Whole-cell matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is a rapid method for identification of microorganisms that is increasingly used in microbiology laboratories. This identification is based on the comparison of the tested isolate mass spectrum with reference databases. Using Neisseria meningitidis as a model organism, we showed that in one of the available databases, the Andromas database, 10 of the 13 species-specific biomarkers correspond to ribosomal proteins. Remarkably, one biomarker, ribosomal protein L32, was subject to inter-strain variability. The analysis of the ribosomal protein patterns of 100 isolates for which whole genome sequences were available, confirmed the presence of inter-strain variability in the molecular weight of 29 ribosomal proteins, thus establishing a correlation between the sequence type (ST) and/or clonal complex (CC) of each strain and its ribosomal protein pattern. Since the molecular weight of three of the variable ribosomal proteins (L30, L31 and L32) was included in the spectral window observed by MALDI-TOF MS in clinical microbiology, i.e., 3640–12000 m/z, we were able by analyzing the molecular weight of these three ribosomal proteins to classify each strain in one of six subgroups, each of these subgroups corresponding to specific STs and/or CCs. Their detection by MALDI-TOF allows therefore a quick typing of N. meningitidis isolates.
Mass spectrometry; Ribosomal proteins; Biomarkers; Neisseria meningitidis
The term “bystander effect” is used to describe an effect in which cells that have not been exposed to radiation are affected by irradiated cells though various intracellular signaling mechanisms. In this study we analyzed the kinetics and mechanisms of bystander effect and radioadaptation in embryonic zebrafish cells (ZF4) exposed to chronic low dose of gamma rays. ZF4 cells were irradiated for 4 hours with total doses of gamma irradiation ranging from 0.01–0.1 Gy. In two experimental conditions, the transfer of irradiated cells or culture medium from irradiated cells results in the occurrence of DNA double strand breaks in non-irradiated cells (assessed by the number of γ-H2AX foci) that are repaired at 24 hours post-irradiation whatever the dose. At low total irradiation doses the bystander effect observed does not affect DNA repair mechanisms in targeted and bystander cells. An increase in global methylation of ZF4 cells was observed in irradiated cells and bystander cells compared to control cells. We observed that pre-irradiated cells which are then irradiated for a second time with the same doses contained significantly less γ-H2AX foci than in 24 h gamma-irradiated control cells. We also showed that bystander cells that have been in contact with the pre-irradiated cells and then irradiated alone present less γ-H2AX foci compared to the control cells. This radioadaptation effect is significantly more pronounced at the highest doses. To determine the factors involved in the early events of the bystander effect, we performed an extensive comparative proteomic study of the ZF4 secretomes upon irradiation. In the experimental conditions assayed here, we showed that the early events of bystander effect are probably not due to the secretion of specific proteins neither the oxidation of these secreted proteins. These results suggest that early bystander effect may be due probably to a combination of multiple factors.
Bacteria from the Roseobacter clade are abundant in surface marine ecosystems as over 10% of bacterial cells in the open ocean and 20% in coastal waters belong to this group. In order to document how these marine bacteria interact with their environment, we analyzed the exoproteome of Phaeobacter strain DSM 17395. We grew the strain in marine medium, collected the exoproteome and catalogued its content with high-throughput nanoLC-MS/MS shotgun proteomics. The major component represented 60% of the total protein content but was refractory to either classical proteomic identification or proteogenomics. We de novo sequenced this abundant protein with high-resolution tandem mass spectra which turned out being the 53 kDa RTX-toxin ZP_02147451. It comprised a peptidase M10 serralysin domain. We explained its recalcitrance to trypsin proteolysis and proteomic identification by its unusual low number of basic residues. We found this is a conserved trait in RTX-toxins from Roseobacter strains which probably explains their persistence in the harsh conditions around bacteria. Comprehensive analysis of exoproteomes from environmental bacteria should take into account this proteolytic recalcitrance.
The bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans exhibits an extreme resistance to ionizing radiation. A small subset of Deinococcus genus-specific genes were shown to be up-regulated upon exposure to ionizing radiation and to play a role in genome reconstitution. These genes include an SSB-like protein called DdrB. Here, we identified a novel protein encoded by the dr1245 gene as an interacting partner of DdrB. A strain devoid of the DR1245 protein is impaired in growth, exhibiting a generation time approximately threefold that of the wild type strain while radioresistance is not affected. We determined the three-dimensional structure of DR1245, revealing a relationship with type III secretion system chaperones and YbjN family proteins. Thus, DR1245 may display some chaperone activity towards DdrB and possibly other substrates.
GTPases are molecular switches that regulate a wide-range of cellular processes. The GPN-loop GTPase (GPN) is a sub-family of P-loop NTPase that evolved from a single gene copy in archaea to triplicate paralog genes in eukaryotes, each having a non-redundant essential function in cell. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, yGPN1 and yGPN2 are involved in sister chromatid cohesion mechanism, whereas nothing is known regarding yGPN3 function. Previous high-throughput experiments suggested that GPN paralogs interaction may occur. In this work, GPN|GPN contact was analyzed in details using TAP-Tag approach, yeast two-hybrid assay, in silico energy computation and site-directed mutagenesis of a conserved Glu residue located at the center of the interaction interface. It is demonstrated that this residue is essential for cell viability. A chromatid cohesion assay revealed that, like yGPN1 and yGPN2, yGPN3 also plays a role in sister chromatid cohesion. These results suggest that all three GPN proteins act at the molecular level in sister chromatid cohesion mechanism as a GPN|GPN complex reminiscent of the homodimeric structure of PAB0955, an archaeal member of GPN-loop GTPase.
GPN-loop-GTPase; chromatid cohesion; heterodimer; paralogous interactions; P-loop NTPase
Deinococcus deserti VCD115 has been isolated from Sahara surface sand. This radiotolerant bacterium represents an experimental model of choice to understand adaptation to harsh conditions encountered in hot arid deserts. We analysed the soluble proteome dynamics in this environmentally relevant model after exposure to 3 kGy gamma radiation, a non-lethal dose that generates massive DNA damages. For this, cells were harvested at different time lapses after irradiation and their soluble proteome contents have been analysed by 2-DE and mass spectrometry.
In the first stage of the time course we observed accumulation of DNA damage response protein DdrB (that shows the highest fold change ~11), SSB, and two different RecA proteins (RecAP and RecAC). Induction of DNA repair protein PprA, DNA damage response protein DdrD and the two gyrase subunits (GyrA and GyrB) was also detected. A response regulator of the SarP family, a type II site-specific deoxyribonuclease and a putative N-acetyltransferase are three new proteins found to be induced. In a more delayed stage, we observed accumulation of several proteins related to central metabolism and protein turn-over, as well as helicase UvrD and novel forms of both gyrase subunits differing in terms of isoelectric point and molecular weight.
Post-translational modifications of GyrA (N-terminal methionine removal and acetylation) have been evidenced and their significance discussed. We found that the Deide_02842 restriction enzyme, which is specifically found in D. deserti, is a new potential member of the radiation/desiccation response regulon, highlighting the specificities of D. deserti compared to the D. radiodurans model.
Proteome; Post-translational modification; Irradiation; Early response; Reference 2D map; Kinetics; Hierarchical clustering
In terms of lifestyle, free-living bacteria are classified as either oligotrophic/specialist or opportunist/generalist. Heterogeneous marine environments such as coastal waters favour the establishment of marine generalist bacteria, which code for a large pool of functions. This is basically foreseen to cope with the heterogeneity of organic matter supplied to these systems. Nevertheless, it is not known what fraction of a generalist proteome is needed for house-keeping functions or what fraction is modified to cope with environmental changes. Here, we used high-throughput proteomics to define the proteome of Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3, a model marine generalist bacterium of the Roseobacter clade. We evaluated its genome expression under several natural environmental conditions, revealing the versatility of the bacterium to adapt to anthropogenic influence, poor nutrient concentrations or the presence of the natural microbial community. We also assayed 30 different laboratory incubations to increase proteome coverage and to dig further into the functional genomics of the bacterium. We established its core proteome and the proteome devoted to adaptation to general cellular physiological variations (almost 50%). We suggest that the other half of its theoretical proteome is the opportunist genetic pool devoted exclusively to very specific environmental conditions.
proteomics; core proteome; specialist; generalist; Roseobacters; functional genomics
The structural and functional annotation of genomes is now heavily based on data obtained using automated pipeline systems. The key for an accurate structural annotation consists of blending similarities between closely related genomes with biochemical evidence of the genome interpretation. In this work we applied high-throughput proteogenomics to Ruegeria pomeroyi, a member of the Roseobacter clade, an abundant group of marine bacteria, as a seed for the annotation of the whole clade.
A large dataset of peptides from R. pomeroyi was obtained after searching over 1.1 million MS/MS spectra against a six-frame translated genome database. We identified 2006 polypeptides, of which thirty-four were encoded by open reading frames (ORFs) that had not previously been annotated. From the pool of 'one-hit-wonders', i.e. those ORFs specified by only one peptide detected by tandem mass spectrometry, we could confirm the probable existence of five additional new genes after proving that the corresponding RNAs were transcribed. We also identified the most-N-terminal peptide of 486 polypeptides, of which sixty-four had originally been wrongly annotated.
By extending these re-annotations to the other thirty-six Roseobacter isolates sequenced to date (twenty different genera), we propose the correction of the assigned start codons of 1082 homologous genes in the clade. In addition, we also report the presence of novel genes within operons encoding determinants of the important tricarboxylic acid cycle, a feature that seems to be characteristic of some Roseobacter genomes. The detection of their corresponding products in large amounts raises the question of their function. Their discoveries point to a possible theory for protein evolution that will rely on high expression of orphans in bacteria: their putative poor efficiency could be counterbalanced by a higher level of expression. Our proteogenomic analysis will increase the reliability of the future annotation of marine bacterial genomes.
health care students; measles; virus; vaccination; Paris; France; letter
PMID: 21399751 CAMSID: cams1608
Biomarkers; biotechnology foresight; gene-centric human proteome project; nutriproteomics; personalized nutrition; population biobanks; prospective policy; proteogenomics
In the food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus F4430/73, the production of major virulence factors hemolysin BL (Hbl) and nonhemolytic enterotoxin (Nhe) is regulated through complex mechanisms. The two-component regulatory system ResDE is involved in the activation of hbl and nhe transcription. Here, the response regulator ResD and the sensor kinase ResE were overexpressed and purified, and autophosphorylation of ResE and transphosphorylation of ResD by ResE were demonstrated in vitro. ResD is mainly monomeric in solution, regardless of its phosphorylation state. ResD was shown to interact directly with promoter regions (p) of the enterotoxin regulator genes resDE, fnr, and plcR and the enterotoxin structural genes nhe and hbl, but with different affinities. Binding of ResD to pplcR, pnhe, and phbl was not dependent on the ResD phosphorylation status. In contrast, ResD phosphorylation significantly increased interactions between ResD and presDE and pfnr. Taken together, these results showed that phosphorylation of ResD results in a different target expression pattern. Furthermore, ResD and the redox activator Fnr were found to physically interact and simultaneously bind their target DNAs. We propose that unphosphorylated ResD acts as an antiactivator of Fnr, while phosphorylated ResD acts as a coactivator of Fnr. Finally, our findings represent the first molecular evidence of the role of ResDE as a sentinel system capable of sensing redox changes and coordinating a response that modulates B. cereus virulence.
Microorganisms secrete into their extracellular environment numerous compounds that are required for their survival. Many of these compounds could be of great interest for biotechnology applications and their genes used in synthetic biology design. The secreted proteins and the components of the translocation systems themselves can be scrutinized in-depth by the most recent proteomic tools. While the secretomes of pathogens are well-documented, those of non-pathogens remain largely to be established. Here, we present the analysis of the exoproteome from the marine bacterium Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3 grown in standard laboratory conditions. We used a shotgun approach consisting of trypsin digestion of the exoproteome, and identification of the resulting peptides by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. Three different proteins that have domains homologous to those observed in RTX toxins were uncovered and were semi-quantified as the most abundantly secreted proteins. One of these proteins clearly stands out from the catalogue, representing over half of the total exoproteome. We also listed many soluble proteins related to ABC and TRAP transporters implied in the uptake of nutrients. The Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3 case-study illustrates the power of the shotgun nano-LC-MS/MS strategy to decipher the exoproteome from marine bacteria and to contribute to environmental proteomics.
environmental proteomics; exoproteome; marine bacteria; proteogenomics; toxins
Deinococcaceae are a family of extremely radiation-tolerant bacteria that are currently subjected to numerous studies aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms for such radiotolerance. To achieve a comprehensive and accurate annotation of the Deinococcus deserti genome, we performed an N terminus-oriented characterization of its proteome. For this, we used a labeling reagent, N-tris(2,4,6-trimethoxyphenyl)phosphonium acetyl succinimide, to selectively derivatize protein N termini. The large scale identification of N-tris(2,4,6-trimethoxyphenyl)phosphonium acetyl succinimide-modified N-terminal-most peptides by shotgun liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis led to the validation of 278 and the correction of 73 translation initiation codons in the D. deserti genome. In addition, four new genes were detected, three located on the main chromosome and one on plasmid P3. We also analyzed signal peptide cleavages on a genome-wide scale. Based on comparative proteogenomics analysis, we propose a set of 137 corrections to improve Deinococcus radiodurans and Deinococcus geothermalis gene annotations. Some of these corrections affect important genes involved in DNA repair mechanisms such as polA, ligA, and ddrB. Surprisingly, experimental evidences were obtained indicating that DnaA (the protein involved in the DNA replication initiation process) and RpsL (the S12 ribosomal conserved protein) translation is initiated in Deinococcaceae from non-canonical codons (ATC and CTG, respectively). Such use may be the basis of specific regulation mechanisms affecting replication and translation. We also report the use of non-conventional translation initiation codons for two other genes: Deide_03051 and infC. Whether such use of non-canonical translation initiation codons is much more frequent than for other previously reported bacterial phyla or restricted to Deinococcaceae remains to be investigated. Our results demonstrate that predicting translation initiation codons is still difficult for some bacteria and that proteomics-based refinement of genome annotations may be helpful in such cases.
The genome sequence of Thermococcus gammatolerans, a radioresistant archaeon, is described; a proteomic analysis reveals that radioresistance may be due to unknown DNA repair enzymes.
Thermococcus gammatolerans was isolated from samples collected from hydrothermal chimneys. It is one of the most radioresistant organisms known amongst the Archaea. We report the determination and annotation of its complete genome sequence, its comparison with other Thermococcales genomes, and a proteomic analysis.
T. gammatolerans has a circular chromosome of 2.045 Mbp without any extra-chromosomal elements, coding for 2,157 proteins. A thorough comparative genomics analysis revealed important but unsuspected genome plasticity differences between sequenced Thermococcus and Pyrococcus species that could not be attributed to the presence of specific mobile elements. Two virus-related regions, tgv1 and tgv2, are the only mobile elements identified in this genome. A proteogenome analysis was performed by a shotgun liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry approach, allowing the identification of 10,931 unique peptides corresponding to 951 proteins. This information concurrently validates the accuracy of the genome annotation. Semi-quantification of proteins by spectral count was done on exponential- and stationary-phase cells. Insights into general catabolism, hydrogenase complexes, detoxification systems, and the DNA repair toolbox of this archaeon are revealed through this genome and proteome analysis.
This work is the first archaeal proteome investigation done at the stage of primary genome annotation. This archaeon is shown to use a large variety of metabolic pathways even under a rich medium growth condition. This proteogenomic study also indicates that the high radiotolerance of T. gammatolerans is probably due to proteins that remain to be characterized rather than a larger arsenal of known DNA repair enzymes.
To better understand adaptation to harsh conditions encountered in hot arid deserts, we report the first complete genome sequence and proteome analysis of a bacterium, Deinococcus deserti VCD115, isolated from Sahara surface sand. Its genome consists of a 2.8-Mb chromosome and three large plasmids of 324 kb, 314 kb, and 396 kb. Accurate primary genome annotation of its 3,455 genes was guided by extensive proteome shotgun analysis. From the large corpus of MS/MS spectra recorded, 1,348 proteins were uncovered and semiquantified by spectral counting. Among the highly detected proteins are several orphans and Deinococcus-specific proteins of unknown function. The alliance of proteomics and genomics high-throughput techniques allowed identification of 15 unpredicted genes and, surprisingly, reversal of incorrectly predicted orientation of 11 genes. Reversal of orientation of two Deinococcus-specific radiation-induced genes, ddrC and ddrH, and identification in D. deserti of supplementary genes involved in manganese import extend our knowledge of the radiotolerance toolbox of Deinococcaceae. Additional genes involved in nutrient import and in DNA repair (i.e., two extra recA, three translesion DNA polymerases, a photolyase) were also identified and found to be expressed under standard growth conditions, and, for these DNA repair genes, after exposure of the cells to UV. The supplementary nutrient import and DNA repair genes are likely important for survival and adaptation of D. deserti to its nutrient-poor, dry, and UV-exposed extreme environment.
D. deserti belongs to the Deinococcaceae, a family of bacteria characterized by an exceptional ability to withstand the lethal effects of DNA-damaging agents, including ionizing radiation, UV light, and desiccation. It was isolated from Sahara surface sands, an extreme and nutrient-poor environment, regularly exposed to intense UV radiation, cycles of extreme temperatures, and desiccation. The evolution of organisms that are able to survive acute irradiation doses of 15,000 Gy is difficult to explain given the apparent absence of highly radioactive habitats on Earth over geologic time. Thus, it seems more likely that the natural selection pressure for the evolution of radiation-resistant bacteria was chronic exposure to nonradioactive forms of DNA damage, in particular those promoted by desiccation. Here, we report the first complete genome sequence of a bacterium, D. deserti VCD115, isolated from hot, arid desert surface sand. Accurate genome annotation of its 3,455 genes was guided by extensive proteome analysis in which 1,348 proteins were uncovered after growth in standard conditions. Supplementary genes involved in manganese import, in nutrient import, and in DNA repair were identified and are likely important for survival and adaptation of D. deserti to its hostile environment.
Bacillus cereus Fnr is a member of the Crp/Fnr (cyclic AMP-binding protein/fumarate nitrate reduction regulatory protein) family of helix-turn-helix transcriptional regulators. It is essential for the expression of hbl and nhe enterotoxin genes independently of the oxygen tension in the environment. We studied aerobic Fnr binding to target sites in promoters regulating the expression of enterotoxin genes. B. cereus Fnr was overexpressed and purified as either a C-terminal His-tagged (FnrHis) fusion protein or an N-terminal fusion protein tagged with the Strep-tag (IBA BioTAGnology) (StrepFnr). Both recombinant Fnr proteins were produced as apoforms (clusterless) and occurred as mixtures of monomers and oligomers in solution. However, apoFnrHis was mainly monomeric, while apoStrepFnr was mainly oligomeric, suggesting that the His-tagged C-terminal extremity may interfere with oligomerization. The oligomeric state of apoStrepFnr was dithiothreitol sensitive, underlining the importance of a disulfide bridge for apoFnr oligomerization. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that monomeric apoFnr, but not oligomeric apoFnr, bound to specific sequences located in the promoter regions of the enterotoxin regulators fnr, resDE, and plcR and the structural genes hbl and nhe. The question of whether apoFnr binding is regulated in vivo by redox-dependent oligomerization is discussed.
PAB0955 has been expressed, purified and crystallized, and it has been shown that this thermostable protein is dimeric in reductive conditions.
PAB0955 from Pyrococcus abyssi is a prototype of a new Walker-type ATPase/GTPase conserved in archaea and eukaryota but not found in bacteria. PAB0955 has been expressed, purified and crystallized, and it has been shown that this thermostable protein is dimeric in reductive conditions. Crystals have been obtained either without nucleotide or in the presence of GDP or GTPγS. Preliminary X-ray crystallographic data up to 2.08 Å resolution have been collected from these crystals.
The tRNA:m22G10 methyltransferase of Pyrococus abyssi (PAB1283, a member of COG1041) catalyzes the N2,N2-dimethylation of guanosine at position 10 in tRNA. Boundaries of its THUMP (THioUridine synthases, RNA Methyltransferases and Pseudo-uridine synthases)—containing N-terminal domain [1–152] and C-terminal catalytic domain [157–329] were assessed by trypsin limited proteolysis. An inter-domain flexible region of at least six residues was revealed. The N-terminal domain was then produced as a standalone protein (THUMPα) and further characterized. This autonomously folded unit exhibits very low affinity for tRNA. Using protein fold-recognition (FR) methods, we identified the similarity between THUMPα and a putative RNA-recognition module observed in the crystal structure of another THUMP-containing protein (ThiI thiolase of Bacillus anthracis). A comparative model of THUMPα structure was generated, which fulfills experimentally defined restraints, i.e. chemical modification of surface exposed residues assessed by mass spectrometry, and identification of an intramolecular disulfide bridge. A model of the whole PAB1283 enzyme docked onto its tRNAAsp substrate suggests that the THUMP module specifically takes support on the co-axially stacked helices of T-arm and acceptor stem of tRNA and, together with the catalytic domain, screw-clamp structured tRNA. We propose that this mode of interactions may be common to other THUMP-containing enzymes that specifically modify nucleotides in the 3D-core of tRNA.
The cluster of orthologous group COG2042 has members in all sequenced Eukaryota as well as in many Archaea. The cellular function of these proteins of ancient origin remains unknown. PSI-BLAST analysis does not indicate a possible link with even remotely-related proteins that have been functionally or structurally characterized. As a prototype among COG2042 orthologs, SSO0551 protein from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus was purified to homogeneity for biophysical characterization.
The untagged protein is thermostable and behaves as a monomeric protein in gel filtration experiment. Several mass spectrometry-based strategies were combined to obtain a set of low resolution structural information. Kinetic data from limited proteolysis with various endoproteases are concordant in pointing out that region Glu73-Arg78 is hyper-sensitive, and thus accessible and flexible. Lysine labeling with NHS-biotin and cross-linking with DTSSP revealed that the 35 amino acid RLI motif at the N terminus is solvent exposed. Cross-links between Lys10-Lys14 and Lys23-Lys25 indicate that these residues are spatially close and in adequate conformation to be cross-linked. These experimental data have been used to rank multiple three-dimensional models generated by a de novo procedure.
Our data indicate that COG2042 proteins may share a novel fold. Combining biophysical, mass-spectrometry data and molecular model is a useful strategy to obtain structural information and to help in prioritizing targets in structural genomics programs.
The nucleotide sequence of a 10,528-bp region comprising the chlorocatechol pathway gene cluster tetRtetCDEF of the 1,2,3,4-tetrachlorobenzene via the tetrachlorocatechol-mineralizing bacterium Pseudomonas chlororaphis RW71 (T. Potrawfke, K. N. Timmis, and R.-M. Wittich, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 64:3798–3806, 1998) was analyzed. The chlorocatechol 1,2-dioxygenase gene tetC was cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant gene product was purified, and the α,α-homodimeric TetC was characterized. Electron paramagnetic resonance measurements confirmed the presence of a high-spin-state Fe(III) atom per monomer in the holoprotein. The productive transformation by purified TetC of chlorocatechols bearing chlorine atoms in positions 4 and 5 provided strong evidence for a significantly broadened substrate spectrum of this dioxygenase compared with other chlorocatechol dioxygenases. The conversion of 4,5-dichloro- or tetrachlorocatechol, in the presence of catechol, displayed strong competitive inhibition of catechol turnover. 3-Chlorocatechol, however, was simultaneously transformed, with a rate similar to that of the 4,5-halogenated catechols, indicating similar specificity constants. These novel characteristics of TetC thus differ significantly from results obtained from hitherto analyzed catechol 1,2-dioxygenases and chlorocatechol 1,2-dioxygenases.
The first step in the degradation of dibenzofuran and dibenzo-p-dioxin by Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1 is carried out by dioxin dioxygenase (DxnA1A2), a ring-dihydroxylating enzyme. An open reading frame (fdx3) that could potentially specify a new ferredoxin has been identified downstream of dxnA1A2, a two-cistron gene (J. Armengaud, B. Happe, and K. N. Timmis, J. Bacteriol. 180:3954–3966, 1998). In the present study, we report a biochemical analysis of Fdx3 produced in Escherichia coli. This third ferredoxin thus far identified in Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1 contained a putidaredoxin-type [2Fe-2S] cluster which was characterized by UV-visible absorption spectrophotometry and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. The midpoint redox potential of this ferredoxin (E′0 = −247 ± 10 mV versus normal hydrogen electrode at pH 8.0) is similar to that exhibited by Fdx1 (−245 mV), a homologous ferredoxin previously characterized in Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1. In in vitro assays, Fdx3 can be reduced by RedA2 (a reductase similar to class I cytochrome P-450 reductases), previously isolated from Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1. RedA2 exhibits a Km value of 3.2 ± 0.3 μM for Fdx3. In vivo coexpression of fdx3 and redA2 with dxnA1A2 confirmed that Fdx3 can serve as an electron donor for the dioxin dioxygenase.
The bacterium Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1 is able to use dibenzo-p-dioxin, dibenzofuran, and several hydroxylated derivatives as sole sources of carbon and energy. We have determined and analyzed the nucleic acid sequence of a 9,997-bp HindIII fragment downstream of cistrons dxnA1A2, which encode the dioxygenase component of the initial dioxygenase system of the corresponding catabolic pathways. This fragment contains 10 colinear open reading frames (ORFs), apparently organized in one compact operon. The enzymatic activities of some proteins encoded by these genes were analyzed in the strain RW1 and, after hyperexpression, in Escherichia coli. The first three ORFs of the locus, designated dxnC, ORF2, and fdx3, specify a protein with a low homology to bacterial siderophore receptors, a polypeptide representing no significant homology to known proteins, and a putative ferredoxin, respectively. dxnD encodes a 69-kDa phenol monooxygenase-like protein with activity for the turnover of 4-hydroxysalicylate, and dxnE codes for a 37-kDa protein whose sequence and activity are similar to those of known maleylacetate reductases. The following gene, dxnF, encodes a 33-kDa intradiol dioxygenase which efficiently cleaves hydroxyquinol, yielding maleylacetate, the ketoform of 3-hydroxy-cis,cis-muconate. The heteromeric protein encoded by dxnGH is a 3-oxoadipate succinyl coenzyme A (succinyl-CoA) transferase, whereas dxnI specifies a protein exhibiting marked homology to acetyl-CoA acetyltransferases (thiolases). The last ORF of the sequenced fragment codes for a putative transposase. DxnD, DxnF, DxnE, DxnGH, and DxnI (the activities of most of them have also been detected in strain RW1) thus form a complete 4-hydroxysalicylate/hydroxyquinol degradative pathway. A route for the mineralization of the growth substrates 3-hydroxydibenzofuran and 2-hydroxydibenzo-p-dioxin in Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1 thus suggests itself.
The dioxin dioxygenase of Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1 activates dibenzo-p-dioxin and dibenzofuran for further metabolism by introducing two atoms of oxygen at a pair of vicinal carbon atoms, one of which is involved in one of the bridges between the two aromatic rings, i.e., an angular dioxygenation. The dxnA1 and dxnA2 cistrons encoding this dioxygenase have been cloned and shown to be located just upstream of a hydrolase gene which specifies an enzyme involved in the subsequent step of the dibenzofuran biodegradative pathway. Genes encoding the electron supply system of the dioxygenase are not clustered with the dioxygenase gene but rather are located on two other distinct and separate genome segments. Moreover, whereas expression of dxnA1A2 is modulated according to the available carbon source, expression of the dbfB gene encoding the ring cleavage enzyme of the dibenzofuran pathway, which is located in the neighborhood of dxnA1A2 but oriented in the opposite direction, is constitutive. The scattering of genes for the component proteins of dioxin dioxygenase system around the genome of Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1, and the differential expression of dioxin pathway genes, is unusual and contrasts with the typical genetic organization of catabolic pathways where component cistrons tend to be clustered in multicistronic transcriptional units. The sequences of the α and β subunits of the dioxin dioxygenase exhibit only weak similarity to other three component dioxygenases, but some motifs such as the Fe(II) binding site and the [2Fe-2S] cluster ligands are conserved. Dioxin dioxygenase activity in Escherichia coli cells containing the cloned dxnA1A2 gene was achieved only through coexpression of the cognate electron supply system from RW1. Under these conditions, exclusively angular dioxygenation of dibenzofuran and dibenzo-p-dioxin was obtained. The dioxin dioxygenase was not active in E. coli cells coexpressing a class IIB electron supply system. In the course of the isolation of the dxnA1 and dxnA2 cistrons, a number of other catabolic genes dispersed over different genome segments were identified, which may indicate greater catabolic potential than was previously suspected. This finding is consistent with the catabolic versatility of members of the genus Sphingomonas, which is becoming increasingly evident, and may indicate a less well evolved and regulated but more dynamic genetic organization in this organism than is the case for better-studied pathways in organisms such as Pseudomonas species.