The dimorphic and intrinsically asymmetric bacterium has become an important model organism to study the bacterial cell cycle, cell polarity, and polar differentiation. A multifaceted regulatory network orchestrates the precise coordination between the development of polar organelles and the cell cycle. One master response regulator, CtrA, directly controls the initiation of chromosome replication as well as several aspects of polar morphogenesis and cell division. CtrA activity is temporally and spatially regulated by multiple partially redundant control mechanisms, such as transcription, phosphorylation, and targeted proteolysis. A multicomponent signal transduction network upstream CtrA, containing histidine kinases CckA, PleC, DivJ, and DivL and the essential response regulator DivK, contributes to the control of CtrA activity in response to cell cycle and developmental cues. An intriguing feature of this signaling network is the dynamic cell cycle–dependent polar localization of its components, which is believed to have a novel regulatory function.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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