Oxygen sensing and redox signaling significantly affect bacterial physiology and host-pathogen interaction. Here we show that a Staphylococcus aureus two-component system, AirSR (anaerobic iron-sulfur cluster-containing redox sensor regulator, formerly YhcSR), responds to oxidation signals (O2, H2O2, NO, etc) by using a redox-active [2Fe-2S] cluster in the sensor kinase AirS. Mutagenesis studies demonstrate that the [2Fe-2S] cluster is essential for the kinase activity of AirS. We have also discovered that a homolog of IscS (SA1450) in S. aureus is active as a cysteine desulfurase, which enables the in vitro reconstitution of the [2Fe-2S] cluster in AirS. Phosphorylation assays show that the oxidized AirS with a [2Fe-2S]2+ cluster is the fully active form of the kinase but not the apo-AirS nor the reduced AirS possessing a [2Fe-2S]+ cluster. Over-oxidation by prolonged exposure to O2 or contact with H2O2 or NO led to inactivation of AirS. Transcriptome analysis revealed that mutation of airR impacts the expression of ~355 genes under anaerobic conditions. Moreover, the mutant strain displayed increased resistance toward H2O2, vancomycin, norfloxacin, and ciprofloxacin under anaerobic conditions. Together, our results show that S. aureus AirSR is a redox-dependent global regulatory system that plays important roles in gene regulation using a redox active Fe-S cluster under O2-limited conditions.
The structural characterization of acyl-carrier-protein synthase (AcpS) from three different pathogenic microorganisms is reported. One interesting finding of the present work is a crystal artifact related to the activity of the enzyme, which fortuitously represents an opportunity for a strategy to design a potential inhibitor of a pathogenic AcpS.
Some bacterial type II fatty-acid synthesis (FAS II) enzymes have been shown to be important candidates for drug discovery. The scientific and medical quest for new FAS II protein targets continues to stimulate research in this field. One of the possible additional candidates is the acyl-carrier-protein synthase (AcpS) enzyme. Its holo form post-translationally modifies the apo form of an acyl carrier protein (ACP), which assures the constant delivery of thioester intermediates to the discrete enzymes of FAS II. At the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID), AcpSs from Staphylococcus aureus (AcpSSA), Vibrio cholerae (AcpSVC) and Bacillus anthracis (AcpSBA) have been structurally characterized in their apo, holo and product-bound forms, respectively. The structure of AcpSBA is emphasized because of the two 3′,5′-adenosine diphosphate (3′,5′-ADP) product molecules that are found in each of the three coenzyme A (CoA) binding sites of the trimeric protein. One 3′,5′-ADP is bound as the 3′,5′-ADP part of CoA in the known structures of the CoA–AcpS and 3′,5′-ADP–AcpS binary complexes. The position of the second 3′,5′-ADP has never been described before. It is in close proximity to the first 3′,5′-ADP and the ACP-binding site. The coordination of two ADPs in AcpSBA may possibly be exploited for the design of AcpS inhibitors that can block binding of both CoA and ACP.
acyl-carrier-protein synthase; acyl carrier protein; type II fatty-acid synthesis; inhibition; 3′,5′-adenosine diphosphate; coenzyme A
Here we report the use of a multi-genome DNA microarray to investigate the genome diversity of Bacillus cereus group members and elucidate the events associated with the emergence of B. anthracis the causative agent of anthrax–a lethal zoonotic disease. We initially performed directed genome sequencing of seven diverse B. cereus strains to identify novel sequences encoded in those genomes. The novel genes identified, combined with those publicly available, allowed the design of a “species” DNA microarray. Comparative genomic hybridization analyses of 41 strains indicates that substantial heterogeneity exists with respect to the genes comprising functional role categories. While the acquisition of the plasmid-encoded pathogenicity island (pXO1) and capsule genes (pXO2) represent a crucial landmark dictating the emergence of B. anthracis, the evolution of this species and its close relatives was associated with an overall a shift in the fraction of genes devoted to energy metabolism, cellular processes, transport, as well as virulence.
Genome-scale metabolic network reconstruction and analysis of the murine leukemic macrophage cell line RAW 264.7 reveal a complementary relationship between how known metabolic immunomodulators are biochemically processed and their role in macrophage activation.
The RAW 264.7 metabolic model was constructed based on transcriptomic and proteomic data, and validated for its quantitative accuracy in the prediction of growth rate, ATP, and nitric oxide production.Metabolic network-based analyses identified well-established critical metabolite effectors and intracellular pathways that impact activation or suppression of M1- and M2-metabolic activation phenotypes.Three levels of high-throughput data (transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic) were analyzed in the context of the model-based predictions to elucidate underlying metabolic mechanisms of macrophage activation.Results suggest a potential contending link between de-novo nucleotide synthesis and macrophage activation phenotypes at a glutamine junction.
Macrophages are central players in immune response, manifesting divergent phenotypes to control inflammation and innate immunity through release of cytokines and other signaling factors. Recently, the focus on metabolism has been reemphasized as critical signaling and regulatory pathways of human pathophysiology, ranging from cancer to aging, often converge on metabolic responses. Here, we used genome-scale modeling and multi-omics (transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) analysis to assess metabolic features that are critical for macrophage activation. We constructed a genome-scale metabolic network for the RAW 264.7 cell line to determine metabolic modulators of activation. Metabolites well-known to be associated with immunoactivation (glucose and arginine) and immunosuppression (tryptophan and vitamin D3) were among the most critical effectors. Intracellular metabolic mechanisms were assessed, identifying a suppressive role for de-novo nucleotide synthesis. Finally, underlying metabolic mechanisms of macrophage activation are identified by analyzing multi-omic data obtained from LPS-stimulated RAW cells in the context of our flux-based predictions. Our study demonstrates metabolism's role in regulating activation may be greater than previously anticipated and elucidates underlying connections between activation and metabolic effectors.
constraint-based modeling; immunometabolism; metabolic network reconstruction; RAW 264.7
The pathogenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus is the most frequent infectious cause of death in severely immunocompromised individuals such as leukemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Germination of inhaled conidia (asexual spores) in the host is critical for the initiation of infection, but little is known about the underlying mechanisms of this process.
To gain insights into early germination events and facilitate the identification of potential stage-specific biomarkers and vaccine candidates, we have used quantitative shotgun proteomics to elucidate patterns of protein abundance changes during early fungal development. Four different stages were examined: dormant conidia, isotropically expanding conidia, hyphae in which germ tube emergence has just begun, and pre-septation hyphae. To enrich for glycan-linked cell wall proteins we used an alkaline cell extraction method. Shotgun proteomic resulted in the identification of 375 unique gene products with high confidence, with no evidence for enrichment of cell wall-immobilized and secreted proteins. The most interesting discovery was the identification of 52 proteins enriched in dormant conidia including 28 proteins that have never been detected in the A. fumigatus conidial proteome such as signaling protein Pil1, chaperones BipA and calnexin, and transcription factor HapB. Additionally we found many small, Aspergillus specific proteins of unknown function including 17 hypothetical proteins. Thus, the most abundant protein, Grg1 (AFUA_5G14210), was also one of the smallest proteins detected in this study (M.W. 7,367). Among previously characterized proteins were melanin pigment and pseurotin A biosynthesis enzymes, histones H3 and H4.1, and other proteins involved in conidiation and response to oxidative or hypoxic stress. In contrast, expanding conidia, hyphae with early germ tubes, and pre-septation hyphae samples were enriched for proteins responsible for housekeeping functions, particularly translation, respiratory metabolism, amino acid and carbohydrate biosynthesis, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle.
The observed temporal expression patterns suggest that the A. fumigatus conidia are dominated by small, lineage-specific proteins. Some of them may play key roles in host-pathogen interactions, signal transduction during conidial germination, or survival in hostile environments.
Mass spectrometry; LC-MS/MS; APEX; Shotgun proteomics; Aspergillus fumigatus; Germination; Spore; Conidia; Fungi; Hypothetical proteins
Dehydroquinate dehydratase (DHQD) catalyzes the third step in the biosynthetic shikimate pathway. We present three crystal structures of the Salmonella enterica type I DHQD which address the functionality of a surface loop that is observed to close over the active site following substrate binding. Two wild type structures with differing loop conformations and kinetic and structural studies of a mutant provide evidence of both direct and indirect mechanisms of loop involvement in substrate binding. In addition to allowing amino acid side chains to establish a direct interaction with the substrate, loop closure necessitates a conformational change of a key active site arginine, which in turn positions the substrate productively. The absence of DHQD in humans and its essentiality in many pathogenic bacteria makes the enzyme a target for the development of nontoxic antimicrobials. The structures and ligand binding insights presented here may inform the design of novel type I DHQD inhibiting molecules.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) contribute to host resistance to microbial pathogens and drive the evolution of virulence mechanisms. We have examined the relationship between host resistance and pathogen virulence using mice with a functional allele of the Nramp-1 gene and lacking combinations of TLRs. Mice deficient in both TLR2 and TLR4 were highly susceptible to the intracellular bacterial pathogen Salmonella typhimurium, consistent with reduced innate immune function. However, mice lacking additional TLRs involved in S. typhimurium recognition were less susceptible to infection. In these TLR-deficient cells, bacteria failed to upregulate Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2) genes and did not form a replicative compartment. We demonstrate that TLR signaling enhances the rate of acidification of the Salmonella containing phagosome, and inhibition of this acidification prevents SPI-2 induction. Our results indicate that S. typhimurium requires cues from the innate immune system to regulate virulence genes necessary for intracellular survival, growth, and systemic infection.
In this work we describe the identification of a copper-inducible regulon in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Among the regulated genes was Rv0190/MT0200, a paralogue of the copper metalloregulatory repressor CsoR. The five-locus regulon, which includes a gene that encodes the copper-protective metallothionein MymT, was highly induced in wild type Mtb treated with copper, and highly expressed in an Rv0190/MT0200 mutant. Importantly, the Rv0190/MT0200 mutant was hyper-resistant to copper. The promoters of all five loci share a palindromic motif that was recognized by the gene product of Rv0190/MT0200. For this reason we named Rv0190/MT0200 RicR for regulated in copper repressor. Intriguingly, several of the RicR-regulated genes, including MymT, are unique to pathogenic Mycobacteria. The identification of a copper-responsive regulon specific to virulent mycobacterial species suggests copper homeostasis must be maintained during an infection. Alternatively, copper may provide a cue for the expression of genes unrelated to metal homeostasis, but nonetheless necessary for survival in a host.
What is the minimum number of genes or functions necessary to support cellular life? The concept of a 'minimal genome' has become popular, but is it a useful concept, and if so, what might a minimal genome encode? We argue that the concept may be useful, even though the goal of defining a general minimal genome may never be attained.
Here we report the use of a multi-genome DNA microarray to elucidate the genomic events associated with the emergence of the clonal variants of H. influenzae biogroup aegyptius causing Brazilian Purpuric Fever (BPF), an important pediatric disease with a high mortality rate. We performed directed genome sequencing of strain HK1212 unique loci to construct a species DNA microarray. Comparative genome hybridization using this microarray enabled us to determine and compare gene complements, and infer reliable phylogenomic relationships among members of the species. The higher genomic variability observed in the genomes of BPF-related strains (clones) and their close relatives may be characterized by significant gene flux related to a subset of functional role categories. We found that the acquisition of a large number of virulence determinants featuring numerous cell membrane proteins coupled to the loss of genes involved in transport, central biosynthetic pathways and in particular, energy production pathways to be characteristics of the BPF genomic variants.
Haemophilus; Brazilian Purpuric Fever; pathogen emergence; virulence; comparative genomics; microarray
We describe here a clinical daptomycin treatment failure in a patient with recurrent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia in whom daptomycin was administered after a failed empirical treatment course with vancomycin and piperacillin-tazobactam. We had the opportunity to compare the genome sequences of an isogenic pair of daptomycin-susceptible and -resistant MRSA isolates obtained before and after initiation of daptomycin therapy, respectively. The genotype of both isolates was USA800, ST5, SCCmec type IV, agr type II. There was no increase in cell wall thickness in the daptomycin-resistant strain despite having decreased susceptibility to both vancomycin and daptomycin. By comparing the genome sequences by pyrosequencing, we identified a polymorphism (S337L) in the tenth transmembrane segment of the multiple peptide resistance factor, MprF, encoding lysyl phosphatidylglycerol transferase. This enzyme has been shown previously to promote repulsion of daptomycin at the cell surface by addition of positively charged lysine to phosphatidylglycerol. Also, the hlb open reading frame (ORF) encoding the β-toxin was interrupted by a prophage in the daptomycin-susceptible strain; this phage was missing in the daptomycin-resistant isolate and the hlb ORF was restored. Loss of the phage in the resistant isolate also resulted in loss of the virulence factor genes clpP, scn, and sak. This is the first study to use pyrosequencing to compare the genomes of a daptomycin-susceptible/resistant MRSA isolate pair obtained during failed daptomycin therapy in humans.
Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (SD1) causes the most severe form of epidemic bacillary dysentery. Quantitative proteome profiling of Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (SD1) in vitro (derived from LB cell cultures) and in vivo (derived from gnotobiotic piglets) was performed by 2D-LC-MS/MS and APEX, a label-free computationally modified spectral counting methodology.
Overall, 1761 proteins were quantitated at a 5% FDR (false discovery rate), including 1480 and 1505 from in vitro and in vivo samples, respectively. Identification of 350 cytoplasmic membrane and outer membrane (OM) proteins (38% of in silico predicted SD1 membrane proteome) contributed to the most extensive survey of the Shigella membrane proteome reported so far. Differential protein abundance analysis using statistical tests revealed that SD1 cells switched to an anaerobic energy metabolism under in vivo conditions, resulting in an increase in fermentative, propanoate, butanoate and nitrate metabolism. Abundance increases of transcription activators FNR and Nar supported the notion of a switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration in the host gut environment. High in vivo abundances of proteins involved in acid resistance (GadB, AdiA) and mixed acid fermentation (PflA/PflB) indicated bacterial survival responses to acid stress, while increased abundance of oxidative stress proteins (YfiD/YfiF/SodB) implied that defense mechanisms against oxygen radicals were mobilized. Proteins involved in peptidoglycan turnover (MurB) were increased, while β-barrel OM proteins (OmpA), OM lipoproteins (NlpD), chaperones involved in OM protein folding pathways (YraP, NlpB) and lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis (Imp) were decreased, suggesting unexpected modulations of the outer membrane/peptidoglycan layers in vivo. Several virulence proteins of the Mxi-Spa type III secretion system and invasion plasmid antigens (Ipa proteins) required for invasion of colonic epithelial cells, and release of bacteria into the host cell cytosol were increased in vivo.
Global proteomic profiling of SD1 comparing in vivo vs. in vitro proteomes revealed differential expression of proteins geared towards survival of the pathogen in the host gut environment, including increased abundance of proteins involved in anaerobic energy respiration, acid resistance and virulence. The immunogenic OspC2, OspC3 and IpgA virulence proteins were detected solely under in vivo conditions, lending credence to their candidacy as potential vaccine targets.
The Staphylococcus aureus surface protein G (SasG) is an important mediator of biofilm formation in virulent S. aureus strains. A detailed analysis of its primary sequence has not been reported to date. SasG is highly abundant in the cell wall of the vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus strain HIP5827, and was purified and subjected to sequence analysis by MS. Data from MALDI-TOF and LC-MS/MS experiments confirmed the predicted N-terminal signal peptide cleavage site at residue A51 and the C-terminal cell wall anchor site at residue T1086. The protein was also derivatized with N-succinimidyloxycarbonyl-methyl-tris(2,4,6-trimethoxyphenyl) phosphonium bromide (TMPP-Ac-OSu) to assess the presence of additional N-terminal sites of mature SasG. TMPP-derivatized SasG peptides featured m/z peaks with a 572 Da mass increase over the equivalent underivatized peptides. Multiple N-terminal peptides, all of which were observed in the 150 amino acid segment following the signal peptide cleavage at the residue A51, were characterized from MS and MS/MS data, suggesting a series of successive N-terminal truncations of SasG. A strategy combining TMPP derivatization, multiple enzyme digestions to generate overlapping peptides and detailed MS analysis will be useful to determine and understand functional implications of PTMs in bacterial cell wall-anchored proteins, which are frequently involved in the modulation of virulence-associated bacterial surface properties.
N-terminal truncation; TMPP labeling; multiple enzyme digestion; SasG; mass spectrometry; post-translational modifications
Uncharacterized proteases naturally expressed by bacterial pathogens represents important topic in infectious disease research, because these enzymes may have critical roles in pathogenicity and cell physiology. It has been observed that cloning, expression and purification of proteases often fail due to their catalytic functions which, in turn, cause toxicity in the E. coli heterologous host.
In order to address this problem systematically, a modified pipeline of our high-throughput protein expression and purification platform was developed. This included the use of a specific E. coli strain, BL21(DE3) pLysS to tightly control the expression of recombinant proteins and various expression vectors encoding fusion proteins to enhance recombinant protein solubility. Proteases fused to large fusion protein domains, maltosebinding protein (MBP), SP-MBP which contains signal peptide at the N-terminus of MBP, disulfide oxidoreductase (DsbA) and Glutathione S-transferase (GST) improved expression and solubility of proteases. Overall, 86.1% of selected protease genes including hypothetical proteins were expressed and purified using a combination of five different expression vectors. To detect novel proteolytic activities, zymography and fluorescence-based assays were performed and the protease activities of more than 46% of purified proteases and 40% of hypothetical proteins that were predicted to be proteases were confirmed.
Multiple expression vectors, employing distinct fusion tags in a high throughput pipeline increased overall success rates in expression, solubility and purification of proteases. The combinatorial functional analysis of the purified proteases using fluorescence assays and zymography confirmed their function.
While the pneumococcal protein conjugate vaccines reduce the incidence in invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), serotype replacement remains a major concern. Thus, serotype-independent protection with vaccines targeting virulence genes, such as PspA, have been pursued. PspA is comprised of diverse clades that arose through recombination. Therefore, multi-locus sequence typing (MLST)-defined clones could conceivably include strains from multiple PspA clades. As a result, a method is needed which can both monitor the long-term epidemiology of the pneumococcus among a large number of isolates, and analyze vaccine-candidate genes, such as pspA, for mutations and recombination events that could result in ‘vaccine escape’ strains.
We developed a resequencing array consisting of five conserved and six variable genes to characterize 72 pneumococcal strains. The phylogenetic analysis of the 11 concatenated genes was performed with the MrBayes program, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis with the DNA Sequence Polymorphism program (DnaSP), and the recombination event analysis with the recombination detection package (RDP).
The phylogenetic analysis correlated with MLST, and identified clonal strains with unique PspA clades. The DnaSP analysis correlated with the serotype-specific diversity detected using MLST. Serotypes associated with more than one ST complex had a larger degree of sequence polymorphism than a serotype associated with one ST complex. The RDP analysis confirmed the high frequency of recombination events in the pspA gene.
The phylogenetic tree correlated with MLST, and detected multiple PspA clades among clonal strains. The genetic diversity of the strains and the frequency of recombination events in the mosaic gene, pspA were accurately assessed using the DnaSP and RDP programs, respectively. These data provide proof-of-concept that resequencing arrays could play an important role within research and clinical laboratories in both monitoring the molecular epidemiology of the pneumococcus and detecting ‘vaccine escape’ strains among vaccine-candidate genes.
Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (SD1) causes the most severe form of epidemic bacillary dysentery. We present the first comprehensive proteome analysis of this pathogen, profiling proteins from bacteria cultured in vitro and bacterial isolates from the large bowel of infected gnotobiotic piglets (in vivo). Overall, 1061 distinct gene products were identified. Differential display analysis revealed that SD1 cells switched to an anaerobic energy metabolism in vivo. High in vivo abundances of amino acid decarboxylases (GadB and AdiA) which enhance pH homeostasis in the cytoplasm and protein disaggregation chaperones (HdeA, HdeB and ClpB) were indicative of a coordinated bacterial survival response to acid stress. Several type III secretion system (T3SS) effectors were increased in abundance in vivo, including OspF, IpaC and IpaD. These proteins are implicated in invasion of colonocytes and subversion of the host immune response in S. flexneri. These observations likely reflect an adaptive response of SD1 to the hostile host environment. Seven proteins, among them the T3SS effectors OspC2 and IpaB, were detected as antigens in western blots using piglet antisera. The outer membrane protein OmpA, the heat shock protein HtpG and OspC2 represent novel SD1 subunit vaccine candidates and drug targets.
acid stress; bacillary dysentery; proteome analysis; Shigella dysenteriae
Mutations within codon 306 of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis embB gene modestly increase ethambutol (EMB) MICs. To identify other causes of EMB resistance and to identify causes of high-level resistance, we generated EMB-resistant M. tuberculosis isolates in vitro and performed allelic exchange studies of embB codon 406 (embB406) and embB497 mutations. In vitro selection produced mutations already identified clinically in embB306, embB397, embB497, embB1024, and embC13, which result in EMB MICs of 8 or 14 μg/ml, 5 μg/ml, 12 μg/ml, 3 μg/ml, and 4 μg/ml, respectively, and mutations at embB320, embB324, and embB445, which have not been identified in clinical M. tuberculosis isolates and which result in EMB MICs of 8 μg/ml, 8 μg/ml, and 2 to 8 μg/ml, respectively. To definitively identify the effect of the common clinical embB497 and embB406 mutations on EMB susceptibility, we created a series of isogenic mutants, exchanging the wild-type embB497 CAG codon in EMB-susceptible M. tuberculosis strain 210 for the embB497 CGG codon and the wild-type embB406 GGC codon for either the embB406 GCC, embB406 TGC, embB406 TCC, or embB406 GAC codon. These new mutants showed 6-fold and 3- to 3.5-fold increases in the EMB MICs, respectively. In contrast to the embB306 mutants, the isogenic embB497 and embB406 mutants did not have preferential growth in the presence of isoniazid or rifampin (rifampicin) at their MICs. These results demonstrate that individual embCAB mutations confer low to moderate increases in EMB MICs. Discrepancies between the EMB MICs of laboratory mutants and clinical M. tuberculosis strains with identical mutations suggest that clinical EMB resistance is multigenic and that high-level EMB resistance requires mutations in currently unknown loci.
The induction of genetic competence is a strategy used by bacteria to increase their genetic repertoire under stressful environmental conditions. Recently, Streptococcus pneumoniae has been shown to co-ordinate the uptake of transforming DNA with fratricide via increased expression of the peptide pheromone responsible for competence induction. Here, we document that environmental stress-induced expression of the peptide pheromone competence-stimulating peptide (CSP) in the oral pathogen Streptococcus mutans. We showed that CSP is involved in the stress response and determined the CSP-induced regulon in S. mutans by microarray analysis. Contrary to pneumococcus, S. mutans responds to increased concentrations of CSP by cell lysis in only a fraction of the population. We have focused on the mechanism of cell lysis and have identified a novel bacteriocin as the ‘death effector’. Most importantly, we showed that this bacteriocin causes cell death via a novel mechanism of action: intracellular action against self. We have also identified the cognate bacteriocin immunity protein, which resides in a separate unlinked genetic locus to allow its differential regulation. The role of the lytic response in S. mutans competence is also discussed. Together, these findings reveal a novel autolytic pathway in S. mutans which may be involved in the dissemination of fitness-enhancing genes in the oral biofilm.
Extraction of crude membrane fractions with alkaline solutions, such as 100–200 mM Na2CO3 (pH ~11), is often used to solubilize peripheral membrane proteins. Integral membrane proteins are largely retained in membrane pellets. We applied this method to the fractionation of membrane proteins of the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. Extensive horizontal spot trains were observed in 2-DE gels. The pI values of the most basic spots part of such protein spot trains usually matched the computationally predicted pI values. Regular patterns of decreasing spot pI values and in silico analysis with the software ProMoST suggested `n-1' deamidations of asparagine (N) and/or glutamine (Q) side chains for `n' observed spots of a protein in a given spot train. MALDI-MS analysis confirmed the occurrence of deamidations, particularly in N side chains part of NG dipeptide motifs. In more than ten cases, tandem MS data for tryptic peptides provided strong evidence for deamidations, with y- and b-ion series increased by 1 Da following N-to-D substitutions. Horizontal spot trains in 2-DE gels were rare when alkaline extraction was omitted during membrane protein sample preparation. This study strongly supports the notion that exposure to alkaline pH solutions is a dominant cause of extensive N and Q side chain deamidations in proteins during sample preparation of membrane extracts. The modifications are of non-enzymatic nature and not physiologically relevant. Therefore, quantitative spot differences within spot trains in differential protein display experiments following the aforementioned sample preparation steps need to be interpreted cautiously.
Alkaline membrane extraction; deamidation; membrane proteome; spot train; two-dimensional gel electrophoresis
Quorum-sensing (QS), the regulation of bacterial gene expression in response to changes in cell density, involves pathways that synthesize signaling molecules (auto-inducers). The luxS/AI-2-mediated QS system has been identified in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, possesses genes involved in luxS/AI-2-mediated QS, and deletion of luxS in B. anthracis Sterne strain 34F2 results in inhibition of AI-2 synthesis and a growth defect. In the present study, we created a ΔluxS B. anthracis strain complemented in trans by insertion of a cassette, including luxS and a gene encoding erythromycin resistance, into the truncated plcR regulator locus. The complemented ΔluxS strain has restored AI-2 synthesis and wild-type growth. A B. anthracis microarray study revealed consistent differential gene expression between the wild-type and ΔluxS strain, including downregulation of the B. anthracis S-layer protein gene EA1 and pXO1 virulence genes. These data indicate that B. anthracis may use luxS/AI-2-mediated QS to regulate growth, density-dependent gene expression and virulence factor expression.
luxS; virulence; quorum-sensing; microarray; furanone
The Gram-negative bacterium Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of the bubonic plague. Efficient iron acquisition systems are critical to the ability of Y. pestis to infect, spread and grow in mammalian hosts, because iron is sequestered and is considered part of the innate host immune defence against invading pathogens. We used a proteomic approach to determine expression changes of iron uptake systems and intracellular consequences of iron deficiency in the Y. pestis strain KIM6+ at two physiologically relevant temperatures (26°C and 37°C).
Differential protein display was performed for three Y. pestis subcellular fractions. Five characterized Y. pestis iron/siderophore acquisition systems (Ybt, Yfe, Yfu, Yiu and Hmu) and a putative iron/chelate outer membrane receptor (Y0850) were increased in abundance in iron-starved cells. The iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster assembly system Suf, adapted to oxidative stress and iron starvation in E. coli, was also more abundant, suggesting functional activity of Suf in Y. pestis under iron-limiting conditions. Metabolic and reactive oxygen-deactivating enzymes dependent on Fe-S clusters or other iron cofactors were decreased in abundance in iron-depleted cells. This data was consistent with lower activities of aconitase and catalase in iron-starved vs. iron-rich cells. In contrast, pyruvate oxidase B which metabolizes pyruvate via electron transfer to ubiquinone-8 for direct utilization in the respiratory chain was strongly increased in abundance and activity in iron-depleted cells.
Many protein abundance differences were indicative of the important regulatory role of the ferric uptake regulator Fur. Iron deficiency seems to result in a coordinated shift from iron-utilizing to iron-independent biochemical pathways in the cytoplasm of Y. pestis. With growth temperature as an additional variable in proteomic comparisons of the Y. pestis fractions (26°C and 37°C), there was little evidence for temperature-specific adaptation processes to iron starvation.
Whole genome amplification (WGA) offers new possibilities for genome-wide association studies where limited DNA samples have been collected. This study provides a realistic and high-precision assessment of WGA DNA genotyping performance from 20-year old archived serum samples using the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 (SNP6.0) platform.
Whole-genome amplified (WGA) DNA samples from 45 archived serum replicates and 5 fresh sera paired with non-amplified genomic DNA were genotyped in duplicate. All genotyped samples passed the imposed QC thresholds for quantity and quality. In general, WGA serum DNA samples produced low call rates (45.00 +/- 2.69%), although reproducibility for successfully called markers was favorable (concordance = 95.61 +/- 4.39%). Heterozygote dropouts explained the majority (>85% in technical replicates, 50% in paired genomic/serum samples) of discordant results. Genotyping performance on WGA serum DNA samples was improved by implementation of Corrected Robust Linear Model with Maximum Likelihood Classification (CRLMM) algorithm but at the loss of many samples which failed to pass its quality threshold. Poor genotype clustering was evident in the samples that failed the CRLMM confidence threshold.
We conclude that while it is possible to extract genomic DNA and subsequently perform whole-genome amplification from archived serum samples, WGA serum DNA did not perform well and appeared unsuitable for high-resolution genotyping on these arrays.
In the postgenomic era, high throughput protein expression and protein microarray technologies have progressed markedly permitting screening of therapeutic reagents and discovery of novel protein functions. Hexa-histidine is one of the most commonly used fusion tags for protein expression due to its small size and convenient purification via immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC). This purification process has been adapted to the protein microarray format, but the quality of in situ His-tagged protein purification on slides has not been systematically evaluated. We established methods to determine the level of purification of such proteins on metal chelate-modified slide surfaces. Optimized in situ purification of His-tagged recombinant proteins has the potential to become the new gold standard for cost-effective generation of high-quality and high-density protein microarrays.
Two slide surfaces were examined, chelated Cu2+ slides suspended on a polyethylene glycol (PEG) coating and chelated Ni2+ slides immobilized on a support without PEG coating. Using PEG-coated chelated Cu2+ slides, consistently higher purities of recombinant proteins were measured. An optimized wash buffer (PBST) composed of 10 mM phosphate buffer, 2.7 mM KCl, 140 mM NaCl and 0.05% Tween 20, pH 7.4, further improved protein purity levels. Using Escherichia coli cell lysates expressing 90 recombinant Streptococcus pneumoniae proteins, 73 proteins were successfully immobilized, and 66 proteins were in situ purified with greater than 90% purity. We identified several antigens among the in situ-purified proteins via assays with anti-S. pneumoniae rabbit antibodies and a human patient antiserum, as a demonstration project of large scale microarray-based immunoproteomics profiling. The methodology is compatible with higher throughput formats of in vivo protein expression, eliminates the need for resin-based purification and circumvents protein solubility and denaturation problems caused by buffer exchange steps and freeze-thaw cycles, which are associated with resin-based purification, intermittent protein storage and deposition on microarrays.
An optimized platform for in situ protein purification on microarray slides using His-tagged recombinant proteins is a desirable tool for the screening of novel protein functions and protein-protein interactions. In the context of immunoproteomics, such protein microarrays are complimentary to approaches using non-recombinant methods to discover and characterize bacterial antigens.