ATP-dependent Clp protease (ClpP) is a core unit of a major bacterial protease complex employing as a new attractive drug target for that
isolates, which are resistant to antibiotics. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a gram-positive bacterium, is one of the major causes of hospital acquired
infections. ClpP in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is usually tightly regulated and strictly requires a member of the family of Clp-ATPase and often
further accessory proteins for proteolytic activation. Inhibition of ClpP eliminates these safeguards and start proteolytic degradation. Such
uncontrolled proteolysis leads to inhibition of bacterial cell division and eventually cell death. In order to inhibit Clp protease, at first three
dimensional structure model of ClpP in Mycobacterium tuberculosis was determined by comparative homology modeling program MODELLER
based on crystal structure of the proteolytic component of the caseinolytic Clp protease (ClpP) from E. coli as a template protein and has 55%sequence
identity with ClpP protein. The computed model's energy was minimized and validated using PROCHECK to obtain a stable model
structure and is submitted in Protein Model Database (PMDB-ID: PM0075741). Stable model was further used for virtual screening against
marine derived bioactive compound database through molecular docking studies using AutoDock 3.05. The docked complexes were validated
and enumerated based on the AutoDock Scoring function to pick out the best marine inhibitors based on docked Energy. Thus from the entire 186
Marine compounds which were Docked, we got best 5 of them with optimal docked Energy (Ara-A: -14.31 kcal/mol, Dysinosin C: -
14.90kcal/mol, Nagelamide A: -20.49 kcal/mol, Strobilin: -8.02 kcal/mol, Manoalide: -8.81 kcal/mol). Further the five best-docked complexes
were analyzed through Python Molecular Viewer software for their interaction studies. Thus from the Complex scoring and binding ability its
deciphered that these Marine compounds could be promising inhibitors for ClpP as Drug target yet pharmacological studies have to confirm it.
Homology Modeling; Docking; ClpP; M.tuberculosis; AutoDock; Modeller; Procheck; Tuberculosis; AutoDockTools; Clp protease
Caseinolytic (Clp) proteases are widespread energy-dependent proteases; the functional ATP-dependent protease is comprised of multimers of proteolytic and regulatory subunits. Mycobacterium tuberculosis has two ClpP proteolytic subunits (ClpP1 and ClpP2), with both being essential for growth in vitro. ClpP1 and clpP2 are arranged in an apparent operon; we demonstrated that the two genes are co-expressed under normal growth conditions. We identified a single promoter region for the clpP1P2 operon; no promoter was detected upstream of clpP2 demonstrating that independent expression of clpP1 and clpP2 was highly unlikely. Promoter activity was not induced by heat shock or oxidative stress. We identified a regulatory region upstream of the promoter with a consensus sequence matching the ClgR regulator motif; we determined the limits of the region by mutagenesis and confirmed that positive regulation of the promoter occurs in M. tuberculosis. We developed a reporter system to monitor ClpP1 and ClpP2 enzymatic activities based on LacZ incorporating ssrAtag sequences. We showed that whilst both ClpP1 and ClpP2 degrade SsrA-tagged LacZ, ClpP2 (but not ClpP1) degrades untagged proteins. Our data suggest that the two proteolytic subunits display different substrate specificities and therefore have different, but overlapping roles in M. tuberculosis.
A novel class of antibiotic acyldepsipeptides (designated ADEPs) exerts its unique antibacterial activity by targeting the peptidase caseinolytic protease P (ClpP). ClpP forms proteolytic complexes with heat shock proteins (Hsp100) that select and process substrate proteins for ClpP-mediated degradation. Here, we analyse the molecular mechanism of ADEP action and demonstrate that ADEPs abrogate ClpP interaction with cooperating Hsp100 adenosine triphosphatases (ATPases). Consequently, ADEP treated bacteria are affected in ClpP-dependent general and regulatory proteolysis. At the same time, ADEPs also activate ClpP by converting it from a tightly regulated peptidase, which can only degrade short peptides, into a proteolytic machinery that recognizes and degrades unfolded polypeptides. In vivo nascent polypeptide chains represent the putative primary target of ADEP-activated ClpP, providing a rationale for the antibacterial activity of the ADEPs. Thus, ADEPs cause a complete functional reprogramming of the Clp–protease complex.
ADEP; antibiotic; ClpP; Hsp100; Clp proteins; proteolysis
In most bacteria, Clp protease is a conserved, non-essential serine protease that regulates the response to various stresses. Mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and Mycobacterium smegmatis, unlike most well studied prokaryotes, encode two ClpP homologs, ClpP1 and ClpP2, in a single operon. Here we demonstrate that the two proteins form a mixed complex (ClpP1P2) in mycobacteria. Using two different approaches, promoter replacement, and a novel system of inducible protein degradation, leading to inducible expression of clpP1 and clpP2, we demonstrate that both genes are essential for growth and that a marked depletion of either one results in rapid bacterial death. ClpP1P2 protease appears important in degrading missense and prematurely terminated peptides, as partial depletion of ClpP2 reduced growth specifically in the presence of antibiotics that increase errors in translation. We further show that the ClpP1P2 protease is required for the degradation of proteins tagged with the SsrA motif, a tag co-translationally added to incomplete protein products. Using active site mutants of ClpP1 and ClpP2, we show that the activity of each subunit is required for proteolysis, for normal growth of Mtb in vitro and during infection of mice. These observations suggest that the Clp protease plays an unusual and essential role in Mtb and may serve as an ideal target for antimycobacterial therapy.
Due to the significant and rapid rise in multidrug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), there is an urgent need to validate novel drug targets for the treatment of tuberculosis. Here, we show that Clp protease is an ideal potential target. Mtb encodes two ClpP genes, ClpP1 and ClpP2, which associate together to form a single proteolytic complex, referred to as ClpP1P2. Both proteins are required for growth in vitro and in a mouse model of infection. Depletion of either protein results in rapid death of the bacteria. Interestingly, this is rare among bacteria, most of which have only one ClpP gene that is dispensable for normal growth. We also show that Clp protease plays an important quality control role by clearing abnormally produced proteins. As known antimycobacterial therapeutics increase errors in protein synthesis, inhibitors of ClpP1P2 protease in Mtb may prove synergistic with already existing agents.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a pathogen of major global importance. Validated drug targets are required in order to develop novel therapeutics for drug-resistant strains and to shorten therapy. The Clp protease complexes provide a means for quality control of cellular proteins; the proteolytic activity of ClpP in concert with the ATPase activity of the ClpX/ClpC subunits results in degradation of misfolded or damaged proteins. Thus, the Clp system plays a major role in basic metabolism, as well as in stress responses and pathogenic mechanisms. M. tuberculosis has two ClpP proteolytic subunits. Here we demonstrate that ClpP1 is essential for viability in this organism in culture, since the gene could only be deleted from the chromosome when a second functional copy was provided. Overexpression of clpP1 had no effect on growth in aerobic culture or viability under anaerobic conditions or during nutrient starvation. In contrast, clpP2 overexpression was toxic, suggesting different roles for the two homologs. We synthesized known activators of ClpP protease activity; these acyldepsipeptides (ADEPs) were active against M. tuberculosis. ADEP activity was enhanced by the addition of efflux pump inhibitors, demonstrating that ADEPs gain access to the cell but that export occurs. Taken together, the genetic and chemical validation of ClpP as a drug target leads to new avenues for drug discovery.
Clp is a barrel-shaped hetero-oligomeric ATP-dependent protease comprising a hexameric ATPase (ClpX or ClpA) that unfolds protein substrates and translocates them into the central chamber of the tetradecameric proteolytic component (ClpP) where they are degraded processively to short peptides. Chamber access is controlled by the N-terminal 20 residues (for Escherichia coli) in ClpP that prevent entry of large polypeptides in the absence of the ATPase subunits and ATP hydrolysis. Remarkably, removal of 10–17 residues from the mature N-terminus allows processive degradation of a large model unfolded substrate to short peptides without the ATPase subunit or ATP hydrolysis; removal of 14 residues is maximal for activation. Furthermore, since the product size distribution of Δ14-ClpP is identical to ClpAP and ClpXP, the ATPases do not play an essential role in determining this distribution. Comparison of the structures of Δ14-ClpP and Δ17-ClpP with other published structures shows R15 and S16 are labile and that residue 17 can adopt a range of rotomers to ensure protection of a hydrophobic pocket formed by I19, R24 and F49 and maintain a hydrophilic character of the pore.
ATP-independent degradation; Clp; ClpP; Substrate entry
In ClpXP and ClpAP complexes, ClpA and ClpX use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to unfold proteins and translocate them into the self-compartmentalized ClpP protease. ClpP requires the ATPases to degrade folded or unfolded substrates, but binding of acyldepsipeptide antibiotics (ADEPs) to ClpP bypasses this requirement with unfolded proteins. We present the crystal structure of Escherichia coli ClpP bound to ADEP1 and report the structural changes underlying ClpP activation. ADEP1 binds in the hydrophobic groove that serves as the primary docking site for ClpP ATPases. Binding of ADEP1 locks the N-terminal loops of ClpP in a β-hairpin conformation, generating a stable pore through which extended polypeptides can be threaded. This structure serves as a model for ClpP in the holo-enzyme ClpAP and ClpXP complexes and provides critical information to further develop this class of antibiotics.
ClpP; ADEP; ClpAP; ClpXP; Axial channel; ATP-independent proteolysis
The ClpP peptidase is a major constituent of the proteolytic machinery of bacteria and organelles. The chloroplast ClpP complex is unusual, in that it associates a large number of subunits, one of which (ClpP1) is encoded in the chloroplast, the others in the nucleus. The complexity of these large hetero-oligomeric complexes has been a major difficulty in their overproduction and biochemical characterization. In this paper, we describe the purification of native chloroplast ClpP complex from the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, using a strain that carries the Strep-tag II at the C-terminus of the ClpP1 subunit. Similar to land plants, the algal complex comprises active and inactive subunits (3 ClpP and 5 ClpR, respectively). Evidence is presented that a sub-complex can be produced by dissociation, comprising ClpP1 and ClpR1, 2, 3 and 4, similar to the ClpR-ring described in land plants. Our Chlamydomonas ClpP preparation also contains two ClpT subunits, ClpT3 and ClpT4, which like the land plant ClpT1 and ClpT2 show 2 Clp-N domains. ClpTs are believed to function in substrate binding and/or assembly of the two heptameric rings. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that ClpT subunits have appeared independently in Chlorophycean algae, in land plants and in dispersed cyanobacterial genomes. Negative staining electron microscopy shows that the Chlamydomonas complex retains the barrel-like shape of homo-oligomeric ClpPs, with 4 additional peripheral masses that we speculate represent either the additional IS1 domain of ClpP1 (a feature unique to algae) or ClpTs or extensions of ClpR subunits
proteolysis; chloroplast; oligomeric protein; negative staining electron microscopy
ClpP is a self-compartmentalized protease, which has very limited degradation activity unless it associates with ClpX or ClpA to form the AAA+ ClpXP or ClpAP proteases. Here, we show that ClpX binding stimulates ClpP cleavage of peptides larger than a few amino acids and enhances ClpP active-site modification. Stimulation requires ATP binding but not hydrolysis by ClpX. The magnitude of this enhancement correlates with increasing molecular weight of the molecule entering ClpP. Amino-acid substitutions in the channel loop or helix A of ClpP enhance entry of larger substrates into the free enzyme, eliminate ClpX binding in some cases, and are not further stimulated by ClpX binding in other instances. These results support a model in which the channel residues of free ClpP exclude efficient entry of all but the smallest peptides into the degradation chamber, with ClpX binding serving to relieve these inhibitory interactions. Specific ClpP channel variants also prevent ClpXP translocation of certain amino-acid sequences, suggesting that the wild-type channel plays an important role in facilitating broad translocation specificity. In combination with previous studies, our results indicate that collaboration between ClpP and its partner ATPases opens a gate that functions to exclude larger substrates from isolated ClpP.
Among other functions, ATP-dependent proteases degrade misfolded proteins and remove several key regulatory proteins necessary to activate stress responses. In Bacillus subtilis, ClpX, ClpE, and ClpC form homohexameric ATPases that couple to the ClpP peptidase. To understand where these peptidases and ATPases localize in living cells, each protein was fused to a fluorescent moiety. We found that ClpX-GFP (green fluorescent protein) and ClpP-GFP localized as focal assemblies in areas that were not occupied by the nucleoid. We found that the percentage of cells with ClpP-GFP foci increased following heat shock independently of protein synthesis. We determined that ClpE-YFP (yellow fluorescent protein) and ClpC-YFP formed foci coincident with nucleoid edges, usually near cell poles. Furthermore, we found that ClpQ-YFP (HslV) localized as small foci, usually positioned near the cell membrane. We found that ClpQ-YFP foci were dependent on the presence of the cognate hexameric ATPase ClpY (HslU). Moreover, we found that LonA-GFP is coincident with the nucleoid during normal growth and that LonA-GFP also localized to the forespore during development. We also investigated LonB-GFP and found that this protein localized to the forespore membrane early in development, followed by localization throughout the forespore later in development. Our comprehensive study has shown that in B. subtilis several ATP-fueled proteases occupy distinct subcellular locations. With these data, we suggest that substrate specificity could be determined, in part, by the spatial and temporal organization of proteases in vivo.
Five clp genes (clpC, clpB, clpP1, clpP2, and clpX), representing chaperone- and protease-encoding genes, were previously identified in Bifidobacterium breve UCC 2003. In the present study, we characterize the B. breve UCC 2003 clpP locus, which consists of two paralogous genes, designated clpP1 and clpP2, whose deduced protein products display significant similarity to characterized ClpP peptidases. Transcriptional analyses showed that the clpP1 and clpP2 genes are transcribed in response to moderate heat shock as a bicistronic unit with a single promoter. The role of a clgR homologue, known to control the regulation of clpP gene expression in Streptomyces lividans and Corynebacterium glutamicum, was investigated by gel mobility shift assays and DNase I footprint experiments. We show that ClgR, which in its purified form appears to exist as a dimer, requires a proteinaceous cofactor to assist in specific binding to a 30-bp region of the clpP promoter region. In pull-down experiments, a 56-kDa protein copurified with ClgR, providing evidence that the two proteins also interact in vivo and that the copurified protein represents the cofactor required for ClgR activity. The prediction of the ClgR three-dimensional structure provides further insights into the binding mode of this protein to the clpP1 promoter region and highlights the key amino acid residues believed to be involved in the protein-DNA interaction.
ClpP and ClpC are subunits of the Clp ATP-dependent protease, which is ubiquitous among prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The role of these proteins in stress tolerance, stationary-phase adaptive responses, and virulence in many bacterial species has been demonstrated. Based on the amino acid sequences of the Bacillus subtilis clpC and clpP genes, we identified one clpC gene and two clpP genes (designated clpP1 and clpP2) in Bacillus thuringiensis. Predicted proteins ClpP1 and ClpP2 have approximately 88 and 67% amino acid sequence identity with ClpP of B. subtilis, respectively. Inactivation of clpC in B. thuringiensis impaired sporulation efficiency. The clpP1 and clpP2 mutants were both slightly susceptible to salt stress, whereas disruption of clpP2 negatively affected sporulation and abolished motility. Virulence of the clp mutants was assessed by injecting bacteria into the hemocoel of Bombyx mori larvae. The clpP1 mutant displayed attenuated virulence, which appeared to be related to its inability to grow at low temperature (25°C), suggesting an essential role for ClpP1 in tolerance of low temperature. Microscopic examination of clpP1 mutant cells grown at 25°C showed altered bacterial division, with cells remaining attached after septum formation. Analysis of lacZ transcriptional fusions showed that clpP1 was expressed at 25 and 37°C during the entire growth cycle. In contrast, clpP2 was expressed at 37°C but not at 25°C, suggesting that ClpP2 cannot compensate for the absence of ClpP1 in the clpP1 mutant cells at low temperature. Our study demonstrates that ClpP1 and ClpP2 control distinct cellular regulatory pathways in B. thuringiensis.
Tolerance of environmental stress, especially low pH, by Streptococcus mutans is central to the virulence of this organism. The Clp ATPases are implicated in the tolerance of, and regulation of the response to, stresses by virtue of their protein reactivation and remodeling activities and their capacity to target misfolded proteins for degradation by the ClpP peptidase. The purpose of this study was to dissect the role of selected clp genes in the stress responses of S. mutans, with a particular focus on acid tolerance and adaptation. Homologues of the clpB, clpC, clpE, clpL, clpX, and clpP genes were identified in the S. mutans genome. The expression of clpC and clpP, which were chosen as the focus of this study, was induced at low pH and at growth above 40°C. Inactivation of ctsR, the first of two genes in the clpC operon, demonstrated that CtsR acts as a repressor of clp and groES-EL gene expression. Strains lacking ClpP, but not strains lacking ClpC, were impaired in their ability to grow under stress-inducing conditions, formed long chains, aggregated in culture, had reduced genetic transformation efficiencies, and had a reduced capacity to form biofilms. Comparison of two-dimensional protein gels from wild-type cells and the ctsR and clpP mutants revealed many changes in the protein expression patterns. In particular, in the clpP mutant, there was an increased production of GroESL and DnaK, suggesting that cells were stressed, probably due to the accumulation of denatured proteins.
In prokaryotic cells the ATP-dependent proteases Lon and ClpP (Clp proteolytic subunit) are involved in the turnover of misfolded proteins and the degradation of regulatory proteins, and depending on the organism, these proteases contribute variably to stress tolerance. We constructed mutants in the lon and clpP genes of the food-borne human pathogen Campylobacter jejuni and found that the growth of both mutants was impaired at high temperature, a condition known to increase the level of misfolded protein. Moreover, the amounts of misfolded protein aggregates were increased when both proteases were absent, and we propose that both ClpP and Lon are involved in eliminating misfolded proteins in C. jejuni. In order to bind misfolded protein, ClpP has to associate with one of several Clp ATPases. Following inactivation of the ATPase genes clpA and clpX, only the clpX mutant displayed the same heat sensitivity as the clpP mutant, indicating that the ClpXP proteolytic complex is responsible for the degradation of heat-damaged proteins in C. jejuni. Notably, ClpP and ClpX are required for growth at 42°C, which is the temperature of the intestinal tract of poultry, one of the primary carriers of C. jejuni. Thus, ClpP and ClpX may be suitable targets of new intervention strategies aimed at reducing C. jejuni in poultry production. Further characterization of the clpP and lon mutants revealed other altered phenotypes, such as reduced motility, less autoagglutination, and lower levels of invasion of INT407 epithelial cells, suggesting that the proteases may contribute to the virulence of C. jejuni.
ATP-dependent proteases degrade denatured or misfolded proteins and are recruited for the controlled removal of proteins that block activation of regulatory pathways. Among the ATP-dependent proteases, those of the Clp family are particularly important for the growth and development of Bacillus subtilis. Proteolytic subunit ClpP, together with regulatory ATPase subunit ClpC or ClpX, is required for the normal response to stress, for development of genetic competence, and for sporulation. The spx (formally yjbD) gene was previously identified as a site of mutations that suppress defects in competence conferred by clpP and clpX. The level of Spx in wild-type cells grown in competence medium is low, and that in clpP mutants is high. This suggests that the Spx protein is a substrate for ClpP-containing proteases and that accumulation of Spx might be partly responsible for the observed pleiotropic phenotype resulting from the clpP mutation. In this study we examined, both in vivo and in vitro, which ClpP protease is responsible for degradation of Spx. Western blot analysis showed that Spx accumulated in clpX mutant to the same level as that observed in the clpP mutant. In contrast, a very low concentration of Spx was detected in a clpC mutant. An in vitro proteolysis experiment using purified proteins demonstrated that Spx was degraded by ClpCP but only in the presence of one of the ClpC adapter proteins, MecA or YpbH. However, ClpXP, either in the presence or in the absence of MecA and YpbH, was unable to degrade Spx. Transcription of spx, as measured by expression of spx-lacZ, was slightly increased by the clpX mutation. To exclude a possible effect of clpX and clpP on spx transcription, the spx gene was placed under the control of the IPTG (isopropyl-β-d-thiogalactopyranoside)-inducible Pspac promoter. In this strain, Spx accumulated when ClpX or ClpP was absent, suggesting that ClpX and ClpP are required for degradation of Spx. Taken together, these results suggest that Spx is degraded by both ClpCP and ClpXP. The putative proteolysis by ClpXP might require another adapter protein. Spx probably is degraded by ClpCP under as yet unidentified conditions. This study suggests that the level of Spx is tightly controlled by two different ClpP proteases.
ClpP is a cylindrical protease that is tightly regulated by Clp-ATPases. The activation mechanism of ClpP using acyldepsipeptide antibiotics as mimics of natural activators showed enlargement of the axial entrance pore for easier processing of incoming substrates. However, the elimination of degradation products from inside the ClpP chamber remains unclear since there is no exit pore for releasing these products in all determined ClpP structures. Here we report a new crystal structure of ClpP from Bacillus subtilis, which shows a significantly compressed shape along the axial direction. A portion of the handle regions comprising the heptameric ring-ring contacts shows structural transition from an ordered to a disordered state, which triggers the large conformational change from an extended to an overall compressed structure. Along with this structural change, 14 side pores are generated for product release and the catalytic triad adopts an inactive orientation. We have also determined B. subtilis ClpP inhibited by diisopropylfluoro-phosphate and analyzed the active site in detail. Structural information pertaining to several different conformational steps such as those related to extended, ADEP-activated, DFP-inhibited and compressed forms of ClpP from B. subtilis is available. Structural comparisons suggest that functionally important regions in the ClpP-family such as N-terminal segments for the axial pore, catalytic triads, and handle domains for the product releasing pore exhibit intrinsically dynamic and unique structural features. This study provides valuable insights for understanding the enigmatic cylindrical degradation machinery of ClpP as well as other related proteases such as HslV and the 20S proteasome.
Bacillus; ClpP; ClpXP; proteasome; side pore
ClpXP is a AAA+ protease that uses the energy of ATP binding and hydrolysis to perform mechanical work during targeted protein degradation within cells. ClpXP consists of hexamers of a AAA+ ATPase (ClpX) and a tetradecameric peptidase (ClpP). Asymmetric ClpX hexamers bind unstructured peptide tags in protein substrates, unfold stable tertiary structure in the substrate, and then translocate the unfolded polypeptide chain into an internal proteolytic compartment in ClpP. Here, we review our present understanding of ClpXP structure and function, as revealed by two decades of biochemical and biophysical studies.
Staphylococcus aureus is an important pathogen, causing a wide range of infections including sepsis, wound infections, pneumonia, and catheter-related infections. In several pathogens ClpP proteases were identified by in vivo expression technologies to be important for virulence. Clp proteolytic complexes are responsible for adaptation to multiple stresses by degrading accumulated and misfolded proteins. In this report clpP, encoding the proteolytic subunit of the ATP-dependent Clp protease, was deleted, and gene expression of ΔclpP was determined by global transcriptional analysis using DNA-microarray technology. The transcriptional profile reveals a strong regulatory impact of ClpP on the expression of genes encoding proteins that are involved in the pathogenicity of S. aureus and adaptation of the pathogen to several stresses. Expression of the agr system and agr-dependent extracellular virulence factors was diminished. Moreover, the loss of clpP leads to a complete transcriptional derepression of genes of the CtsR- and HrcA-controlled heat shock regulon and a partial derepression of genes involved in oxidative stress response, metal homeostasis, and SOS DNA repair controlled by PerR, Fur, MntR, and LexA. The levels of transcription of genes encoding proteins involved in adaptation to anaerobic conditions potentially regulated by an Fnr-like regulator were decreased. Furthermore, the expression of genes whose products are involved in autolysis was deregulated, leading to enhanced autolysis in the mutant. Our results indicate a strong impact of ClpP proteolytic activity on virulence, stress response, and physiology in S. aureus.
Legionella pneumophila, the intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes Legionnaires' disease, exhibit characteristic transmission traits such as elevated stress tolerance, shortened length and virulence during the transition from the replication phase to the transmission phase. ClpP, the catalytic core of the Clp proteolytic complex, is widely involved in many cellular processes via the regulation of intracellular protein quality.
In this study, we showed that ClpP was required for optimal growth of L. pneumophila at high temperatures and under several other stress conditions. We also observed that cells devoid of clpP exhibited cell elongation, incomplete cell division and compromised colony formation. Furthermore, we found that the clpP-deleted mutant was more resistant to sodium stress and failed to proliferate in the amoebae host Acanthamoeba castellanii.
The data present in this study illustrate that the ClpP protease homologue plays an important role in the expression of transmission traits and cell division of L. pneumophila, and further suggest a putative role of ClpP in virulence regulation.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important human pathogen that contains single copies of genes encoding the ClpP and FtsH ATP-dependent proteases but lacks the Lon and HslV proteases. We constructed and characterized the phenotypes of clpP, clpC, and clpX deletion replacement mutants, which lack the ClpP protease subunit or the putative ClpC or ClpX ATPase specificity factor. A ΔclpP mutant, but not a ΔclpC or ΔclpX mutant, of the virulent D39 type 2 strain of S. pneumoniae grew poorly at 30°C and failed to grow at 40°C. Despite this temperature sensitivity, transcription of the heat shock regulon determined by microarray analysis was induced in a ΔclpP mutant, which was also more sensitive to oxidative stress by H2O2 and to puromycin than its clpP+ parent strain. A ΔclpP mutant, but not a ΔclpC mutant, was strongly attenuated for virulence in the murine lung and sepsis infection models. All of these phenotypes were complemented in a ΔclpP/clpP+ merodiploid strain. Consistent with these complementation patterns, clpP was found to be in a monocistronic operon, whose transcription was induced about fivefold by heat shock in S. pneumoniae as determined by Northern and real-time reverse transcription-PCR analyses. Besides clpP, transcription of clpC, clpE, and clpL, but not clpX or ftsH, was induced by heat shock or entry into late exponential growth phase. Microarray analysis of ΔclpP mutants showed a limited change in transcription pattern (≈80 genes) consistent with these phenotypes, including repression of genes involved in oxidative stress, metal ion transport, and virulence. In addition, transcription of the early and late competence regulon was induced in the ΔclpP mutant, and competence gene expression and DNA uptake seemed to be constitutively induced throughout growth. Together, these results indicate that ClpP-mediated proteolysis plays a complex and central role in numerous pneumococcal stress responses, development of competence, and virulence.
The general stress regulon of Bacillus subtilis is controlled by the activity state of σB, a transcription factor that is switched on following exposure to either physical or nutritional stress. ClpP is the proteolytic component of an ATP-dependent protease that is essential for the proper regulation of multiple adaptive responses in B. subtilis. Among the proteins whose abundance increases in ClpP− B. subtilis are several known to depend on σB for their expression. In the current work we examine the relationship of ClpP to the activity of σB. The data reveal that the loss of ClpP in otherwise wild-type B. subtilis results in a small increase in σB activity during growth and a marked enhancement of σB activity following its induction by either physical or nutritional stress. It appears to be the persistence of σB's activity rather than its induction that is principally affected by the loss of ClpP. σB-dependent reporter gene activity rose in parallel in ClpP+ and ClpP− B. subtilis strains but failed to display its normal transience in the ClpP− strain. The putative ClpP targets are likely to be stress generated and novel. Enhanced σB activity in ClpP− B. subtilis was triggered by physical stress but not by the induced synthesis of the physical stress pathway's positive regulator (RsbT). In addition, Western blot analyses failed to detect differences in the levels of the principal known σB regulators in ClpP+ and ClpP− B. subtilis strains. The data suggest a model in which ClpP facilitates the turnover of stress-generated factors, which persist in ClpP's absence to stimulate ongoing σB activity.
The clp genes encoding the Clp proteolytic complex are widespread among living organisms. Five clpP genes are present in Streptomyces. Among them, the clpP1 clpP2 operon has been shown to be involved in the Streptomyces growth cycle, as a mutation blocked differentiation at the substrate mycelium step. Four Clp ATPases have been identified in Streptomyces coelicolor (ClpX and three ClpC proteins) which are potential partners of ClpP1 ClpP2. The clpC1 gene appears to be essential, since no mutant has yet been obtained. clpP1 clpP2 and clpC1 are important for Streptomyces growth, and a study of their regulation is reported here. The clpP3 clpP4 operon, which has been studied in Streptomyces lividans, is induced in a clpP1 mutant strain, and regulation of its expression is mediated via PopR, a transcriptional regulator. We report here studies of clgR, a paralogue of popR, in S. lividans. Gel mobility shift assays and DNase I footprinting indicate that ClgR binds not only to the clpP1 and clpC1 promoters, but also to the promoter of the Lon ATP-dependent protease gene and the clgR promoter itself. ClgR recognizes the motif GTTCGC-5N-GCG. In vivo, ClgR acts as an activator of clpC1 gene and clpP1 operon expression. Similarly to PopR, ClgR degradation might be ClpP dependent and could be mediated via recognition of the two carboxy-terminal alanine residues.
Bacteriophage Mu, one of the best-characterized mobile genetic elements, can be used effectively to answer fundamental questions about the regulation of biochemical machinery for DNA rearrangement. Previous studies of Mu virulence have implicated the Clp protease in repressor inactivation (V. Geuskens, A. Mhammedi-Alaoui, L. Desmet, and A. Toussaint, EMBO J. 13:5121-5127, 1992). These studies were extended by analyzing the phenotypic consequences of clp alleles in two Escherichia coli systems: (i) the periodic replication of Mudlac transposons in colonies and (ii) the action of a Mu prophage in forming araB-lacZ coding sequence fusions. The clpP::CM mutation, which removes the proteolytic subunit of Clp protease, caused a drastic reduction in Mu activity in both systems. The clpA::Tn10 mutation, which removes a regulatory subunit of Clp protease, altered the timing of Mu activity in both systems. A clpA deletion reduced the extent of Mudlac replication in colonies. These results point to temporal changes in Clp proteolysis of the Mucts62 repressor as a key molecular event in the regulation of one class of genomic change in E. coli.
Spread of Streptococcus pneumoniae from the nasopharynx to other host tissues would require the organism to adapt to a variety of environmental conditions. Since heat shock proteins are induced by environmental stresses, we investigated the effect of heat shock on ClpL and ClpP synthesis and the effect of clpL and clpP mutations on the expression of key pneumococcal virulence genes. Pulse labeling with [35S]methionine and chase experiments as well as immunoblot analysis demonstrated that ClpL, DnaK, and GroEL were stable. Purified recombinant ClpL refolded urea-denatured rhodanese in a dose-dependent manner, demonstrating ClpL's chaperone activity. Although growth of the clpL mutant was not affected at 30 or 37°C, growth of the clpP mutant was severely affected at these temperatures. However, both clpL and clpP mutants were sensitive to 43°C. Although it was further induced by heat shock, the level of expression of ClpL in the clpP mutant was high at 30°C, suggesting that ClpP represses expression of ClpL. Furthermore, the clpP mutation significantly attenuated the virulence of S. pneumoniae in a murine intraperitoneal infection model, whereas the clpL mutation did not. Interestingly, immunoblot and real-time reverse transcription-PCR analysis demonstrated that pneumolysin and pneumococcal surface antigen A were induced by heat shock in wild-type S. pneumoniae. Other virulence genes were also affected by heat shock and clpL and clpP mutations. Virulence gene expression seems to be modulated not only by heat shock but also by the ClpL and ClpP proteases.
The region of the Caulobacter crescentus chromosome harboring the genes for the ClpXP protease was isolated and characterized. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences of the C. crescentus ClpP and ClpX proteins with those of their homologues from several gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria revealed stronger conservation for the ATPase regulatory subunit (ClpX) than for the peptidase subunit (ClpP). The C. crescentus clpX gene was shown by complementation analysis to be functional in Escherichia coli. However, clpX from E. coli was not able to substitute for the essential nature of the clpX gene in C. crescentus. The clpP and clpX genes are separated on the C. crescentus chromosome by an open reading frame pointing in the opposite direction from the clp genes, and transcription of clpP and clpX was found to be uncoupled. clpP is transcribed as a monocistronic unit with a promoter (PP1) located immediately upstream of the 5′ end of the gene and a terminator structure following its 3′ end. PP1 is under heat shock control and is induced upon entry of the cells into the stationary phase. At least three promoters for clpX (PX1, PX2, and PX3) were mapped in the clpP-clpX intergenic region. In contrast to PP1, the clpX promoters were found to be downregulated after heat shock but were also subject to growth phase control. In addition, the clpP and clpX promoters showed different activity patterns during the cell cycle. Together, these results demonstrate that the genes coding for the peptidase and the regulatory subunits of the ClpXP protease are under independent transcriptional control in C. crescentus. Determination of the numbers of ClpP and ClpX molecules per cell suggested that ClpX is the limiting component compared with ClpP.