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6.  Error-Prone Processing of Apurinic/Apyrimidinic (AP) Sites by PolX Underlies a Novel Mechanism That Promotes Adaptive Mutagenesis in Bacillus subtilis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):3012-3022.
In growing cells, apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites generated spontaneously or resulting from the enzymatic elimination of oxidized bases must be processed by AP endonucleases before they compromise cell integrity. Here, we investigated how AP sites and the processing of these noncoding lesions by the AP endonucleases Nfo, ExoA, and Nth contribute to the production of mutations (hisC952, metB5, and leuC427) in starved cells of the Bacillus subtilis YB955 strain. Interestingly, cells from this strain that were deficient for Nfo, ExoA, and Nth accumulated a greater amount of AP sites in the stationary phase than during exponential growth. Moreover, under growth-limiting conditions, the triple nfo exoA nth knockout strain significantly increased the amounts of adaptive his, met, and leu revertants produced by the B. subtilis YB955 parental strain. Of note, the number of stationary-phase-associated reversions in the his, met, and leu alleles produced by the nfo exoA nth strain was significantly decreased following disruption of polX. In contrast, during growth, the reversion rates in the three alleles tested were significantly increased in cells of the nfo exoA nth knockout strain deficient for polymerase X (PolX). Therefore, we postulate that adaptive mutations in B. subtilis can be generated through a novel mechanism mediated by error-prone processing of AP sites accumulated in the stationary phase by the PolX DNA polymerase.
doi:10.1128/JB.01681-14
PMCID: PMC4135629  PMID: 24914186
7.  Editorial Board 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):A1.
doi:10.1128/JB.masthead.196-16
PMCID: PMC4135630
8.  Leucine-Responsive Regulatory Protein Lrp and PapI Homologues Influence Phase Variation of CS31A Fimbriae 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2944-2953.
CS31A, a K88-related surface antigen specified by the clp operon, is a member of the type P family of adhesive factors and plays a key role in the establishment of disease caused by septicemic and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli strains. Its expression is under the control of methylation-dependent transcriptional regulation, for which the leucine-responsive regulatory protein (Lrp) is essential. CS31A is preferentially in the OFF state and exhibits distinct regulatory features compared to the regulation of other P family members. In the present study, surface plasmon resonance and DNase I protection assays showed that Lrp binds to the distal moiety of the clp regulatory region with low micromolar affinity compared to its binding to the proximal moiety, which exhibits stronger, nanomolar affinity. The complex formation was also influenced by the addition of PapI or FooI, which increased the affinity of Lrp for the clp distal and proximal regions and was required to induce phase variation. The influence of PapI or FooI, however, was predominantly associated with a more complete shutdown of clp expression, in contrast to what has previously been observed with AfaF (a PapI ortholog). Taken together, these results suggest that the preferential OFF state observed in CS31A cells is mainly due to the weak interaction of the leucine-responsive regulatory protein with the clp distal region and that the PapI homolog favors the OFF phase. Within the large repertoire of fimbrial variants in the P family, our study illustrates that having a fimbrial operon that lacks its own PapI ortholog allows it to be more flexibly regulated by other orthologs in the cell.
doi:10.1128/JB.01622-14
PMCID: PMC4135631  PMID: 24914179
9.  The Ctp Type IVb Pilus Locus of Agrobacterium tumefaciens Directs Formation of the Common Pili and Contributes to Reversible Surface Attachment 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2979-2988.
Agrobacterium tumefaciens can adhere to plant tissues and abiotic surfaces and forms biofilms. Cell surface appendages called pili play an important role in adhesion and biofilm formation in diverse bacterial systems. The A. tumefaciens C58 genome sequence revealed the presence of the ctpABCDEFGHI genes (cluster of type IV pili; Atu0216 to Atu0224), homologous to tad-type pilus systems from several bacteria, including Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Caulobacter crescentus. These systems fall into the type IVb pilus group, which can function in bacterial adhesion. Transmission electron microscopy of A. tumefaciens revealed the presence of filaments, significantly thinner than flagella and often bundled, associated with cell surfaces and shed into the external milieu. In-frame deletion mutations of all of the ctp genes, with the exception of ctpF, resulted in nonpiliated derivatives. Mutations in ctpA (a pilin homologue), ctpB, and ctpG decreased early attachment and biofilm formation. The adherence of the ctpA mutant could be restored by ectopic expression of the paralogous pilA gene. The ΔctpA ΔpilA double pilin mutant displayed a diminished biovolume and lower biofilm height than the wild type under flowing conditions. Surprisingly, however, the ctpCD, ctpE, ctpF, ctpH, and ctpI mutants formed normal biofilms and showed enhanced reversible attachment. In-frame deletion of the ctpA pilin gene in the ctpCD, ctpE, ctpF, ctpH, and ctpI mutants caused the same attachment-deficient phenotype as the ctpA single mutant. Collectively, these findings indicate that the ctp locus is involved in pilus assembly and that nonpiliated mutants, which retain the CtpA pilin, are proficient in attachment and adherence.
doi:10.1128/JB.01670-14
PMCID: PMC4135632  PMID: 24914181
10.  Identification of Three Noncontiguous Regions on Bacillus anthracis Plasmid pXO1 That Are Important for Its Maintenance 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2921-2933.
Bacillus anthracis pXO1 minireplicon (MR) plasmid consisting of open reading frames (ORFs) GBAA_pXO1_0020 to GBAA_pXO1_0023 is not stably maintained in B. anthracis, whereas the full-size parent pXO1 plasmid (having 181,677 bp and 217 ORFs) is extremely stable under the same growth conditions. Two genetic tools developed for DNA manipulation in B. anthracis (Cre-loxP and Flp-FRT systems) were used to identify pXO1 regions important for plasmid stability. We localized a large segment of pXO1 that enables stable plasmid maintenance during vegetative growth. Further genetic analysis identified three genes that are necessary for pXO1 maintenance: amsP (GBAA_pXO1_0069), minP (GBAA_pXO1_0082), and sojP (GBAA_pXO1_0084). Analysis of conserved domains in the corresponding proteins indicated that only AmsP (activator of maintenance system of pXO1) is predicted to bind DNA, due to its strong helix-turn-helix domain. Two conserved domains were found in the MinP protein (Min protein from pXO1): an N-terminal domain having some similarity to the B. anthracis septum site-determining protein MinD and a C-terminal domain that resembles a baculovirus single-stranded-DNA-binding protein. The SojP protein (Soj from pXO1) contains putative Walker box motifs and belongs to the ParA family of ATPases. No sequences encoding other components of type I plasmid partition systems, namely, cis-acting centromere parS and its binding ParB protein, were identified within the pXO1 genome. A model describing the role of the MinP protein in pXO1 distribution between daughter cells is proposed.
doi:10.1128/JB.01747-14
PMCID: PMC4135633  PMID: 24914182
11.  Brucella abortus Depends on Pyruvate Phosphate Dikinase and Malic Enzyme but Not on Fbp and GlpX Fructose-1,6-Bisphosphatases for Full Virulence in Laboratory Models 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):3045-3057.
The brucellae are the etiological agents of brucellosis, a worldwide-distributed zoonosis. These bacteria are facultative intracellular parasites and thus are able to adjust their metabolism to the extra- and intracellular environments encountered during an infectious cycle. However, this aspect of Brucella biology is imperfectly understood, and the nutrients available in the intracellular niche are unknown. Here, we investigated the central pathways of C metabolism used by Brucella abortus by deleting the putative fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (fbp and glpX), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (pckA), pyruvate phosphate dikinase (ppdK), and malic enzyme (mae) genes. In gluconeogenic but not in rich media, growth of ΔppdK and Δmae mutants was severely impaired and growth of the double Δfbp-ΔglpX mutant was reduced. In macrophages, only the ΔppdK and Δmae mutants showed reduced multiplication, and studies with the ΔppdK mutant confirmed that it reached the replicative niche. Similarly, only the ΔppdK and Δmae mutants were attenuated in mice, the former being cleared by week 10 and the latter persisting longer than 12 weeks. We also investigated the glyoxylate cycle. Although aceA (isocitrate lyase) promoter activity was enhanced in rich medium, aceA disruption had no effect in vitro or on multiplication in macrophages or mouse spleens. The results suggest that B. abortus grows intracellularly using a limited supply of 6-C (and 5-C) sugars that is compensated by glutamate and possibly other amino acids entering the Krebs cycle without a critical role of the glyoxylate shunt.
doi:10.1128/JB.01663-14
PMCID: PMC4135635  PMID: 24936050
12.  Benzylidene Acylhydrazides Inhibit Chlamydial Growth in a Type III Secretion- and Iron Chelation-Independent Manner 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2989-3001.
Chlamydiae are widespread Gram-negative pathogens of humans and animals. Salicylidene acylhydrazides, developed as inhibitors of type III secretion system (T3SS) in Yersinia spp., have an inhibitory effect on chlamydial infection. However, these inhibitors also have the capacity to chelate iron, and it is possible that their antichlamydial effects are caused by iron starvation. Therefore, we have explored the modification of salicylidene acylhydrazides with the goal to uncouple the antichlamydial effect from iron starvation. We discovered that benzylidene acylhydrazides, which cannot chelate iron, inhibit chlamydial growth. Biochemical and genetic analyses suggest that the derivative compounds inhibit chlamydiae through a T3SS-independent mechanism. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified in a Chlamydia muridarum variant resistant to benzylidene acylhydrazides, but it may be necessary to segregate the mutations to differentiate their roles in the resistance phenotype. Benzylidene acylhydrazides are well tolerated by host cells and probiotic vaginal Lactobacillus species and are therefore of potential therapeutic value.
doi:10.1128/JB.01677-14
PMCID: PMC4135636  PMID: 24914180
13.  Analysis of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Data for Public Health Investigation Based on Measured Mutation Rates and Whole-Genome Sequence Comparisons 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):3036-3044.
Variable-number tandem repeats (VNTRs) mutate rapidly and can be useful markers for genotyping. While multilocus VNTR analysis (MLVA) is increasingly used in the detection and investigation of food-borne outbreaks caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) and other bacterial pathogens, MLVA data analysis usually relies on simple clustering approaches that may lead to incorrect interpretations. Here, we estimated the rates of copy number change at each of the five loci commonly used for S. Typhimurium MLVA, during in vitro and in vivo passage. We found that loci STTR5, STTR6, and STTR10 changed during passage but STTR3 and STTR9 did not. Relative rates of change were consistent across in vitro and in vivo growth and could be accurately estimated from diversity measures of natural variation observed during large outbreaks. Using a set of 203 isolates from a series of linked outbreaks and whole-genome sequencing of 12 representative isolates, we assessed the accuracy and utility of several alternative methods for analyzing and interpreting S. Typhimurium MLVA data. We show that eBURST analysis was accurate and informative. For construction of MLVA-based trees, a novel distance metric, based on the geometric model of VNTR evolution coupled with locus-specific weights, performed better than the commonly used simple or categorical distance metrics. The data suggest that, for the purpose of identifying potential transmission clusters for further investigation, isolates whose profiles differ at one of the rapidly changing STTR5, STTR6, and STTR10 loci should be collapsed into the same cluster.
doi:10.1128/JB.01820-14
PMCID: PMC4135637  PMID: 24957617
14.  TraK and TraB Are Conserved Outer Membrane Proteins of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae Type IV Secretion System and Are Expressed at Low Levels in Wild-Type Cells 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2954-2968.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae uses a type IV secretion system (T4SS) to secrete chromosomal DNA into the medium, and this DNA is effective in transforming other gonococci via natural transformation. In addition, the T4SS is important in the initial stages of biofilm development and mediates intracellular iron uptake in the absence of TonB. To better understand the mechanism of type IV secretion in N. gonorrhoeae, we examined the expression levels and localization of two predicted T4SS outer membrane proteins, TraK and TraB, in the wild-type strain as well as in overexpression strains and in a strain lacking all of the T4SS proteins. Despite very low sequence similarity to known homologues, TraB (VirB10 homolog) and TraK (VirB9 homolog) localized similarly to related proteins in other systems. Additionally, we found that TraV (a VirB7 homolog) interacts with TraK, as in other T4SSs. However, unlike in other systems, neither TraK nor TraB required the presence of other T4SS components for proper localization. Unlike other gonococcal T4SS proteins we have investigated, protein levels of the outer membrane proteins TraK and TraB were extremely low in wild-type cells and were undetectable by Western blotting unless overexpressed or tagged with a FLAG3 triple-epitope tag. Localization of TraK-FLAG3 in otherwise wild-type cells using immunogold electron microscopy of thin sections revealed a single gold particle on some cells. These results suggest that the gonococcal T4SS may be present in single copy per cell and that small amounts of T4SS proteins TraK and TraB are sufficient for DNA secretion.
doi:10.1128/JB.01825-14
PMCID: PMC4135638  PMID: 24914183
15.  GneZ, a UDP-GlcNAc 2-Epimerase, Is Required for S-Layer Assembly and Vegetative Growth of Bacillus anthracis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2969-2978.
Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, forms an S-layer atop its peptidoglycan envelope and displays S-layer proteins and Bacillus S-layer-associated (BSL) proteins with specific functions to support cell separation of vegetative bacilli and growth in infected mammalian hosts. S-layer and BSL proteins bind via the S-layer homology (SLH) domain to the pyruvylated secondary cell wall polysaccharide (SCWP) with the repeat structure [→4)-β-ManNAc-(1→4)-β-GlcNAc-(1→6)-α-GlcNAc-(1→]n, where α-GlcNAc and β-GlcNAc are substituted with two and one galactosyl residues, respectively. B. anthracis gneY (BAS5048) and gneZ (BAS5117) encode nearly identical UDP-GlcNAc 2-epimerase enzymes that catalyze the reversible conversion of UDP-GlcNAc and UDP-ManNAc. UDP-GlcNAc 2-epimerase enzymes have been shown to be required for the attachment of the phage lysin PlyG with the bacterial envelope and for bacterial growth. Here, we asked whether gneY and gneZ are required for the synthesis of the pyruvylated SCWP and for S-layer assembly. We show that gneZ, but not gneY, is required for B. anthracis vegetative growth, rod cell shape, S-layer assembly, and synthesis of pyruvylated SCWP. Nevertheless, inducible expression of gneY alleviated all the defects associated with the gneZ mutant. In contrast to vegetative growth, neither germination of B. anthracis spores nor the formation of spores in mother cells required UDP-GlcNAc 2-epimerase activity.
doi:10.1128/JB.01829-14
PMCID: PMC4135639  PMID: 24914184
16.  A Model for the Evolution of Biological Specificity: a Cross-Reacting DNA-Binding Protein Causes Plasmid Incompatibility 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):3002-3011.
Few biological systems permit rigorous testing of how changes in DNA sequence give rise to adaptive phenotypes. In this study, we sought a simplified experimental system with a detailed understanding of the genotype-to-phenotype relationship that could be altered by environmental perturbations. We focused on plasmid fitness, i.e., the ability of plasmids to be stably maintained in a bacterial population, which is dictated by the plasmid's replication and segregation machinery. Although plasmid replication depends on host proteins, the type II plasmid partitioning (Par) machinery is entirely plasmid encoded and relies solely on three components: parC, a centromere-like DNA sequence, ParR, a DNA-binding protein that interacts with parC, and ParM, which forms actin-like filaments that push two plasmids away from each other at cell division. Interactions between the Par operons of two related plasmids can cause incompatibility and the reduced transmission of one or both plasmids. We have identified segregation-dependent plasmid incompatibility between the highly divergent Par operons of plasmids pB171 and pCP301. Genetic and biochemical studies revealed that the incompatibility is due to the functional promiscuity of the DNA-binding protein ParRpB171, which interacts with both parC DNA sequences to direct plasmid segregation, indicating that the lack of DNA binding specificity is detrimental to plasmid fitness in this environment. This study therefore successfully utilized plasmid segregation to dissect the molecular interactions between genotype, phenotype, and fitness.
doi:10.1128/JB.01811-14
PMCID: PMC4135640  PMID: 24914185
17.  Selection of dinB Alleles Suppressing Survival Loss upon dinB Overexpression in Escherichia coli 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):3023-3035.
Escherichia coli strains overproducing DinB undergo survival loss; however, the mechanisms regulating this phenotype are poorly understood. Here we report a genetic selection revealing DinB residues essential to effect this loss-of-survival phenotype. The selection uses strains carrying both an antimutator allele of DNA polymerase III (Pol III) α-subunit (dnaE915) and either chromosomal or plasmid-borne dinB alleles. We hypothesized that dnaE915 cells would respond to DinB overproduction differently from dnaE+ cells because the dnaE915 allele is known to have an altered genetic interaction with dinB+ compared to its interaction with dnaE+. Notably, we observe a loss-of-survival phenotype in dnaE915 strains with either a chromosomal catalytically inactive dinB(D103N) allele or a low-copy-number plasmid-borne dinB+ upon DNA damage treatment. Furthermore, we find that the loss-of-survival phenotype occurs independently of DNA damage treatment in a dnaE915 strain expressing the catalytically inactive dinB(D103N) allele from a low-copy-number plasmid. The selective pressure imposed resulted in suppressor mutations that eliminated growth defects. The dinB intragenic mutations examined were either base pair substitutions or those that we inferred to be loss of function (i.e., deletions and insertions). Further analyses of selected novel dinB alleles, generated by single-base-pair substitutions in the dnaE915 strain, indicated that these no longer effect loss of survival upon overproduction in dnaE+ strains. These mutations are mapped to specific areas of DinB; this permits us to gain insights into the mechanisms underlying the DinB-mediated overproduction loss-of-survival phenotype.
doi:10.1128/JB.01782-14
PMCID: PMC4135642  PMID: 24914188
18.  Fifty Years after the Replicon Hypothesis: Cell-Specific Master Regulators as New Players in Chromosome Replication Control 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2901-2911.
Numerous free-living bacteria undergo complex differentiation in response to unfavorable environmental conditions or as part of their natural cell cycle. Developmental programs require the de novo expression of several sets of genes responsible for morphological, physiological, and metabolic changes, such as spore/endospore formation, the generation of flagella, and the synthesis of antibiotics. Notably, the frequency of chromosomal replication initiation events must also be adjusted with respect to the developmental stage in order to ensure that each nascent cell receives a single copy of the chromosomal DNA. In this review, we focus on the master transcriptional factors, Spo0A, CtrA, and AdpA, which coordinate developmental program and which were recently demonstrated to control chromosome replication. We summarize the current state of knowledge on the role of these developmental regulators in synchronizing the replication with cell differentiation in Bacillus subtilis, Caulobacter crescentus, and Streptomyces coelicolor, respectively.
doi:10.1128/JB.01706-14
PMCID: PMC4135643  PMID: 24914187
19.  Transcription of the Lysine-2,3-Aminomutase Gene in the kam Locus of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HD73 Is Controlled by Both σ54 and σK Factors 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2934-2943.
Lysine 2,3-aminomutase (KAM; EC 5.4.3.2) catalyzes the interconversion of l-lysine and l-β-lysine. The transcription and regulation of the kam locus, including lysine-2,3-aminomutase-encoding genes, in Bacillus thuringiensis were analyzed in this study. Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) analysis revealed that this locus forms two operons: yodT (yodT-yodS-yodR-yodQ-yodP-kamR) and kamA (kamA-yokU-yozE). The transcriptional start sites (TSSs) of the kamA gene were determined using 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). A typical −12/−24 σ54 binding site was identified in the promoter PkamA, which is located upstream of the kamA gene TSS. A β-galactosidase assay showed that PkamA, which directs the transcription of the kamA operon, is controlled by the σ54 factor and is activated through the σ54-dependent transcriptional regulator KamR. The kamA operon is also controlled by σK and regulated by the GerE protein in the late stage of sporulation. kamR and kamA mutants were prepared by homologous recombination to examine the role of the kam locus. The results showed that the sporulation rate in B. thuringiensis HD(ΔkamR) was slightly decreased compared to that in HD73, whereas that in HD(ΔkamA) was similar to that in HD73. This means that other genes regulated by KamR are important for sporulation.
doi:10.1128/JB.01675-14
PMCID: PMC4135644  PMID: 24914178
20.  Transcription Start Site Sequence and Spacing between the −10 Region and the Start Site Affect Reiterative Transcription-Mediated Regulation of Gene Expression in Escherichia coli 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2912-2920.
Reiterative transcription is a reaction catalyzed by RNA polymerase, in which nucleotides are repetitively added to the 3′ end of a nascent transcript due to upstream slippage of the transcript without movement of the DNA template. In Escherichia coli, the expression of several operons is regulated through mechanisms in which high intracellular levels of UTP promote reiterative transcription that adds extra U residues to the 3′ end of a nascent transcript during transcription initiation. Immediately following the addition of one or more extra U residues, the nascent transcripts are released from the transcription initiation complex, thereby reducing the level of gene expression. Therefore, gene expression can be regulated by internal UTP levels, which reflect the availability of external pyrimidine sources. The magnitude of gene regulation by these mechanisms varies considerably, even when control mechanisms are analogous. These variations apparently are due to differences in promoter sequences. One of the operons regulated (in part) by UTP-sensitive reiterative transcription in E. coli is the carAB operon, which encodes the first enzyme in the pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthetic pathway. In this study, we used the carAB operon to examine the effects of nucleotide sequence at and near the transcription start site and spacing between the start site and −10 region of the promoter on reiterative transcription and gene regulation. Our results indicate that these variables are important determinants in establishing the extent of reiterative transcription, levels of productive transcription, and range of gene regulation.
doi:10.1128/JB.01753-14
PMCID: PMC4135645  PMID: 24891446
21.  Requirement of the Flagellar Protein Export Apparatus Component FliO for Optimal Expression of Flagellar Genes in Helicobacter pylori 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(15):2709-2717.
Flagellar biogenesis in Helicobacter pylori involves the coordinated expression of flagellar genes with assembly of the flagellum. The H. pylori flagellar genes are organized into three regulons based on the sigma factor needed for their transcription (RpoD [σ80], RpoN [σ54], or FliA [σ28]). Transcription of RpoN-dependent genes is activated by a two-component system consisting of the sensor kinase FlgS and the response regulator FlgR. While the cellular cues sensed by the FlgS/FlgR two-component system remain to be elucidated, previous studies revealed that disrupting certain components of the flagellar export apparatus inhibited transcription of the RpoN regulon. FliO is the least conserved of the membrane-bound components of the export apparatus and has not been annotated for any of the H. pylori genomes sequenced to date. A PSI-BLAST analysis identified a potential H. pylori FliO protein which membrane topology algorithms predict to possess a large N-terminal periplasmic domain that is absent from FliO of Escherichia coli and Salmonella, the paradigms for flagellar structure/function studies. FliO was necessary for flagellar biogenesis as well as wild-type levels of motility and transcription of RpoN-dependent and FliA-dependent flagellar genes in H. pylori strain B128. FliO also appears to be required for wild-type levels of the export apparatus protein FlhA in the membrane. Interestingly, the periplasmic and cytoplasmic domains were somewhat dispensable for flagellar gene regulation and assembly, suggesting that these domains have relatively minor roles in flagellar synthesis.
doi:10.1128/JB.01332-13
PMCID: PMC4135663  PMID: 24837287
22.  Editorial Board 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(15):A1.
doi:10.1128/JB.masthead.196-15
PMCID: PMC4135664
23.  Modification of Streptococcus mutans Cnm by PgfS Contributes to Adhesion, Endothelial Cell Invasion, and Virulence 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(15):2789-2797.
Expression of the surface protein Cnm has been directly implicated in the ability of certain strains of Streptococcus mutans to bind to collagen and to invade human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC) and in the killing of Galleria mellonella. Sequencing analysis of Cnm+ strains revealed that cnm is located between the core genes SMU.2067 and SMU.2069. Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) analysis showed that cnm is cotranscribed with SMU.2067, encoding a putative glycosyltransferase referred to here as PgfS (protein glycosyltransferase of streptococci). Notably, Cnm contains a threonine-rich domain predicted to undergo O-linked glycosylation. The previously shown abnormal migration pattern of Cnm, the presence of the threonine-rich domain, and the molecular linkage of cnm with pgfS lead us to hypothesize that PgfS modifies Cnm. A ΔpgfS strain showed defects in several traits associated with Cnm expression, including collagen binding, HCAEC invasion, and killing of G. mellonella. Western blot analysis revealed that Cnm from the ΔpgfS mutant migrated at a lower molecular weight than that from the parent strain. In addition, Cnm produced by ΔpgfS was highly susceptible to proteinase K degradation, in contrast to the high-molecular-weight Cnm version found in the parent strain. Lectin-binding analyses confirmed the glycosylated nature of Cnm and strongly suggested the presence of N-acetylglucosamine residues attached to Cnm. Based on these findings, the phenotypes observed in ΔpgfS are most likely associated with defects in Cnm glycosylation that affects protein function, stability, or both. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that Cnm is a glycoprotein and that posttranslational modification mediated by PgfS contributes to the virulence-associated phenotypes linked to Cnm.
doi:10.1128/JB.01783-14
PMCID: PMC4135665  PMID: 24837294
24.  Analysis of the Arabinose-5-Phosphate Isomerase of Bacteroides fragilis Provides Insight into Regulation of Single-Domain Arabinose Phosphate Isomerases 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(15):2861-2868.
Arabinose-5-phosphate isomerases (APIs) catalyze the interconversion of d-ribulose-5-phosphate and d-arabinose-5-phosphate, the first step in the biosynthesis of 3-deoxy-d-manno-octulosonic acid (Kdo), an essential component of the lipopolysaccharide in Gram-negative bacteria. Classical APIs, such as Escherichia coli KdsD, contain a sugar isomerase domain and a tandem cystathionine beta-synthase domain. Despite substantial effort, little is known about structure-function relationships in these APIs. We recently reported an API containing only a sugar isomerase domain. This protein, c3406 from E. coli CFT073, has no known physiological function. In this study, we investigated a putative single-domain API from the anaerobic Gram-negative bacterium Bacteroides fragilis. This putative API (UniProt ID Q5LIW1) is the only protein encoded by the B. fragilis genome with significant identity to any known API, suggesting that it is responsible for lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis in B. fragilis. We tested this hypothesis by preparing recombinant Q5LIW1 protein (here referred to by the UniProt ID Q5LIW1), characterizing its API activity in vitro, and demonstrating that the gene encoding Q5LIW1 (GenBank ID YP_209877.1) was able to complement an API-deficient E. coli strain. We demonstrated that Q5LIW1 is inhibited by cytidine 5′-monophospho-3-deoxy-d-manno-2-octulosonic acid, the final product of the Kdo biosynthesis pathway, with a Ki of 1.91 μM. These results support the assertion that Q5LIW1 is the API that supports lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis in B. fragilis and is subject to feedback regulation by CMP-Kdo. The sugar isomerase domain of E. coli KdsD, lacking the two cystathionine beta-synthase domains, demonstrated API activity and was further characterized. These results suggest that Q5LIW1 may be a suitable system to study API structure-function relationships.
doi:10.1128/JB.01735-14
PMCID: PMC4135666  PMID: 24891442
25.  Identification and Characterization of a Novel Secreted Glycosidase with Multiple Glycosidase Activities in Streptococcus intermedius 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(15):2817-2826.
Streptococcus intermedius is a known human pathogen and belongs to the anginosus group (S. anginosus, S. intermedius, and S. constellatus) of streptococci (AGS). We found a large open reading frame (6,708 bp) in the lac operon, and bioinformatic analysis suggested that this gene encodes a novel glycosidase that can exhibit β-d-galactosidase and N-acetyl-β-d-hexosaminidase activities. We, therefore, named this protein “multisubstrate glycosidase A” (MsgA). To test whether MsgA has these glycosidase activities, the msgA gene was disrupted in S. intermedius. The msgA-deficient mutant no longer showed cell- and supernatant-associated β-d-galactosidase, β-d-fucosidase, N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase, and N-acetyl-β-d-galactosaminidase activities, and all phenotypes were complemented in trans with a recombinant plasmid carrying msgA. Purified MsgA had all four of these glycosidase activities and exhibited the lowest Km with 4-methylumbelliferyl-linked N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminide and the highest kcat with 4-methylumbelliferyl-linked β-d-galactopyranoside. In addition, the purified LacZ domain of MsgA had β-d-galactosidase and β-d-fucosidase activities, and the GH20 domain exhibited both N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase and N-acetyl-β-d-galactosaminidase activities. The β-d-galactosidase and β-d-fucosidase activities of MsgA are thermolabile, and the optimal temperature of the reaction was 40°C, whereas almost all enzymatic activities disappeared at 49°C. The optimal temperatures for the N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase and N-acetyl-β-d-galactosaminidase activities were 58 and 55°C, respectively. The requirement of sialidase treatment to remove sialic acid residues of the glycan branch end for glycan degradation by MsgA on human α1-antitrypsin indicates that MsgA has exoglycosidase activities. MsgA and sialidase might have an important function in the production and utilization of monosaccharides from oligosaccharides, such as glycans for survival in a normal habitat and for pathogenicity of S. intermedius.
doi:10.1128/JB.01727-14
PMCID: PMC4135667  PMID: 24858187

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