Mutants defective in the production of encapsulin show a tan-phase-locked phenotype in Myxococcus xanthus
Myxococcus xanthus, a myxobacterium, displays phase variation between yellow phase and tan phase. We found that deletion of the encA gene encoding encapsulin and the encF gene encoding a metalloprotease causes formation of tan colonies that never transform into yellow colonies. The encA and encF mutants were defective in the production of DK-xanthene and myxovirescin. They did not produce extracellular polysaccharides; hence, the cells did not aggregate in liquid and showed reduced swarming on agar plates. The mutants had defective sporulation, but were rescued extracellularly by wild type cells. All these traits indicate that the encA and encF mutants are likely to be tan-phase-locked, and encapsulin has a close relationship with phase variation in M. xanthus. The encA and encF genes are localized in the same gene cluster, encBAEFG (MXAN_3557~MXAN_3553). Unlike the encA and encF genes, deletion of other genes in the cluster did not show tan-phase-locked phenotype.
Keywordsmyxobacteria Myxococcus xanthus encapsulin phase variation
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This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2017R1D1A3-B03030500).
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