DNA methylation is a key epigenetic regulator in all domains of life, yet the effects of most bacterial DNA methyltransferases on cellular processes are largely undefined. Here, we used diverse techniques, including bisulfite sequencing, transcriptomics, and transposon insertion site sequencing to extensively characterize a 5-methylcytosine (5mC) methyltransferase, VchM, in the cholera pathogen, Vibrio cholerae. We have comprehensively defined VchM’s DNA targets, its genetic interactions and the gene networks that it regulates. Although VchM is a relatively new component of the V. cholerae genome, it is required for optimal V. cholerae growth in vitro and during infection. Unexpectedly, the usually essential σ E cell envelope stress pathway is dispensable in ∆vchM V. cholerae, likely due to its lower activation in this mutant and the capacity for VchM methylation to limit expression of some cell envelope modifying genes. Our work illuminates how an acquired DNA methyltransferase can become integrated within complex cell circuits to control critical housekeeping processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research