Mutants of the highly promiscuous lantipeptide synthetase ProcM phosphorylate a wide range of peptides attached to ProcA leader peptides, both in vitro and in E. coli. As such, the ProcM mutants are useful enzymes for the enzymatic preparation of phosphorylated peptides.
Phosphorylation is an abundant post-translational modification involved in a myriad of cell signaling pathways. Herein, we have engineered the class II lantipeptide synthetase ProcM to generate a variety of peptides containing O-phosphoserine (pSer) and O-phosphothreonine (pThr) residues, either in vitro or in vivo.
Pep5 is a 34-amino-acid antimicrobial peptide, produced by Staphylococcus epidermidis 5, that contains the thioether amino acids lanthionine and methyllanthionine, which form three intramolecular ring structures. In addition, two didehydrobutyrines are present in the central part of the lantibiotic and an oxobutyryl residue is located at the N terminus. All rare amino acids are introduced by posttranslational modifications of a ribosomally made precursor peptide. To elucidate the function of the modified residues for the antimicrobial action of Pep5, mutant peptides, in which single modified residues had been eliminated, were produced by site-directed mutagenesis. All of these peptides showed a reduced antimicrobial activity. In addition, those peptides from which the ring structures had been deleted became susceptible to proteolytic digest. This demonstrates that the ring structures serve as stabilizers of conformations essential for activity, e.g., amphiphilicity, as well as for protecting Pep5 against proteases of the producing strains. In addition, residues that could serve as precursors of new modified amino acids in lantibiotics were introduced into the Pep5 precursor peptide. This way, a novel methyllanthionine and a didehydroalanine were inserted into the flexible central part of Pep5, demonstrating that biosynthesis of modified amino acids is feasible by protein engineering and use of the lantibiotic modification system.
a family of antibacterial peptide natural products
characterized by the post-translational installation of the thioether-containing
amino acids lanthionine and methyllanthionine. Until recently, only
a single naturally occurring stereochemical configuration for each
of these cross-links was known. The discovery of lantibiotics with
alternative lanthionine and methyllanthionine stereochemistry has
prompted an investigation of its importance to biological activity.
Here, solid-supported chemical synthesis enabled the total synthesis
of the lantibiotic lacticin 481 and analogues containing cross-links
with non-native stereochemical configurations. Biological evaluation
revealed that these alterations abolished the antibacterial activity
in all of the analogues, revealing the critical importance of the
enzymatically installed stereochemistry for the biological activity
of lacticin 481.
Lantibiotics are post-translationally modified peptide antimicrobial agents that are synthesized with an N-terminal leader sequence and a C-terminal propeptide. Their maturation involves enzymatic dehydration of Ser and Thr residues in the precursor peptide to generate unsaturated amino acids, which react intramolecularly with nearby cysteines to form cyclic thioethers termed lanthionines and methyllanthionines. The role of the leader peptide in lantibiotic biosynthesis has been subject to much speculation. In this study, mutations of conserved residues in the leader sequence of the precursor peptide for lacticin 481 (LctA) did not inhibit dehydration and cyclization by lacticin 481 synthetase (LctM) showing that not one specific residue is essential for these transformations. These amino acids may therefore be conserved in the leader sequence of class II lantibiotics to direct other biosynthetic events, such as proteolysis of the leader peptide or transport of the active compound outside the cell. However, introduction of Pro residues into the leader peptide strongly affected the efficiency of dehydration, consistent with recognition of the secondary structure of the leader peptide by the synthetase. Furthermore, the presence of a hydrophobic residue at the position of Leu-7 appears important for activity. Based on the data in this work and previous studies, a model for the interaction of LctM with LctA is proposed. The current study also showcases the ability to prepare other lantibiotics in the class II lacticin 481 family, including nukacin ISK-1, mutacin II, and ruminococcin A using the lacticin 481 synthetase. Surprisingly, a conserved Glu located in a ring that appears conserved in many class II lantibiotics, including those not belonging to the lacticin 481 subgroup, is not essential for antimicrobial activity of lacticin 481.
Lantibiotic; leader peptide; lacticin 481; mutacin II; nukacin ISK-1
Members of the actinomycete genus Clavibacter are known to produce antimicrobial compounds, but so far none of these compounds has been purified and characterized. We have isolated an antimicrobial peptide, michiganin A, from the tomato pathogen Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis, using ammonium sulfate precipitation followed by cation-exchange and reversed-phase chromatography steps. Upon chemical derivatization of putative dehydrated amino acids and lanthionine bridges by alkaline ethanethiol, Edman degradation yielded sequence information that proved to be sufficient for cloning of the gene by a genome-walking strategy. The mature unmodified peptide consists of 21 amino acids, SSSGWLCTLTIECGTIICACR. All of the threonine residues undergo dehydration, and three of them interact with cysteines via thioether bonds to form methyllanthionine bridges. Michiganin A resembles actagardine, a type B lantibiotic with a known three-dimensional structure, produced by Actinoplanes liguriae, which is a filamentous actinomycete. The DNA sequence of the gene showed that the michiganin A precursor contains an unusual putative signal peptide with no similarity to well-known secretion signals and only very limited similarity to the (only two) available leader peptides of other type B lantibiotics. Michiganin A inhibits the growth of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus, the causal agent of ring rot of potatoes, with MICs in the low nanomolar range. Thus, michiganin A may have some potential in biological control of potato ring rot.
Lantibiotics are small microbial peptide antibiotics that are characterized by the presence of the thioether amino acids lanthionine and methyllanthionine. Lantibiotics possess structural genes which encode inactive prepeptides. During maturation, the prepeptide undergoes posttranslational modifications including the introduction of rare amino acids as lanthionine and methyllanthione as well as the proteolytic removal of the leader. The structural gene (lanA) as well as the other genes which are involved in lantibiotic modification (lanM, lanB, lanC, lanP), regulation (lanR, lanK), export (lanT(P)) and immunity (lanEFG) are organized in biosynthetic gene clusters.
Sequence comparisons in the NCBI database showed that Bacillus licheniformis DSM 13 harbours a putative lantibiotic gene cluster which comprises two structural genes (licA1, licA2) and two modification enzymes (licM1, licM2) in addition to 10 ORFs that show sequence similarities to proteins involved in lantibiotic production. A heat labile antimicrobial activity was detected in the culture supernatant and a heat stabile activity was present in the isopropanol cell wash extract of this strain. In agar well diffusion assays both fractions exhibited slightly different activity spectra against Gram-positive bacteria. In order to demonstrate the connection between the lantibiotic gene cluster and one of the antibacterial activities, two Bacillus licheniformis DSM 13 mutant strains harbouring insertions in the structural genes of the modification enzymes licM1 and licM2 were constructed. These strains were characterized by a loss of activity in the isopropanol extract and substractive MALDI-TOF predicted masses of 3020.6 Da and 3250.6 Da for the active peptides.
In conclusion, B. licheniformis DSM 13 produces an antimicrobial substance that represents the two-peptide lantibiotic lichenicidin and that shows activity against a wide range of Gram-positive bacteria including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains.
Nisin is a lanthionine-containing antimicrobial peptide produced by Lactococcus lactis. Its (methyl)lanthionines are introduced by two posttranslational enzymatic steps involving the dehydratase NisB, which dehydrates serine and threonine residues, and the cyclase NisC, which couples these dehydrated residues to cysteines, yielding thioether-bridged amino acids called lanthionines. The prenisin is subsequently exported by the ABC transporter NisT and extracellularly processed by the peptidase NisP. L. lactis expressing the nisBTC genes can modify and secrete a wide range of nonlantibiotic peptides. Here we demonstrate that in the absence of NisT and NisC, the Sec pathway of L. lactis can be exploited for the secretion of dehydrated variants of therapeutic peptides. Furthermore, posttranslational modifications by NisB and NisC still occur even when the nisin leader is preceded by a Sec signal peptide or a Tat signal peptide 27 or 44 amino acids long, respectively. However, transport of fully modified prenisin via the Sec pathway is impaired. The extent of NisB-mediated dehydration could be improved by raising the intracellular concentration NisB or by modulating the export efficiency through altering the signal sequence. These data demonstrate that besides the traditional lantibiotic transporter NisT, the Sec pathway with an established broad substrate range can be utilized for the improved export of lantibiotic enzyme-modified (poly)peptides.
Lantibiotic synthetases catalyze the dehydration of Ser and Thr residues in their peptide substrates to dehydroalanine (Dha) and dehydrobutyrine (Dha), respectively, followed by the conjugate addition of Cys residues to the Dha and Dhb residues to generate the thioether crosslinks lanthionine and methyllanthionine, respectively. In this study ten conserved residues have been mutated in the dehydratase domain of the best characterized family member, lacticin 481 synthetase (LctM). Mutation of His244 and Tyr408 did not affect dehydration activity with the LctA substrate whereas mutation of Asn247, Glu261, and Glu446 considerably slowed down dehydration and resulted in incomplete conversion. Mutation of Lys159 slowed down both steps of the net dehydration: phosphorylation of Ser/Thr residues and the subsequent phosphate elimination step to form the dehydro amino acids. Mutation of Arg399 to Met or Leu resulted in a mutant that had phosphorylation activity but displayed greatly decreased phosphate elimination activity. The Arg399Lys mutant retained both activities, however. Similarly, the Thr405Ala mutant phosphorylated the LctA substrate but had compromised elimination activity. Finally, mutation of Asp242 or Asp259 to Asn lead to mutant enzymes that lacked detectable dehydration activity. Whereas the Asp242Asn mutant retained phosphate elimination activity, the Asp259Asn mutant was not able to eliminate phosphate from a phosphorylated substrate peptide. A model is presented that accounts for the observed phenotypes of these mutant enzymes.
Lantibiotics; antibiotic; posttranslational modification; kinase; nisin
Lantibiotics are peptide antimicrobial compounds that are characterized by the thioether-bridged amino acids lanthionine and methyllanthionine. For lacticin 481, these structures are installed in a two-step post-translational modification process by a bifunctional enzyme, lacticin 481 synthetase (LctM). LctM catalyzes the dehydration of Ser and Thr residues to generate dehydroalanine or dehydrobutyrine, respectively, and the subsequent intramolecular regio- and stereospecific Michael-type addition of cysteines onto the dehydroamino acids. In this study, semi-synthetic substrates containing nonproteinogenic amino acids were prepared by expressed protein ligation and [3+2]-cycloaddition of azide and alkyne functionalized peptides. LctM demonstrated broad substrate specificity toward substrates containing β-amino acids, D-amino acids, and N-alkyl amino acids (peptoids) in certain regions of its peptide substrate. These findings showcase its promise for use in lantibiotic and peptide engineering applications, whereby nonproteinogenic amino acids may impart improved stability or modulated biological activities. Furthermore, LctM permitted the incorporation of an alkyne-containing amino acid that can be utilized for the site-selective modification of mature lantibiotics and used in target identification.
lantibiotic; antibiotic; post-translational modification; peptoid; peptide ligation
Phosphorylation is an abundant post-translational modification involved in a myriad of eukaryotic cell signaling pathways. Herein, we have engineered the class II lantipeptide synthetase ProcM to generate a variety of peptides containing O-phosphoserine (pS) and O-phosphothreonine (pT) residues, either in vitro or in vivo.
Lantibiotics are small peptide antibiotics that contain the characteristic thioether amino acids lanthionine and methyllanthionine. As ribosomally synthesized peptides, lantibiotics possess biosynthetic gene clusters which contain the structural gene (lanA) as well as the other genes which are involved in lantibiotic modification (lanM, lanB, lanC, lanP), regulation (lanR, lanK), export (lanT(P)) and immunity (lanEFG). The lantibiotic mersacidin is produced by Bacillus sp. HIL Y-85,54728, which is not naturally competent.
The aim of these studies was to test if the production of mersacidin could be transferred to a naturally competent Bacillus strain employing genomic DNA of the producer strain. Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB42 was chosen for these experiments because it already harbors the mersacidin immunity genes. After transfer of the biosynthetic part of the gene cluster by competence transformation, production of active mersacidin was obtained from a plasmid in trans. Furthermore, comparison of several DNA sequences and biochemical testing of B. amyloliquefaciens FZB42 and B. sp. HIL Y-85,54728 showed that the producer strain of mersacidin is a member of the species B. amyloliquefaciens.
The lantibiotic mersacidin can be produced in B. amyloliquefaciens FZB42, which is closely related to the wild type producer strain of mersacidin. The new mersacidin producer strain enables us to use the full potential of the biosynthetic gene cluster for genetic manipulation and downstream modification approaches.
Lantibiotics are a large family of antibacterial peptide
products containing multiple post-translational modifications, including
the thioether structures lanthionine and methyllanthionine. Efforts
to probe structure–activity relationships and engineer improved
pharmacological properties have driven the development of new methods
to produce non-natural analogues of these compounds. In this study,
solid-supported chemical synthesis was used to produce analogues of
the potent lantibiotic epilancin 15X, in order to assess the importance
of several N-terminal post-translational modifications for biological
activity. Surprisingly, substitution of these moieties, including
the unusual N-terminal d-lactyl moiety, resulted in relatively
small changes in the antimicrobial activity and pore-forming ability
of the peptides.
Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified antimicrobial peptides that are characterized by the thioether cross-linked amino acids lanthionine (Lan) and methyllanthionine (MeLan). Cinnamycin is a 19 amino acid lantibiotic that contains one Lan and two MeLan. Cinnamycin also contains an unusual lysinoalanine (Lal) bridge formed from the ε-amino group of lysine 19 and a serine residue at position 6, and an erythro-3-hydroxy-l-aspartic acid resulting from the hydroxylation of l-aspartate at position 15. These modifications are critical in mediating the interactions of cinnamycin with its target, phosphatidylethanolamine. Recently, the cinnamycin biosynthetic gene cluster (cin) from Streptomyces cinnamoneus cinnamoneus DSM 40005 was reported. Herein, we investigated the biosynthetic machinery using both in vitro studies and heterologous expression in Escherichia coli. CinX is an α-ketoglutarate/iron(II)-dependent hydroxylase that carries out the hydroxylation of aspartate 15 of the precursor peptide CinA. In addition, CinM catalyzes dehydration of four Ser and Thr residues and subsequent cyclization of Cys residues to form the three (Me)Lan bridges. The order of the post-translational modifications catalyzed by CinM and CinX is interchangeable in vitro. CinX did not require the leader sequence at the N-terminus of CinA for activity, but the leader peptide was necessary for CinM function. Although CinM dehydrated serine 6, it did not catalyze the formation of Lal. A small protein encoded by cinorf7 is critical for the formation of the cross-link between Lys19 and dehydroalanine 6 as shown by coexpression studies of CinA, CinM, CinX, and Cinorf7 in E. coli.
In this report we present a method to identify functional
lantipeptides. In vitro translation coupled with
an enzyme-free protocol for posttranslational modification allows
preparation of more than 1011 different lanthionine containing
peptides. This diversity can be searched for functional molecules
using mRNA-lantipeptide display. We validated this approach by isolating
binders toward Sortase A, a transamidase which is required for virulence
of Staphylococcus aureus. The interaction of selected
lantipeptides with Sortase A is highly dependent on the presence of
a (2S,6R)-lanthionine in the peptide
and an active conformation of the protein.
Lantibiotics are a class of lanthionine (and/or β-methyllanthionine)-containing peptides with antibioitic activity against Gram-positive bacteria. As part of our research effort directed toward the synthesis and mechanistic study of the lantibiotic peptide mersacidin (1), we report stereoselective syntheses of orthogonally protected β-methylcysteine (β-MeCys) and β-methyllanthionine (β-MeLan), two key nonnatural amino acid components of the mersacidin architecture.
Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide antibiotics containing the characteristic thioether cross-links lanthionine and methyllanthionine. To date, no analogues of lantibiotics that contain nonproteinogenic amino acids have been reported. In this study, in vitro-reconstituted lacticin 481 synthetase was used in conjunction with synthetic peptide substrates containing nonproteinogenic amino acids to generate 11 analogues of lacticin 481. These analogues contained sarcosine and aminocyclopropanoic acid in place of Gly5, d-valine at position 6, 4-cyanoaminobutyric acid in place of Glu13, β3-homoarginine at the position of Asn15, N-butylglycine and β-Ala at Met16, naphthylalanine (Nal) at Trp19, 4-pyridynylalanine (Pal) at Phe21, and homophenylalanine (hPhe) at Phe23. Of these analogues, the Trp19Nal and Phe23hPhe mutants provided zones of inhibition larger than the parent compound in agar diffusion assays against the indicator strains Lactococcus lactis HP and Bacillus subtilis 6633. These two compounds also demonstrated improved MIC values against liquid cultures of L. lactis HP.
The enterococcal cytolysin is a two-component lantibiotic of unknown structure with hemolytic activity that is important for virulence. We prepared cytolysin by co-expression of each precursor peptide with the synthetase CylM in E. coli, and characterized its structure. Surprisingly, cytolysin is the first example of a lantibiotic containing lanthionine and methyllanthionine structures with different stereochemistries in the same peptide, which is determined by the sequence of the substrate peptide.
Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally
modified peptide natural products that contain the thioether structures
lanthionine and methyllanthionine and exert potent antimicrobial activity
against Gram-positive bacteria. At present, detailed modes-of-action
are only known for a small subset of family members. Lacticin 481,
a tricyclic lantibiotic, contains a lipid II binding motif present
in related compounds such as mersacidin and nukacin ISK-1. Here, we
show that lacticin 481 inhibits PBP1b-catalyzed peptidoglycan formation.
Furthermore, we show that changes in potency of analogues of lacticin
481 containing non-proteinogenic amino acids correlate positively
with the potency of inhibition of the transglycosylase activity of
PBP1b. Thus, lipid II is the likely target of lacticin 481, and use
of non-proteinogenic amino acids resulted in stronger inhibition of
the target. Additionally, we demonstrate that lacticin 481 does not
form pores in the membranes of susceptible bacteria, a common mode-of-action
of other lantibiotics.
Lantipeptides are ribosomally synthesized and posttranslationally
modified peptides containing lanthionine and/or labionin structures.
In this study, a novel class III lantipeptide termed catenulipeptin
was discovered from Catenulispora acidiphila DSM
44928, and its biosynthesis was reconstituted in vitro. The multifunctional enzyme AciKC catalyzes both dehydration and
cyclization of its peptide substrate AciA and installs two labionin
structures in catenulipeptin. AciKC shows promiscuity with respect
to cosubstrate and accepts all four NTPs. The C-terminal domain of
AciKC is responsible for the labionin formation in catenulipeptin.
The cyclase activity of AciKC requires the leader peptide of AciA
substrate but does not require ATP or Zn2+. Mutagenesis
studies suggest that the labionin cyclization may proceed in a C-to-N-terminal
direction. Catenulipeptin partially restores aerial hyphae growth
when applied to surfactin-treated Streptomyces coelicolor.
Gallidermin (Gdm) and epidermin (Epi) are highly homologous tetracyclic polypeptide antibiotics that are ribosomally synthesized by a Staphylococcus gallinarum strain and a Staphylococcus epidermidis strain, respectively. These antibiotics are secreted into media and are distinguished by the presence of the unusual amino acids lanthionine, 3-methyllanthionine, didehydrobutyrine, and S-(2-aminovinyl)-D-cysteine, which are formed by posttranslational modification. To study the substrate specificities of the modifying enzymes and to obtain variants that exhibit altered or new biological activities, we changed certain amino acids by performing site-specific mutagenesis with the Gdm and Epi structural genes (gdmA and epiA, respectively). S. epidermidis Tü3298/EMS6, an epiA mutant of the Epi-producing strain, was used as the expression host. This mutant synthesized Epi, Gdm, or analogs of these antibiotics when the appropriate genes were introduced on a plasmid. No Epi or Gdm analogs were isolated from the supernatant when (i) hydroxyamino acids involved in thioether amino acid formation were replaced by nonhydroxyamino acids (S3N and S19A); (ii) C residues involved in thioether bridging were deleted (delta C21, C22 and delta C22); or (iii) a ring amino acid was replaced by an amino acid having a completely different character (G10E and Y20G). A strong decrease in production was observed when S residues involved in thioether amino acid formation were replaced by T residues (S16T and S19T). A number of conservative changes at positions 6, 12, and 14 on the Gdm backbone were tolerated and led to analogs that had altered biological properties, such as enhanced antimicrobial activity (L6V) or a remarkable resistance to proteolytic degradation (A12L and Dhb14P). The T14S substitution led to simultaneous production of two Gdm species formed by incomplete posttranslational modification (dehydration) of the S-14 residue. The fully modified Dhb14Dha analog exhibited antimicrobial activity similar to that of Gdm, whereas the Dhb14S analog was less active. Both peptides were more sensitive to tryptic cleavage than Gdm was.
ProPortal (http://proportal.mit.edu/) is a database containing genomic, metagenomic, transcriptomic and field data for the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus. Our goal is to provide a source of cross-referenced data across multiple scales of biological organization—from the genome to the ecosystem—embracing the full diversity of ecotypic variation within this microbial taxon, its sister group, Synechococcus and phage that infect them. The site currently contains the genomes of 13 Prochlorococcus strains, 11 Synechococcus strains and 28 cyanophage strains that infect one or both groups. Cyanobacterial and cyanophage genes are clustered into orthologous groups that can be accessed by keyword search or through a genome browser. Users can also identify orthologous gene clusters shared by cyanobacterial and cyanophage genomes. Gene expression data for Prochlorococcus ecotypes MED4 and MIT9313 allow users to identify genes that are up or downregulated in response to environmental stressors. In addition, the transcriptome in synchronized cells grown on a 24-h light–dark cycle reveals the choreography of gene expression in cells in a ‘natural’ state. Metagenomic sequences from the Global Ocean Survey from Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus and phage genomes are archived so users can examine the differences between populations from diverse habitats. Finally, an example of cyanobacterial population data from the field is included.
Identification of a new class of lanthionine synthetases provides insight into the mechanism and evolution of cyclic peptide biosynthesis.
Lantibiotic synthetases are remarkable biocatalysts generating conformationally constrained peptides with a variety of biological activities by repeatedly utilizing two simple posttranslational modification reactions: dehydration of Ser/Thr residues and intramolecular addition of Cys thiols to the resulting dehydro amino acids. Since previously reported lantibiotic synthetases show no apparent homology with any other known protein families, the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary origin of these enzymes are unknown. In this study, we present a novel class of lanthionine synthetases, termed LanL, that consist of three distinct catalytic domains and demonstrate in vitro enzyme activity of a family member from Streptomyces venezuelae. Analysis of individually expressed and purified domains shows that LanL enzymes install dehydroamino acids via phosphorylation of Ser/Thr residues by a protein kinase domain and subsequent elimination of the phosphate by a phosphoSer/Thr lyase domain. The latter has sequence homology with the phosphothreonine lyases found in various pathogenic bacteria that inactivate host mitogen activated protein kinases. A LanC-like cyclase domain then catalyzes the addition of Cys residues to the dehydro amino acids to form the characteristic thioether rings. We propose that LanL enzymes have evolved from stand-alone protein Ser/Thr kinases, phosphoSer/Thr lyases, and enzymes catalyzing thiol alkylation. We also demonstrate that the genes for all three pathways to lanthionine-containing peptides are widespread in Nature. Given the remarkable efficiency of formation of lanthionine-containing polycyclic peptides and the latter's high degree of specificity for their cognate cellular targets, it is perhaps not surprising that (at least) three distinct families of polypeptide sequences have evolved to access this structurally and functionally diverse class of compounds.
Many bacteria generate cyclic peptides, which have improved biological activities compared to linear peptides, including higher stability. Lanthionine-containing peptides are one such group, and different members of this group have antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral activities. For example, one lanthionine-containing peptide called nisin has been used to protect food items from harmful bacteria. Two different pathways for the biosynthesis of lanthionine-containing peptides have been described previously. By comparing the DNA sequences of bacterial genomes we reveal a third biosynthetic route that provides further insight into how the biosynthetic pathways for these cyclic peptides have evolved. We characterized the novel lanthionine synthetase utilized in this third pathway in the soil bacterium Streptomyces venezuelae and show that the purified enzyme catalyzes the chemical reactions necessary to turn a linear peptide into a peptide with multiple rings. The discovery of this third biosynthetic pathway widens the scope for the engineering of new lanthionine-containing peptides for potential use in human therapeutics.
A new lanthionine-containing bacteriocin, variacin, displaying a broad host range of inhibition against gram-positive food spoilage bacteria, has been identified from two strains of Micrococcus varians isolated from meat fermentations. The new bacteriocin was purified, and its amino-terminal end and total amino acid composition were determined. The structural gene was isolated and analyzed. Variacin is resistant to heat and pH conditions from 2 to 10. Its primary sequence shows significant homology to lacticin 481 to Lactococcus lactis, which is more pronounced for the probacteriocin than for the leader sequence. Variacin, like lacticin 481, contains lanthionine and beta-methyllanthionine residues, but its leader sequence clearly resembles nonlantibiotic leader sequences. In particular, the prepeptide contains glycine residues at positions -1 and -2 of the processing site.
Non-coding RNAs (ncRNA) are regulators of gene expression in all domains of life. They control growth and differentiation, virulence, motility and various stress responses. The identification of ncRNAs can be a tedious process due to the heterogeneous nature of this molecule class and the missing sequence similarity of orthologs, even among closely related species. The small ncRNA Yfr1 has previously been found in the Prochlorococcus/Synechococcus group of marine cyanobacteria.
Here we show that screening available genome sequences based on an RNA motif and followed by experimental analysis works successfully in detecting this RNA in all lineages of cyanobacteria. Yfr1 is an abundant ncRNA between 54 and 69 nt in size that is ubiquitous for cyanobacteria except for two low light-adapted strains of Prochlorococcus, MIT 9211 and SS120, in which it must have been lost secondarily. Yfr1 consists of two predicted stem-loop elements separated by an unpaired sequence of 16–20 nucleotides containing the ultraconserved undecanucleotide 5'-ACUCCUCACAC-3'.
Starting with an ncRNA previously found in a narrow group of cyanobacteria only, we show here the highly specific and sensitive identification of its homologs within all lineages of cyanobacteria, whereas it was not detected within the genome sequences of E. coli and of 7 other eubacteria belonging to the alpha-proteobacteria, chlorobiaceae and spirochaete. The integration of RNA motif prediction into computational pipelines for the detection of ncRNAs in bacteria appears as a promising step to improve the quality of such predictions.
Metal-dependent superoxide dismutases (SODs) with a specific requirement for a manganese or iron ion for catalytic activity and copper- and zinc-dependent enzymes are essential for detoxification of superoxide anion radicals. Genome sequence analyses predict the existence of a nickel-dependent enzyme (NiSOD) as the unique SOD in oxygen-evolving marine cyanobacteria. NiSOD activity was observed in Escherichia coli when sodN and sodX (encoding a putative peptidase) from Prochlorococcus marinus MIT9313 were coexpressed.