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Caulobacter crescentus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Alpha Proteobacteria
Order: Caulobacterales
Family: Caulobacteraceae
Genus: Caulobacter
Species: C. crescentus
Binomial name
Caulobacter crescentus
Poindexter 1964

Caulobacter crescentus is a Gram-negative, oligotrophic bacterium widely distributed in fresh water lakes and streams. It plays an important role in the carbon cycle.

Caulobacter is an important model for study of the regulation of the cell cycle and cellular differentiation. Caulobacter daughter cells have two very different forms. One is a mobile "swarmer" cell that has a flagellum for swimming. The other, called the "stalked" cell has a long tubular stalk structure protruding from one pole that has an adhesive holdfast material on its end, with which the stalked cell can adhere to surfaces. Chromosome replication and cell division only occurs in the stalked cells. Swarmer cells differentiate into stalked cells as they mature. Often surviving in nutrient-poor environs, Caulobacter crescentus is a Gram-negative bacterium ubiquitous in fresh water, soil, and sea water. C. crescentus exhibits a dimorphic life cycle that most likely provides an advantage in such competitive environments. The stalk cell can attach to a surface, while the swarmer cell can search for nutrients. The adhesive material of the holdfast has been reported to be one of the strongest natural glues.


Strains and Distribution

In the laboratories they distinguish between the Caulobacter crescentus strain CB-15 (the strain found in nature) and NA-1000 (the laboratory-adopted strain). There are several differences between the two strains, which are not yet fully understood.

Physiology and Life Cycle


A study using C. crescentus strain 15D identified several small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) within this bacteria genome. These sRNAs were identified by using tiled microarrays and the 5' end of the sRNAs were mapped to a location within the genome by RACE analysis. [1] The expression of these sRNAs was also shown to be influenced by the cell cycle and also by a number of different environmental conditions such as glucose availability. Comparative genomics has shown that these sRNAs are novel in C.crescentus and that some some of these sRNAs are conserved in other strains of bacteria.

Genetics and Molecular Biology

Normal Role

Model Organism

Caulobacter Cell Cycle

Because of its easy manipulation in laboratory, Caulobacter has become a model organism to investigate cell cycle regulation in bacteria. Of Caulobacter's 3767 protein-coding genes, about 550 are regulated in a cell-cycle-dependent manner, in large part by three regulatory proteins: CtrA, GcrA and DnaA, which together control the expression of 185 cell-cycle regulated genes. CtrA upregulates the expression of many genes involved in cell division: DNA methylation, flagella, stalk, and septal Z-ring biogenesis. In addition, CtrA binds to five DNA sites that overlap with the binding sites of the replication initiation protein, DnaA, and thereby precludes a new round of DNA replication. Furthermore, CtrA inhibits the expression of GcrA, which functions as an activator of components of the replisome and the segregation machinery.

The Caulobacter cell division cycle

Based on experimental evidence, the 'CtrA - bistable' switch mechanism [1] is proposed for cell cycle control in this bacterium [2]. A mathematical model [2] was constructed to interpret the detailed temporal dynamics of regulatory gene expression during the cell cycle and differentiation process of wild-type cells as well as several mutant strains. [3] This model presents a unified view of temporal and spatial regulation of protein activities during the asymmetric cell division cycle of Caulobacter. It also helps to interpret phenotypes of known mutants, and predicts novel ones.

Wild-type simulation of Caulobacter cell cycle

Caulobacter Aging

Caulobacter was the first asymmetric bacterium shown to age. Reproductive senescence was measured as the decline in the number of progeny produced over time. [4][5] A similar phenomenon has since been described in the bacterium Escherichia coli, which gives rise to morphologically similar daughter cells.[6]

Role in Biotechnology


  1. ^ Landt SG, Abeliuk E, McGrath PT, Lesley JA, McAdams HH, Shapiro L (May 2008). "Small non-coding RNAs in Caulobacter crescentus". Mol. Microbiol. 68 (3): 600–14. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06172.x. PMID 18373523.  
  2. ^ Brazhnik, Paul; Tyson, John (2006). "Cell cycle control in bacteria and yeast: a case of convergent evolution?". Cell Cycle 5 (5): 522–9.  
  3. ^ Li, Shenghua; Brazhnik, Paul, Sobral, Bruno and Tyson, John (2008). "A Quantitative Study of the Division Cycle of Caulobacter crescentus Stalked Cells". PLoS Computational Biology 4 (1): e9. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0040009.  
  4. ^ Ackermann, Martin; Stephen C. Stearns, Urs Jenal (2003). "Senescence in a bacterium with asymmetric division". Science 300 (5627): 1920. doi:10.1126/science.1083532. PMID 12817142.  
  5. ^ Ackermann, Martin; Alexandra Schauerte, Stephen C. Stearns, Urs Jenal (2007). "Experimental evolution of aging in a bacterium". BMC Evolutionary Biology 7 (126).  
  6. ^ Stewart, Eric J.; Richard Madden, Gregory Paul, Francois Taddei (2005). "Aging and death in an organism that reproduces by morphologically symmetric division". PLoS Biology 3 (2): e45. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030045.  

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Superregnum: Bacteria
Regnum: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Classis: Alpha Proteobacteria
Ordo: Caulobacterales
Familia: Caulobacteraceae
Genus: Caulobacter
Species: Caulobacter crescentus


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