The degQ gene of Bacillus subtilis (natto), encoding a small peptide of 46 amino acids, is essential for the synthesis of extracellular poly-gamma-glutamate (γPGA). To elucidate the role of DegQ in γPGA synthesis, we knocked out the degQ gene in Bacillus subtilis (natto) and screened for suppressor mutations that restored γPGA synthesis in the absence of DegQ. Suppressor mutations were found in degS, the receptor kinase gene of the DegS-DegU two-component system. Recombinant DegS-His6 mutant proteins were expressed in Escherichia coli cells and subjected to an in vitro phosphorylation assay. Compared with the wild type, mutant DegS-His6 proteins showed higher levels of autophosphorylation (R208Q, M195I, L248F, and D250N), reduced autodephosphorylation (D250N), reduced phosphatase activity toward DegU, or a reduced ability to stimulate the autodephosphorylation activity of DegU (R208Q, D249G, M195I, L248F, and D250N) and stabilized DegU in the phosphorylated form. These mutant DegS proteins mimic the effect of DegQ on wild-type DegSU in vitro. Interestingly, DegQ stabilizes phosphorylated DegS only in the presence of DegU, indicating a complex interaction of these three proteins.
Poly-γ-glutamate hydrolase from bacteriophage ΦNIT1 was crystallized by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method and the crystals diffracted to beyond 2.4 Å resolution.
Particular Bacillus subtilis strains produce a capsular polypeptide poly-γ-glutamate (γ-PGA) that functions as a physical barrier against bacteriophage infection. Bacteriophage ΦNIT1 can infect B. subtilis and produces a novel γ-PGA hydrolase PghP. PghP was overexpressed, purified and crystallized by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals diffracted to a resolution of 2.4 Å using a synchrotron X-ray source and were found to belong to space group P3121 or P3221.
poly-γ-glutamic acid; bacteriophage ΦNIT1; Bacillus subtilis; hydrolases
The peptidoglycan of Selenomonas ruminantium is covalently bound to cadaverine (PG-cadaverine), which likely plays a significant role in maintaining the integrity of the cell surface structure. The outer membrane of this bacterium contains a 45-kDa major protein (Mep45) that is a putative peptidoglycan-associated protein. In this report, we determined the nucleotide sequence of the mep45 gene and investigated the relationship between PG-cadaverine, Mep45, and the cell surface structure. Amino acid sequence analysis showed that Mep45 is comprised of an N-terminal S-layer-homologous (SLH) domain followed by α-helical coiled-coil region and a C-terminal β-strand-rich region. The N-terminal SLH domain was found to be protruding into the periplasmic space and was responsible for binding to peptidoglycan. It was determined that Mep45 binds to the peptidoglycan in a manner dependent on the presence of PG-cadaverine. Electron microscopy revealed that defective PG-cadaverine decreased the structural interactions between peptidoglycan and the outer membrane, consistent with the proposed role for PG-cadaverine. The C-terminal β-strand-rich region of Mep45 was predicted to be a membrane-bound unit of the 14-stranded β-barrel structure. Here we propose that PG-cadaverine possesses functional importance to facilitate the structural linkage between peptidoglycan and the outer membrane via specific interaction with the SLH domain of Mep45.
Homodimerization is an essential step for membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) to activate proMMP-2 and to degrade collagen on the cell surface. To uncover the molecular basis of the hemopexin (Hpx) domain-driven dimerization of MT1-MMP, a crystal structure of the Hpx domain was solved at 1.7 Å resolution. Two interactions were identified as potential biological dimer interfaces in the crystal structure, and mutagenesis studies revealed that the biological dimer possesses a symmetrical interaction where blades II and III of molecule A interact with blades III and II of molecule B. The mutations of amino acids involved in the interaction weakened the dimer interaction of Hpx domains in solution, and incorporation of these mutations into the full-length enzyme significantly inhibited dimer-dependent functions on the cell surface, including proMMP-2 activation, collagen degradation, and invasion into the three-dimensional collagen matrix, whereas dimer-independent functions, including gelatin film degradation and two-dimensional cell migration, were not affected. These results shed light on the structural basis of MT1-MMP dimerization that is crucial to promote cellular invasion.
Cell Migration; Cell Surface Enzymes; Extracellular Matrix; Matrix Metalloproteinase; Protease
Paenibacillus sp. W-61 is capable of utilizing water-insoluble xylan for carbon and energy sources and has three xylanase genes, xyn1, xyn3, and xyn5. Xyn1, Xyn3, and Xyn5 are extracellular enzymes of the glycoside hydrolase (GH) families 11, 30, and 10, respectively. Xyn5 contains several domains including those of carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) similar to a surface-layer homologous (SLH) protein. This study focused on the role of Xyn5, localized on the cell surface, in water-insoluble xylan utilization. Electron microscopy using immunogold staining revealed Xyn5 clusters over the entire cell surface. Xyn5 was bound to cell wall fractions through its SLH domain. A Δxyn5 mutant grew poorly and produced minimal amounts of Xyn1 and Xyn3 on water-insoluble xylan. A Xyn5 mutant lacking the SLH domain (Xyn5ΔSLH) grew poorly, secreting Xyn5ΔSLH into the medium and producing minimal Xyn1 and Xyn3 on water-insoluble xylan. A mutant with an intact xyn5 produced Xyn5 on the cell surface, grew normally, and actively synthesized Xyn1 and Xyn3 on water-insoluble xylan. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR showed that xylobiose, generated from water-insoluble xylan decomposition by Xyn5, is the most active inducer for xyn1 and xyn3. Luciferase assays using a Xyn5-luciferase fusion protein suggested that xylotriose is the best inducer for xyn5. The cell surface Xyn5 appears to play two essential roles in water-insoluble xylan utilization: (i) generation of the xylo-oligosaccharide inducers of all the xyn genes from water-insoluble xylan and (ii) attachment of the cells to the substrate so that the generated inducers can be immediately taken up by cells to activate expression of the xyn system.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a group of metalloendopeptidases whose major role is in extracellular matrix (ECM) catabolism under physiological and pathological conditions. ECM catabolism is often associated with different diseases, and accumulated studies support the causal relationship between MMPs and different diseases especially with cancer and arthritis. Therefore, MMPs have been considered as therapeutic target molecules. However, multiple failures of MMP inhibitor drugs in clinical trials from late 1990s to early 2000s resulted in the consideration that wide inhibitory spectrum inhibitors of metalloproteinases may not be desirable for treatment of diseases. On the other hand developing low molecular weight selective inhibitor(s) targeting the active site is not a very easy task. One way to overcome this problem is to develop biologic inhibitors, namely antibodies. In this patent application, Dyax Corp reported that a binding protein (such as an antibody) against metalloproteinases, especially membrane-type 1 MMP (MMP-14) can be used as a therapeutic drug against different diseases including cancer. They succeeded in generating a selective MMP-14 inhibitory antibody with a Ki of 0.6 nM, which showed significant suppression of different tumour growth in mice. Further development of such an antibody as a drug may fulfil an unmet area of disease treatment targeting uncontrolled cell invasion and tissue destruction.
Matrix metalloproteinase; MMP; MT1-MMP; antibody; Phage display
A hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is invasion of the synovial pannus into cartilage and this step requires degradation of the collagen matrix. The aim of this study was to explore the role of one of the collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), membrane-type 1 MMP (MT1-MMP), in synovial pannus invasiveness.
Expression and localization of MT1-MMP in human RA pannus were investigated by Western blot analysis of primary synovial cells and immunohistochemistry of RA joints specimens. The functional role of MT1-MMP was analyzed by 3D collagen invasion assays and a cartilage invasion assay in the presence or absence of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, TIMP-2, or GM6001. The effect of adenoviral expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP construct lacking a catalytic domain was also examined.
MT1-MMP was highly expressed at the pannus-cartilage junction of RA joints. Freshly isolated rheumatoid synovial tissues and isolated RA synovial fibroblasts invaded into a 3D collagen matrix in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. Invasion was blocked by TIMP-2 and GM6001, but not by TIMP-1. It was also inhibited by the over-expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP which inhibits collagenolytic activity and proMMP-2 activation by MT1-MMP on the cell surface. Synovial fibroblasts also invaded into cartilage in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. This process was further enhanced by removing aggrecan from the cartilage matrix.
MT1-MMP is an essential collagen-degrading proteinase during pannus invasion in human RA. Specific inhibition of MT1-MMP-dependent invasion may form a novel therapeutic strategy for RA.
MT1-MMP; synovial pannus; rheumatoid arthritis
Paenibacillus sp. strain W-61, which can utilize xylan as the sole source of carbon and energy, produces extracellular xylanases 1 and 3 (Xyn1 and Xyn3) and cell surface xylanase 5. In this study we found that lppX, immediately downstream of xyn1, encodes a lipoprotein located on the outer layer of the cytoplasmic membrane and that the LppX lipoprotein is essential for the secretion of active Xyn1 across the cytoplasmic membranes. In Escherichia coli, wild-type LppX was destined for the inner layer of the outer membrane. Mutant LppX(C19A), in which Cys-19, a possible lipomodification residue, is replaced with Ala, was located in the periplasm without being anchored to the membranes. Another mutant, LppX(S20D S21D), with substitutions of Asp for Ser-20 and Ser-21 (conversion to an Asp-Asp signal for sorting to the inner membrane), resided on the outer layer of the inner membrane, demonstrating that LppX has the sorting property of a lipoprotein. E. coli harboring both xyn1 and lppX secreted active Xyn1 into the periplasm. In contrast, E. coli carrying xyn1 alone failed to do so, accumulating inactive Xyn1 in the cytoplasmic membranes. Exogenous LppX(C19A) liberated the inactive Xyn1, which had been stagnating in the inner membrane, into the medium as an active enzyme. Thus, we propose that LppX is a novel type of lipoprotein that assists Xyn1 in making the proper fold necessary for traveling across the cytoplasmic membranes to be secreted as an active enzyme.
Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum strain Er simultaneously produces the phage tail-like bacteriocin carotovoricin (Ctv) and pectin lyase (Pnl) in response to DNA-damaging agents. The regulatory protein RdgB of the Mor/C family of proteins activates transcription of pnl through binding to the promoter. However, the optimal temperature for the synthesis of Ctv (23°C) differs from that for synthesis of Pnl (30°C), raising the question of whether RdgB directly activates ctv transcription. Here we report that RdgB directly regulates Ctv synthesis. Gel mobility shift assays demonstrated RdgB binding to the P0, P1, and P2 promoters of the ctv operons, and DNase I footprinting determined RdgB-binding sequences (RdgB boxes) on these and on the pnl promoters. The RdgB box of the pnl promoter included a perfect 7-bp inverted repeat with high binding affinity to the regulator (Kd [dissociation constant] = 150 nM). In contrast, RdgB boxes of the ctv promoters contained an imperfect inverted repeat with two or three mismatches that consequently reduced binding affinity (Kd = 250 to 350 nM). Transcription of the rdgB and ctv genes was about doubled at 23°C compared with that at 30°C. In contrast, the amount of pnl transcription tripled at 30°C. Thus, the inverse synthesis of Ctv and Pnl as a function of temperature is apparently controlled at the transcriptional level, and reduced rdgB expression at 30°C obviously affected transcription from the ctv promoters with low-affinity RdgB boxes. Pathogenicity toward potato tubers was reduced in an rdgB knockout mutant, suggesting that the RdgAB system contributes to the pathogenicity of this bacterium, probably by activating pnl expression.
The poly-γ-d-glutamic acid capsule confers antiphagocytic properties on Bacillus anthracis and is essential for virulence. In this study, we showed that CapD, a γ-polyglutamic acid depolymerase encoded on the B. anthracis capsule plasmid, degraded purified capsule and removed the capsule from the surface of anthrax bacilli. Treatment with CapD induced macrophage phagocytosis of encapsulated B. anthracis and enabled human neutrophils to kill encapsulated organisms. A second glutamylase, PghP, a γ-polyglutamic acid hydrolase encoded by Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage ΦNIT1, had minimal activity in degrading B. anthracis capsule, no effect on macrophage phagocytosis, and only minimal enhancement of neutrophil killing. Thus, the levels of both phagocytosis and killing corresponded to the degree of enzyme-mediated capsule degradation. The use of enzymes to degrade the capsule and enable phagocytic killing of B. anthracis offers a new approach to the therapy of anthrax.
Pericellular degradation of interstitial collagens is a crucial event for cells to migrate through the dense connective tissue matrices, where collagens exist as insoluble fibers. A key proteinase that participates in this process is considered to be membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP or MMP-14), but little is known about the mechanism by which it cleaves the insoluble collagen. Here we report that homodimerization of MT1-MMP through its hemopexin (Hpx) domain is essential for cleaving type I collagen fibers at the cell surface. When dimerization was blocked by coexpressing either a membrane-bound or a soluble form of the Hpx domain, cell surface collagenolytic activity was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner. When MMP-13, a soluble collagenase active as a monomer in solution, was expressed as a membrane-anchored form on the cell surface, homodimerization was also required to cleave collagen. Our results introduce a new concept in that pericellular collagenolysis is regulated by correct molecular assembly of the membrane-anchored collagenase, thereby governing the directionality of the cell to migrate in tissue.
Some Bacillus subtilis strains, including natto (fermented soybeans) starter strains, produce a capsular polypeptide of glutamate with a γ-linkage, called poly-γ-glutamate (γ-PGA). We identified and purified a monomeric 25-kDa degradation enzyme for γ-PGA (designated γ-PGA hydrolase, PghP) from bacteriophage ΦNIT1 in B. subtilis host cells. The monomeric PghP internally hydrolyzed γ-PGA to oligopeptides, which were then specifically converted to tri-, tetra-, and penta-γ-glutamates. Monoiodoacetate and EDTA both inhibited the PghP activity, but Zn2+ or Mn2+ ions fully restored the enzyme activity inhibited by the chelator, suggesting that a cysteine residue(s) and these metal ions participate in the catalytic mechanism of the enzyme. The corresponding pghP gene was cloned and sequenced from the phage genome. The deduced PghP sequence (208 amino acids) with a calculated Mr of 22,939 was not significantly similar to any known enzyme. Thus, PghP is a novel γ-glutamyl hydrolase. Whereas phage ΦNIT1 proliferated in B. subtilis cells encapsulated with γ-PGA, phage BS5 lacking PghP did not survive well on such cells. Moreover, all nine phages that contaminated natto during fermentation produced PghP, supporting the notion that PghP is important in the infection of natto starters that produce γ-PGA. Analogous to polysaccharide capsules, γ-PGA appears to serve as a physical barrier to phage absorption. Phages break down the γ-PGA barrier via PghP so that phage progenies can easily establish infection in encapsulated cells.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 utilizes proline as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen via a bifunctional enzyme (the putA gene product) that has both proline dehydrogenase (EC 126.96.36.199) and pyrroline 5-carboxylate dehydrogenase (EC 188.8.131.52) activities. We characterized the pruR-putAP loci encoding the proline catabolic system of this strain. In contrast to the putA and putP (encoding proline permease) genes of other gram- negative bacteria, which are located at divergent or separate loci, Northern blotting demonstrated that the two genes form an operon in strain PAO1. While the phylogenetic lineage of the PutP protein of strain PAO1 was related to that of the origin (80% identity to the P. putida counterpart), PutA of PAO1 (PutAPAO) was rather distantly related (47% identity) to the P. putida counterpart. Moreover, unlike the PutA proteins of P. putida and enteric bacteria, PutAPAO appeared to lack a regulatory function. Upstream of the putAP operon, the divergent PA0781 gene specified a hypothetical outer membrane protein with a molecular weight of 74,202. This gene appeared to be dispensable for proline utilization as indicated by the normal growth of a knockout mutant of PA0781 on medium containing proline. The pruR (proline utilization regulator) gene immediately upstream of PA0781 encoded a transcriptional activator of the AraC/XylS protein family and mediated the proline-responsive expression of putAP. Primer extension studies identified a PruR-dependent promoter responsive to proline in the 5′-flanking region of putA. Thus, the proline utilization system of P. aeruginosa differs from that of P. putida with respect to putA structure, the organization of the putAP genes, and the regulatory mechanism of putA expression.
A multiple-gene locus for polyamine uptake and utilization was discovered in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. This locus contained nine genes designated spuABCDEFGHI (spu for spermidine and putrescine utilization). The physiological functions of the spu genes in utilization of two polyamines (putrescine and spermidine) were analyzed by using Tn5 transposon-mediated spu knockout mutants. Growth and uptake experiments support that the spuDEFGH genes specify components of a major ABC-type transport system for spermidine uptake, and enzymatic measurements indicated that spuC encodes putrescine aminotransferase with pyruvate as the amino group receptor. Although spuA and spuB mutants showed an apparent defect in spermidine utilization, the biochemical functions of the gene products have yet to be elucidated. Assays of lacZ fusions demonstrated the presence of agmatine-, putrescine-, and spermidine-inducible promoters for the spuABCDEFGH operon and the divergently transcribed spuI gene of unknown function. Since the observed induction effect of agmatine was abolished in an aguA mutant where conversion of agmatine into putrescine was blocked, putrescine or spermidine, but not agmatine, serves as the inducer molecule of the spuA-spuI divergent promoters. S1 nuclease mappings confirmed further the induction effects of the polyamines on transcription of the divergent promoters and localized the transcription initiation sites. Gel retardation assays with extracts from the cells grown on putrescine or spermidine demonstrated the presence of a polyamine-responsive regulatory protein interacting with the divergent promoter region. Finally, the absence of the putrescine-inducible spuA expression and putrescine aminotransferase (spuC) formation in the cbrB mutant indicated that the spu operons are regulated by the global CbrAB two-component system perhaps via the putative polyamine-responsive transcriptional activator.
Membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is an integral membrane proteinase that degrades the pericellular extracellular matrix (ECM) and is expressed in many migratory cells, including invasive cancer cells. MT1-MMP has been shown to localize at the migration edge and to promote cell migration; however, it is not clear how the enzyme is regulated during the migration process. Here, we report that MT1-MMP is internalized from the surface and that this event depends on the sequence of its cytoplasmic tail. Di-leucine (Leu571–572 and Leu578–579) and tyrosine573 residues are important for the internalization, and the μ2 subunit of adaptor protein 2, a component of clathrin-coated pits for membrane protein internalization, was found to bind to the LLY573 sequence. MT1-MMP was internalized predominantly at the adherent edge and was found to colocalize with clathrin-coated vesicles. The mutations that disturb internalization caused accumulation of the enzyme at the adherent edge, though the net proteolytic activity was not affected much. Interestingly, whereas expression of MT1-MMP enhances cell migration and invasion, the internalization-defective mutants failed to promote either activity. These data indicate that dynamic turnover of MT1-MMP at the migration edge by internalization is important for proper enzyme function during cell migration and invasion.
MT-MMP; metalloproteinase; internalization; invasion; migration
The arginine dehydrogenase (or oxidase) pathway catabolically converts arginine to succinate via 2-ketoglutarate and 4-guanidinobutyrate (4-GB) with the concomitant formation of CO2 and urea. Guanidinobutyrase (GBase; EC 184.108.40.206) catalyzes the conversion of 4-guanidinobutyrate to 4-aminobutyrate and urea in this pathway. We investigated the structure and regulation of the gene for GBase (designated gbuA) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 and characterized the gbuA product. The gbuA and the adjacent gbuR genes were cloned by functional complementation of a gbuA9005 mutant of strain PAO1 defective in 4-GB utilization. The deduced amino acid sequence of GbuA (319 amino acids; Mr 34,695) assigned GBase to the arginase/agmatinase family of C-N hydrolases. Purified GbuA was a homotetramer of 140 kDa that catalyzed the specific hydrolysis of 4-GB with Km and Kcat values of 49 mM and 1,012 s−1, respectively. The divergent gbuR gene, which shared the intergenic promoter region of 206 bp with gbuA, encoded a putative regulatory protein (297 amino acids; Mr 33,385) homologous to the LysR family of proteins. Insertional inactivation of gbuR by a gentamicin resistance cassette caused a defect in 4-GB utilization. GBase and gbuA′::′lacZ fusion assays demonstrated that this gbuR mutation abolishes the inducible expression of gbuA by exogenous 4-GB, indicating that GbuR participates in the regulation of this gene. Northern blotting located an inducible promoter for gbuA in the intergenic region, and primer extension localized the transcription start site of this promoter at 40 bp upstream from the initiation codon of gbuA. The gbuRA genes at the genomic map position of 1547000 are unlinked to the 2-ketoarginine utilization gene kauB at 5983000, indicative of at least two separate genetic units involved in the arginine dehydrogenase pathway.
Migratory cells including invasive tumor cells frequently express CD44, a major receptor for hyaluronan and membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) that degrades extracellular matrix at the pericellular region. In this study, we demonstrate that MT1-MMP acts as a processing enzyme for CD44H, releasing it into the medium as a soluble 70-kD fragment. Furthermore, this processing event stimulates cell motility; however, expression of either CD44H or MT1-MMP alone did not stimulate cell motility. Coexpression of MT1-MMP and mutant CD44H lacking the MT1-MMP–processing site did not result in shedding and did not promote cell migration, suggesting that the processing of CD44H by MT1-MMP is critical in the migratory stimulation. Moreover, expression of the mutant CD44H inhibited the cell migration promoted by CD44H and MT1-MMP in a dominant-negative manner. The pancreatic tumor cell line, MIA PaCa-2, was found to shed the 70-kD CD44H fragment in a MT1-MMP–dependent manner. Expression of the mutant CD44H in the cells as well as MMP inhibitor treatment effectively inhibited the migration, suggesting that MIA PaCa-2 cells indeed use the CD44H and MT1-MMP as migratory devices. These findings revealed a novel interaction of the two molecules that have each been implicated in tumor cell migration and invasion.
MT-MMP; metalloproteinase; motility; CD44; invasion and metastasis
Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 utilizes agmatine as the sole carbon and nitrogen source via two reactions catalyzed successively by agmatine deiminase (encoded by aguA; also called agmatine iminohydrolase) and N-carbamoylputrescine amidohydrolase (encoded by aguB). The aguBA and adjacent aguR genes were cloned and characterized. The predicted AguB protein (Mr 32,759; 292 amino acids) displayed sequence similarity (≤60% identity) to enzymes of the β-alanine synthase/nitrilase family. While the deduced AguA protein (Mr 41,190; 368 amino acids) showed no significant similarity to any protein of known function, assignment of agmatine deiminase to AguA in this report discovered a new family of carbon-nitrogen hydrolases widely distributed in organisms ranging from bacteria to Arabidopsis. The aguR gene encoded a putative regulatory protein (Mr 24,424; 221 amino acids) of the TetR protein family. Measurements of agmatine deiminase and N-carbamoylputrescine amidohydrolase activities indicated the induction effect of agmatine and N-carbamoylputrescine on expression of the aguBA operon. The presence of an inducible promoter for the aguBA operon in the aguR-aguB intergenic region was demonstrated by lacZ fusion experiments, and the transcription start of this promoter was localized 99 bp upstream from the initiation codon of aguB by S1 nuclease mapping. Experiments with knockout mutants of aguR established that expression of the aguBA operon became constitutive in the aguR background. Interaction of AguR overproduced in Escherichia coli with the aguBA regulatory region was demonstrated by gel retardation assays, supporting the hypothesis that AguR serves as the negative regulator of the aguBA operon, and binding of agmatine and N-carbamoylputrescine to AguR would antagonize its repressor function.
Certain Bacillus subtilis strains, such as B. subtilis (natto) starter strains for the manufacture of natto (fermented soybeans), produce capsular poly-γ-glutamate (γPGA). In B. subtilis (natto), γPGA synthesis is controlled by the ComP-ComA two-component regulatory system and thereby induced at the beginning of the stationary growth phase. We have found a new insertion sequence (IS), designated IS4Bsu1, in the comP gene of a spontaneous γPGA-negative mutant of B. subtilis (natto) NAF4. IS4Bsu1 (1,406 bp), the first IS discovered in B. subtilis, encodes a putative transposase (Tpase) with a predicted Mr of 34,895 (374 residues) which displays similarity to the Tpases of IS4 family members. Southern blot analyses have identified 6 to 11 copies of IS4Bsu1, among which 6 copies were at the same loci, in the chromosomes of B. subtilis (natto) strains, including NAF4, three commercial starters, and another three γPGA-producing B. subtilis (natto) strains. All of the eight spontaneous γPGA− mutants, which were derived from five independent NAF4 cultures, had a new additional IS4Bsu1 copy in comP at six different positions within 600 bp of the 5′-terminal region. The target sites of IS4Bsu1 were determined to be AT-rich 9-bp sequences by sequencing the flanking regions of IS4Bsu1 in mutant comP genes. These results indicate that IS4Bsu1 transposes by the replicative mechanism, in contrast to other IS4 members that use the conservative mechanism, and that most, if not all, of spontaneous γPGA− mutants appear to have resulted from the insertion of IS4Bsu1 exclusively into comP. The presence of insertion hot spots in comP, which is essential for γPGA synthesis, as well as high transposition activity, would account for the high frequency of spontaneous γPGA− mutation by IS4Bsu1 in B. subtilis (natto).
The complete nucleotide sequence for the aot operon of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 was determined. This operon contains six open reading frames. The derived sequences for four of these, aotJ, aotQ, aotM, and aotP, show high similarity to those of components of the periplasmic binding protein-dependent ABC (ATP binding cassette) transporters of enteric bacteria. Transport studies with deletion derivatives established that these four genes function in arginine-inducible uptake of arginine and ornithine but not lysine. The aotO gene, which encodes a polypeptide with no significant similarity to any known proteins, is not essential for arginine and ornithine uptake. The sixth and terminal gene in the operon encodes ArgR, which has been recently shown to function in regulation of arginine metabolism. Studies with an aotJ::lacZ translational fusion showed that expression of the aot operon is strongly induced by arginine and that this effect is mediated by ArgR. S1 nuclease and primer extension experiments showed the presence of two promoters, P1 and P2. The downstream promoter, P2, is induced by arginine and appears to be subject to carbon catabolite repression. The upstream promoter, P1, is induced by glutamate. Footprinting experiments established the presence of a 44-bp ArgR binding site that overlaps the −35 region for P2, as was shown to be the case for the arginine-inducible aru promoter, and the −10 region for P1, as was shown to be the case for arginine-repressible operons in P. aeruginosa. Sequence alignment confirms the architecture and the consensus sequence of the ArgR binding sites, as was previously reported.