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1.  Natural transformation of Streptococcus crista 
FEMS microbiology letters  1996;143(1):13-18.
Over the years Streptococcus gordonii (sanguis) Challis has become the workhorse of genetic manipulations for the sanguis group of oral streptococci. This is because strain Challis was shown in early studies to be highly naturally competent for transformation. However, Challis is not usually the most appropriate strain to use in studies which focus on oral microbial adherence. We report that other members of the newly reorganized sanguis group, particularly within the species S. crista, display reasonable transformation frequencies, with both plasmid and chromosomal DNA, if transformed at the appropriate time during the growth curve. The ability to transform S. crista may be especially important for genetic studies of biological properties that appear to be limited to these specific streptococcal strains.
PMCID: PMC3534804  PMID: 8807795
Streptococcus crista; Streptococcus gordonii Challis; Transformation; Competence
2.  Kinase Activity of Overexpressed HipA Is Required for Growth Arrest and Multidrug Tolerance in Escherichia coli▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(24):8360-8367.
Overexpression of the HipA protein of the HipBA toxin/antitoxin module leads to multidrug tolerance in Escherichia coli. HipA is a “toxin” that causes reversible dormancy, whereas HipB is an antitoxin that binds HipA and acts as a transcriptional repressor of the hipBA operon. Comparative sequence analysis shows that HipA is a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3/4-kinase superfamily. The kinase activity of HipA was examined. HipA was autophosphorylated in the presence of ATP in vitro, and the purified protein appeared to carry a single phosphate group on serine 150. Thus, HipA is a serine kinase that is at least partially phosphorylated in vivo. Overexpression of HipA caused inhibition of cell growth and increase in persister formation. Replacing conserved aspartate 309 in the conserved kinase active site or aspartate 332 in the Mg2+-binding site with glutamine produced mutant proteins that lost the ability to stop cellular growth upon overexpression. Replacing serine 150 with alanine yielded a similarly inactive protein. The mutant proteins were then examined for their ability to increase antibiotic tolerance. Cells overexpressing wild-type HipA were highly tolerant to cefotaxime, a cell wall synthesis inhibitor, to ofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone inhibitor of DNA gyrase, and to topoisomerase IV and were almost completely resistant to killing by mitomycin C, which forms DNA adducts. The mutant proteins did not protect cells from cefotaxime or ofloxacin and had an impaired ability to protect from mitomycin C. Taken together, these results suggest that the protein kinase activity of HipA is essential for persister formation.
PMCID: PMC1698217  PMID: 17041039
3.  Two Paralogous Families of a Two-Gene Subtilisin Operon Are Widely Distributed in Oral Treponemes 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(23):6860-6869.
Certain oral treponemes express a highly proteolytic phenotype and have been associated with periodontal diseases. The periodontal pathogen Treponema denticola produces dentilisin, a serine protease of the subtilisin family. The two-gene operon prcA-prtP is required for expression of active dentilisin (PrtP), a putative lipoprotein attached to the treponeme's outer membrane or sheath. The purpose of this study was to examine the diversity and structure of treponemal subtilisin-like proteases in order to better understand their distribution and function. The complete sequences of five prcA-prtP operons were determined for Treponema lecithinolyticum, “Treponema vincentii,” and two canine species. Partial operon sequences were obtained for T. socranskii subsp. 04 as well as 450- to 1,000-base fragments of prtP genes from four additional treponeme strains. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the sequences fall into two paralogous families. The first family includes the sequence from T. denticola. Treponemes possessing this operon family express chymotrypsin-like protease activity and can cleave the substrate N-succinyl-alanyl-alanyl-prolyl-phenylalanine-p-nitroanilide (SAAPFNA). Treponemes possessing the second paralog family do not possess chymotrypsin-like activity or cleave SAAPFNA. Despite examination of a range of protein and peptide substrates, the specificity of the second protease family remains unknown. Each of the fully sequenced prcA and prtP genes contains a 5′ hydrophobic leader sequence with a treponeme lipobox. The two paralogous families of treponeme subtilisins represent a new subgroup within the subtilisin family of proteases and are the only subtilisin lipoprotein family. The present study demonstrated that the subtilisin paralogs comprising a two-gene operon are widely distributed among treponemes.
PMCID: PMC262700  PMID: 14617650

Results 1-3 (3)