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1.  Genetic Identification of a High-Affinity Ni Transporter and the Transcriptional Response to Ni Deprivation in Synechococcus sp. Strain WH8102 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(22):7822-7832.
One biological need for Ni in marine cyanobacteria stems from the utilization of the Ni metalloenzyme urease for the assimilation of urea as a nitrogen source. In many of the same cyanobacteria, including Synechococcus sp. strain WH8102, an additional and obligate nutrient requirement for Ni results from usage of a Ni superoxide dismutase (Ni-SOD), which is encoded by sodN. To better understand the effects of Ni deprivation on WH8102, parallel microarray-based analysis of gene expression and gene knockout experiments were conducted. The global transcriptional response to Ni deprivation depends upon the nitrogen source provided for growth; fewer than 1% of differentially expressed genes for Ni deprivation on ammonium or urea were concordantly expressed. Surprisingly, genes for putative Ni transporters, including one colocalized on the genome with sodN, sodT, were not induced despite an increase in Ni transport. Knockouts of the putative Ni transporter gene sodT appeared to be lethal in WH8102, so the genes for sodT and sodN in WH8102 were interrupted with the gene for Fe-SOD, sodB, and its promoter from Synechococcus sp. strain WH7803. The sodT::sodB exconjugants were unable to grow at low Ni concentrations, confirming that SodT is a Ni transporter. The sodN::sodB exconjugants displayed higher growth rates at low Ni concentrations than did the wild type, presumably due to a relaxed competition between urease and Ni-SOD for Ni. Both sodT::sodB and sodN::sodB lines exhibited an impaired ability to grow at low Fe concentrations. We propose a posttranslational allosteric SodT regulation involving the binding of Ni to a histidine-rich intracellular protein loop.
PMCID: PMC3485950  PMID: 22904052
2.  Ecological Genomics of Marine Picocyanobacteria†  
Summary: Marine picocyanobacteria of the genera Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus numerically dominate the picophytoplankton of the world ocean, making a key contribution to global primary production. Prochlorococcus was isolated around 20 years ago and is probably the most abundant photosynthetic organism on Earth. The genus comprises specific ecotypes which are phylogenetically distinct and differ markedly in their photophysiology, allowing growth over a broad range of light and nutrient conditions within the 45°N to 40°S latitudinal belt that they occupy. Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus are closely related, together forming a discrete picophytoplankton clade, but are distinguishable by their possession of dissimilar light-harvesting apparatuses and differences in cell size and elemental composition. Synechococcus strains have a ubiquitous oceanic distribution compared to that of Prochlorococcus strains and are characterized by phylogenetically discrete lineages with a wide range of pigmentation. In this review, we put our current knowledge of marine picocyanobacterial genomics into an environmental context and present previously unpublished genomic information arising from extensive genomic comparisons in order to provide insights into the adaptations of these marine microbes to their environment and how they are reflected at the genomic level.
PMCID: PMC2698417  PMID: 19487728
3.  Statistical Analysis of Microarray Data with Replicated Spots: A Case Study with Synechococcus WH8102 
Until recently microarray experiments often involved relatively few arrays with only a single representation of each gene on each array. A complete genome microarray with multiple spots per gene (spread out spatially across the array) was developed in order to compare the gene expression of a marine cyanobacterium and a knockout mutant strain in a defined artificial seawater medium. Statistical methods were developed for analysis in the special situation of this case study where there is gene replication within an array and where relatively few arrays are used, which can be the case with current array technology. Due in part to the replication within an array, it was possible to detect very small changes in the levels of expression between the wild type and mutant strains. One interesting biological outcome of this experiment is the indication of the extent to which the phosphorus regulatory system of this cyanobacterium affects the expression of multiple genes beyond those strictly involved in phosphorus acquisition.
PMCID: PMC2673484  PMID: 19404483
4.  Ecological Genomics of Marine Roseobacters▿ † 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(14):4559-4569.
Bacterioplankton of the marine Roseobacter clade have genomes that reflect a dynamic environment and diverse interactions with marine plankton. Comparative genome sequence analysis of three cultured representatives suggests that cellular requirements for nitrogen are largely provided by regenerated ammonium and organic compounds (polyamines, allophanate, and urea), while typical sources of carbon include amino acids, glyoxylate, and aromatic metabolites. An unexpectedly large number of genes are predicted to encode proteins involved in the production, degradation, and efflux of toxins and metabolites. A mechanism likely involved in cell-to-cell DNA or protein transfer was also discovered: vir-related genes encoding a type IV secretion system typical of bacterial pathogens. These suggest a potential for interacting with neighboring cells and impacting the routing of organic matter into the microbial loop. Genes shared among the three roseobacters and also common in nine draft Roseobacter genomes include those for carbon monoxide oxidation, dimethylsulfoniopropionate demethylation, and aromatic compound degradation. Genes shared with other cultured marine bacteria include those for utilizing sodium gradients, transport and metabolism of sulfate, and osmoregulation.
PMCID: PMC1932822  PMID: 17526795
5.  Genome sequence of Chlamydophila caviae (Chlamydia psittaci GPIC): examining the role of niche-specific genes in the evolution of the Chlamydiaceae 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(8):2134-2147.
The genome of Chlamydophila caviae (formerly Chlamydia psittaci, GPIC isolate) (1 173 390 nt with a plasmid of 7966 nt) was determined, representing the fourth species with a complete genome sequence from the Chlamydiaceae family of obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens. Of 1009 annotated genes, 798 were conserved in all three other completed Chlamydiaceae genomes. The C.caviae genome contains 68 genes that lack orthologs in any other completed chlamydial genomes, including tryptophan and thiamine biosynthesis determinants and a ribose-phosphate pyrophosphokinase, the product of the prsA gene. Notable amongst these was a novel member of the virulence-associated invasin/intimin family (IIF) of Gram-negative bacteria. Intriguingly, two authentic frameshift mutations in the ORF indicate that this gene is not functional. Many of the unique genes are found in the replication termination region (RTR or plasticity zone), an area of frequent symmetrical inversion events around the replication terminus shown to be a hotspot for genome variation in previous genome sequencing studies. In C.caviae, the RTR includes several loci of particular interest including a large toxin gene and evidence of ancestral insertion(s) of a bacteriophage. This toxin gene, not present in Chlamydia pneumoniae, is a member of the YopT effector family of type III-secreted cysteine proteases. One gene cluster (guaBA-add) in the RTR is much more similar to orthologs in Chlamydia muridarum than those in the phylogenetically closest species C.pneumoniae, suggesting the possibility of horizontal transfer of genes between the rodent-associated Chlamydiae. With most genes observed in the other chlamydial genomes represented, C.caviae provides a good model for the Chlamydiaceae and a point of comparison against the human atherosclerosis-associated C.pneumoniae. This crucial addition to the set of completed Chlamydiaceae genome sequences is enabling dissection of the roles played by niche-specific genes in these important bacterial pathogens.
PMCID: PMC153749  PMID: 12682364
6.  Proton-dependent multidrug efflux systems. 
Microbiological Reviews  1996;60(4):575-608.
Multidrug efflux systems display the ability to transport a variety of structurally unrelated drugs from a cell and consequently are capable of conferring resistance to a diverse range of chemotherapeutic agents. This review examines multidrug efflux systems which use the proton motive force to drive drug transport. These proteins are likely to operate as multidrug/proton antiporters and have been identified in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Such proton-dependent multidrug efflux proteins belong to three distinct families or superfamilies of transport proteins: the major facilitator superfamily (MFS), the small multidrug resistance (SMR) family, and the resistance/ nodulation/cell division (RND) family. The MFS consists of symporters, antiporters, and uniporters with either 12 or 14 transmembrane-spanning segments (TMS), and we show that within the MFS, three separate families include various multidrug/proton antiport proteins. The SMR family consists of proteins with four TMS, and the multidrug efflux proteins within this family are the smallest known secondary transporters. The RND family consists of 12-TMS transport proteins and includes a number of multidrug efflux proteins with particularly broad substrate specificity. In gram-negative bacteria, some multidrug efflux systems require two auxiliary constituents, which might enable drug transport to occur across both membranes of the cell envelope. These auxiliary constituents belong to the membrane fusion protein and the outer membrane factor families, respectively. This review examines in detail each of the characterized proton-linked multidrug efflux systems. The molecular basis of the broad substrate specificity of these transporters is discussed. The surprisingly wide distribution of multidrug efflux systems and their multiplicity in single organisms, with Escherichia coli, for instance, possessing at least nine proton-dependent multidrug efflux systems with overlapping specificities, is examined. We also discuss whether the normal physiological role of the multidrug efflux systems is to protect the cell from toxic compounds or whether they fulfil primary functions unrelated to drug resistance and only efflux multiple drugs fortuitously or opportunistically.
PMCID: PMC239457  PMID: 8987357
7.  IS257-mediated cointegration in the evolution of a family of staphylococcal trimethoprim resistance plasmids. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1996;178(20):6070-6073.
Analyses of the Staphylococcus epidermidis multiresistance plasmids pSK697 and pSK818 have revealed them to be closely related to the trimethoprim resistance plasmid pSK639, also isolated from S. epidermidis. pSK697 and pSK818 were found to contain a cointegrated copy of a second plasmid related to the S. epidermidis multidrug antiseptic and disinfectant resistance plasmid pSK108 and the S. aureus tetracycline resistance plasmid pT181, respectively. In contrast to pSK639, both plasmids were found to contain a third copy of IS257, such that the integrated plasmids in both cases are flanked by a copy of this element. This organization and the presence of duplicated sequences at the extremities of the integrated plasmids implicate IS257 in the formation of these cointegrate plasmids. Sequence analysis of the IS257 elements from these plasmids has provided insights into the probable mechanism of cointegration, viz., nonresolved replicative transposition of IS257.
PMCID: PMC178470  PMID: 8830710
8.  Molecular characterization of the staphylococcal multidrug resistance export protein QacC. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1995;177(10):2827-2833.
The QacC polypeptide is a member of a family of small membrane proteins which confer resistance to toxic compounds. The staphylococcal qacC gene confers resistance to toxic organic cations via proton-dependent export. The membrane topology of the QacC polypeptide was investigated by constructing and analyzing a series of qacC-phoA and qacC-lacZ fusions. From these analyses, most of the predicted features of the QacC protein were verified, although data regarding the possible orientation of the COOH region were not conclusive. The role of the sole cysteine residue, Cys-42, in QacC was studied by using the sulfhydryl reagent N-ethylmaleimide and site-directed mutagenesis. N-Ethylmaleimide was shown to inhibit qacC-mediated ethidium export. Multiple amino acid substitutions were made for Cys-42, and mutations at this location had various effects on resistance specificity. This suggests that the Cys-42 residue may be located near a region of QacC that is involved in substrate recognition. Mutagenesis of conserved residues in QacC indicated that Tyr-59 and Trp-62 also play an essential structural or functional role in QacC.
PMCID: PMC176955  PMID: 7751293
9.  A family of extracytoplasmic proteins that allow transport of large molecules across the outer membranes of gram-negative bacteria. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1994;176(13):3825-3831.
Seventeen fully sequenced and two partially sequenced extracytoplasmic proteins of purple, gram-negative bacteria constitute a homologous family termed the putative membrane fusion protein (MFP) family. Each such protein apparently functions in conjunction with a cytoplasmic membrane transporter of the ATP-binding cassette family, major facilitator superfamily, or heavy metal resistance/nodulation/cell division family to facilitate transport of proteins, peptides, drugs, or carbohydrates across the two membranes of the gram-negative bacterial cell envelope. Evidence suggests that at least some of these transport systems also function in conjunction with a distinct outer membrane protein. We report here that the phylogenies of these proteins correlate with the types of transport systems with which they function as well as with the natures of the substrates transported. Characterization of the MFPs with respect to secondary structure, average hydropathy, and average similarity provides circumstantial evidence as to how they may allow localized fusion of the two gram-negative bacterial cell membranes. The membrane fusion protein of simian virus 5 is shown to exhibit significant sequence similarity to representative bacterial MFPs.
PMCID: PMC205578  PMID: 8021163
10.  The 3' conserved segment of integrons contains a gene associated with multidrug resistance to antiseptics and disinfectants. 
Nucleotide sequence analysis of ORF1 from the integron on the broad-host-range plasmid R751 revealed that the first 94 of 110 codons of ORF1 from R751 are identical to ORF4, an open reading frame from the 3' conserved segment of other integrons found in gram-negative bacteria, after which point they diverged completely. The predicted products of both ORF1 and ORF4 share homology with the multidrug exporter QacC. Phenotypic analysis revealed that ORF1 specifies a resistance profile to antiseptics and disinfectants almost identical to that of qacC, whereas ORF4 specifies much lower levels of resistance to these compounds. ORF4, whose product lacks the C-terminal 16 amino acids of the ORF1 protein, may have evolved by the interruption of ORF1 from the insertion of a DNA segment carrying a sulI sulfonamide resistance determinant. Hence, ORF1 was designated qacE, and its partially functional deletion derivative, ORF4, was designated qacE delta 1. Fluorimetric experiments indicated that the mechanism of resistance mediated by QacE, the protein specified by qacE, is active export energized by proton motive force. Amino acid sequence comparisons revealed that QacE is related to a family of small multidrug export proteins with four transmembrane segments.
PMCID: PMC187754  PMID: 8494372

Results 1-10 (10)