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1.  The Vibrio cholerae Colonization Factor GbpA Possesses a Modular Structure that Governs Binding to Different Host Surfaces 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(1):e1002373.
Vibrio cholerae is a bacterial pathogen that colonizes the chitinous exoskeleton of zooplankton as well as the human gastrointestinal tract. Colonization of these different niches involves an N-acetylglucosamine binding protein (GbpA) that has been reported to mediate bacterial attachment to both marine chitin and mammalian intestinal mucin through an unknown molecular mechanism. We report structural studies that reveal that GbpA possesses an unusual, elongated, four-domain structure, with domains 1 and 4 showing structural homology to chitin binding domains. A glycan screen revealed that GbpA binds to GlcNAc oligosaccharides. Structure-guided GbpA truncation mutants show that domains 1 and 4 of GbpA interact with chitin in vitro, whereas in vivo complementation studies reveal that domain 1 is also crucial for mucin binding and intestinal colonization. Bacterial binding studies show that domains 2 and 3 bind to the V. cholerae surface. Finally, mouse virulence assays show that only the first three domains of GbpA are required for colonization. These results explain how GbpA provides structural/functional modular interactions between V. cholerae, intestinal epithelium and chitinous exoskeletons.
Author Summary
Vibrio cholerae is the bacterium that causes cholera, a disease endemic in developing countries with poor sanitation. The bacterium colonizes aquatic organisms that serve as a reservoir of transmission to humans. Our work has focused on GbpA, a protein that is secreted by V. cholerae and appears to facilitate growth of the bacteria both in the human intestine and on the exoskeletons of marine organisms. We show that the protein possesses an unusual three-dimensional structure consisting of four separate domains. Two of the domains are similar to proteins that are known to bind chitin, an exoskeleton biopolymer, and our data show that these domains indeed harbour the chitin binding properties of GbpA. One of these domains is also capable of binding intestinal mucus. The two remaining domains are required for interacting with the bacterium itself, creating a stable interface between the bacterium and the human/marine host, facilitating colonization. Finally, work with a cholera mouse model shows that only the first three domains of GbpA are required for colonization. These results show how GbpA provides structural/functional modular interactions between V. cholerae, the intestinal epithelium and chitinous exoskeletons.
PMCID: PMC3257281  PMID: 22253590
2.  Inactivation of the gbpA Gene of Streptococcus mutans Alters Structural and Functional Aspects of Plaque Biofilm Which Are Compensated by Recombination of the gtfB and gtfC Genes 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(8):3909-3914.
Inactivation of the gbpA gene of Streptococcus mutans increases virulence in a gnotobiotic rat model and also promotes in vivo accumulation of organisms in which gtfB and gtfC have recombined to reduce virulence (K. R. O. Hazlett, S. M. Michalek, and J. A. Banas, Infect. Immun. 66:2180–2185, 1998). These changes in virulence were hypothesized to result from changes in plaque structure. We have utilized an in vitro plaque model to test the hypothesis that the absence of GbpA alters S. mutans plaque structure and that the presence of gtfBC recombinant organisms within a gbpA background restores a wild-type (wt)-like plaque structure. When grown in the presence of sucrose within hydroxyapatite-coated wells, the wt S. mutans plaque consisted primarily of large aggregates which did not completely coat the hydroxyapatite surface, whereas the gbpA mutant plaque consisted of a uniform layer of smaller aggregates which almost entirely coated the hydroxyapatite. If 25% of the gbpA mutants used as inoculum were also gtfBC recombinants (gbpA/25%gtfBC), a wt-like plaque was formed. These changes in plaque structure correlated with differences in susceptibility to ampicillin; gbpA plaque organisms were more susceptible than organisms in either the wt or gbpA/25%gtfBC plaques. These data allow the conclusion that GbpA contributes to S. mutans plaque biofilm development. Since the changes in plaque structure detailed in this report correlate well with previously observed changes in virulence, it seems likely that S. mutans biofilm structure influences virulence. A potential model for this influence, which can account for the gtfBC recombination compensating gbpA inactivation, is that the ratio of glucan to glucan-binding protein is a critical factor in plaque development.
PMCID: PMC96671  PMID: 10417155
3.  Inactivation of the gbpA Gene of Streptococcus mutans Increases Virulence and Promotes In Vivo Accumulation of Recombinations between the Glucosyltransferase B and C Genes 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(5):2180-2185.
Glucan-binding protein A (GbpA) of Streptococcus mutans has been hypothesized to promote sucrose-dependent adherence and the cohesiveness of plaque and therefore to contribute to caries formation. We have analyzed the adherence properties and virulence of isogenic gbpA mutants relative to those of wild-type S. mutans. Contrary to expectations, the gbpA mutant strains displayed enhanced sucrose-dependent adherence in vitro and enhanced cariogenicity in vivo. In vitro, S. mutans was grown in the presence of [3H]thymidine and sucrose within glass vials. When grown with constant rotation, significantly higher levels of gbpA mutant organisms than of wild type remained adherent to the vial walls. Postgrowth vortexing of rotated cultures significantly decreased adherence of wild-type organisms, whereas the adherence of gbpA mutant organisms was unaffected. In the gnotobiotic rat model, the gbpA mutant strain was hypercariogenic though the colonization levels were not significantly different from those of the wild type. The gbpA mutant strain became enriched in vivo with organisms that had undergone a recombination involving the gtfB and gtfC genes. The incidence of gtfBC recombinant organisms increased as a function of dietary sucrose availability and was inversely correlated with caries development. We propose that the absence of GbpA elevates the cariogenic potential of S. mutans by altering the structure of plaque. However, the hypercariogenic plaque generated by gbpA mutant organisms may be suboptimal for S. mutans, leading to the accumulation of gtfBC recombinants whose reduced glucosyltransferase activity restores a less cariogenic plaque structure.
PMCID: PMC108179  PMID: 9573105
4.  Ligand-Binding Properties of the Carboxyl-Terminal Repeat Domain of Streptococcus mutans Glucan-Binding Protein A 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(3):728-733.
Streptococcus mutans glucan-binding protein A (GbpA) has sequence similarity in its carboxyl-terminal domain with glucosyltransferases (GTFs), the enzymes responsible for catalyzing the synthesis of the glucans to which GbpA and GTFs can bind and which promote S. mutans attachment to and accumulation on the tooth surface. It was predicted that this C-terminal region, comprised of what have been termed YG repeats, represents the GbpA glucan-binding domain (GBD). In an effort to test this hypothesis and to quantitate the ligand-binding specificities of the GbpA GBD, several fusion proteins were generated and tested by affinity electrophoresis or by precipitation of protein-ligand complexes, allowing the determination of binding constants. It was determined that the 16 YG repeats in GbpA comprise its GBD and that GbpA has a greater affinity for dextran (a water-soluble form of glucan) than for mutan (a water-insoluble form of glucan). Placement of the GBD at the carboxyl terminus was necessary for maximum glucan binding, and deletion of as few as two YG repeats from either end of the GBD reduced the affinity for dextran by over 10-fold. Interestingly, the binding constant of GbpA for dextran was 34-fold higher than that calculated for the GBDs of two S. mutans GTFs, one of which catalyzes the synthesis of water-soluble glucan and the other of which catalyzes the synthesis of water-insoluble glucan.
PMCID: PMC94336  PMID: 10633107
5.  Streptococcus Mutans Glucan-Binding Protein-A Affects Streptococcus Gordonii Biofilm Architecture 
FEMS microbiology letters  2006;267(1):80-88.
The glucan-binding protein-A (GbpA) of Streptococcus mutans has been shown to contribute to the architecture of glucan-dependent biofilms formed by this species and influence virulence in a rat model. Since S. mutans synthesizes multiple glucosyltransferases (GTF) and non-GTF glucan-binding proteins (GBPs), it’s possible that there is functional redundancy that overshadows the full extent of GbpA contributions to S. mutans biology. Glucan-associated properties such as adhesion, aggregation, and biofilm formation were examined independently of other S. mutans GBPs by cloning the gbpA gene into a heterologous host, Streptococcus gordonii, and derivatives with altered or diminished GTF activity. The presence of GbpA did not alter dextran-dependent aggregation nor the initial sucrose-dependent adhesion of S. gordonii. However, expression of GbpA altered the biofilm formed by wild-type S. gordonii as well as the biofilm formed by strain CH107 that produced primarily α-1,6-linked glucan. Expression of gbpA did not alter the biofilm formed by strain DS512 that produced significantly lower quantities of parental glucan. These data are consistent with a role for GbpA in facilitating the development of biofilms that harbor taller microcolonies via binding to α-1,6-linkages within glucan. The magnitude of the GbpA effect appears dependent on the quantity and linkage of available glucan.
PMCID: PMC1780135  PMID: 17166223
6.  Intestinal Adherence of Vibrio cholerae Involves a Coordinated Interaction between Colonization Factor GbpA and Mucin▿ †  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(11):4968-4977.
The chitin-binding protein GbpA of Vibrio cholerae has been recently described as a common adherence factor for chitin and intestinal surface. Using an isogenic in-frame gbpA deletion mutant, we first show that V. cholerae O1 El Tor interacts with mouse intestinal mucus quickly, using GbpA in a specific manner. The gbpA mutant strain showed a significant decrease in intestinal adherence, leading to less colonization and fluid accumulation in a mouse in vivo model. Purified recombinant GbpA (rGbpA) specifically bound to N-acetyl-d-glucosamine residues of intestinal mucin in a dose-dependent, saturable manner with a dissociation constant of 11.2 μM. Histopathology results from infected mouse intestine indicated that GbpA binding resulted in a time-dependent increase in mucus secretion. We found that rGbpA increased the production of intestinal secretory mucins (MUC2, MUC3, and MUC5AC) in HT-29 cells through upregulation of corresponding genes. The upregulation of MUC2 and MUC5AC genes was dependent on NF-κB nuclear translocation. Interestingly, mucin could also increase GbpA expression in V. cholerae in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, we propose that there is a coordinated interaction between GbpA and mucin to upregulate each other in a cooperative manner, leading to increased levels of expression of both of these interactive factors and ultimately allowing successful intestinal colonization and pathogenesis by V. cholerae.
PMCID: PMC2573318  PMID: 18765724
7.  Identification and Characterization of Two Unusual cGMP-stimulated Phoshodiesterases in Dictyostelium 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(11):3878-3889.
Recently, we recognized two genes, gbpA and gbpB, encoding putative cGMP-binding proteins with a Zn2+-hydrolase domain and two cyclic nucleotide binding domains. The Zn2+-hydrolase domains belong to the superfamily of β-lactamases, also harboring a small family of class II phosphodiesterases from bacteria and lower eukaryotes. Gene inactivation and overexpression studies demonstrate that gbpA encodes the cGMP-stimulated cGMP-phosphodiesterase that was characterized biochemically previously and was shown to be involved in chemotaxis. cAMP neither activates nor is a substrate of GbpA. The gbpB gene is expressed mainly in the multicellular stage and seems to encode a dual specificity phosphodiesterase with preference for cAMP. The enzyme hydrolyses cAMP ∼9-fold faster than cGMP and is activated by cAMP and cGMP with a KA value of ∼0.7 and 2.3 μM, respectively. Cells with a deletion of the gbpB gene have increased basal and receptor stimulated cAMP levels and are sporogeneous. We propose that GbpA and GbpB hydrolyze the substrate in the Zn2+-hydrolase domain, whereas the cyclic nucleotide binding domains mediate activation. The human cGMP-stimulated cAMP/cGMP phosphodiesterase has similar biochemical properties, but a completely different topology: hydrolysis takes place by a class I catalytic domain and GAF domains mediate cGMP activation.
PMCID: PMC133600  PMID: 12429832
8.  Analyses of murine GBP homology clusters based on in silico, in vitro and in vivo studies 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:158.
The interactions between pathogens and hosts lead to a massive upregulation of antimicrobial host effector molecules. Among these, the 65 kDa guanylate binding proteins (GBPs) are interesting candidates as intricate components of the host effector molecule repertoire. Members of the GBP family are highly conserved in vertebrates. Previous reports indicate an antiviral activity of human GBP1 (hGBP1) and murine GBP2 (mGBP2). We recently demonstrated that distinct murine GBP (mGBP) family members are highly upregulated upon Toxoplasma gondii infection and localize around the intracellular protozoa T. gondii. Moreover, we characterised five new mGBP family members within the murine 65 kDa GBP family. Here, we identified a new mGBP locus named mGbp11. Based on bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC), expressed sequence tag (EST), and RT-PCR analyses this study provides a detailed insight into the genomic localization and organization of the mGBPs. These analyses revealed a 166-kb spanning region on chromosome 3 harboring five transcribed mGBPs (mGbp1, mGbp2, mGbp3, mGbp5, and mGbp7) and one pseudogene (pseudomGbp1), as well as a 332-kb spanning region on chromosome 5 consisting of six transcribed mGBPs (mGbp4, mGbp6, mGbp8, mGbp9, mGbp10, and mGbp11), and one pseudogene (pseudomgbp2). Besides the strikingly high homology of 65% to 98% within the coding sequences, the mGBPs on chromosome 5 cluster also exhibit a highly homologous exon-intron structure whereas the mGBP on chromosome 3 reveals a more divergent exon-intron structure. This study details the comprehensive genomic organization of mGBPs and suggests that a continuously changing microbial environment has exerted evolutionary pressure on this gene family leading to multiple gene amplifications. A list of links for this article can be found in the Availability and requirements section.
PMCID: PMC2387175  PMID: 18402675
9.  Levels of the Secreted Vibrio cholerae Attachment Factor GbpA Are Modulated by Quorum-Sensing-Induced Proteolysis ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(22):6911-6917.
Vibrio cholerae is the etiologic agent of cholera in humans. Intestinal colonization occurs in a stepwise fashion, initiating with attachment to the small intestinal epithelium. This attachment is followed by expression of the toxin-coregulated pilus, microcolony formation, and cholera toxin (CT) production. We have recently characterized a secreted attachment factor, GlcNAc binding protein A (GbpA), which functions in attachment to environmental chitin sources as well as to intestinal substrates. Studies have been initiated to define the regulatory network involved in GbpA induction. At low cell density, GbpA was detected in the culture supernatant of all wild-type (WT) strains examined. In contrast, at high cell density, GbpA was undetectable in strains that produce HapR, the central regulator of the cell density-dependent quorum-sensing system of V. cholerae. HapR represses the expression of genes encoding regulators involved in V. cholerae virulence and activates the expression of genes encoding the secreted proteases HapA and PrtV. We show here that GbpA is degraded by HapA and PrtV in a time-dependent fashion. Consistent with this, ΔhapA ΔprtV strains attach to chitin beads more efficiently than either the WT or a ΔhapA ΔprtV ΔgbpA strain. These results suggest a model in which GbpA levels fluctuate in concert with the bacterial production of proteases in response to quorum-sensing signals. This could provide a mechanism for GbpA-mediated attachment to, and detachment from, surfaces in response to environmental cues.
PMCID: PMC2772460  PMID: 19734310
10.  Glucan-Binding Proteins are Essential for Shaping Streptococcus mutans Biofilm Architecture 
FEMS microbiology letters  2006;268(2):158-165.
Glucan plays a central role in sucrose-dependent biofilm formation by the dental pathogen Streptococcus mutans. This organism synthesizes several proteins capable of binding glucan. These are divided into the glucosyltransferases (Gtfs) that catalyze the synthesis of glucan and the non-Gtf glucan-binding proteins (Gbps). The biological significance of the Gbps has not been thoroughly defined, but studies suggest these proteins influence virulence and play a role in maintaining biofilm architecture by linking bacteria and extracellular molecules of glucan. We engineered a panel of Gbp mutants, targeting GbpA, GbpC, and GbpD, in which each gene encoding a Gbp was deleted individually and in combination. These strains were then analyzed by confocal microscopy and the biofilm properties quantified by the biofilm quantification software COMSTAT. All biofilms produced by mutant strains lost significant depth, but the basis for the reduction in height depended on which particular Gbp was missing. The loss of the cell-bound GbpC appeared dominant as might be expected based on losing the principal receptor for glucan. The loss of an extracellular Gbp, either GbpA or GbpD, also profoundly changed the biofilm architecture, each in a unique manner.
PMCID: PMC1804096  PMID: 17214736
11.  Guanylate-binding Protein 1 (Gbp1) Contributes to Cell-autonomous Immunity against Toxoplasma gondii 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(4):e1003320.
IFN-γ activates cells to restrict intracellular pathogens by upregulating cellular effectors including the p65 family of guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs). Here we test the role of Gbp1 in the IFN-γ-dependent control of T. gondii in the mouse model. Virulent strains of T. gondii avoided recruitment of Gbp1 to the parasitophorous vacuole in a strain-dependent manner that was mediated by the parasite virulence factors ROP18, an active serine/threonine kinase, and the pseudokinase ROP5. Increased recruitment of Gbp1 to Δrop18 or Δrop5 parasites was associated with clearance in IFN-γ-activated macrophages in vitro, a process dependent on the autophagy protein Atg5. The increased susceptibility of Δrop18 mutants in IFN-γ-activated macrophages was reverted in Gbp1−/− cells, and decreased virulence of this mutant was compensated in Gbp1−/− mice, which were also more susceptible to challenge with type II strain parasites of intermediate virulence. These findings demonstrate that Gbp1 plays an important role in the IFN-γ-dependent, cell-autonomous control of toxoplasmosis and predict a broader role for this protein in host defense.
Author Summary
Emerging evidence suggests that the p65 family of guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs), which is upregulated by interferon gamma, play an important role in host defense against intracellular pathogens. We demonstrate that the ability of virulent strains of Toxoplasma gondii to avoid recruitment of mouse Gbp1 is mediated by two parasite virulence factors; the serine threonine kinase ROP18 and the pseudokinase ROP5, which controls its activity. GBP proteins required the autophagy protein Atg5 for proper cellular trafficking, recruitment to parasite-containing vacuoles, and pathogen control, strengthening the link between innate immunity and autophagy. The attenuation of mutants lacking ROP18, which show increased susceptibility to clearance by macrophages and decreased virulence in mice, was reverted by deletion of Gbp1, indicating this host factor is needed for resistance to T. gondii. Collectively, these findings demonstrate a key molecular interaction between host defenses mediated by GBPs and parasite virulence factors that thwart innate immunity. As GBPs are phylogenetically conserved among vertebrates, including humans, they likely play a broader role in host resistance.
PMCID: PMC3635975  PMID: 23633952
12.  Stress-Induced Membrane Association of the Streptococcus mutans GTP-Binding Protein, an Essential G Protein, and Investigation of Its Physiological Role by Utilizing an Antisense RNA Strategy 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(9):4510-4516.
SGP (for Streptococcus GTP-binding protein) is a Streptococcus mutans essential GTPase which has significant sequence identity to the previously identified Escherichia coli Era protein and to numerous other prokaryotic GTPase proteins of unknown function. Recent studies in our laboratory have addressed the possible role of SGP in the stress response of the oral pathogen S. mutans. Here we report that during growth in the early stationary phase, and in response to elevated temperatures or acidic pH, the distribution of SGP between the cytoplasm and the membranes of S. mutans cells varies. Immunoblot analysis of soluble and membrane protein fractions collected from the mid-log and early stationary growth phases of bacterial populations grown at normal temperature (37°C) and at the elevated temperature of 43°C, or at acidic pH, demonstrated that the total amount of SGP increased with the age of the bacterial culture, elevated temperature, or acidic pH. Furthermore, it was established that a substantial amount of SGP is associated with the membrane fraction under stress conditions. In order to investigate the physiological role of SGP, we constructed an S. mutans strain capable of chromosomal sgp antisense RNA expression, which interferes with the normal information processing of the sgp gene. Utilizing this strain, we determined conditions whereby the streptococcal cells can be depleted of SGP, thus avoiding the problem of constructing a conditional lethal system. From the results of measurements of the nucleotide pools extracted from the antisense strain and its isogenic counterpart, we propose that one of the physiological roles of SGP is regulation and modulation of the GTP/GDP ratio under different growth conditions. Moreover, we observed that in SGP-depleted cells the levels of glucan-binding protein A (GbpA) substantially increased, suggesting that GbpA may have stress response-related physiological functions. Finally, the potential applications of the antisense RNA approach that we employed are discussed.
PMCID: PMC96771  PMID: 10456893
13.  LiaS Regulates Virulence Factor Expression in Streptococcus mutans▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(7):3093-3099.
Streptococcus mutans, a major oral pathogen responsible for dental caries formation, possesses a variety of mechanisms for survival in the human oral cavity, where the conditions of the external environment are diverse and in a constant state of flux. The formation of biofilms, survival under conditions of acidic pH, and production of mutacins are considered to be important virulence determinants displayed by this organism. Biofilm formation is facilitated by the production of GbpC, an important cell surface-associated protein that binds to glucan, an adhesive polysaccharide produced by the organism itself. To better understand the nature of the environmental cues that induce GbpC production, we examined the roles of 14 sensor kinases in the expression of gbpC in S. mutans strain UA159. We found that only the LiaS sensor kinase regulates gbpC expression, while the other sensor kinases had little or no effect on gbpC expression. We also found that while LiaS negatively regulates gbpC expression, the inactivation of its cognate response regulator, LiaR, does not appear to affect the expression of gbpC. Since both gbpC expression and mutacin IV production are regulated by a common regulatory network, we also tested the effect of the liaS mutation on mutacin production and found that LiaS positively regulates mutacin IV production. Furthermore, reverse transcription-PCR analysis suggests that LiaS does so by regulating the expression of nlmA, which encodes a peptide component of mutacin IV, and nlmT, which encodes an ABC transporter. As with the expression of gbpC, LiaR did not have any apparent effect on mutacin IV production. Based on the results of our study, we speculate that LiaS is engaged in cross talk with one or more response regulators belonging to the same family as LiaR, enabling LiaS to regulate the expression of several genes coding for virulence factors.
PMCID: PMC2446727  PMID: 18458070
14.  Intracellular Trafficking of Guanylate-Binding Proteins Is Regulated by Heterodimerization in a Hierarchical Manner 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14246.
Guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs) belong to the dynamin family of large GTPases and represent the major IFN-γ-induced proteins. Here we systematically investigated the mechanisms regulating the subcellular localization of GBPs. Three GBPs (GBP-1, GBP-2 and GBP-5) carry a C-terminal CaaX-prenylation signal, which is typical for small GTPases of the Ras family, and increases the membrane affinity of proteins. In this study, we demonstrated that GBP-1, GBP-2 and GBP-5 are prenylated in vivo and that prenylation is required for the membrane association of GBP-1, GBP-2 and GBP-5. Using co-immunoprecipitation, yeast-two-hybrid analysis and fluorescence complementation assays, we showed for the first time that GBPs are able to homodimerize in vivo and that the membrane association of GBPs is regulated by dimerization similarly to dynamin. Interestingly, GBPs could also heterodimerize. This resulted in hierarchical positioning effects on the intracellular localization of the proteins. Specifically, GBP-1 recruited GBP-5 and GBP-2 into its own cellular compartment and GBP-5 repositioned GBP-2. In addition, GBP-1, GBP-2 and GBP-5 were able to redirect non-prenylated GBPs to their compartment in a prenylation-dependent manner. Overall, these findings prove in vivo the ability of GBPs to dimerize, indicate that heterodimerization regulates sub-cellular localization of GBPs and underscore putative membrane-associated functions of this family of proteins.
PMCID: PMC2998424  PMID: 21151871
15.  Manganese Affects Streptococcus mutans Virulence Gene Expression 
Caries Research  2007;41(6):503-511.
Studies of trace metals in drinking water and tooth enamel have suggested a caries-promoting potential for manganese (Mn). Additionally, Mn has been shown to be essential for the expression of mutans streptococci virulence factors such as the glucan-binding lectin (GBL) of Streptococcus sobrinus. The Streptococcus mutans glucan-binding protein (Gbp) GbpC is the functional analogue of the S. sobrinus GBL. S. mutans Gbps have been shown to contribute to biofilm architecture and virulence. This study was undertaken to examine the effects of Mn on the transcription of genes encoding S. mutans Gbps, including gbpC, along with other critical S. mutans virulence genes.
Microarray analyses suggested the potential for an Mn effect on Gbp genes. Further investigation of the Mn effects on selected genes was undertaken by performing Northern blots, Western blots, and RT-PCR under conditions of planktonic and biofilm growth in Mn-depleted media or in media containing 50 μM Mn.
Mn resulted in increased expression of gbpC and gtfB, and decreased expression of wapA, in both planktonic and biofilm cultures. The expression levels of gbpA and gbpD were also decreased in the presence of Mn, but only in biofilms. The expression of gtfC was increased in the presence of Mn only in planktonic cultures. The spaP gene was expressed more highly in Mn-supplemented planktonic cultures but less in Mn-supplemented biofilms.
Mn availability affects the expression of multiple S. mutans genes involved in adhesion and biofilm formation. Furthermore, these effects depend on the growth state of the organism.
PMCID: PMC2820327  PMID: 17992013
Biofilm; Manganese; Streptococcus mutans virulence
16.  Interferon-induced guanylate-binding proteins lack an N(T)KXD consensus motif and bind GMP in addition to GDP and GTP. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1991;11(9):4717-4725.
The primary structures of interferon (IFN)-induced guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs) were deduced from cloned human and murine cDNAs. These proteins contained only two of the three sequence motifs typically found in GTP/GDP-binding proteins. The N(T)KXD motif, which is believed to confer guanine specificity in other nucleotide-binding proteins, was absent. Nevertheless, the IFN-induced GBPs exhibited a high degree of selectivity for binding to agarose-immobilized guanine nucleotides. An interesting feature of IFN-induced GBPs is that they strongly bound to GMP agarose in addition to GDP and GTP agaroses but failed to bind to ATP agarose and all other nucleotide agaroses tested. Both GTP and GMP, but not ATP, competed for binding of murine GBP-1 to agarose-immobilized GMP. The IFN-induced GBPs thus define a distinct novel family of proteins with GTP-binding activity. We further demonstrate that human and murine cells contain at least two genes encoding IFN-induced GBPs. The cloned murine cDNA codes for GBP-1, an IFN-induced protein previously shown to be absent from mice of Gbp-1b genotype.
PMCID: PMC361367  PMID: 1715024
17.  Phosphoinositide 3-kinase targeting by the β galactoside binding protein cytokine negates akt gene expression and leads aggressive breast cancer cells to apoptotic death 
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-activated signalling has a critical role in the evolution of aggressive tumourigenesis and is therefore a prime target for anticancer therapy. Previously we have shown that the β galactoside binding protein (βGBP) cytokine, an antiproliferative molecule, induces functional inhibition of class 1A and class 1B PI3K. Here, we have investigated whether, by targeting PI3K, βGBP has therapeutic efficacy in aggressive breast cancer cells where strong mitogenic input is fuelled by overexpression of the ErbB2 (also known as HER/neu, for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) oncoprotein receptor and have used immortalised ductal cells and non-aggressive mammary cancer cells, which express ErbB2 at low levels, as controls.
Aggressive BT474 and SKBR3 cancer cells where ErbB2 is overexpressed, MCF10A immortalised ductal cells and non-invasive MCF-7 cancer cells which express low levels of ErbB2, both in their naive state and when forced to mimic aggressive behaviour, were used. Class IA PI3K was immunoprecipitated and the conversion of phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-biphosphate (PIP2) to phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3) assessed by ELISA. The consequences of PI3K inhibition by βGBP were analysed at proliferation level, by extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation, by akt gene expression and by apoptosis. Apoptosis was documented by changes in mitochondrial membrane potential, alteration of the plasma membrane, caspase 3 activation and DNA fragmentation. Phosphorylated and total ERK were measured by Western blot analysis and akt mRNA levels by Northern blot analysis. The results obtained with the BT474 and SKBR3 cells were validated in the MCF10A ductal cells and in non-invasive MCF-7 breast cancer cells forced into mimicking the in vitro behaviour of the BT474 and SKBR3 cells.
In aggressive breast cancer cells, where mitogenic signalling is enforced by the ErbB2 oncoprotein receptor, functional inhibition of the catalytic activity of PI3K by the βGBP cytokine and loss of akt mRNA results in apoptotic death. A functional correlation between ERK and the kt gene was also found. The relationship between ERK, akt mRNA, PI3K and cell vulnerability to βGBP challenge was sustained both in mammary ductal cells forced to mimic an aggressive behaviour and in non-aggressive breast cancer cells undergoing an enforced shift into an aggressive phenotype.
βGBP, a newly discovered physiological inhibitor of PI3K, is a selective and potent inducer of apoptosis in aggressive breast cancer cells. Due to its physiological nature, which carries no chemotherapeutic disadvantages, βGBP has the potential to be safely tested in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2687705  PMID: 19133120
18.  Determinants of GBP Recruitment to Toxoplasma gondii Vacuoles and the Parasitic Factors That Control It 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24434.
IFN-γ is a major cytokine that mediates resistance against the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The p65 guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs) are strongly induced by IFN-γ. We studied the behavior of murine GBP1 (mGBP1) upon infection with T. gondii in vitro and confirmed that IFN-γ-dependent re-localization of mGBP1 to the parasitophorous vacuole (PV) correlates with the virulence type of the parasite. We identified three parasitic factors, ROP16, ROP18, and GRA15 that determine strain-specific accumulation of mGBP1 on the PV. These highly polymorphic proteins are held responsible for a large part of the strain-specific differences in virulence. Therefore, our data suggest that virulence of T. gondii in animals may rely in part on recognition by GBPs. However, phagosomes or vacuoles containing Trypanosoma cruzi did not recruit mGBP1. Co-immunoprecipitation revealed mGBP2, mGBP4, and mGBP5 as binding partners of mGBP1. Indeed, mGBP2 and mGBP5 co-localize with mGBP1 in T. gondii-infected cells. T. gondii thus elicits a cell-autonomous immune response in mice with GBPs involved. Three parasitic virulence factors and unknown IFN-γ-dependent host factors regulate this complex process. Depending on the virulence of the strains involved, numerous GBPs are brought to the PV as part of a large, multimeric structure to combat T. gondii.
PMCID: PMC3169597  PMID: 21931713
19.  Cloning and characterization of two guide RNA-binding proteins from mitochondria of Crithidia fasciculata: gBP27, a novel protein, and gBP29, the orthologue of Trypanosoma brucei gBP21 
Nucleic Acids Research  2001;29(14):2950-2962.
In kinetoplastid protozoa, mitochondrial (mt) mRNAs are post-transcriptionally edited by insertion and deletion of uridylate residues, the information being provided by guide (g)RNAs. Currently popular mechanisms for the editing process envisage a series of consecutive ‘cut-and-paste’ reactions, carried out by a complex RNP machinery. Here we report on the purification, cloning and functional analysis of two gRNA-binding proteins of 28.8 (gBP29) and 26.8 kDa (gBP27) from mitochondria of the insect trypanosome Crithidia fasciculata. gBP29 and gBP27 proved to be similar, Arg + Ala-rich proteins, with pI values of ∼10.0. gBP27 has no homology to known proteins, but gBP29 is the C.fasciculata orthologue of gBP21 from Trypanosoma brucei, a gRNA-binding protein that associates with active RNA editing complexes. As measured in UV cross-linking assays, His-tagged recombinant gBP29 and gBP27 bind to radiolabelled poly(U) and synthetic gRNAs, while competition experiments suggest a role for the gRNA 3′-(U)-tail in binding to these proteins. Immunoprecipitates of mt extracts generated with antibodies against gBP29 also contained gBP27 and vice versa. The immunoprecipitates further harbored a large proportion of the cellular content of four different gRNAs and of edited and pre-edited NADH dehydrogenase subunit 7 mRNAs, but only small amounts of mt rRNAs. In addition, the bulk of gBP29 and gBP27 co-eluted with gRNAs from gel filtration columns in the high molecular weight range. Together, these results suggest that the proteins are part of a large macromolecular complex(es). We infer that gBP29 and gBP27 are components of the C.fasciculata editing machinery that may interact with gRNAs.
PMCID: PMC55805  PMID: 11452020
20.  Implications of Chitin Attachment for the Environmental Persistence and Clinical Nature of the Human Pathogen Vibrio vulnificus 
Vibrio vulnificus naturally inhabits a variety of aquatic organisms, including oysters, and is the leading cause of seafood-related death in the United States. Strains of this bacterium are genetically classified into environmental (E) and clinical (C) genotypes, which correlate with source of isolation. E-genotype strains integrate into marine aggregates more efficiently than do C-genotype strains, leading to a greater uptake of strains of this genotype by oysters feeding on these aggregates. The causes of this increased integration of E-type strains into marine “snow” have not been demonstrated. Here, we further investigate the physiological and genetic causalities for this genotypic heterogeneity by examining the ability of strains of each genotype to attach to chitin, a major constituent of marine snow. We found that E-genotype strains attach to chitin with significantly greater efficiency than do C-genotype strains when incubated at 20°C. Type IV pili were implicated in chitin adherence, and even in the absence of chitin, the expression level of type IV pilin genes (pilA, pilD, and mshA) was found to be inherently higher by E genotypes than by C genotypes. In contrast, the level of expression of N-acetylglucosamine binding protein A (gbpA) was significantly higher in C-genotype strains. Interestingly, incubation at a clinically relevant temperature (37°C) resulted in a significant increase in C-genotype attachment to chitin, which subsequently provided a protective effect against exposure to acid or bile, thus offering a clue into their increased incidence in human infections. This study suggests that C- and E-genotype strains have intrinsically divergent physiological programs, which may help explain the observed differences in the ecology and pathogenic potential between these two genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3957613  PMID: 24362430
21.  Purification and antigenicity of a novel glucan-binding protein of Streptococcus mutans. 
Infection and Immunity  1994;62(6):2545-2552.
A novel glucan-binding protein (GBP) having an apparent molecular mass of 59 kDa (GBP59) has been purified from Streptococcus mutans SJ by a combination of affinity chromatography on alpha-1,6-linked glucan, gel filtration chromatography, and ion-exchange chromatography. GBP59 was distinct from the quantitatively predominant S. mutans GBP (GBP74) on the basis of size, elution position in a salt gradient, and antigenicity. Rat antisera to purified GBP59 and GBP74 did not cross-react. GBP59 is apparently immunogenic in humans, since immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibody in 20 of 24 adult parotid saliva samples was shown to react with GBP59 in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The glucan-binding activity of GBP59 was confirmed by anti-GBP59 immunogold labelling of Sephadex G-50 that had been preincubated with S. mutans culture supernatant. GBP59 could be detected in culture supernatants of all laboratory strains of S. mutans (e.g., Ingbritt), as well as all strains of S. mutans that had been recently isolated from young children. GBP59 was often the only component in protease inhibitor-containing 4-h S. mutans culture supernatants that reacted with human parotid salivary IgA antibody in Western blot (immunoblot) analyses. These studies suggest that GBP59 is a structurally and antigenically distinct S. mutans GBP that can elicit significant levels of salivary IgA antibody in humans.
PMCID: PMC186543  PMID: 8188378
22.  Gamma Interferon-Induced Guanylate Binding Protein 1 Is a Novel Actin Cytoskeleton Remodeling Factor 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(2):196-209.
Gamma interferon (IFN-γ) regulates immune defenses against viruses, intracellular pathogens, and tumors by modulating cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and vesicle trafficking processes. The large GTPase guanylate binding protein 1 (GBP-1) is among the cellular proteins that is the most abundantly induced by IFN-γ and mediates its cell biologic effects. As yet, the molecular mechanisms of action of GBP-1 remain unknown. Applying an interaction proteomics approach, we identified actin as a strong and specific binding partner of GBP-1. Furthermore, GBP-1 colocalized with actin at the subcellular level and was both necessary and sufficient for the extensive remodeling of the fibrous actin structure observed in IFN-γ-exposed cells. These effects were dependent on the oligomerization and the GTPase activity of GBP-1. Purified GBP-1 and actin bound to each other, and this interaction was sufficient to impair the formation of actin filaments in vitro, as demonstrated by atomic force microscopy, dynamic light scattering, and fluorescence-monitored polymerization. Cosedimentation and band shift analyses demonstrated that GBP-1 binds robustly to globular actin and slightly to filamentous actin. This indicated that GBP-1 may induce actin remodeling via globular actin sequestering and/or filament capping. These results establish GBP-1 as a novel member within the family of actin-remodeling proteins specifically mediating IFN-γ-dependent defense strategies.
PMCID: PMC3911287  PMID: 24190970
23.  Structural and Antigenic Characteristics of Streptococcus sobrinus Glucan Binding Proteins 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(11):5565-5569.
Three purified glucan binding proteins (GBP-2, GBP-3, and GBP-5) from Streptococcus sobrinus 6715 were compared structurally by mass spectroscopy of tryptic fragments and antigenically by Western blot analysis with rat antisera to each GBP or to peptides containing putative glucan binding epitopes of mutans streptococcal glucosyltransferases. Structural and antigenic analyses indicated that GBP-3 and GBP-5 are very similar but that both are essentially unrelated to GBP-2. None of these S. sobrinus GBPs appeared to have a strong antigenic relationship with GBPs from Streptococcus mutans. Thus, S. sobrinus GBP-2 and GBP-3 appear to be distinct proteins with potentially different functions. S. sobrinus GBP-5 may be a proteolytic fragment of GBP-3, or, alternatively, the genes coding for these proteins may be closely related.
PMCID: PMC108701  PMID: 9784575
24.  The Guanylate-Binding Proteins: Emerging Insights into the Biochemical Properties and Functions of This Family of Large Interferon-Induced Guanosine Triphosphatase 
Originally identified by their unusual ability to bind guanosine monophosphate (GMP) nucleotide agarose, the guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs) were used extensively to promote our understanding of interferon-induced gene transcription and as markers of interferon responsiveness. Structural and biochemical analyses of human GBP-1 subsequently demonstrated that the GBPs are a unique subfamily of guanosine triphosphatase (GTPases) that hydrolyze guanosine triphosphate (GTP) to both guanosine diphosphate (GDP) and GMP. As members of the larger dynamin superfamily of GTPases, GBPs exhibit such properties as nucleotide-dependent oligomerization and concentration-dependent GTPase activity. Recently, progress has been made in assigning functions to members of the GBP family. While many of these functions involve protection against intracellular pathogens, a growing number of them are not directly related to pathogen protection. It is currently unclear how the unusual properties of GBPs contribute to this growing list of functions. As future studies uncover the molecular mechanism(s) of action of the GBPs, we will gain a greater understanding of how individual GBPs can mediate what currently appears to be a divergent set of functions.
PMCID: PMC3021356  PMID: 21142871
25.  Guanylate-binding protein 1 expression from embryonal endothelial progenitor cells reduces blood vessel density and cellular apoptosis in an axially vascularised tissue-engineered construct 
BMC Biotechnology  2012;12:94.
Guanylate binding protein-1 (GBP-1) is a large GTPase which is actively secreted by endothelial cells. It is a marker and intracellular inhibitor of endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. We previously demonstrated that stable expression of GBP-1 in murine endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) induces their premature differentiation and decreases their migration capacity in vitro and in vivo. The goal of the present study was to assess the antiangiogenic capacity of EPC expressing GBP-1 (GBP-1-EPC) and their impact on blood vessel formation in an axially vascularized 3-D bioartificial construct in vivo.
Functional in vitro testing demonstrated a significant increase in VEGF secretion by GBP-1-EPC after induction of cell differentiation. Undifferentiated GBP-1-EPC, however, did not secrete increased levels of VEGF compared to undifferentiated control EPC expressing an empty vector (EV-EPC). In our In vivo experiments, we generated axially vascularized tissue-engineered 3-D constructs. The new vascular network arises from an arterio-venous loop (AVL) embedded in a fibrin matrix inside a separation chamber. Total surface area of the construct as calculated from cross sections was larger after transplantation of GBP-1-EPC compared to control EV-EPC. This indicated reduced formation of fibrovascular tissue and less resorption of fibrin matrix compared to constructs containing EV-EPC. Most notably, the ratio of blood vessel surface area over total construct surface area in construct cross sections was significantly reduced in the presence of GBP-1-EPC. This indicates a significant reduction of blood vessel density and thereby inhibition of blood vessel formation from the AVL constructs caused by GBP-1. In addition, GBP-1 expressed from EPC significantly reduced cell apoptosis compared to GBP-1-negative controls.
Transgenic EPC expressing the proinflammatory antiangiogenic GTPase GBP-1 can reduce blood vessel density and inhibit apoptosis in a developing bioartificial vascular network and may become a new powerful tool to manipulate angiogenetic processes in tissue engineering and other pathological conditions such as tumour angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3610105  PMID: 23217187
Angiogenesis; Endothelial progenitor cells; Guanylate-binding protein 1; In vivo tissue engineering

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