BipA is a highly conserved prokaryotic GTPase that functions to influence numerous cellular processes in bacteria. In Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, BipA has been implicated in controlling bacterial motility, modulating attachment and effacement processes, and upregulating the expression of virulence genes and is also responsible for avoidance of host defense mechanisms. In addition, BipA is thought to be involved in bacterial stress responses, such as those associated with virulence, temperature, and symbiosis. Thus, BipA is necessary for securing bacterial survival and successful invasion of the host. Steady-state kinetic analysis and pelleting assays were used to assess the GTPase and ribosome-binding properties of S. enterica BipA. Under normal bacterial growth, BipA associates with the ribosome in the GTP-bound state. However, using sucrose density gradients, we demonstrate that the association of BipA and the ribosome is altered under stress conditions in bacteria similar to those experienced during virulence. The data show that this differential binding is brought about by the presence of ppGpp, an alarmone that signals the onset of stress-related events in bacteria.
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