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1.  Biosynthesis of archaeal membrane ether lipids 
A vital function of the cell membrane in all living organism is to maintain the membrane permeability barrier and fluidity. The composition of the phospholipid bilayer is distinct in archaea when compared to bacteria and eukarya. In archaea, isoprenoid hydrocarbon side chains are linked via an ether bond to the sn-glycerol-1-phosphate backbone. In bacteria and eukarya on the other hand, fatty acid side chains are linked via an ester bond to the sn-glycerol-3-phosphate backbone. The polar head groups are globally shared in the three domains of life. The unique membrane lipids of archaea have been implicated not only in the survival and adaptation of the organisms to extreme environments but also to form the basis of the membrane composition of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). In nature, a diverse range of archaeal lipids is found, the most common are the diether (or archaeol) and the tetraether (or caldarchaeol) lipids that form a monolayer. Variations in chain length, cyclization and other modifications lead to diversification of these lipids. The biosynthesis of these lipids is not yet well understood however progress in the last decade has led to a comprehensive understanding of the biosynthesis of archaeol. This review describes the current knowledge of the biosynthetic pathway of archaeal ether lipids; insights on the stability and robustness of archaeal lipid membranes; and evolutionary aspects of the lipid divide and the LUCA. It examines recent advances made in the field of pathway reconstruction in bacteria.
PMCID: PMC4244643  PMID: 25505460
archaea; ether lipids; isoprenoids; biosynthesis; lipid divide
2.  Defining the Region of Bacillus subtilis SpoIIIJ That Is Essential for Its Sporulation-Specific Function 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(7):1318-1324.
Proteins of the YidC/OxaI/Alb3 family play a crucial role in the insertion, folding, and/or assembly of membrane proteins in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Bacillus subtilis has two YidC-like proteins, denoted SpoIIIJ and YqjG. SpoIIIJ and YqjG are largely exchangeable in function, but SpoIIIJ has a unique role in sporulation, while YqjG stimulates competence development. To obtain more insight into the regions important for the sporulation specificity of SpoIIIJ, a series of SpoIIIJ/YqjG chimeras was constructed. These chimeras were tested for functionality during vegetative growth and for their ability to complement the sporulation defect of a spoIIIJ deletion strain. The data suggest an important role for the domain comprising transmembrane segment 2 (TMS2) and its flanking loops in sporulation specificity, with lesser contributions to specificity by TMS1 and TMS3.
PMCID: PMC3993340  PMID: 24443530
3.  Interaction of Streptococcus mutans YidC1 and YidC2 with Translating and Nontranslating Ribosomes 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(19):4545-4551.
The YidC/OxaI/Alb3 family of membrane proteins is involved in the biogenesis of integral membrane proteins in bacteria, mitochondria, and chloroplasts. Gram-positive bacteria often contain multiple YidC paralogs that can be subdivided into two major classes, namely, YidC1 and YidC2. The Streptococcus mutans YidC1 and YidC2 proteins possess C-terminal tails that differ in charges (+9 and + 14) and lengths (33 and 61 amino acids). The longer YidC2 C terminus bears a resemblance to the C-terminal ribosome-binding domain of the mitochondrial OxaI protein and, in contrast to the shorter YidC1 C terminus, can mediate the interaction with mitochondrial ribosomes. These observations have led to the suggestion that YidC1 and YidC2 differ in their abilities to interact with ribosomes. However, the interaction with bacterial translating ribosomes has never been addressed. Here we demonstrate that Escherichia coli ribosomes are able to interact with both YidC1 and YidC2. The interaction is stimulated by the presence of a nascent membrane protein substrate and abolished upon deletion of the C-terminal tail, which also abrogates the YidC-dependent membrane insertion of subunit c of the F1F0-ATPase into the membrane. It is concluded that both YidC1 and YidC2 interact with ribosomes, suggesting that the modes of membrane insertion by these membrane insertases are similar.
PMCID: PMC3807456  PMID: 23935050
4.  Increased Penicillin Production in Penicillium chrysogenum Production Strains via Balanced Overexpression of Isopenicillin N Acyltransferase 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(19):7107-7113.
Intense classical strain improvement has yielded industrial Penicillium chrysogenum strains that produce high titers of penicillin. These strains contain multiple copies of the penicillin biosynthesis cluster encoding the three key enzymes: δ-(l-α-aminoadipyl)-l-cysteinyl-d-valine synthetase (ACVS), isopenicillin N synthase (IPNS), and isopenicillin N acyltransferase (IAT). The phenylacetic acid coenzyme A (CoA) ligase (PCL) gene encoding the enzyme responsible for the activation of the side chain precursor phenylacetic acid is localized elsewhere in the genome in a single copy. Since the protein level of IAT already saturates at low cluster copy numbers, IAT might catalyze a limiting step in high-yielding strains. Here, we show that penicillin production in high-yielding strains can be further improved by the overexpression of IAT while at very high levels of IAT the precursor 6-aminopenicillic acid (6-APA) accumulates. Overproduction of PCL only marginally stimulates penicillin production. These data demonstrate that in high-yielding strains IAT is the limiting factor and that this limitation can be alleviated by a balanced overproduction of this enzyme.
PMCID: PMC3457468  PMID: 22865068
5.  F1F0 ATP synthase subunit c is a substrate of the novel YidC pathway for membrane protein biogenesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2004;165(2):213-222.
The Escherichia coli YidC protein belongs to the Oxa1 family of membrane proteins that have been suggested to facilitate the insertion and assembly of membrane proteins either in cooperation with the Sec translocase or as a separate entity. Recently, we have shown that depletion of YidC causes a specific defect in the functional assembly of F1F0 ATP synthase and cytochrome o oxidase. We now demonstrate that the insertion of in vitro–synthesized F1F0 ATP synthase subunit c (F0c) into inner membrane vesicles requires YidC. Insertion is independent of the proton motive force, and proteoliposomes containing only YidC catalyze the membrane insertion of F0c in its native transmembrane topology whereupon it assembles into large oligomers. Co-reconstituted SecYEG has no significant effect on the insertion efficiency. Remarkably, signal recognition particle and its membrane-bound receptor FtsY are not required for the membrane insertion of F0c. In conclusion, a novel membrane protein insertion pathway in E. coli is described in which YidC plays an exclusive role.
PMCID: PMC2172039  PMID: 15096523
YidC; F1F0 ATP synthase; membrane insertion; membrane targeting; complex assembly
6.  The Periplasmic Cavity of LacY Mutant Cys154→Gly: How Open is Open? 
Biochemistry  2013;52(37):6568-6574.
The lactose permease from Escherichia coli (LacY) is a galactoside/H+ symporter that catalyzes the coupled stoichiometric transport of a sugar and an H + across the cytoplasmic membrane. x-ray crystal structures of WT LacY and the conformationally restricted mutant Cys154→Gly exhibit an inward-facing conformation with a tightly sealed periplasmic side and a deep central cleft or cavity open to the cytoplasm. Although the crystal structures may give the impression that LacY is a rigid molecule, multiple converging lines of evidence demonstrate that galactoside binding to WT LacY induces reciprocal opening and closing of periplasmic and cytoplasmic cavities, respectively. By this means, the sugar- and H+-binding sites in the middle of the molecule are exposed alternatively to either side of the membrane. In contrast to the crystal structure, biochemical/biophysical studies with mutant Cys154→Gly show that the periplasmic side is paralyzed in an open-outward conformation. In this study, a rigid, funnel-shaped, maleimide-containing molecule was used to probe the periplasmic cavity of a pseudo WT and the Cys154→Gly mutant by site-directed alkylation. The findings provide strong support for previous observations and indicate further that the external opening of the periplasmic cleft in the mutant is patent to the extent of at least 8.5 Å in the absence of sugar or about half that of the WT cavity with bound galactoside.
PMCID: PMC3951333  PMID: 23962108
membranes; transport; permease; membrane proteins; site-directed alkylation; protein dynamics
7.  A Non-Canonical NRPS Is Involved in the Synthesis of Fungisporin and Related Hydrophobic Cyclic Tetrapeptides in Penicillium chrysogenum 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98212.
The filamentous fungus Penicillium chrysogenum harbors an astonishing variety of nonribosomal peptide synthetase genes, which encode proteins known to produce complex bioactive metabolites from simple building blocks. Here we report a novel non-canonical tetra-modular nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) with microheterogenicity of all involved adenylation domains towards their respective substrates. By deleting the putative gene in combination with comparative metabolite profiling various unique cyclic and derived linear tetrapeptides were identified which were associated with this NRPS, including fungisporin. In combination with substrate predictions for each module, we propose a mechanism for a ‘trans-acting’ adenylation domain.
PMCID: PMC4041764  PMID: 24887561
8.  Molecular analysis of the UV-inducible pili operon from Sulfolobus acidocaldarius 
MicrobiologyOpen  2013;2(6):928-937.
Upon ultraviolet (UV) stress, hyperthermophilic Sulfolobus species show a highly induced transcription of a gene cluster responsible for pili biogenesis: the UV-inducible pili operon (ups operon). This operon is involved in UV-induced pili assembly, cellular aggregation, and subsequent DNA exchange between cells. As the system increases the fitness of Sulfolobus cells after UV light exposure, we assume that transfer of DNA takes place in order to repair UV-induced DNA damages via homologous recombination. Here, we studied all genes present in the ups cluster via gene deletion analysis with a focus on UpsX, a protein that shows no identifiable functional domains. UspX does not seem to be structurally essential for UV-induced pili formation and cellular aggregation, but appears to be important for efficient DNA transfer. In addition, we could show that pilin subunits UpsA and UpsB probably both function as major pilin subunits in the ups pili.
PMCID: PMC3892339  PMID: 24106028
Archaea; conjugation; DNA exchange; type IV pili
9.  A Branched Biosynthetic Pathway Is Involved in Production of Roquefortine and Related Compounds in Penicillium chrysogenum 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65328.
Profiling and structural elucidation of secondary metabolites produced by the filamentous fungus Penicillium chrysogenum and derived deletion strains were used to identify the various metabolites and enzymatic steps belonging to the roquefortine/meleagrin pathway. Major abundant metabolites of this pathway were identified as histidyltryptophanyldiketopiperazine (HTD), dehydrohistidyltryptophanyldi-ketopiperazine (DHTD), roquefortine D, roquefortine C, glandicoline A, glandicoline B and meleagrin. Specific genes could be assigned to each enzymatic reaction step. The nonribosomal peptide synthetase RoqA accepts L-histidine and L-tryptophan as substrates leading to the production of the diketopiperazine HTD. DHTD, previously suggested to be a degradation product of roquefortine C, was found to be derived from HTD involving the cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase RoqR. The dimethylallyltryptophan synthetase RoqD prenylates both HTD and DHTD yielding directly the products roquefortine D and roquefortine C without the synthesis of a previously suggested intermediate and the involvement of RoqM. This leads to a branch in the otherwise linear pathway. Roquefortine C is subsequently converted into glandicoline B with glandicoline A as intermediates, involving two monooxygenases (RoqM and RoqO) which were mixed up in an earlier attempt to elucidate the biosynthetic pathway. Eventually, meleagrin is produced from glandicoline B involving a methyltransferase (RoqN). It is concluded that roquefortine C and meleagrin are derived from a branched biosynthetic pathway.
PMCID: PMC3680398  PMID: 23776469
10.  The bacterial Sec-translocase: structure and mechanism 
Most bacterial secretory proteins pass across the cytoplasmic membrane via the translocase, which consists of a protein-conducting channel SecYEG and an ATP-dependent motor protein SecA. The ancillary SecDF membrane protein complex promotes the final stages of translocation. Recent years have seen a major advance in our understanding of the structural and biochemical basis of protein translocation, and this has led to a detailed model of the translocation mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3297432  PMID: 22411975
protein translocation; membrane protein insertion; SecY; translocon; SecA
11.  Co-operation between different targeting pathways during integration of a membrane protein 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;199(2):303-315.
The Sec and Tat pathways are both required to insert the three hydrophobic domains of the Rieske protein into the membrane.
Membrane protein assembly is a fundamental process in all cells. The membrane-bound Rieske iron-sulfur protein is an essential component of the cytochrome bc1 and cytochrome b6f complexes, and it is exported across the energy-coupling membranes of bacteria and plants in a folded conformation by the twin arginine protein transport pathway (Tat) transport pathway. Although the Rieske protein in most organisms is a monotopic membrane protein, in actinobacteria, it is a polytopic protein with three transmembrane domains. In this work, we show that the Rieske protein of Streptomyces coelicolor requires both the Sec and the Tat pathways for its assembly. Genetic and biochemical approaches revealed that the initial two transmembrane domains were integrated into the membrane in a Sec-dependent manner, whereas integration of the third transmembrane domain, and thus the correct orientation of the iron-sulfur domain, required the activity of the Tat translocase. This work reveals an unprecedented co-operation between the mechanistically distinct Sec and Tat systems in the assembly of a single integral membrane protein.
PMCID: PMC3471235  PMID: 23045547
12.  Impact of Velvet Complex on Transcriptome and Penicillin G Production in Glucose-Limited Chemostat Cultures of a β-Lactam High-Producing Penicillium chrysogenum Strain 
The multicomponent global regulator Velvet complex has been identified as a key regulator of secondary metabolite production in Aspergillus and Penicillium species. Previous work indicated a massive impact of PcvelA and PclaeA deletions on penicillin production in prolonged batch cultures of P. chrysogenum, as well as substantial changes in transcriptome. The present study investigated the impact of these mutations on product formation and genome-wide transcript profiles under glucose-limited aerobic conditions, relevant for industrial production of β-lactams. Predicted amino acid sequences of PcVelA and PcLaeA in this strain were identical to those in its ancestor Wisconsin54-1255. Controls were performed to rule out transformation-associated loss of penicillin-biosynthesis clusters. The correct PcvelA and PclaeA deletion strains revealed a small reduction of penicillin G productivity relative to the reference strain, which is a much smaller reduction than previously reported for prolonged batch cultures of similar P. chrysogenum mutants. Chemostat-based transcriptome analysis yielded only 23 genes with a consistent differential response in the PcvelAΔ and PclaeAΔ mutants when grown in the absence of the penicillin G side-chain precursor phenylacetic acid. Eleven of these genes belonged to two small gene clusters, one of which contained a gene with high homology to the aristolochene synthase. These results provide a clear caveat that the impact of the Velvet complex on secondary metabolism in filamentous fungi is strongly context dependent.
PMCID: PMC3369278  PMID: 22439693
13.  A New Strategy to Stabilize Oxytocin in Aqueous Solutions: I. The Effects of Divalent Metal Ions and Citrate Buffer 
The AAPS Journal  2011;13(2):284-290.
In the current study, the effect of metal ions in combination with buffers (citrate, acetate, pH 4.5) on the stability of aqueous solutions of oxytocin was investigated. Both monovalent metal ions (Na+ and K+) and divalent metal ions (Ca2+, Mg2+, and Zn2+) were tested all as chloride salts. The effect of combinations of buffers and metal ions on the stability of aqueous oxytocin solutions was determined by RP-HPLC and HP-SEC after 4 weeks of storage at either 4°C or 55°C. Addition of sodium or potassium ions to acetate- or citrate-buffered solutions did not increase stability, nor did the addition of divalent metal ions to acetate buffer. However, the stability of aqueous oxytocin in aqueous formulations was improved in the presence of 5 and 10 mM citrate buffer in combination with at least 2 mM CaCl2, MgCl2, or ZnCl2 and depended on the divalent metal ion concentration. Isothermal titration calorimetric measurements were predictive for the stabilization effects observed during the stability study. Formulations in citrate buffer that had an improved stability displayed a strong interaction between oxytocin and Ca2+, Mg2+, or Zn2+, while formulations in acetate buffer did not. In conclusion, our study shows that divalent metal ions in combination with citrate buffer strongly improved the stability of oxytocin in aqueous solutions.
PMCID: PMC3085697  PMID: 21448747
citrate buffer; divalent metal ions; improved stability; oxytocin
14.  The Sulfolobicin Genes of Sulfolobus acidocaldariusEncode Novel Antimicrobial Proteins ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(17):4380-4387.
Crenarchaea, such as Sulfolobus acidocaldariusand Sulfolobus tokodaii, produce antimicrobial proteins called sulfolobicins. These antimicrobial proteins inhibit the growth of closely related species. Here we report the identification of the sulfolobicin-encoding genes in S. acidocaldarius. The active sulfolobicin comprises two proteins that are equipped with a classical signal sequence. These proteins are secreted by the cells and found to be membrane vesicle associated. Gene inactivation studies demonstrate that both proteins are required for the bacteriostatic antimicrobial activity. Sulfolobicins constitute a novel class of antimicrobial proteins without detectable homology to any other protein.
PMCID: PMC3165506  PMID: 21725003
15.  Cholate-Stimulated Biofilm Formation by Lactococcus lactis Cells ▿ †  
Bile acid resistance by Lactococcus lactis depends on the ABC-type multidrug transporter LmrCD. Upon deletion of the lmrCD genes, cells can reacquire bile acid resistance upon prolonged exposure to cholate, yielding the ΔlmrCDr strain. The resistance mechanism in this strain is non-transporter based. Instead, cells show a high tendency to flocculate, suggesting cell surface alterations. Contact angle measurements demonstrate that the ΔlmrCDr cells are equipped with an increased cell surface hydrophilicity compared to those of the parental and wild-type strains, while the surface hydrophilicity is reduced in the presence of cholate. ΔlmrCDr cells are poor in biofilm formation on a hydrophobic polystyrene surface, but in the presence of subinhibitory concentrations of cholate, biofilm formation is strongly stimulated. Biofilm cells show an enhanced extracellular polymeric substance production and are highly resistant to bile acids. These data suggest that non-transporter-based cholate resistance in L. lactis is due to alterations in the cell surface that stimulate cells to form resistant biofilms.
PMCID: PMC3126353  PMID: 21335382
16.  Easy and Rapid Purification of Highly Active Nisin 
Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide produced and secreted by several L. lactis strains and is specifically active against Gram-positive bacteria. In previous studies, nisin was purified via cation exchange chromatography at low pH employing a single-step elution using 1 M NaCl. Here, we describe an optimized purification protocol using a five-step NaCl elution to remove contaminants. The obtained nisin is devoid of impurities and shows high bactericidal activity against the nisin-sensitive L. lactis strain NZ9000. Purified nisin exhibits an IC50 of ~3 nM, which is a tenfold improvement as compared to nisin obtained via the one-step elution procedure.
PMCID: PMC3175705  PMID: 21941571
17.  Taming Membranes: Functional Immobilization of Biological Membranes in Hydrogels 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20435.
Single molecule studies on membrane proteins embedded in their native environment are hampered by the intrinsic difficulty of immobilizing elastic and sensitive biological membranes without interfering with protein activity. Here, we present hydrogels composed of nano-scaled fibers as a generally applicable tool to immobilize biological membrane vesicles of various size and lipid composition. Importantly, membrane proteins immobilized in the hydrogel as well as soluble proteins are fully active. The triggered opening of the mechanosensitive channel of large conductance (MscL) reconstituted in giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) was followed in time on single GUVs. Thus, kinetic studies of vectorial transport processes across biological membranes can be assessed on single, hydrogel immobilized, GUVs. Furthermore, protein translocation activity by the membrane embedded protein conducting channel of bacteria, SecYEG, in association with the soluble motor protein SecA was quantitatively assessed in bulk and at the single vesicle level in the hydrogel. This technique provides a new way to investigate membrane proteins in their native environment at the single molecule level by means of fluorescence microscopy.
PMCID: PMC3105061  PMID: 21655266
18.  Nonlinear Biosynthetic Gene Cluster Dose Effect on Penicillin Production by Penicillium chrysogenum▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(21):7109-7115.
Industrial penicillin production levels by the filamentous fungus Penicillium chrysogenum increased dramatically by classical strain improvement. High-yielding strains contain multiple copies of the penicillin biosynthetic gene cluster that encodes three key enzymes of the β-lactam biosynthetic pathway. We have analyzed the gene cluster dose effect on penicillin production using the high-yielding P. chrysogenum strain DS17690 that was cured from its native clusters. The amount of penicillin V produced increased with the penicillin biosynthetic gene cluster number but was saturated at high copy numbers. Likewise, transcript levels of the biosynthetic genes pcbAB [δ-(l-α-aminoadipyl)-l-cysteinyl-d-valine synthetase], pcbC (isopenicillin N synthase), and penDE (acyltransferase) correlated with the cluster copy number. Remarkably, the protein level of acyltransferase, which localizes to peroxisomes, was saturated already at low cluster copy numbers. At higher copy numbers, intracellular levels of isopenicillin N increased, suggesting that the acyltransferase reaction presents a limiting step at a high gene dose. Since the number and appearance of the peroxisomes did not change significantly with the gene cluster copy number, we conclude that the acyltransferase activity is limiting for penicillin biosynthesis at high biosynthetic gene cluster copy numbers. These results suggest that at a high penicillin production level, productivity is limited by the peroxisomal acyltransferase import activity and/or the availability of coenzyme A (CoA)-activated side chains.
PMCID: PMC2976272  PMID: 20851974
19.  SecA, a remarkable nanomachine 
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences  2011;68(12):2053-2066.
Biological cells harbor a variety of molecular machines that carry out mechanical work at the nanoscale. One of these nanomachines is the bacterial motor protein SecA which translocates secretory proteins through the protein-conducting membrane channel SecYEG. SecA converts chemically stored energy in the form of ATP into a mechanical force to drive polypeptide transport through SecYEG and across the cytoplasmic membrane. In order to accommodate a translocating polypeptide chain and to release transmembrane segments of membrane proteins into the lipid bilayer, SecYEG needs to open its central channel and the lateral gate. Recent crystal structures provide a detailed insight into the rearrangements required for channel opening. Here, we review our current understanding of the mode of operation of the SecA motor protein in concert with the dynamic SecYEG channel. We conclude with a new model for SecA-mediated protein translocation that unifies previous conflicting data.
PMCID: PMC3101351  PMID: 21479870
SecA; SecYEG; Protein translocation
20.  A New Strategy to Stabilize Oxytocin in Aqueous Solutions: I. The Effects of Divalent Metal Ions and Citrate Buffer 
The AAPS Journal  2011;13(2):284-290.
In the current study, the effect of metal ions in combination with buffers (citrate, acetate, pH 4.5) on the stability of aqueous solutions of oxytocin was investigated. Both monovalent metal ions (Na+ and K+) and divalent metal ions (Ca2+, Mg2+, and Zn2+) were tested all as chloride salts. The effect of combinations of buffers and metal ions on the stability of aqueous oxytocin solutions was determined by RP-HPLC and HP-SEC after 4 weeks of storage at either 4°C or 55°C. Addition of sodium or potassium ions to acetate- or citrate-buffered solutions did not increase stability, nor did the addition of divalent metal ions to acetate buffer. However, the stability of aqueous oxytocin in aqueous formulations was improved in the presence of 5 and 10 mM citrate buffer in combination with at least 2 mM CaCl2, MgCl2, or ZnCl2 and depended on the divalent metal ion concentration. Isothermal titration calorimetric measurements were predictive for the stabilization effects observed during the stability study. Formulations in citrate buffer that had an improved stability displayed a strong interaction between oxytocin and Ca2+, Mg2+, or Zn2+, while formulations in acetate buffer did not. In conclusion, our study shows that divalent metal ions in combination with citrate buffer strongly improved the stability of oxytocin in aqueous solutions.
PMCID: PMC3085697  PMID: 21448747
citrate buffer; divalent metal ions; improved stability; oxytocin
21.  The bindosome is a structural component of the Sulfolobus solfataricus cell envelope 
Extremophiles  2011;15(2):235-244.
Sugar binding proteins of the thermoacidophile Sulfolobus solfataricus function together with ABC transporters in the uptake of sugars. They are synthesized as precursors with a class III signal peptide that are normally found in archaeal flagellins and bacterial type IV pilins. The functional expression of sugar binding proteins at the cell surface is dependent on the bindosome assembly system (Bas) that is homologous to bacterial type IV pilin assembly systems. The Bas system consists of an assembly ATPase, BasE; a membrane anchoring protein, BasF; and three small class III signal peptide containing proteins BasABC. Expression of BasEF in a S. solfataricus ΔbasEF strain restored the uptake of glucose, while an ATPase mutant of BasE was unable to complement. BasEF was detergent-extracted from S. solfataricus membranes as a stable protein complex. Solute binding proteins can be extracted from the cell surface as two high molecular mass complexes of 600 and 400 kDa, wherein the largest complex also contains the main S-layer protein SlaA. Electron microscopic analysis of the cell surface of the wild-type and ΔbasEF strain indicates that the absence of the BasEF complex causes an alteration in cell morphology and the corrugation of the S-layer pattern that is reversed by complementation with the BasEF complex. These results suggest an interaction between the S-layer and the sugar binding proteins that contribute to cell shape.
PMCID: PMC3047682  PMID: 21234771
Cell envelope; Archaea; Sulfolobus; S-layer
22.  Inactivation of the Ecs ABC Transporter of Staphylococcus aureus Attenuates Virulence by Altering Composition and Function of Bacterial Wall 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14209.
Ecs is an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter present in aerobic and facultative anaerobic Gram-positive Firmicutes. Inactivation of Bacillus subtilis Ecs causes pleiotropic changes in the bacterial phenotype including inhibition of intramembrane proteolysis. The molecule(s) transported by Ecs is (are) still unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study we mutated the ecsAB operon in two Staphylococcus aureus strains, Newman and LS-1. Phenotypic and functional characterization of these Ecs deficient mutants revealed a defect in growth, increased autolysis and lysostaphin sensitivity, altered composition of cell wall proteins including the precursor form of staphylokinase and an altered bacterial surface texture. DNA microarray analysis indicated that the Ecs deficiency changed expression of the virulence factor regulator protein Rot accompanied by differential expression of membrane transport proteins, particularly ABC transporters and phosphate-specific transport systems, protein A, adhesins and capsular polysaccharide biosynthesis proteins. Virulence of the ecs mutants was studied in a mouse model of hematogenous S. aureus infection. Mice inoculated with the ecs mutant strains developed markedly milder infections than those inoculated with the wild-type strains and had consequently lower mortality, less weight loss, milder arthritis and decreased persistence of staphylococci in the kidneys. The ecs mutants had higher susceptibility to ribosomal antibiotics and plant alkaloids chelerythrine and sanguinarine.
Our results show that Ecs is essential for staphylococcal virulence and antimicrobial resistance probably since the transport function of Ecs is essential for the normal structure and function of the cell wall. Thus targeting Ecs may be a new approach in combating staphylococcal infection.
PMCID: PMC2996298  PMID: 21151985
23.  Appendage-Mediated Surface Adherence of Sulfolobus solfataricus▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;192(1):104-110.
Attachment of microorganisms to surfaces is a prerequisite for colonization and biofilm formation. The hyperthermophilic crenarchaeote Sulfolobus solfataricus was able to attach to a variety of surfaces, such as glass, mica, pyrite, and carbon-coated gold grids. Deletion mutant analysis showed that for initial attachment the presence of flagella and pili is essential. Attached cells produced extracellular polysaccharides containing mannose, galactose, and N-acetylglucosamine. Genes possibly involved in the production of the extracellular polysaccharides were identified.
PMCID: PMC2798249  PMID: 19854908
24.  Bacillus subtilis SpoIIIJ and YqjG Function in Membrane Protein Biogenesis▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(21):6749-6757.
In all domains of life Oxa1p-like proteins are involved in membrane protein biogenesis. Bacillus subtilis, a model organism for gram-positive bacteria, contains two Oxa1p homologs: SpoIIIJ and YqjG. These molecules appear to be mutually exchangeable, although SpoIIIJ is specifically required for spore formation. SpoIIIJ and YqjG have been implicated in a posttranslocational stage of protein secretion. Here we show that the expression of either spoIIIJ or yqjG functionally compensates for the defects in membrane insertion due to YidC depletion in Escherichia coli. Both SpoIIIJ and YqjG complement the function of YidC in SecYEG-dependent and -independent membrane insertion of subunits of the cytochrome o oxidase and F1Fo ATP synthase complexes. Furthermore, SpoIIIJ and YqjG facilitate membrane insertion of F1Fo ATP synthase subunit c from both E. coli and B. subtilis into inner membrane vesicles of E. coli. When isolated from B. subtilis cells, SpoIIIJ and YqjG were found to be associated with the entire F1Fo ATP synthase complex, suggesting that they have a role late in the membrane assembly process. These data demonstrate that the Bacillus Oxa1p homologs have a role in membrane protein biogenesis rather than in protein secretion.
PMCID: PMC2795313  PMID: 19717609
25.  The 2008 update of the Aspergillus nidulans genome annotation: a community effort 
Wortman, Jennifer Russo | Gilsenan, Jane Mabey | Joardar, Vinita | Deegan, Jennifer | Clutterbuck, John | Andersen, Mikael R. | Archer, David | Bencina, Mojca | Braus, Gerhard | Coutinho, Pedro | von Döhren, Hans | Doonan, John | Driessen, Arnold J.M. | Durek, Pawel | Espeso, Eduardo | Fekete, Erzsébet | Flipphi, Michel | Estrada, Carlos Garcia | Geysens, Steven | Goldman, Gustavo | de Groot, Piet W.J. | Hansen, Kim | Harris, Steven D. | Heinekamp, Thorsten | Helmstaedt, Kerstin | Henrissat, Bernard | Hofmann, Gerald | Homan, Tim | Horio, Tetsuya | Horiuchi, Hiroyuki | James, Steve | Jones, Meriel | Karaffa, Levente | Karányi, Zsolt | Kato, Masashi | Keller, Nancy | Kelly, Diane E. | Kiel, Jan A.K.W. | Kim, Jung-Mi | van der Klei, Ida J. | Klis, Frans M. | Kovalchuk, Andriy | Kraševec, Nada | Kubicek, Christian P. | Liu, Bo | MacCabe, Andrew | Meyer, Vera | Mirabito, Pete | Miskei, Márton | Mos, Magdalena | Mullins, Jonathan | Nelson, David R. | Nielsen, Jens | Oakley, Berl R. | Osmani, Stephen A. | Pakula, Tiina | Paszewski, Andrzej | Paulsen, Ian | Pilsyk, Sebastian | Pócsi, István | Punt, Peter J. | Ram, Arthur F.J. | Ren, Qinghu | Robellet, Xavier | Robson, Geoff | Seiboth, Bernhard | Solingen, Piet van | Specht, Thomas | Sun, Jibin | Taheri-Talesh, Naimeh | Takeshita, Norio | Ussery, Dave | vanKuyk, Patricia A. | Visser, Hans | van de Vondervoort, Peter J.I. | de Vries, Ronald P. | Walton, Jonathan | Xiang, Xin | Xiong, Yi | Zeng, An Ping | Brandt, Bernd W. | Cornell, Michael J. | van den Hondel, Cees A.M.J.J. | Visser, Jacob | Oliver, Stephen G. | Turner, Geoffrey
Fungal genetics and biology : FG & B  2008;46(Suppl 1):S2-13.
The identification and annotation of protein-coding genes is one of the primary goals of whole-genome sequencing projects, and the accuracy of predicting the primary protein products of gene expression is vital to the interpretation of the available data and the design of downstream functional applications. Nevertheless, the comprehensive annotation of eukaryotic genomes remains a considerable challenge. Many genomes submitted to public databases, including those of major model organisms, contain significant numbers of wrong and incomplete gene predictions. We present a community-based reannotation of the Aspergillus nidulans genome with the primary goal of increasing the number and quality of protein functional assignments through the careful review of experts in the field of fungal biology.
PMCID: PMC2826280  PMID: 19146970
Aspergillus nidulans; aspergilli; genome; annotation; fungal community; assembly; transcription factors; CADRE

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