DivIVA-mediated polar localization of ComN, a posttranscriptional regulator of Bacillus subtilis

J Bacteriol. 2012 Jul;194(14):3661-9. doi: 10.1128/JB.05879-11. Epub 2012 May 11.


ComN (YrzD) is a small, 98-amino-acid protein recently shown to be involved in the posttranscriptional control of the late competence comE operon in Bacillus subtilis. We show here that ComN localizes to the division site and cell poles in a DivIVA-dependent fashion. Yeast two-hybrid and glutathione S-transferase pulldown experiments showed that ComN interacts directly with DivIVA. ComN is not essential for the polar assembly of the core competence DNA uptake machinery. Nevertheless, polar localization of ComN should play some role in competence acquisition because delocalization of ComN leads to a small reduction in competence efficiency. We found that ComN promotes the accumulation of its target comE mRNA to septal and polar sites. Thus, we speculate that localized translation of ComE proteins may be required for efficient competence development. Our results underscore the versatility of DivIVA as a promoter of the differentiation of bacterial poles and demonstrate that the repertoire of polarly localized molecules in B. subtilis is broad, including a regulator of gene expression and its target mRNA. Moreover, our findings suggest that mRNA localization may play a role in the subcellular organization of bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DivIVA protein, bacteria
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Messenger