Cell cycle-dependent polar localization of an essential bacterial histidine kinase that controls DNA replication and cell division

Cell. 1999 Apr 2;97(1):111-20. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80719-9.


The master CtrA response regulator functions in Caulobacter to repress replication initiation in different phases of the cell cycle. Here, we identify an essential histidine kinase, CckA, that is responsible for CtrA activation by phosphorylation. Although CckA is present throughout the cell cycle, it moves to a cell pole in S phase, and upon cell division it disperses. Removal of the membrane-spanning region of CckA results in loss of polar localization and cell death. We propose that polar CckA functions to activate CtrA just after the initiation of DNA replication, thereby preventing premature reinitiations of chromosome replication. Thus, dynamic changes in cellular location of critical signal proteins provide a novel mechanism for the control of the prokaryote cell cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology*
  • Caulobacter crescentus
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Polarity / genetics
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • DNA Replication / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Histidine Kinase
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Temperature
  • Transcription Factors*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • CtrA protein, Caulobacter
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Histidine Kinase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF133718