Serratia marcescens secretes several proteins, such as the lipase LipA, the metalloprotease PrtA, and the heme-binding protein HasA, which is required for heme acquisition, through two N-terminal signal peptide-independent systems that are classified as bacterial ATP-binding cassette (ABC) exporters. One is the ABC exporter for HasA, consisting of the ABC protein HasD, the membrane fusion protein (MFP) HasE, and the outer membrane protein (OMP) HasF. The second, composed of LipB (an ABC protein), LipC (an MFP), and LipD (an OMP), promotes secretion of LipA and PrtA in Escherichia coli recombinant clones. PrtA, which shows homology to the Erwinia chrysanthemi metalloproteases, is efficiently secreted by E. coli cells carrying the E. chrysanthemi ABC exporter PrtD (ABC protein)-PrtE (MFP)-PrtF (OMP). The existence of distinct systems in this bacterium and of various substrates for these systems allowed the study of protein secretion by heterologous Has, Lip, and Prt systems and by Has-Lip and Lip-Prt hybrid exporters in the genuine host as well as in E. coli. For that purpose, lipB-, lipC-, and lipD-deficient mutants were isolated from S. marcescens 8000 and their secretion of LipA and PrtA was analyzed. This demonstrated that a unique exporter, the Lip apparatus, in S. marcescens secretes both LipA and PrtA. Hybrid exporters were tested for secretion of HasA and LipA. The LipB-HasE-HasF exporter allowed secretion of LipA but not HasA, showing that the ABC protein LipB is responsible for the substrate specificity. LipA, HasA, and E. chrysanthemi PrtC were secreted via heterologous exporters and via some hybrid exporters. Analysis of secretion via hybrid exporters showed that specific interactions occur between MFPs and OMPs in these systems. These genetic experiments demonstrated that specific interactions between the ABC protein and the MFP are required for the formation of active exporters.
Two ATP-binding cassette (ABC) exporters are present in Pseudomonas fluorescens no. 33; one is the recently reported AprDEF system and the other is HasDEF, which exports a heme acquisition protein, HasA. The hasDEF genes were cloned by DNA hybridization with a DNA probe coding for the LipB protein, one of the components of the Serratia marcescens ABC exporter Lip system. P. fluorescens HasA showed sequence identity of 40 to 49% with HasA proteins from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens. The P. fluorescens Has exporter secreted HasA proteins from P. fluorescens and P. aeruginosa but not S. marcescens HasA in Escherichia coli, whereas the Has exporter from S. marcescens allowed secretion of all three HasA proteins. The P. fluorescens HasDEF system also promoted the secretion of the lipase and alkaline protease of P. fluorescens. Hybrid exporter analysis demonstrated that the HasD proteins, which are ABC proteins, are involved in the discrimination of export substrates. Chimeric HasA proteins containing both P. fluorescens and S. marcescens sequences were produced and tested for secretion through the Has exporters. The C-terminal region of HasA was shown to be involved in the secretion specificity of the P. fluorescens Has exporter.
The lipA gene encoding an extracellular lipase was cloned from the wild-type strain of Serratia marcescens Sr41. Nucleotide sequencing showed a major open reading frame encoding a 64.9-kDa protein of 613 amino acid residues; the deduced amino acid sequence contains a lipase consensus sequence, GXSXG. The lipase had 66 and 56% homologies with the lipases of Pseudomonas fluorescens B52 and P. fluorescens SIK W1, respectively, but did not show any overall homology with lipases from other origins. The Escherichia coli cells carrying the S. marcescens lipA gene did not secrete the lipase into the medium. The S. marcescens lipase had no conventional N-terminal signal sequence but was also not subjected to any processing at both the N-terminal and C-terminal regions. A specific short region similar to the regions of secretory proteins having no N-terminal signal peptide was observed in the amino acid sequence. Expression of the lipA gene in S. marcescens was affected by the carbon source and the addition of Tween 80.
HasA is the secreted hemophore of the heme acquisition system (Has) of Serratia marcescens. It is secreted by a specific ABC transporter apparatus composed of three proteins: HasD, an inner membrane ABC protein; HasE, another inner membrane protein; and HasF, a TolC homolog. Except for HasF, the structural genes of the Has system are encoded by an iron-regulated operon. In previous studies, this secretion system has been reconstituted in Escherichia coli, where it requires the presence of the SecB chaperone, the Sec pathway-dedicated chaperone. We cloned and inactivated the secB gene from S. marcescens. We show that S. marcescens SecB is 93% identical to E. coli SecB and complements the secretion defects of a secB mutant of E. coli for both the Sec and ABC pathways of HasA secretion. In S. marcescens, SecB inactivation affects translocation by the Sec pathway and abolishes HasA secretion. This demonstrates that S. marcescens SecB is the genuine chaperone for HasA secretion in S. marcescens. These results also demonstrate that S. marcescens SecB is bifunctional, as it is involved in two separate secretion pathways. We investigated the effects of secB point mutations in the reconstituted HasA secretion pathway by comparing the translocation of a Sec substrate in various mutants. Two different patterns of SecB residue effects were observed, suggesting that SecB functions may differ for the Sec and ABC pathways.
Leptospirosis is a serious infectious disease caused by pathogenic Leptospira. B- and T-cell-mediated immune responses contribute to the mechanisms of Leptospira interrogans infection and immune intervention. LipL32 and LipL21 are the conserved outer membrane lipoproteins of L. interrogans and are considered vaccine candidates. In this study, we identified B- and T-cell combined epitopes within LipL32 and LipL21 to further develop a novel vaccine. By using a computer prediction algorithm, two B- and T-cell combined epitopes of LipL21 and four of LipL32 were predicted. All of the predicted epitopes were expressed in a phage display system. Four epitopes, LipL21 residues 97 to 112 and 176 to 184 (LipL2197-112 and LipL21176-184, respectively) and LipL32133-160 and LipL32221-247 of LipL32 were selected as antigens by Western blotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. These selected epitopes were also recognized by CD4+ T lymphocytes derived from LipL21- or LipL32-immunized BALB/c (H-2d) mice and mainly polarized the immune response toward a Th1 phenotype. The identification of epitopes that have both B- and T-cell immune reactivities is of value for studying the immune mechanisms in response to leptospiral infection and for designing an effective vaccine for leptospirosis.
The Serratia marcescens metalloprotease (protease SM) belongs to a family of proteins secreted from gram-negative bacteria by a signal peptide-independent pathway which requires a specific transporter consisting of three proteins: two in the inner membrane and one in the outer membrane. The prtDSM and prtESM genes encoding the two S. marcescens inner membrane components were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. Their nucleotide sequence revealed high overall homology with the two analogous inner membrane components of the Erwinia chrysanthemi protease secretion apparatus and lower, but still significant, homology with the two analogous inner membrane components of the E. coli hemolysin transporter. When expressed in E. coli, these two proteins, PrtDSM and PrtESM, allowed the secretion of protease SM only in the presence of TolC protein, the outer membrane component of the hemolysin transporter.
The analysis of Serratia liquefaciens MG1 ′luxAB insertion mutants that are responsive to N-butanoyl-l-homoserine lactone revealed that expression of lipB is controlled by the swr quorum-sensing system. LipB is part of the Lip exporter, a type I secretion system, which is responsible for the secretion of extracellular lipase, metalloprotease, and S-layer protein.
The oligosaccharide cores isolated from the acetic acid hydrolysates of endotoxins from Serratia marcescens 08 and Serratia marcescens Bizio were analyzed for their sugar composition. The intact oligosaccharide core from S. marcescens 08 consisted of 2-keto-3-deoxyoctonate, d-glycero-d-mannoheptose, l-glycero-d-mannoheptose, d-glucose, d-galactose, and d-glucosamine in a molar ratio of 2:1:5:3:1:3 and that from S. marcescens Bizio consisted of the same sugar components in a molar ratio of 2:1:5:5:1:2. This result indicates that endotoxins from S. marcescens genus may contain more than one structural type of oligosaccharide core. Both oligosaccharide cores also differ in their chemical compositions from cores of other Enterobacteriaceae.
Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis caused by pathogenic Leptospira spp., but knowledge of leptospiral pathogenesis remains limited. However, the development of mutagenesis systems has allowed the investigation of putative virulence factors and their involvement in leptospirosis. LipL41 is the third most abundant lipoprotein found in the outer membranes of pathogenic leptospires and has been considered a putative virulence factor. LipL41 is encoded on the large chromosome 28 bp upstream of a small open reading frame encoding a hypothetical protein of unknown function. This gene was named lep, for LipL41 expression partner. In this study, lipL41 was found to be cotranscribed with lep. Two transposon mutants were characterized: a lipL41 mutant and a lep mutant. In the lep mutant, LipL41 protein levels were reduced by approximately 90%. Lep was shown through cross-linking and coexpression experiments to bind to LipL41. Lep is proposed to be a molecular chaperone essential for the stable expression of LipL41. The roles of LipL41 and Lep in the pathogenesis of Leptospira interrogans were investigated; surprisingly, neither of these two unique proteins was essential for acute leptospirosis.
The extracellular lipase of Serratia marcescens Sr41, lacking a typical N-terminal signal sequence, is secreted via a signal peptide-independent pathway. The 20-kb SacI DNA fragment which allowed the extracellular lipase secretion was cloned from S. marcescens by selection of a phenotype conferring the extracellular lipase activity on the Escherichia coli cells. The subcloned 6.5-kb EcoRV fragment was revealed to contain three open reading frames which are composed of 588, 443, and 437 amino acid residues constituting an operon (lipBCD). Comparisons of the deduced amino acid sequences of the lipB, lipC, and lipD genes with those of the Erwinia chrysanthemi prtDEC, prtEEC, and prtFEC genes encoding the secretion apparatus of the E. chrysanthemi protease showed 55, 46, and 42% identity, respectively. The products of the lipB and lipC genes were 54 and 45% identical to the S. marcescens hasD and hasE gene products, respectively, which were secretory components for the S. marcescens heme-binding protein and metalloprotease. In the E. coli DH5 cells, all three lipBCD genes were essential for the extracellular secretion of both S. marcescens lipase and metalloprotease proteins, both of which lack an N-terminal signal sequence and are secreted via a signal-independent pathway. Although the function of the lipD gene seemed to be analogous to those of the prtFEC and tolC genes encoding third secretory components of ABC transporters, the E. coli TolC protein, which was functional for the S. marcescens Has system, could not replace LipD in the LipB-LipC-LipD transporter reconstituted in E. coli. These results indicated that these three proteins are components of the device which allows extracellular secretion of the extracellular proteins of S. marcescens and that their style is similar to that of the PrtDEF(EC) system.
We previously identified a Serratia marcescens extracellular protein, HasA, able to bind heme and required for iron acquisition from heme and hemoglobin by the bacterium. This novel type of extracellular protein does not have a signal peptide and does not show sequence similarities to other proteins. HasA secretion was reconstituted in Escherichia coli, and we show here that like many proteins lacking a signal peptide, HasA has a C-terminal targeting sequence and is secreted by a specific ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter consisting of three proteins, one inner membrane protein with a conserved ATP binding domain, called the ABC; a second inner membrane protein; and a third, outer membrane component. Since the three S. marcescens components of the HasA transporter have not yet been identified, the reconstituted HasA secretion system is a hybrid. It consists of the two S. marcescens inner membrane-specific components, HasD and HasE, associated with an outer membrane component coming from another bacterial ABC transporter, such as the E. coli TolC protein, the outer membrane component of the hemolysin transporter, or the Erwinia chrysanthemi PrtF protein, the outer membrane component of the protease transporter. This hybrid transporter was first shown to allow the secretion of the S. marcescens metalloprotease and the E. chrysanthemi metalloproteases B and C. On account of that, the two S. marcescens components HasD and HasE were previously named PrtDSM and PrtESM, respectively. However, HasA is secreted neither by the PrtD-PrtE-PrtF transporter (the genuine E. chrysanthemi protease transporter) nor by the HlyB-HlhD-TolC transporter (the hemolysin transporter). Moreover, HasA, coexpressed in the same cell, strongly inhibits the secretion of proteases B and C by their own transporter, indicating that the E. chrysanthemi transporter recognizes HasA. Since PrtF could replace TolC in the constitution of the HasA transporter, this indicates that the secretion block does not take place at the level of the outer membrane component but rather at an earlier step of interaction between HasA and the inner membrane components.
The lipoprotein gene (lpp) of Serratia marcescens was cloned in a lambda phage vector (K. Nakamura and M. Inouye, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 77: 1369-1373, 1980). This lpp gene was recloned in plasmid vectors pBR322 and pSC101. When a lipoprotein-deficient (lpp) mutant of Escherichia coli was transformed with pBR322 carrying the S. marcescens lpp gene, cells became nonleaky for ribonuclease, resistant to ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, and sensitive to globomycin. The lipoprotein was found exclusively in the outer membrane fraction. These results indicate that the S. marcescens lipoprotein was normally secreted across the cytoplasmic membrane, modified, and assembled in the E. coli outer membrane. The amount of the free-form lipoprotein produced in this system was three times higher than that produced in lpp + C. coli cells, whereas there was no difference in the amount of the bound-form lipoprotein. On the other hand, lpp E. coli cells which harbored pSC101 carrying the S. marcescens lpp gene produced only one-third of the free-form lipoprotein produced in lpp E. coli cells which harbored pSC101 carrying the E. coli lpp gene. One of the major factors causing this difference in efficiency of gene expression between the lpp genes of S. marcescens and E. coli appears to be a deletion mutation at the transcription termination region found in the cloned S. marcescens lpp gene. The functional half-life of the S. marcescens lpp messenger ribonucleic acid in E. coli was found to be found half that of the E. coli lpp messenger ribonucleic acid.
The utilization by Serratia marcescens of heme bound to hemoglobin requires HasA, an extracellular heme-binding protein. This unique heme acquisition system was studied in an Escherichia coli hemA mutant that was a heme auxotroph. We identified a 92-kDa iron-regulated S. marcescens outer membrane protein, HasR, which alone enabled the E. coli hemA mutant to grow on heme or hemoglobin as a porphyrin source. The concomitant secretion of HasA by the HasR-producing hemA mutant greatly facilitates the acquisition of heme from hemoglobin. This is the first report of a synergy between an outer membrane protein and an extracellular heme-binding protein, HasA, acting as a heme carrier, which we termed a hemophore.
Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are trans-envelope machines dedicated to the secretion of virulence factors into eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells, therefore required for pathogenesis and/or for competition towards neighboring bacteria. The T6SS apparatus resembles the injection device of bacteriophage T4, and is anchored to the cell envelope through a membrane complex. This membrane complex is composed of the TssL, TssM and TagL inner membrane anchored proteins and of the TssJ outer membrane lipoprotein. Here, we report the crystal structure of the enteroaggregative Escherichia coli Sci1 TssJ lipoprotein, a two four-stranded β-sheets protein that exhibits a transthyretin fold with an additional α-helical domain and a protruding loop. We showed that TssJ contacts TssM through this loop since a loop depleted mutant failed to interact with TssM in vitro or in vivo. Biophysical analysis of TssM and TssJ-TssM interaction suggest a structural model of the membrane-anchored outer shell of T6SS. Collectively, our results provide an improved understanding of T6SS assembly and encourage structure-aided drug design of novel antimicrobials targeting T6SS.
Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are specialized secretion machines responsible for the transport of virulence factors. T6SS are versatile as they are able to target both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. They therefore play an important role in pathogenesis by acting directly on the host, as well as eliminating competing bacteria from the niche. At a molecular level, T6SS are composed of a minimum of 13 proteins called core-components, all required for the activity of the secretion system. These core-components can be divided in two groups: soluble proteins having a common evolution history with bacteriophage T4 subunits, and membrane or membrane-associated proteins required for anchoring the bacteriophage-like structure to the envelope. Here, we report the crystal structure of one of the membrane-associated core component, the TssJ lipoprotein. The structure exhibits a transthyretin fold supplemented with additional structural elements. One of these, a loop connecting two beta-strands, is responsible for the interaction of the TssJ lipoprotein with the C-terminal domain of the inner membrane protein TssM. We propose that these two proteins link the two membranes and form a channel accommodating the bacteriophage-like structure. These results provide important new insights to understand the biogenesis of these secretion apparati.
Type 1 secretion systems (T1SS) are present in a wide range of Gram-negative bacteria and are involved in the secretion of diverse substrates such as proteases, lipases, and hemophores. T1SS consist of three proteins: an inner membrane ABC (ATP binding cassette) protein, a periplasmic adaptor, and an outer membrane channel of the TolC family. Assembly of the tripartite complex is transient and induced upon binding of the substrate to the ABC protein. It is generally accepted that T1SS-secreted proteins have a C-terminal secretion signal required for secretion and that this signal interacts with the ABC protein. However, we have previously shown that for the Serratia marcescens hemophore HasA, interactions with the ABC protein and subsequent T1SS assembly require additional regions. In this work, we characterize these regions and demonstrate that they are numerous, distributed throughout the HasA polypeptide, and most likely linear. Together with the C-terminal signal, these elements maximize the secretion of HasA. The data also show that the C-terminal signal of HasA triggers HasD-driven ATP hydrolysis, leading to disassembly of the complex. These data support a model of type 1 secretion involving a multistep interaction between the substrate and the ABC protein that stabilizes the assembled secretion system until the C terminus is presented. This model also supports tight coupling between synthesis and secretion.
The Serratia marcescens hemophore is secreted by a type I secretion system consisting of three proteins: a membrane ABC protein, an adaptor protein, and the TolC-like outer membrane protein. Assembly of these proteins is induced by substrate binding to the ABC protein. Here we show that a hemophore mutant lacking the last 14 C-terminal amino acids is not secreted but rather interacts with the ABC protein and promotes a stable multiprotein complex. Strains expressing the transporter and the mutant protein are sensitive to detergents (sodium dodecyl sulfate [SDS]). TolC is trapped in the transporter jammed by the truncated substrate and therefore is not present at sufficient concentrations to allow the efflux pumps to expel detergents. Using an SDS sensitivity assay, we showed that the hemophore interacts with the ABC protein via two nonoverlapping sites. We also demonstrated that the C-terminal peptide, which functions as an intramolecular signal sequence in the complete substrate, may also have intermolecular activity and triggers complex dissociation in vivo when it is provided as a distinct peptide. The SDS sensitivity test on plates enables workers to study type I secretion protein association and dissociation independent of the secretion process itself.
The white rot basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium completely degrades lignin and a variety of aromatic pollutants during the secondary metabolic phase of growth. Two families of secreted heme enzymes, lignin peroxidase (LiP) and manganese peroxidase (MnP), are major components of the extracellular lignin degradative system of this organism. MnP and LiP both are encoded by families of genes, and the lip genes appear to be clustered. The lip genes contain eight or nine short introns; the mnp genes contain six or seven short introns. The sequences surrounding active-site residues are conserved among LiP, MnP, cytochrome c peroxidase, and plant peroxidases. The eight LiP cysteine residues align with 8 of the 10 cysteines in MnP. LiPs are synthesized as preproenzymes with a 21-amino-acid signal sequence followed by a 6- or 7-amino-acid propeptide. MnPs have a 21- or 24-amino-acid signal sequence but apparently lack a propeptide. Both LiP and MnP are regulated at the mRNA level by nitrogen, and the various isozymes may be differentially regulated by carbon and nitrogen. MnP also is regulated at the level of gene transcription by Mn(II), the substrate for the enzyme, and by heat shock. The promoter regions of mnp genes contain multiple heat shock elements as well as sequences that are identical to the consensus metal regulatory elements found in mammalian metallothionein genes. DNA transformation systems have been developed for P. chrysosporium and are being used for studies on gene regulation and for gene replacement experiments.
The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is the most recently described and least understood of the protein secretion systems of Gram-negative bacteria. It is widely distributed and has been implicated in the virulence of various pathogens, but its mechanism and exact mode of action remain to be defined. Additionally there have been several very recent reports that some T6SSs can target bacteria rather than eukaryotic cells. Serratia marcescens is an opportunistic enteric pathogen, a class of bacteria responsible for a significant proportion of hospital-acquired infections. We describe the identification of a functional T6SS in S. marcescens strain Db10, the first report of type VI secretion by an opportunist enteric bacterium. The T6SS of S. marcescens Db10 is active, with secretion of Hcp to the culture medium readily detected, and is expressed constitutively under normal growth conditions from a large transcriptional unit. Expression of the T6SS genes did not appear to be dependent on the integrity of the T6SS. The S. marcescens Db10 T6SS is not required for virulence in three nonmammalian virulence models. It does, however, exhibit dramatic antibacterial killing activity against several other bacterial species and is required for S. marcescens to persist in a mixed culture with another opportunist pathogen, Enterobacter cloacae. Importantly, this antibacterial killing activity is highly strain specific, with the S. marcescens Db10 T6SS being highly effective against another strain of S. marcescens with a very similar and active T6SS. We conclude that type VI secretion plays a crucial role in the competitiveness, and thus indirectly the virulence, of S. marcescens and other opportunistic bacterial pathogens.
Crystal structures of type VI secretion system-associated immunity proteins, a peptidoglycan endopeptidase and a complex of the endopeptidase and its cognate immunity protein are reported together with assays of endopeptidase activity and functional assessment.
Some Gram-negative bacteria target their competitors by exploiting the type VI secretion system to extrude toxic effector proteins. To prevent self-harm, these bacteria also produce highly specific immunity proteins that neutralize these antagonistic effectors. Here, the peptidoglycan endopeptidase specificity of two type VI secretion-system-associated effectors from Serratia marcescens is characterized. These small secreted proteins, Ssp1 and Ssp2, cleave between γ-d-glutamic acid and l-meso-diaminopimelic acid with different specificities. Ssp2 degrades the acceptor part of cross-linked tetratetrapeptides. Ssp1 displays greater promiscuity and cleaves monomeric tripeptides, tetrapeptides and pentapeptides and dimeric tetratetra and tetrapenta muropeptides on both the acceptor and donor strands. Functional assays confirm the identity of a catalytic cysteine in these endopeptidases and crystal structures provide information on the structure–activity relationships of Ssp1 and, by comparison, of related effectors. Functional assays also reveal that neutralization of these effectors by their cognate immunity proteins, which are called resistance-associated proteins (Raps), contributes an essential role to cell fitness. The structures of two immunity proteins, Rap1a and Rap2a, responsible for the neutralization of Ssp1 and Ssp2-like endopeptidases, respectively, revealed two distinct folds, with that of Rap1a not having previously been observed. The structure of the Ssp1–Rap1a complex revealed a tightly bound heteromeric assembly with two effector molecules flanking a Rap1a dimer. A highly effective steric block of the Ssp1 active site forms the basis of effector neutralization. Comparisons with Ssp2–Rap2a orthologues suggest that the specificity of these immunity proteins for neutralizing effectors is fold-dependent and that in cases where the fold is conserved sequence differences contribute to the specificity of effector–immunity protein interactions.
amidases; cysteine proteases; disulfide linkage; effector; endopeptidases; Gram-negative; immunity protein; peptidoglycan; Serratia marcescens; type VI secretion system
The anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) is a conserved multi-subunit E3 ubiquitin ligase required to signal the degradation of key cell cycle regulators. Using single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) we have determined a three-dimensional (3D) structure of the core APC/C from Schizosaccharomyces pombe bound to the APC/C activator Slp1/Cdc20. At the 27 Å resolution of our density map, the APC/C is a triangular-shaped structure, ~19 × 17 × 15 nm in size, with a deep internal cavity and a prominent horn-like protrusion emanating from a lip of the cavity. Using antibody labeling and mutant analysis we have localized twelve of thirteen APC/C components, as well as the position of the activator Slp1, enabling us to propose a structural model of APC/C organization. Comparison of the APC/C with another multi-protein E3 ligase, the SCF complex, uncovers remarkable structural similarities.
APC/C; Cdc20; Slp1; E3 ubiquitin ligase; cryo-electron microscopy
LipL32 is the major leptospiral outer membrane lipoprotein expressed during infection and is the immunodominant antigen recognized during the humoral immune response to leptospirosis in humans. In this study, we investigated novel aspects of LipL32. In order to define the immunodominant domains(s) of the molecule, subfragments corresponding to the N-terminal, intermediate, and C-terminal portions of the LipL32 gene were cloned and the proteins were expressed and purified by metal affinity chromatography. Our immunoblot results indicate that the C-terminal and intermediate domains of LipL32 are recognized by sera of patients with laboratory-confirmed leptospirosis. An immunoglobulin M response was detected exclusively against the LipL32 C-terminal fragment in both the acute and convalescent phases of illness. We also evaluated the capacity of LipL32 to interact with extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Dose-dependent, specific binding of LipL32 to collagen type IV and plasma fibronectin was observed, and the binding capacity could be attributed to the C-terminal portion of this molecule. Both heparin and gelatin could inhibit LipL32 binding to fibronectin in a concentration-dependent manner, indicating that the 30-kDa heparin-binding and 45-kDa gelatin-binding domains of fibronectin are involved in this interaction. Taken together, our results provide evidence that the LipL32 C terminus is recognized early in the course of infection and is the domain responsible for mediating interaction with ECM proteins.
The outer membrane of pathogenic Leptospira species grown in culture media contains lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a porin (OmpL1), and several lipoproteins, including LipL36 and LipL41. The purpose of this study was to characterize the expression and distribution of these outer membrane antigens during renal infection. Hamsters were challenged with host-derived Leptospira kirschneri to generate sera which contained antibodies to antigens expressed in vivo. Immunoblotting performed with sera from animals challenged with these host-derived organisms demonstrated reactivity with OmpL1, LipL41, and several other proteins but not with LipL36. Although LipL36 is a prominent outer membrane antigen of cultivated L. kirschneri, its expression also could not be detected in infected hamster kidney tissue by immunohistochemistry, indicating that expression of this protein is down-regulated in vivo. In contrast, LPS, OmpL1, and LipL41 were demonstrated on organisms colonizing the lumen of proximal convoluted renal tubules at both 10 and 28 days postinfection. Tubular epithelial cells around the luminal colonies had fine granular cytoplasmic LPS. When the cellular inflammatory response was present in the renal interstitium at 28 days postinfection, LPS and OmpL1 were also detectable within interstitial phagocytes. These data establish that outer membrane components expressed during infection have roles in the induction and persistence of leptospiral interstitial nephritis.
Bjerkandera sp. strain BOS55, a newly isolated wild-type white rot fungus, produced lignin peroxidase (LiP) in nitrogen (N)-sufficient glucose-peptone medium, whereas no LiP was detectable in N-limited medium. The production of LiP was induced by the peptide-containing components of this medium and also by soy bean protein. Furthermore, the production of manganese-dependent peroxidase was stimulated by organic N sources, although lower production was also evident in N-limited medium. Further research showed that the induction of LiP depended on the combination of pH and the type of N source. An amino acid mixture and ammonium induced LiP only at either pH 6 or 7.3, respectively. Peptone induced LiP activity at all pH values tested; however, the highest activity was observed at pH 7.3. The results presented here indicate that Bjerkandera spp. are distinct from the model white rot fungus, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, which produces ligninolytic peroxidases in response to N limitation.
The pathogenic Neisseria species N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae possess an outer membrane lipoprotein, designated Lip, which is present in all strains tested. The predicted protein sequence of Lip consists of a consensus AAEAP amino acid repeat. The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of using the Lip repeat number and sequence for subtyping of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The lip genes of each isolate were amplified by PCR and sequenced to determine the repeat number and sequence. Among the 46 strains we examined, eight different Lip repeat numbers were identified, with lengths of 11 (1 strain), 12 (14 strains), 13 (2 strains), 14 (10 strains), 15 (5 strains), 16 (10 strains), 17 (3 strains), and 20 (1 strain) repeats. Analysis indicated differences in the sequences within the repeats that resulted in amino acid alterations in repeat classes that contained multiple strains. Among the 46 isolates examined, we were able to identify 17 unique Lip subtyping patterns.
Leptospira interrogans is responsible for leptospirosis, a zoonosis of worldwide distribution. LipL32 is the major outer membrane protein of pathogenic leptospires, accounting for up to 75% of total outer membrane protein. In recent times LipL32 has become the focus of intense study because of its surface location, dominance in the host immune response, and conservation among pathogenic species. In this study, an lipL32 mutant was constructed in L. interrogans using transposon mutagenesis. The lipL32 mutant had normal morphology and growth rate compared to the wild type and was equally adherent to extracellular matrix. Protein composition of the cell membranes was found to be largely unaffected by the loss of LipL32, with no obvious compensatory increase in other proteins. Microarray studies found no obvious stress response or upregulation of genes that may compensate for the loss of LipL32 but did suggest an association between LipL32 and the synthesis of heme and vitamin B12. When hamsters were inoculated by systemic and mucosal routes, the mutant caused acute severe disease manifestations that were indistinguishable from wild-type L. interrogans infection. In the rat model of chronic infection, the LipL32 mutant colonized the renal tubules as efficiently as the wild-type strain. In conclusion, this study showed that LipL32 does not play a role in either the acute or chronic models of infection. Considering the abundance and conservation of LipL32 among all pathogenic Leptospira spp. and its absence in saprophytic Leptospira, this finding is remarkable. The role of this protein in leptospiral biology and pathogenesis thus remains elusive.