A genomic survey of signalling in the myxococcaceae

David E. Whitworth*, Allison Zwarycz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (SciVal)
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As prokaryotes diverge by evolution, essential ‘core’ genes required for conserved phenotypes are preferentially retained, while inessential ‘accessory’ genes are lost or diversify. We used the recently expanded number of myxobacterial genome sequences to investigate the conservation of their signalling proteins, focusing on two sister genera (Myxococcus and Corallococcus), and on a species within each genus (Myxococcus xanthus and Corallococcus exiguus). Four new C. exiguus genome sequences are also described here. Despite accessory genes accounting for substantial proportions of each myxobacterial genome, signalling proteins were found to be enriched in the core genome, with two-component system genes almost exclusively so. We also investigated the conservation of signalling proteins in three myxobacterial behaviours. The linear carotenogenesis pathway was entirely conserved, with no gene gain/loss observed. However, the modular fruiting body formation network was found to be evolutionarily plastic, with dispensable components in all modules (including components required for fruiting in the model myxobacterium M. xanthus DK1622). Quorum signalling (QS) is thought to be absent from most myxobacteria, however, they generally appear to be able to produce CAI-I (cholerae autoinducer-1), to sense other QS molecules, and to disrupt the QS of other organisms, potentially important abilities during predation of other prokaryotes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1739
Number of pages20
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 06 Nov 2020


  • Carotenoids
  • Comparative genomics
  • Development
  • Fruiting body formation
  • Myxobacteria
  • Myxococcales
  • One-component systems
  • Quorum signalling
  • Two-component systems


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