Phosphorylation of the Bacillus subtilis Replication Controller YabA Plays a Role in Regulation of Sporulation and Biofilm Formation
Journal article, 2018

Bacillus subtilis cells can adopt different life-styles in response to various environmental cues, including planktonic cells during vegetative growth, sessile cells during biofilm formation and sporulation. While switching life-styles, bacteria must coordinate the progression of their cell cycle with their physiological status. Our current understanding of the regulatory pathways controlling the decision-making processes and triggering developmental switches highlights a key role of protein phosphorylation. The regulatory mechanisms that integrate the bacterial chromosome replication status with sporulation involve checkpoint proteins that target the replication initiator DnaA or the kinase phosphorelay controlling the master regulator Spo0A. B. subtilis YabA is known to interact with DnaA to prevent over-initiation of replication during vegetative growth. Here, we report that YabA is phosphorylated by YabT, a Ser/Thr kinase expressed during sporulation and biofilm formation. The phosphorylation of YabA has no effect on replication initiation control but hyper-phosphorylation of YabA leads to an increase in sporulation efficiency and a strong inhibition of biofilm formation. We also provide evidence that YabA phosphorylation affects the level of Spo0A-P in cells. These results indicate that YabA is a multifunctional protein with a dual role in regulating replication initiation and life-style switching, thereby providing a potential mechanism for cross-talk and coordination of cellular processes during adaptation to environmental change.


Ser/Thr kinase


Bacillus subtilis

replication initiation control


Transito Garcia Garcia

University Paris-Saclay

Magali Ventroux

University Paris-Saclay

Abderahmane Derouiche

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Vladimir Bidnenko

University Paris-Saclay

Sara Correia Santos

University Paris-Saclay

Celine Henry

University Paris-Saclay

Ivan Mijakovic

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Marie-Francoise Noirot-Gros

Argonne National Laboratory

Sandrine Poncet

University Paris-Saclay

Frontiers in Microbiology

1664302x (eISSN)

Vol. 9 MAR 486

Subject Categories

Cell Biology

Cell and Molecular Biology

Medical Biotechnology (with a focus on Cell Biology (including Stem Cell Biology), Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry or Biopharmacy)



More information

Latest update

4/5/2022 6