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1.  Effects of Three Different Nucleoid-Associated Proteins Encoded on IncP-7 Plasmid pCAR1 on Host Pseudomonas putida KT2440 
Nucleoid-associated proteins (NAPs), which fold bacterial DNA and influence gene transcription, are considered to be global transcriptional regulators of genes on both plasmids and the host chromosome. Incompatibility P-7 group plasmid pCAR1 carries genes encoding three NAPs: H-NS family protein Pmr, NdpA-like protein Pnd, and HU-like protein Phu. In this study, the effects of single or double disruption of pmr, pnd, and phu were assessed in host Pseudomonas putida KT2440. When pmr and pnd or pmr and phu were simultaneously disrupted, both the segregational stability and the structural stability of pCAR1 were markedly decreased, suggesting that Pmr, Pnd, and Phu act as plasmid-stabilizing factors in addition to their established roles in replication and partition systems. The transfer frequency of pCAR1 was significantly decreased in these double mutants. The segregational and structural instability of pCAR1 in the double mutants was recovered by complementation of pmr, whereas no recovery of transfer deficiency was observed. Comprehensive phenotype comparisons showed that the host metabolism of carbon compounds, which was reduced by pCAR1 carriage, was restored by disruption of the NAP gene(s). Transcriptome analyses of mutants indicated that transcription of genes for energy production, conversion, inorganic ion transport, and metabolism were commonly affected; however, how their products altered the phenotypes of mutants was not clear. The findings of this study indicated that Pmr, Pnd, and Phu act synergistically to affect pCAR1 replication, maintenance, and transfer, as well as to alter the host metabolic phenotype.
PMCID: PMC4375338  PMID: 25681185
2.  Structural Basis of the Divergent Oxygenation Reactions Catalyzed by the Rieske Nonheme Iron Oxygenase Carbazole 1,9a-Dioxygenase 
Carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO), a Rieske nonheme iron oxygenase (RO), is a three-component system composed of a terminal oxygenase (Oxy), ferredoxin, and a ferredoxin reductase. Oxy has angular dioxygenation activity against carbazole. Previously, site-directed mutagenesis of the Oxy-encoding gene from Janthinobacterium sp. strain J3 generated the I262V, F275W, Q282N, and Q282Y Oxy derivatives, which showed oxygenation capabilities different from those of the wild-type enzyme. To understand the structural features resulting in the different oxidation reactions, we determined the crystal structures of the derivatives, both free and complexed with substrates. The I262V, F275W, and Q282Y derivatives catalyze the lateral dioxygenation of carbazole with higher yields than the wild type. A previous study determined the crystal structure of Oxy complexed with carbazole and revealed that the carbonyl oxygen of Gly178 hydrogen bonds with the imino nitrogen of carbazole. In these derivatives, the carbazole was rotated approximately 15, 25, and 25°, respectively, compared to the wild type, creating space for a water molecule, which hydrogen bonds with the carbonyl oxygen of Gly178 and the imino nitrogen of carbazole. In the crystal structure of the F275W derivative complexed with fluorene, C-9 of fluorene, which corresponds to the imino nitrogen of carbazole, was oriented close to the mutated residue Trp275, which is on the opposite side of the binding pocket from the carbonyl oxygen of Gly178. Our structural analyses demonstrate that the fine-tuning of hydrophobic residues on the surface of the substrate-binding pocket in ROs causes a slight shift in the substrate-binding position that, in turn, favors specific oxygenation reactions toward various substrates.
PMCID: PMC3993299  PMID: 24584240
3.  Transcripts of two ent-copalyl diphosphate synthase genes differentially localize in rice plants according to their distinct biological roles 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;66(1):369-376.
Expression of the diterpene synthase gene for gibberellin biosynthesis occurs in tissues different from those in which its isoform for phytoalexin biosynthesis is expressed, reflecting their distinct biological roles in rice.
Gibberellins (GAs) are diterpenoid phytohormones that regulate various aspects of plant growth. Tetracyclic hydrocarbon ent-kaurene is a biosynthetic intermediate of GAs, and is converted from geranylgeranyl diphosphate, a common precursor of diterpenoids, via ent-copalyl diphosphate (ent-CDP) through successive cyclization reactions catalysed by two distinct diterpene synthases, ent-CDP synthase and ent-kaurene synthase. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) has two ent-CDP synthase genes, OsCPS1 and OsCPS2. It has been thought that OsCPS1 participates in GA biosynthesis, while OsCPS2 participates in the biosynthesis of phytoalexins, phytocassanes A–E, and oryzalexins A–F. It has been shown previously that loss-of-function OsCPS1 mutants display a severe dwarf phenotype caused by GA deficiency despite possessing another ent-CDP synthase gene, OsCPS2. Here, experiments were performed to account for the non-redundant biological function of OsCPS1 and OsCPS2. Quantitative reverse transcription–PCR (qRT–PCR) analysis showed that OsCPS2 transcript levels were drastically lower than those of OsCPS1 in the basal parts, including the meristem of the second-leaf sheaths of rice seedlings. qRT–PCR results using tissue samples prepared by laser microdissection suggested that OsCPS1 transcripts mainly localized in vascular bundle tissues, similar to Arabidopsis CPS, which is responsible for GA biosynthesis, whereas OsCPS2 transcripts mainly localized in epidermal cells that address environmental stressors such as pathogen attack. Furthermore, the OsCPS2 transgene under regulation of the OsCPS1 promoter complemented the dwarf phenotype of an OsCPS1 mutant, oscps1-1. The results indicate that transcripts of the two ent-CDP synthase genes differentially localize in rice plants according to their distinct biological roles, OsCPS1 for growth and OsCPS2 for defence.
PMCID: PMC4265168  PMID: 25336684
Biosynthetic enzyme; diterpene; gene expression; gibberellin; growth; rice.
4.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analyses of the redox-controlled complex of terminal oxygenase and ferredoxin components in the Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenase carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase 
A crystal was obtained of the complex between reduced terminal oxygenase and oxidized ferredoxin components of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase. The crystal belonged to space group P21 and diffracted to 2.25 Å resolution.
The initial reaction in bacterial carbazole degradation is catalyzed by carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase, which consists of terminal oxygenase (Oxy), ferredoxin (Fd) and ferredoxin reductase components. The electron-transfer complex between reduced Oxy and oxidized Fd was crystallized at 293 K using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method with PEG 3350 as the precipitant under anaerobic conditions. The crystal diffracted to a maximum resolution of 2.25 Å and belonged to space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 97.3, b = 81.6, c = 116.2 Å, α = γ = 90, β = 100.1°. The V M value is 2.85 Å3 Da−1, indicating a solvent content of 56.8%.
PMCID: PMC4188090  PMID: 25286950
Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenase; electron-transfer complex; terminal oxygenase; ferredoxin; carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase
5.  Identification of Target Genes of the bZIP Transcription Factor OsTGAP1, Whose Overexpression Causes Elicitor-Induced Hyperaccumulation of Diterpenoid Phytoalexins in Rice Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105823.
Phytoalexins are specialised antimicrobial metabolites that are produced by plants in response to pathogen attack. Momilactones and phytocassanes are the major diterpenoid phytoalexins in rice and are synthesised from geranylgeranyl diphosphate, which is derived from the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway. The hyperaccumulation of momilactones and phytocassanes due to the hyperinductive expression of the relevant biosynthetic genes and the MEP pathway gene OsDXS3 in OsTGAP1-overexpressing (OsTGAP1ox) rice cells has previously been shown to be stimulated by the chitin oligosaccharide elicitor. In this study, to clarify the mechanisms of the elicitor-stimulated coordinated hyperinduction of these phytoalexin biosynthetic genes in OsTGAP1ox cells, transcriptome analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation with next-generation sequencing were performed, resulting in the identification of 122 OsTGAP1 target genes. Transcriptome analysis revealed that nearly all of the momilactone and phytocassane biosynthetic genes, which are clustered on chromosomes 4 and 2, respectively, and the MEP pathway genes were hyperinductively expressed in the elicitor-stimulated OsTGAP1ox cells. Unexpectedly, none of the clustered genes was included among the OsTGAP1 target genes, suggesting that OsTGAP1 did not directly regulate the expression of these biosynthetic genes through binding to each promoter region. Interestingly, however, several OsTGAP1-binding regions were found in the intergenic regions among and near the cluster regions. Concerning the MEP pathway genes, only OsDXS3, which encodes a key enzyme of the MEP pathway, possessed an OsTGAP1-binding region in its upstream region. A subsequent transactivation assay further confirmed the direct regulation of OsDXS3 expression by OsTGAP1, but other MEP pathway genes were not included among the OsTGAP1 target genes. Collectively, these results suggest that OsTGAP1 participates in the enhanced accumulation of diterpenoid phytoalexins, primarily through mechanisms other than the direct transcriptional regulation of the genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of these phytoalexins.
PMCID: PMC4144896  PMID: 25157897
6.  Oligomerization Mechanisms of an H-NS Family Protein, Pmr, Encoded on the Plasmid pCAR1 Provide a Molecular Basis for Functions of H-NS Family Members 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105656.
Enterobacterial H-NS-like proteins and Pseudomonas MvaT-like proteins share low homology at the amino acid sequence level, but both can function as xenogeneic silencers and are included in the H-NS family of proteins. H-NS family members have dimerization/oligomerization and DNA-binding domains connected by a flexible linker and form large nucleoprotein complexes using both domains. Pmr, an MvaT-like protein encoded on the IncP-7 carbazole-degradative plasmid pCAR1, is a key regulator of an interaction between pCAR1 and its host Pseudomonas putida KT2440. KT2440 has two transcribed genes that encode the MvaT-like proteins TurA and TurB. Our previous transcriptome analyses suggested that the functions of Pmr, TurA and TurB are non-equivalent, although the detailed underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we focused on the protein–protein interactions of Pmr, and assessed the homo-oligomerization capacity of various substituted and truncated Pmr derivatives by protein–protein cross-linking analysis. Six of the seven residues identified as important for homo-oligomerization in Pmr were located near the N-terminus, and the putative flexible linker or the region near that was not involved in homo-oligomerization, suggesting that Pmr homo-oligomerization is different from that of enterobacterial H-NS and that the functional mechanism differs between H-NS-like and MvaT-like proteins. In addition, we assessed homo- and hetero-oligomerization of Pmr by surface plasmon resonance analysis and found that the coupling ratio of TurB-Pmr oligomers is smaller than that of Pmr-Pmr or TurA-Pmr oligomers. These results raised the possibility that composition of the hetero-oligomers of Pmr, TurA, and TurB could explain why the different gene sets were affected by either pmr, turA, or turB disruption in our previous studies.
PMCID: PMC4138198  PMID: 25137042
7.  WRKY45-dependent priming of diterpenoid phytoalexin biosynthesis in rice and the role of cytokinin in triggering the reaction 
Plant Molecular Biology  2014;86(1-2):171-183.
Plant activators such as benzothiadiazole (BTH) protect plants against diseases by priming the salicylic acid (SA) signaling pathway. In rice, the transcription factor WRKY45 plays a central role in this process. To investigate the mechanism involved in defense-priming by BTH and the role of WRKY45 in this process, we analyzed the transcripts of biosynthetic genes for diterpenoid phytoalexins (DPs) during the rice–Magnaporthe oryzae interaction. The DP biosynthetic genes were barely upregulated in BTH-treated rice plants, but were induced rapidly after M. oryzae infection in a WRKY45-dependent manner. These results indicate that the DP biosynthetic genes were primed by BTH through WRKY45. Rapid induction of the DP biosynthetic genes was also observed after M. oryzae infection to WRKY45-overexpressing (WRKY45-ox) plants. The changes in gene transcription resulted in accumulation of DPs in WRKY45-ox and BTH-pretreated rice after M. oryzae infection. Previously, we reported that cytokinins (CKs), especially isopentenyladenines, accumulated in M. oryzae-infected rice. Here, we show that DP biosynthetic genes are regulated by the SA/CK synergism in a WRKY45-dependent manner. Together, we propose that CK plays a role in mediating the signal of M. oryzae infection to trigger the induction of DP biosynthetic genes in BTH-primed plants.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11103-014-0221-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4133022  PMID: 25033935
Salicylic acid; Benzothiadiazole; Rice; Phytoalexin; Priming; Cytokinin
8.  Overexpression of Phosphomimic Mutated OsWRKY53 Leads to Enhanced Blast Resistance in Rice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98737.
WRKY transcription factors and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades have been shown to play pivotal roles in the regulation of plant defense responses. We previously reported that OsWRKY53-overexpressing rice plants showed enhanced resistance to the rice blast fungus. In this study, we identified OsWRKY53 as a substrate of OsMPK3/OsMPK6, components of a fungal PAMP-responsive MAPK cascade in rice, and analyzed the effect of OsWRKY53 phosphorylation on the regulation of basal defense responses to a virulence race of rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae strain Ina86-137. An in vitro phosphorylation assay revealed that the OsMPK3/OsMPK6 activated by OsMKK4 phosphorylated OsWRKY53 recombinant protein at its multiple clustered serine-proline residues (SP cluster). When OsWRKY53 was coexpressed with a constitutively active mutant of OsMKK4 in a transient reporter gene assay, the enhanced transactivation activity of OsWRKY53 was found to be dependent on phosphorylation of the SP cluster. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing a phospho-mimic mutant of OsWRKY53 (OsWRKY53SD) showed further-enhanced disease resistance to the blast fungus compared to native OsWRKY53-overexpressing rice plants, and a substantial number of defense-related genes, including pathogenesis-related protein genes, were more upregulated in the OsWRKY53SD-overexpressing plants compared to the OsWRKY53-overexpressing plants. These results strongly suggest that the OsMKK4-OsMPK3/OsMPK6 cascade regulates transactivation activity of OsWRKY53, and overexpression of the phospho-mimic mutant of OsWRKY53 results in a major change to the rice transcriptome at steady state that leads to activation of a defense response against the blast fungus in rice plants.
PMCID: PMC4043820  PMID: 24892523
9.  The potential bioproduction of the pharmaceutical agent sakuranetin, a flavonoid phytoalexin in rice 
Bioengineered  2012;3(6):352-357.
Sakuranetin, the major flavonoid phytoalexin in rice, can be induced by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, treatment with CuCl2 or jasmonic acid (JA), or phytopathogenic infection. In addition to sakuranetin’s biological significance on disease resistance in rice, its broad bioactivities have recently been described. Results from these studies have shown that sakuranetin is a useful compound as a plant antibiotic and a potential pharmaceutical agent. Sakuranetin is biosynthesized from naringenin, a precursor of sakuranetin, by naringenin 7-O-methyltransferase (NOMT), but the relevant gene has not yet been identified in rice. Recently, we identified the OsNOMT gene, which is involved in the final step of sakuranetin biosynthesis in rice. In previous studies, OsNOMT was purified to apparent homogeneity from UV-treated wild-type rice leaves; however, the purified protein, termed OsCOMT1, exhibited caffeic acid 3-O-methyltransferase (COMT) activity, but not NOMT activity. Based on the analysis of an oscomt1 T-DNA tagged mutant, we determined that OsCOMT1 did not contribute to sakuranetin production in rice in vivo. Therefore, we took advantage of the oscomt1 mutant to purify OsNOMT. A crude protein preparation from UV-treated oscomt1 leaves was subjected to three sequential purification steps resulting in a 400-fold purification from the crude enzyme preparation with a minor band at an apparent molecular mass of 40 kDa in the purest enzyme preparation. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight/time of flight analysis showed that the 40 kDa protein band included two O-methyltransferase-like proteins, but one of the proteins encoded by Os12g0240900 exhibited clear NOMT activity; thus, this gene was designated OsNOMT. Gene expression was induced by treatment with jasmonic acid in rice leaves prior to sakuranetin accumulation, and the recombinant protein showed reasonable kinetic properties to NOMT. Identification of the OsNOMT gene enables the production of large amounts of sakuranetin through transgenic rice and microorganisms. This finding also allows for the generation of disease-resistant and sakuranetin biofortified rice in the future.
PMCID: PMC3489713  PMID: 22895058
Oryza sativa; disease resistance; flavonoid; phytoalexin; O-methyltransferase; sakuranetin
10.  WRKY76 is a rice transcriptional repressor playing opposite roles in blast disease resistance and cold stress tolerance 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(16):5085-5097.
OsWRKY76 encodes a group IIa WRKY transcription factor of rice. The expression of OsWRKY76 was induced within 48h after inoculation with rice blast fungus (Magnaporthe oryzae), and by wounding, low temperature, benzothiadiazole, and abscisic acid. Green fluorescent protein-fused OsWRKY76 localized to the nuclei in rice epidermal cells. OsWRKY76 showed sequence-specific DNA binding to the W-box element in vitro and exhibited W-box-mediated transcriptional repressor activity in cultured rice cells. Overexpression of OsWRKY76 in rice plants resulted in drastically increased susceptibility to M. oryzae, but improved tolerance to cold stress. Microarray analysis revealed that overexpression of OsWRKY76 suppresses the induction of a specific set of PR genes and of genes involved in phytoalexin synthesis after inoculation with blast fungus, consistent with the observation that the levels of phytoalexins in the transgenic rice plants remained significantly lower than those in non-transformed control plants. Furthermore, overexpression of OsWRKY76 led to the increased expression of abiotic stress-associated genes such as peroxidase and lipid metabolism genes. These results strongly suggest that OsWRKY76 plays dual and opposing roles in blast disease resistance and cold tolerance.
PMCID: PMC3830488  PMID: 24043853
Blast disease resistance; cold stress; phytoalexin; rice; transcriptional repressor; WRKY.
11.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of a terminal oxygenase of carbazole 1,9a-­dioxygenase from Novosphingobium sp. KA1 
The terminal oxygenase component (Oxy) of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO) catalyzes dihydroxylation of the aromatic ring. The Oxy of CARDO from Novosphingobium sp. KA1 was crystallized and the crystals diffracted to a resolution of 2.1 Å.
Carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO) is the initial dioxygenase in the carbazole-degradation pathway of Novosphingobium sp. KA1. The CARDO from KA1 consists of a terminal oxygenase (Oxy), a putidaredoxin-type ferredoxin and a ferredoxin reductase. The Oxy from Novosphingobium sp. KA1 was crystallized at 277 K using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method with ammonium sulfate as the precipitant. Diffraction data were collected to a resolution of 2.1 Å. The crystals belonged to the monoclinic space group P21. Self-rotation function analysis suggested that the asymmetric unit contained two Oxy trimers; the Matthews coefficient and solvent content were calculated to be 5.9 Å3 Da−1 and 79.1%, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3001653  PMID: 21045300
carbazole; Novosphingobium; Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenases; sphingomonads; terminal oxygenases
12.  Ectopic Expression of Hrf1 Enhances Bacterial Resistance via Regulation of Diterpene Phytoalexins, Silicon and Reactive Oxygen Species Burst in Rice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e43914.
Harpin proteins as elicitor derived from plant gram negative bacteria such as Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), Erwinia amylovora induce disease resistance in plants by activating multiple defense responses. However, it is unclear whether phytoalexin production and ROS burst are involved in the disease resistance conferred by the expression of the harpinXoo protein in rice. In this article, ectopic expression of hrf1 in rice enhanced resistance to bacterial blight. Accompanying with the activation of genes related to the phytoalexin biosynthesis pathway in hrf1-transformed rice, phytoalexins quickly and consistently accumulated concurrent with the limitation of bacterial growth rate. Moreover, the hrf1-transformed rice showed an increased ability for ROS scavenging and decreased hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) concentration. Furthermore, the localization and relative quantification of silicon deposition in rice leaves was detected by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS). Finally, the transcript levels of defense response genes increased in transformed rice. These results show a correlation between Xoo resistance and phytoalexin production, H2O2, silicon deposition and defense gene expression in hrf1-transformed rice. These data are significant because they provide evidence for a better understanding the role of defense responses in the incompatible interaction between bacterial disease and hrf1-transformed plants. These data also supply an opportunity for generating nonspecific resistance to pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3435380  PMID: 22970151
13.  Structural insight into the substrate- and dioxygen-binding manner in the catalytic cycle of rieske nonheme iron oxygenase system, carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase 
Dihydroxylation of tandemly linked aromatic carbons in a cis-configuration, catalyzed by multicomponent oxygenase systems known as Rieske nonheme iron oxygenase systems (ROs), often constitute the initial step of aerobic degradation pathways for various aromatic compounds. Because such RO reactions inherently govern whether downstream degradation processes occur, novel oxygenation mechanisms involving oxygenase components of ROs (RO-Os) is of great interest. Despite substantial progress in structural and physicochemical analyses, no consensus exists on the chemical steps in the catalytic cycles of ROs. Thus, determining whether conformational changes at the active site of RO-O occur by substrate and/or oxygen binding is important. Carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO), a RO member consists of catalytic terminal oxygenase (CARDO-O), ferredoxin (CARDO-F), and ferredoxin reductase. We have succeeded in determining the crystal structures of oxidized CARDO-O, oxidized CARDO-F, and both oxidized and reduced forms of the CARDO-O: CARDO-F binary complex.
In the present study, we determined the crystal structures of the reduced carbazole (CAR)-bound, dioxygen-bound, and both CAR- and dioxygen-bound CARDO-O: CARDO-F binary complex structures at 1.95, 1.85, and 2.00 Å resolution. These structures revealed the conformational changes that occur in the catalytic cycle. Structural comparison between complex structures in each step of the catalytic mechanism provides several implications, such as the order of substrate and dioxygen bindings, the iron-dioxygen species likely being Fe(III)-(hydro)peroxo, and the creation of room for dioxygen binding and the promotion of dioxygen binding in desirable fashion by preceding substrate binding.
The RO catalytic mechanism is proposed as follows: When the Rieske cluster is reduced, substrate binding induces several conformational changes (e.g., movements of the nonheme iron and the ligand residue) that create room for oxygen binding. Dioxygen bound in a side-on fashion onto nonheme iron is activated by reduction to the peroxo state [Fe(III)-(hydro)peroxo]. This state may react directly with the bound substrate, or O–O bond cleavage may occur to generate Fe(V)-oxo-hydroxo species prior to the reaction. After producing a cis-dihydrodiol, the product is released by reducing the nonheme iron. This proposed scheme describes the catalytic cycle of ROs and provides important information for a better understanding of the mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3423008  PMID: 22727022
14.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of a ferredoxin reductase component of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase from Novosphingobium sp. KA1 
The ferredoxin reductase component of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (Red) is involved in electron transfer from NAD(P)H to ferredoxin. The class IIA Red from Novosphingobium sp. KA1 was crystallized and the crystal diffracted to a resolution of 1.58 Å.
Carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO) is the initial enzyme of the carbazole-degradation pathway. The CARDO of Novosphingobium sp. KA1 consists of a terminal oxygenase, a putidaredoxin-type ferredoxin and a ferredoxin-NADH oxidoreductase (Red) and is classified as a class IIA Rieske oxygenase. Red from KA1 was crystallized at 278 K by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method using PEG 4000. The crystal diffracted to 1.58 Å resolution and belonged to space group P32, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 92.2, c = 78.6 Å, α = γ = 90, β = 120°. Preliminary analysis of the X-ray diffraction data revealed that the asymmetric unit contained two Red monomers. The crystal appeared to be a merohedral twin, with a twin fraction of 0.32 and twin law (−h, −k, l).
PMCID: PMC2882777  PMID: 20516607
carbazole; Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenases; ferredoxin reductases
15.  Pmr, a Histone-Like Protein H1 (H-NS) Family Protein Encoded by the IncP-7 Plasmid pCAR1, Is a Key Global Regulator That Alters Host Function▿ ¶  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(18):4720-4731.
Histone-like protein H1 (H-NS) family proteins are nucleoid-associated proteins (NAPs) conserved among many bacterial species. The IncP-7 plasmid pCAR1 is transmissible among various Pseudomonas strains and carries a gene encoding the H-NS family protein, Pmr. Pseudomonas putida KT2440 is a host of pCAR1, which harbors five genes encoding the H-NS family proteins PP_1366 (TurA), PP_3765 (TurB), PP_0017 (TurC), PP_3693 (TurD), and PP_2947 (TurE). Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) demonstrated that the presence of pCAR1 does not affect the transcription of these five genes and that only pmr, turA, and turB were primarily transcribed in KT2440(pCAR1). In vitro pull-down assays revealed that Pmr strongly interacted with itself and with TurA, TurB, and TurE. Transcriptome comparisons of the pmr disruptant, KT2440, and KT2440(pCAR1) strains indicated that pmr disruption had greater effects on the host transcriptome than did pCAR1 carriage. The transcriptional levels of some genes that increased with pCAR1 carriage, such as the mexEF-oprN efflux pump genes and parI, reverted with pmr disruption to levels in pCAR1-free KT2440. Transcriptional levels of putative horizontally acquired host genes were not altered by pCAR1 carriage but were altered by pmr disruption. Identification of genome-wide Pmr binding sites by ChAP-chip (chromatin affinity purification coupled with high-density tiling chip) analysis demonstrated that Pmr preferentially binds to horizontally acquired DNA regions. The Pmr binding sites overlapped well with the location of the genes differentially transcribed following pmr disruption on both the plasmid and the chromosome. Our findings indicate that Pmr is a key factor in optimizing gene transcription on pCAR1 and the host chromosome.
PMCID: PMC2937398  PMID: 20639326
16.  Distribution of Genes Encoding Nucleoid-Associated Protein Homologs in Plasmids 
Bacterial nucleoid-associated proteins (NAPs) form nucleoprotein complexes and influence the expression of genes. Recent studies have shown that some plasmids carry genes encoding NAP homologs, which play important roles in transcriptional regulation networks between plasmids and host chromosomes. In this study, we determined the distributions of the well-known NAPs Fis, H-NS, HU, IHF, and Lrp and the newly found NAPs MvaT and NdpA among the whole-sequenced 1382 plasmids found in Gram-negative bacteria. Comparisons between NAP distributions and plasmid features (size, G+C content, and putative transferability) were also performed. We found that larger plasmids frequently have NAP gene homologs. Plasmids with H-NS gene homologs had less G+C content. It should be noted that plasmids with the NAP gene homolog also carried the relaxase gene involved in the conjugative transfer of plasmids more frequently than did those without the NAP gene homolog, implying that plasmid-encoded NAP homologs positively contribute to transmissible plasmids.
PMCID: PMC3042613  PMID: 21350637
17.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of a novel ferredoxin involved in the dioxygenation of carbazole by Novosphingobium sp. KA1 
The ferredoxin component of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO-F) is involved in an electron-transfer reaction. The CARDO-F from Novosphingobium sp. KA1 was crystallized under anaerobic conditions and diffracted to a resolution of 1.9 Å.
Novosphingobium sp. KA1 uses carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO) as the first dioxygenase in its carbazole-degradation pathway. The CARDO of KA1 contains a terminal oxygenase component and two electron-transfer components: ferredoxin and ferredoxin reductase. In contrast to the CARDO systems of other species, the ferredoxin component of KA1 is a putidaredoxin-type protein. This novel ferredoxin was crystallized at 293 K by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method using PEG MME 550 as the precipitant under anaerobic conditions. The crystals belong to space group C2221 and diffraction data were collected to a resolution of 1.9 Å (the diffraction limit was 1.6 Å).
PMCID: PMC2443972  PMID: 18607094
carbazole; putidaredoxin-type proteins; Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenases
18.  Carbazole-Degradative IncP-7 Plasmid pCAR1.2 Is Structurally Unstable in Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1, Which Accumulates Catechol, the Intermediate of the Carbazole Degradation Pathway▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(12):3920-3929.
We determined the effect of the host on the function and structure of the nearly identical IncP-7 carbazole-degradative plasmids pCAR1.1 and pCAR1.2. We constructed Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1(pCAR1.2) and P. fluorescens Pf0-1Km(pCAR1.2) and compared their growth on carbazole- and succinate-containing media with that of P. putida KT2440(pCAR1.1). We also assessed the stability of the genetic structures of the plasmids in each of the three hosts. Pf0-1Km(pCAR1.2) showed dramatically delayed growth when carbazole was supplied as the sole carbon source, while the three strains grew at nearly the same rate on succinate. Among the carbazole-grown Pf0-1Km(pCAR1.2) cells, two types of deficient strains appeared and dominated the population; such dominance was not observed in the other two strains or for succinate-grown Pf0-1Km(pCAR1.2). Genetic analysis showed that the two deficient strains possessed pCAR1.2 derivatives in which the carbazole-degradative car operon was deleted or its regulatory gene, antR, was deleted by homologous recombination between insertion sequences. From genomic information and quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analyses of the genes involved in carbazole mineralization by Pf0-1Km(pCAR1.2), we found that the cat genes on the chromosome of Pf0-1Km, which are necessary for the degradation of catechol (a toxic intermediate in the carbazole catabolic pathway), were not induced in the presence of carbazole. The resulting accumulation of catechol may have enabled the strain that lost its carbazole-degrading ability to have overall higher fitness than the wild-type strain. These results suggest that the functions of the chromosomal genes contributed to the selection of plasmid derivatives with altered structures.
PMCID: PMC2698365  PMID: 19376894
19.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of the ferredoxin component of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase from Nocardioides aromaticivorans IC177 
The ferredoxin component of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase from N. aromaticivorans IC177 was crystallized and diffraction data were collected to 2.0 Å resolution.
Carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO) catalyzes the dihydroxylation of carbazole by angular position (C9a) carbon bonding to the imino nitrogen and its adjacent C1 carbon. CARDO consists of a terminal oxygenase component and two electron-transfer components: ferredoxin and ferredoxin reductase. The ferredoxin component of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase from Nocardioides aromaticivorans IC177 was crystallized at 293 K using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method with ammonium sulfate as the precipitant. The crystals, which were improved by macroseeding, diffract to 2.0 Å resolution and belong to space group P41212.
PMCID: PMC2339720  PMID: 17909288
ferredoxins; carbazole; Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenase system; Rieske-type proteins
20.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of the ferredoxin reductase component in the Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenase system carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase 
The NAD(P)H:ferredoxin oxidoreductase in carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase from Janthinobacterium sp. J3 was crystallized and diffraction data were collected to 2.60 Å resolution.
Carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO), which consists of an oxygenase component (CARDO-O) and the electron-transport components ferredoxin (CARDO-F) and ferredoxin reductase (CARDO-R), catalyzes dihydroxylation at the C1 and C9a positions of carbazole. CARDO-R was crystallized at 277 K using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method with the precipitant PEG 8000. Two crystal types (types I and II) were obtained. The type I crystal diffracted to a maximum resolution of 2.80 Å and belonged to space group P42212, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 158.7, c = 81.4 Å. The type II crystal was obtained in drops from which type I crystals had been removed; it diffracted to 2.60 Å resolution and belonged to the same space group, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 161.8, c = 79.5 Å.
PMCID: PMC2335075  PMID: 17554172
angular dioxygenases; NAD(P)H:ferredoxin oxidoreductases; Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenase system; electron transfer; carbazole
21.  High-resolution mapping of plasmid transcriptomes in different host bacteria 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:12.
Plasmids are extrachromosomal elements that replicate autonomously, and many can be transmitted between bacterial cells through conjugation. Although the transcription pattern of genes on a plasmid can be altered by a change in host background, the expression range of plasmid genes that will result in phenotypic variation has not been quantitatively investigated.
Using a microarray with evenly tiled probes at a density of 9 bp, we mapped and quantified the transcripts of the carbazole catabolic plasmid pCAR1 in its original host Pseudomonas resinovorans CA10 and the transconjugant P. putida KT2440(pCAR1) during growth on either carbazole or succinate as the sole carbon source. We identified the operons in pCAR1, which consisted of nearly identical transcription units despite the difference in host background during growth on the same carbon source. In accordance with previous studies, the catabolic operons for carbazole degradation were upregulated during growth on carbazole in both hosts. However, our tiling array results also showed that several operons flanking the transfer gene cluster were transcribed at significantly higher levels in the transconjugant than in the original host. The number of transcripts and the positions of the transcription start sites agreed with our quantitative RT-PCR and primer extension results.
Our tiling array results indicate that the levels of transcription for the operons on a plasmid can vary by host background. High-resolution mapping using an unbiased tiling array is a valuable tool for the simultaneous identification and quantification of prokaryotic transcriptomes including polycistronic operons and non-coding RNAs.
PMCID: PMC2642839  PMID: 19134166
22.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of the terminal oxygenase component of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase from Nocardioides aromaticivorans IC177 
The terminal oxygenase component of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase from N. aromaticivorans IC177 was crystallized and diffraction data were collected to 2.30 Å resolution.
Carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase (CARDO) catalyzes the dihydroxylation of carbazole by angular-position (C9a) carbon bonding to the imino nitrogen and its adjacent C1 carbon. CARDO consists of a terminal oxygenase component and two electron-transfer components: ferredoxin and ferredoxin reductase. The terminal oxygenase component (43.9 kDa) of carbazole 1,9a-dioxygenase from Nocardioides aromaticivorans IC177 was crystallized at 293 K using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method with PEG 8000 as the precipitant. The crystals diffract to 2.3 Å resolution and belong to space group C2.
PMCID: PMC2225353  PMID: 17142899
angular dioxygenases; carbazole; Rieske nonhaem iron oxygenase system; Rieske-type protein
23.  Transcription Factors CysB and SfnR Constitute the Hierarchical Regulatory System for the Sulfate Starvation Response in Pseudomonas putida▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(13):4521-4531.
Pseudomonas putida DS1 is able to utilize dimethyl sulfone as a sulfur source. Expression of the sfnFG operon responsible for dimethyl sulfone oxygenation is directly regulated by a σ54-dependent transcriptional activator, SfnR, which is encoded within the sfnECR operon. We investigated the transcription mechanism for the sulfate starvation-induced expression of these sfn operons. Using an in vivo transcription assay and in vitro DNA-binding experiments, we revealed that SfnR negatively regulates the expression of sfnECR by binding to the downstream region of the transcription start point. Additionally, we demonstrated that a LysR-type transcriptional regulator, CysB, directly activates the expression of sfnECR by binding to its upstream region. CysB is a master regulator that controls the sulfate starvation response of the sfn operons, as is the case for the sulfonate utilization genes of Escherichia coli, although CysBDS1 appeared to differ from that of E. coli CysB in terms of the effect of O-acetylserine on DNA-binding ability. Furthermore, we investigated what effector molecules repress the expression of sfnFG and sfnECR in vivo by using the disruptants of the sulfate assimilatory genes cysNC and cysI. The measurements of mRNA levels of the sfn operons in these gene disruptants suggested that the expression of sfnFG is repressed by sulfate itself while the expression of sfnECR is repressed by the downstream metabolites in the sulfate assimilatory pathway, such as sulfide and cysteine. These results indicate that SfnR plays a role independent of CysB in the sulfate starvation-induced expression of the sfn operons.
PMCID: PMC2446806  PMID: 18456803
24.  Transcriptome Analysis of Pseudomonas putida KT2440 Harboring the Completely Sequenced IncP-7 Plasmid pCAR1▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(19):6849-6860.
The IncP-7 plasmid pCAR1 of Pseudomonas resinovorans CA10 confers the ability to degrade carbazole upon transfer to the recipient strain P. putida KT2440. We designed a customized whole-genome oligonucleotide microarray to study the coordinated expression of pCAR1 and the chromosome in the transconjugant strain KT2440(pCAR1). First, the transcriptome of KT2440(pCAR1) during growth with carbazole as the sole carbon source was compared to that during growth with succinate. The carbazole catabolic car and ant operons were induced, along with the chromosomal cat and pca genes involved in the catechol branch of the β-ketoadipate pathway. Additionally, the regulatory gene antR encoding the AraC/XylS family transcriptional activator specific for car and ant operons was upregulated. The characterization of the antR promoter revealed that antR is transcribed from an RpoN-dependent promoter, suggesting that the successful expression of the carbazole catabolic operons depends on whether the chromosome contains the specific RpoN-dependent activator. Next, to analyze whether the horizontal transfer of a plasmid alters the transcription network of its host chromosome, we compared the chromosomal transcriptomes of KT2440(pCAR1) and KT2440 under the same growth conditions. Only subtle changes were caused by the transfer of pCAR1, except for the significant induction of the hypothetical gene PP3700, designated parI, which encodes a putative ParA-like ATPase with an N-terminal Xre-type DNA-binding motif. Further transcriptional analyses showed that the parI promoter was positively regulated by ParI itself and the pCAR1-encoded protein ParA.
PMCID: PMC2045235  PMID: 17675379
25.  The Sphingomonas Plasmid pCAR3 Is Involved in Complete Mineralization of Carbazole▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;189(5):2007-2020.
We determined the complete 254,797-bp nucleotide sequence of the plasmid pCAR3, a carbazole-degradative plasmid from Sphingomonas sp. strain KA1. A region of about 65 kb involved in replication and conjugative transfer showed similarity to a region of plasmid pNL1 isolated from the aromatic-degrading Novosphingobium aromaticivorans strain F199. The presence of many insertion sequences, transposons, repeat sequences, and their remnants suggest plasticity of this plasmid in genetic structure. Although pCAR3 is thought to carry clustered genes for conjugative transfer, a filter-mating assay between KA1 and a pCAR3-cured strain (KA1W) was unsuccessful, indicating that pCAR3 might be deficient in conjugative transfer. Several degradative genes were found on pCAR3, including two kinds of carbazole-degradative gene clusters (car-I and car-II), and genes for electron transfer components of initial oxygenase for carbazole (fdxI, fdrI, and fdrII). Putative genes were identified for the degradation of anthranilate (and), catechol (cat), 2-hydroxypenta-2,4-dienoate (carDFE), dibenzofuran/fluorene (dbf/fln), protocatechuate (lig), and phthalate (oph). It appears that pCAR3 may carry clustered genes (car-I, car-II, fdxI, fdrI, fdrII, and, and cat) for the degradation of carbazole into tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates; KA1W completely lost the ability to grow on carbazole, and the carbazole-degradative genes listed above were all expressed when KA1 was grown on carbazole. Reverse transcription-PCR analysis also revealed that the transcription of car-I, car-II, and cat genes was induced by carbazole or its metabolic intermediate. Southern hybridization analyses with probes prepared from car-I, car-II, repA, parA, traI, and traD genes indicated that several Sphingomonas carbazole degraders have DNA regions similar to parts of pCAR3.
PMCID: PMC1855757  PMID: 17172338

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