Identification and Characterization of a Putative Arginine Kinase Homolog from Myxococcus Xanthus Required for Fruiting Body Formation and Cell Differentiation

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Arginine kinases catalyze the reversible transfer of a high-energy phosphoryl group from ATP to L-arginine to form phosphoarginine, which is used as an energy buffer in insects, crustaceans, and some unicellular organisms. It plays an analogous role to that of phosphocreatine in vertebrates. Recently, putative arginine kinases were identified in several bacterial species, including the social Gram-negative soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. It is still unclear what role these proteins play in bacteria and whether they have evolved to acquire novel functions in the species in which they are found. In this study, we biochemically purified and characterized a putative M. xanthus arginine kinase, Ark, and demonstrated that it has retained the ability to catalyze the phosphorylation of arginine by using ATP. We also constructed a null mutation in the ark gene and demonstrated its role in both certain stress responses and development. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.

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