The Ethanologenic Bacterium Zymomonas mobilis Divides Asymmetrically and Exhibits Heterogeneity in DNA Content

Fuchino, Katsuya and Chan, Helena and Hwang, Ling Chin and Bruheim, Per and Nojiri, Hideaki (2021) The Ethanologenic Bacterium Zymomonas mobilis Divides Asymmetrically and Exhibits Heterogeneity in DNA Content. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 87 (6). e02441-20. ISSN 1098-5336

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The alphaproteobacterium Zymomonas mobilis exhibits extreme ethanologenic physiology, making this species a promising biofuel producer. Numerous studies have investigated its biology relevant to industrial applications and mostly at the population level. However, the organization of single cells in this industrially important polyploid species has been largely uncharacterized. In the present study, we characterized basic cellular behavior of Z. mobilis strain Zm6 under anaerobic conditions at the single-cell level. We observed that growing Z. mobilis cells often divided at a nonmidcell position, which contributed to variant cell size at birth. However, the cell size variance was regulated by a modulation of cell cycle span, mediated by a correlation of bacterial tubulin homologue FtsZ ring accumulation with cell growth. The Z. mobilis culture also exhibited heterogeneous cellular DNA content among individual cells, which might have been caused by asynchronous replication of chromosome that was not coordinated with cell growth. Furthermore, slightly angled divisions might have resulted in temporary curvatures of attached Z. mobilis cells. Overall, the present study uncovers a novel bacterial cell organization in Z. mobilis. IMPORTANCE: With increasing environmental concerns about the use of fossil fuels, development of a sustainable biofuel production platform has been attracting significant public attention. Ethanologenic Z. mobilis species are endowed with an efficient ethanol fermentation capacity that surpasses, in several respects, that of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), the most-used microorganism for ethanol production. For development of a Z. mobilis culture-based biorefinery, an investigation of its uncharacterized cell biology is important, because bacterial cellular organization and metabolism are closely associated with each other in a single cell compartment. In addition, the current work demonstrates that the polyploid bacterium Z. mobilis exhibits a distinctive mode of bacterial cell organization, likely reflecting its unique metabolism that does not prioritize incorporation of nutrients for cell growth. Thus, another significant result of this work is to advance our general understanding in the diversity of bacterial cell architecture.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Alphaproteobacteria, Zymomonas mobilis, cell division, cell growth, cellular heterogeneity, chromosome organization, ftsZ
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2021 15:39
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:04

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