Complete genome sequence of Caulobacter crescentus.
The complete genome sequence of Caulobacter crescentus was determined to be 4,016,942 base pairs in a single circular chromosome encoding 3,767 genes. This organism, which grows in a dilute aquatic environment, coordinates the cell division cycle and multiple cell differentiation events. With the annotated genome sequence, a full description of the genetic network that controls bacterial differentiation, cell growth, and cell cycle progression is within reach. Two-component signal transduction proteins are known to play a significant role in cell cycle progression. Genome analysis revealed that the C. crescentus genome encodes a significantly higher number of these signaling proteins (105) than any bacterial genome sequenced thus far. Another regulatory mechanism involved in cell cycle progression is DNA methylation. The occurrence of the recognition sequence for an essential DNA methylating enzyme that is required for cell cycle regulation is severely limited and shows a bias to intergenic regions. The genome contains multiple clusters of genes encoding proteins essential for survival in a nutrient poor habitat. Included are those involved in chemotaxis, outer membrane channel function, degradation of aromatic ring compounds, and the breakdown of plant-derived carbon sources, in addition to many extracytoplasmic function sigma factors, providing the organism with the ability to respond to a wide range of environmental fluctuations. C. crescentus is, to our knowledge, the first free-living alpha-class proteobacterium to be sequenced and will serve as a foundation for exploring the biology of this group of bacteria, which includes the obligate endosymbiont and human pathogen Rickettsia prowazekii, the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and the bovine and human pathogen Brucella abortus.