to the cell extremities, whereas in anucleated cells (deletion mutants for mukB), the Tsr clusters are closer to midcell. In addition, we find that the fraction of Tsr clusters at the poles is smaller in deletion mutants for Tol-Pal than in wild-type cells, although it is still larger than would be expected by chance. Also in deletion mutants, the distribution of Tsr clusters differs widely between cells with relatively small and large nucleoids, in a manner consistent with nucleoid exclusion from midcell. This comparison further showed that diffusion-and-capture by Tol-Pal complexes and nucleoid exclusion from the midcell have complementary effects. Subsequently, we subjected deletion mutants to suboptimal temperatures that are known to enhance cytoplasm viscosity, which hampers nucleoid exclusion effects. As the temperature was lowered, the fraction of clusters at the poles decreased linearly. Finally, a stochastic model including nucleoid exclusion at midcell and diffusion-and-capture due to Tol-Pal at the poles is shown to exhibit a cluster dynamics that is consistent with the empirical data. We conclude that nucleoid exclusion also contributes to the preference of Tsr clusters for polar localization.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland