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1.  Identification of New Drug Targets and Resistance Mechanisms in Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75245.
Identification of new drug targets is vital for the advancement of drug discovery against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, especially given the increase of resistance worldwide to first- and second-line drugs. Because traditional target-based screening has largely proven unsuccessful for antibiotic discovery, we have developed a scalable platform for target identification in M. tuberculosis that is based on whole-cell screening, coupled with whole-genome sequencing of resistant mutants and recombineering to confirm. The method yields targets paired with whole-cell active compounds, which can serve as novel scaffolds for drug development, molecular tools for validation, and/or as ligands for co-crystallization. It may also reveal other information about mechanisms of action, such as activation or efflux. Using this method, we identified resistance-linked genes for eight compounds with anti-tubercular activity. Four of the genes have previously been shown to be essential: AspS, aspartyl-tRNA synthetase, Pks13, a polyketide synthase involved in mycolic acid biosynthesis, MmpL3, a membrane transporter, and EccB3, a component of the ESX-3 type VII secretion system. AspS and Pks13 represent novel targets in protein translation and cell-wall biosynthesis. Both MmpL3 and EccB3 are involved in membrane transport. Pks13, AspS, and EccB3 represent novel candidates not targeted by existing TB drugs, and the availability of whole-cell active inhibitors greatly increases their potential for drug discovery.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075245
PMCID: PMC3781026  PMID: 24086479
2.  Structural/functional analysis of the human OXR1 protein: identification of exon 8 as the anti-oxidant encoding function 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:26.
Background
The human OXR1 gene belongs to a class of genes with conserved functions that protect cells from reactive oxygen species (ROS). The gene was found using a screen of a human cDNA library by its ability to suppress the spontaneous mutator phenotype of an E. coli mutH nth strain. The function of OXR1 is unknown. The human and yeast genes are induced by oxidative stress and targeted to the mitochondria; the yeast gene is required for resistance to hydrogen peroxide. Multiple spliced isoforms are expressed in a variety of human tissues, including brain.
Results
In this report, we use a papillation assay that measures spontaneous mutagenesis of an E. coli mutM mutY strain, a host defective for oxidative DNA repair. Papillation frequencies with this strain are dependent upon a G→T transversion in the lacZ gene (a mutation known to occur as a result of oxidative damage) and are suppressed by in vivo expression of human OXR1. N-terminal, C-terminal and internal deletions of the OXR1 gene were constructed and tested for suppression of the mutagenic phenotype of the mutM mutY strain. We find that the TLDc domain, encoded by the final four exons of the OXR1 gene, is not required for papillation suppression in E. coli. Instead, we show that the protein segment encoded by exon 8 of OXR1 is responsible for the suppression of oxidative damage in E. coli.
Conclusion
The protein segment encoded by OXR1 exon 8 plays an important role in the anti-oxidative function of the human OXR1 protein. This result suggests that the TLDc domain, found in OXR1 exons 12–16 and common in many proteins with nuclear function, has an alternate (undefined) role other than oxidative repair.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-13-26
PMCID: PMC3462732  PMID: 22873401
3.  Enhanced Actin Pedestal Formation by Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 Adapted to the Mammalian Host 
Upon intestinal colonization, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) induces epithelial cells to generate actin “pedestals” beneath bound bacteria, lesions that promote colonization. To induce pedestals, EHEC utilizes a type III secretion system to translocate into the mammalian cell bacterial effectors such as translocated intimin receptor (Tir), which localizes in the mammalian cell membrane and functions as a receptor for the bacterial outer membrane protein intimin. Whereas EHEC triggers efficient pedestal formation during mammalian infection, EHEC cultured in vitro induces pedestals on cell monolayers with relatively low efficiency. To determine whether growth within the mammalian host enhances EHEC pedestal formation, we compared in vitro-cultivated bacteria with EHEC directly isolated from infected piglets. Mammalian adaptation by EHEC was associated with a dramatic increase in the efficiency of cell attachment and pedestal formation. The amounts of intimin and Tir were significantly higher in host-adapted than in in vitro-cultivated bacteria, but increasing intimin or Tir expression, or artificially increasing the level of bacterial attachment to mammalian cells, did not enhance pedestal formation by in vitro-cultivated EHEC. Instead, a functional assay suggested that host-adapted EHEC translocate Tir much more efficiently than does in vitro-cultivated bacteria. These data suggest that adaptation of EHEC to the mammalian intestine enhances bacterial cell attachment, expression of intimin and Tir, and translocation of effectors that promote actin signaling.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2011.00226
PMCID: PMC3219212  PMID: 22102844
host adaptation; actin assembly; translocation; EHEC; intimin; Tir
4.  RecA-independent single-stranded DNA oligonucleotide-mediated mutagenesis 
F1000 biology reports  2010;2(1):56.
The expression of Beta, the single-stranded annealing protein (SSAP) of bacteriophage λ in Escherichia coli promotes high levels of oligonucleotide (oligo)-mediated mutagenesis and offers a quick way to create single or multiple base pair insertions, deletions, or substitutions in the bacterial chromosome. High rates of mutagenesis can be obtained by the use of mismatch repair (MMR)-resistant mismatches or MMR-deficient hosts, which allow for the isolation of unselected mutations. It has recently become clear that many bacteria can be mutagenized with oligos in the absence of any SSAP expression, albeit at a much lower frequency. Studies have shown that inactivation or inhibition of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) exonucleases in vivo increases the rate of SSAP-independent oligo-mediated mutagenesis. These results suggest that λ Beta, in addition to its role in annealing the oligo to ssDNA regions of the replication fork, promotes high rates of oligo-mediated mutagenesis by protecting the oligo from destruction by host ssDNA exonucleases.
doi:10.3410/B2-56
PMCID: PMC2920528  PMID: 20711416
5.  RecA-independent single-stranded DNA oligonucleotide-mediated mutagenesis 
The expression of Beta, the single-stranded annealing protein (SSAP) of bacteriophage λ in Escherichia coli promotes high levels of oligonucleotide (oligo)-mediated mutagenesis and offers a quick way to create single or multiple base pair insertions, deletions, or substitutions in the bacterial chromosome. High rates of mutagenesis can be obtained by the use of mismatch repair (MMR)-resistant mismatches or MMR-deficient hosts, which allow for the isolation of unselected mutations. It has recently become clear that many bacteria can be mutagenized with oligos in the absence of any SSAP expression, albeit at a much lower frequency. Studies have shown that inactivation or inhibition of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) exonucleases in vivo increases the rate of SSAP-independent oligo-mediated mutagenesis. These results suggest that λ Beta, in addition to its role in annealing the oligo to ssDNA regions of the replication fork, promotes high rates of oligo-mediated mutagenesis by protecting the oligo from destruction by host ssDNA exonucleases.
doi:10.3410/B2-56
PMCID: PMC2920528  PMID: 20711416
6.  Dam Methyltransferase Is Required for Stable Lysogeny of the Shiga Toxin (Stx2)-Encoding Bacteriophage 933W of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;190(1):438-441.
Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2), one of the principal virulence factors of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, is encoded by 933W, a lambda-like prophage. 933W prophage induction contributes to Stx2 production, and here, we provide evidence that Dam methyltransferase is essential for maintenance of 933W lysogeny. Our findings are consistent with the idea that the 933W prophage has a relatively low threshold for induction, which may promote Stx2 production during infection.
doi:10.1128/JB.01373-07
PMCID: PMC2223730  PMID: 17981979
7.  Lambda Red-mediated recombinogenic engineering of enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic E. coli 
Background
The λ Red recombineering technology has been used extensively in Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium for easy PCR-mediated generation of deletion mutants, but less so in pathogenic species of E. coli such as EHEC and EPEC. Our early experiments with the use of λ Red in EHEC and EPEC have led to sporadic results, leading to the present study to identify factors that might improve the efficiency of Red recombineering in these pathogenic strains of E. coli.
Results
In this report, we have identified conditions that optimize the use of λ Red for recombineering in EHEC and EPEC. Using plasmids that contain a Ptac-red-gam operon and a temperature-sensitive origin of replication, we have generated multiple mutations (both marked and unmarked) in known virulence genes. In addition, we have easily deleted five O157-specific islands (O-islands) of EHEC suspected of containing virulence factors. We have examined the use of both PCR-generated substrates (40 bp of flanking homology) and plasmid-derived substrates (~1 kb of flanking homology); both work well and each have their own advantages. The establishment of the hyper-rec phenotype requires only a 20 minute IPTG induction period of red and gam. This recombinogenic window is important as constitutive expression of red and gam induces a 10-fold increase in spontaneous resistance to rifampicin. Other factors such as the orientation of the drug marker in recombination substrates and heat shock effects also play roles in the success of Red-mediated recombination in EHEC and EPEC.
Conclusions
The λ Red recombineering technology has been optimized for use in pathogenic species of E. coli, namely EHEC and EPEC. As demonstration of this technology, five O-islands of EHEC were easily and precisely deleted from the chromosome by electroporation with PCR-generated substrates containing drug markers flanked with 40 bp of target DNA. These results should encourage the use of λ Red recombineering in these and other strains of pathogenic bacteria for faster identification of virulence factors and the speedy generation of bacterial mutants for vaccine development.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-4-11
PMCID: PMC317293  PMID: 14672541
8.  Roles of RuvC and RecG in Phage λ Red-Mediated Recombination 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(17):5402-5408.
The recombination properties of Escherichia coli strains expressing the red genes of bacteriophage λ and lacking recBCD function either by mutation or by expression of λ gam were examined. The substrates for recombination were nonreplicating λ chromosomes, introduced by infection; Red-mediated recombination was initiated by a double-strand break created by the action of a restriction endonuclease in the infected cell. In one type of experiment, two phages marked with restriction site polymorphisms were crossed. Efficient formation of recombinant DNA molecules was observed in ruvC+ recG+, ruvC recG+, ruvC+ recG, and ruvC recG hosts. In a second type of experiment, a 1-kb nonhomology was inserted between the double-strand break and the donor chromosome’s restriction site marker. In this case, recombinant formation was found to be partially dependent upon ruvC function, especially in a recG mutant background. In a third type of experiment, the recombining partners were the host cell chromosome and a 4-kb linear DNA fragment containing the cat gene, with flanking lac sequences, released from the infecting phage chromosome by restriction enzyme cleavage in the cell; the formation of chloramphenicol-resistant bacterial progeny was measured. Dependence on RuvC varied considerably among the three types of cross. However, in all cases, the frequency of Red-mediated recombination was higher in recG than in recG+. These observations favor models in which RecG tends to push invading 3′-ended strands back out of recombination intermediates.
PMCID: PMC94048  PMID: 10464213
9.  Use of Bacteriophage λ Recombination Functions To Promote Gene Replacement in Escherichia coli 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(8):2063-2071.
Replacement of Escherichia coli’s RecBCD function with phage λ’s Red function generates a strain whose chromosome recombines with short linear DNA fragments at a greatly elevated rate. The rate is at least 70-fold higher than that exhibited by a recBC sbcBC or recD strain. The value of the system is highlighted by gene replacement with a PCR-generated DNA fragment. The ΔrecBCD::Plac-red kan replacement allele can be P1 transduced to other E. coli strains, making the hyper-Rec phenotype easily transferable.
PMCID: PMC107131  PMID: 9555887
10.  Identification of a novel prophage regulator in Escherichia coli controlling the expression of type III secretion 
Molecular Microbiology  2011;83(1):208-223.
This study has identified horizontally acquired genomic regions of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 that regulate expression of the type III secretion (T3S) system encoded by the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE). Deletion of O-island 51, a 14.93 kb cryptic prophage (CP-933C), resulted in a reduction in LEE expression and T3S. The deletion also had a reduced capacity to attach to epithelial cells and significantly reduced E. coli O157 excretion levels from sheep. Further characterization of O-island 51 identified a novel positive regulator of the LEE, encoded by ecs1581 in the E. coli O157:H7 strain Sakai genome and present but not annotated in the E. coli strain EDL933 sequence. Functionally important residues of ECs1581 were identified based on phenotypic variants present in sequenced E. coli strains and the regulator was termed RgdR based on a motif demonstrated to be important for stimulation of gene expression. While RgdR activated expression from the LEE1 promoter in the presence or absence of the LEE-encoded regulator (Ler), RgdR stimulation of T3S required ler and Ler autoregulation. RgdR also controlled the expression of other phenotypes, including motility, indicating that this new family of regulators may have a more global role in E. coli gene expression.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07927.x
PMCID: PMC3378721  PMID: 22111928

Results 1-10 (10)