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1.  Genome Sequence of Streptomyces olindensis DAUFPE 5622, Producer of the Antitumoral Anthracycline Cosmomycin D 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(3):e00541-14.
Streptomyces olindensis DAUFPE 5622, which was isolated from a Brazilian soil sample, produces the antitumor anthracycline cosmomycin D. The genome sequence is 9.4 Mb in length, with a G+C content of 71%. Thirty-four putative secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters were identified, including the cosmomycin D cluster.
PMCID: PMC4073108  PMID: 24970824
2.  Comparative genomics uncovers novel structural and functional features of the heterotrimeric GTPase signaling system 
Gene  2010;475(2):63-78.
Though the heterotrimeric G-proteins signaling system is one of the best studied in eukaryotes, its provenance and its prevalence outside of model eukaryotes remains poorly understood. We utilized the wealth of sequence data from recently sequenced eukaryotic genomes to uncover robust G-protein signaling systems in several poorly studied eukaryotic lineages such as the parabasalids, heteroloboseans and stramenopiles. This indicated that the Gα subunit is likely to have separated from the ARF-like GTPases prior to the last eukaryotic common ancestor. We systematically identified the structure and sequence features associated with this divergence and found that most of the neomorphic positions in Gα form a ring of residues centered on the nucleotide binding site, several of which are likely to be critical for interactions with the RGS domain for its GAP function. We also present evidence that in some of the potentially early branching eukaryotic lineages, like Trichomonas, Gα is likely to function independently of the Gβγ subunits. We were able to identify previously unknown Gγ subunits in Naegleria, suggesting that the trimeric version was already present by the time of the divergence of the heteroloboseans from the remaining eukaryotes. Evolution of Gα subunits is dominated by several independent lineage-specific expansions (LSEs). In most of these cases there are concomitant, independent LSEs of RGS proteins along with an extraordinary diversification of their domain architectures. The diversity of RGS domains from Naegleria in particular, which has the largest complement of Gα and RGS proteins for any eukaryote, provides new insights into RGS function and evolution. We uncovered a new class of soluble ligand receptors of bacterial origin with RGS domains and an extraordinary diversity of membrane-linked, redox-associated, adhesion-dependent and small molecule-induced G-protein signaling networks that evolved in early-branching eukaryotes, independently of parallel systems in animals. Furthermore, this newly characterized diversity of RGS domains helps in defining their ancestral conserved interfaces with Gα and also those interfaces that are prone to extensive lineage-specific diversification and are thereby responsible for selectivity in Gα-RGS interactions. Several mushrooms show LSEs of Gαs but not of RGS proteins pointing to the probable differentiation of Gαs in conjunction with mating-type diversity. When combined with the characterization of the 7TM receptors (GPCRs), it becomes apparent that, through much of eukaryotic evolution, cells contained both 7TM receptors that acted as GEFs and those as GAPs (with C-terminal RGS domains) for Gαs. Only in some lineages like animals and stramenopiles the 7TM receptors were restricted to GEF only roles, probably due to selection imposed by the rate-constants of the Gαs that underwent lineage-specific expansion in them. In the alveolate lineage the 7TM receptors occur independently of heterotrimeric G-proteins, suggesting the prevalence of G-protein-independent signaling in these organisms.
PMCID: PMC3396428  PMID: 21182906
3.  Polymorphic toxin systems: Comprehensive characterization of trafficking modes, processing, mechanisms of action, immunity and ecology using comparative genomics 
Biology Direct  2012;7:18.
Proteinaceous toxins are observed across all levels of inter-organismal and intra-genomic conflicts. These include recently discovered prokaryotic polymorphic toxin systems implicated in intra-specific conflicts. They are characterized by a remarkable diversity of C-terminal toxin domains generated by recombination with standalone toxin-coding cassettes. Prior analysis revealed a striking diversity of nuclease and deaminase domains among the toxin modules. We systematically investigated polymorphic toxin systems using comparative genomics, sequence and structure analysis.
Polymorphic toxin systems are distributed across all major bacterial lineages and are delivered by at least eight distinct secretory systems. In addition to type-II, these include type-V, VI, VII (ESX), and the poorly characterized “Photorhabdus virulence cassettes (PVC)”, PrsW-dependent and MuF phage-capsid-like systems. We present evidence that trafficking of these toxins is often accompanied by autoproteolytic processing catalyzed by HINT, ZU5, PrsW, caspase-like, papain-like, and a novel metallopeptidase associated with the PVC system. We identified over 150 distinct toxin domains in these systems. These span an extraordinary catalytic spectrum to include 23 distinct clades of peptidases, numerous previously unrecognized versions of nucleases and deaminases, ADP-ribosyltransferases, ADP ribosyl cyclases, RelA/SpoT-like nucleotidyltransferases, glycosyltranferases and other enzymes predicted to modify lipids and carbohydrates, and a pore-forming toxin domain. Several of these toxin domains are shared with host-directed effectors of pathogenic bacteria. Over 90 families of immunity proteins might neutralize anywhere between a single to at least 27 distinct types of toxin domains. In some organisms multiple tandem immunity genes or immunity protein domains are organized into polyimmunity loci or polyimmunity proteins. Gene-neighborhood-analysis of polymorphic toxin systems predicts the presence of novel trafficking-related components, and also the organizational logic that allows toxin diversification through recombination. Domain architecture and protein-length analysis revealed that these toxins might be deployed as secreted factors, through directed injection, or via inter-cellular contact facilitated by filamentous structures formed by RHS/YD, filamentous hemagglutinin and other repeats. Phyletic pattern and life-style analysis indicate that polymorphic toxins and polyimmunity loci participate in cooperative behavior and facultative ‘cheating’ in several ecosystems such as the human oral cavity and soil. Multiple domains from these systems have also been repeatedly transferred to eukaryotes and their viruses, such as the nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses.
Along with a comprehensive inventory of toxins and immunity proteins, we present several testable predictions regarding active sites and catalytic mechanisms of toxins, their processing and trafficking and their role in intra-specific and inter-specific interactions between bacteria. These systems provide insights regarding the emergence of key systems at different points in eukaryotic evolution, such as ADP ribosylation, interaction of myosin VI with cargo proteins, mediation of apoptosis, hyphal heteroincompatibility, hedgehog signaling, arthropod toxins, cell-cell interaction molecules like teneurins and different signaling messengers.
This article was reviewed by AM, FE and IZ.
PMCID: PMC3482391  PMID: 22731697
4.  Gene flow and biological conflict systems in the origin and evolution of eukaryotes 
The endosymbiotic origin of eukaryotes brought together two disparate genomes in the cell. Additionally, eukaryotic natural history has included other endosymbiotic events, phagotrophic consumption of organisms, and intimate interactions with viruses and endoparasites. These phenomena facilitated large-scale lateral gene transfer and biological conflicts. We synthesize information from nearly two decades of genomics to illustrate how the interplay between lateral gene transfer and biological conflicts has impacted the emergence of new adaptations in eukaryotes. Using apicomplexans as example, we illustrate how lateral transfer from animals has contributed to unique parasite-host interfaces comprised of adhesion- and O-linked glycosylation-related domains. Adaptations, emerging due to intense selection for diversity in the molecular participants in organismal and genomic conflicts, being dispersed by lateral transfer, were subsequently exapted for eukaryote-specific innovations. We illustrate this using examples relating to eukaryotic chromatin, RNAi and RNA-processing systems, signaling pathways, apoptosis and immunity. We highlight the major contributions from catalytic domains of bacterial toxin systems to the origin of signaling enzymes (e.g., ADP-ribosylation and small molecule messenger synthesis), mutagenic enzymes for immune receptor diversification and RNA-processing. Similarly, we discuss contributions of bacterial antibiotic/siderophore synthesis systems and intra-genomic and intra-cellular selfish elements (e.g., restriction-modification, mobile elements and lysogenic phages) in the emergence of chromatin remodeling/modifying enzymes and RNA-based regulation. We develop the concept that biological conflict systems served as evolutionary “nurseries” for innovations in the protein world, which were delivered to eukaryotes via lateral gene flow to spur key evolutionary innovations all the way from nucleogenesis to lineage-specific adaptations.
PMCID: PMC3417536  PMID: 22919680
antibiotics; biological conflict; endosymbiosis; immunity proteins; restriction-modfication; RNAi; selfish elements; toxins
5.  Diversity and evolution of chromatin proteins encoded by DNA viruses 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2009;1799(3-4):302-318.
Double-stranded DNA viruses display a great variety of proteins that interact with host chromatin. Using the wealth of available genomic and functional information, we have systematically surveyed chromatin-related proteins encoded by dsDNA viruses. The distribution of viral chromatin-related proteins is primarily influenced by viral genome size and the superkingdom to which the host of the virus belongs. Smaller viruses usually encode multifunctional proteins that mediate several distinct interactions with host chromatin proteins and viral or host DNA. Larger viruses additionally encode several enzymes, which catalyze manipulations of chromosome structure, chromatin remodeling and covalent modifications of proteins and DNA. Among these viruses, it is also common to encounter transcription factors and DNA-packaging proteins such as histones and IHF/HU derived from cellular genomes, which might play a role in constituting virus-specific chromatin states. Through all size ranges a subset of domains in viral chromatin proteins appear to have been derived from those found in host proteins. Examples include the Zn-finger domains of the E6 and E7 proteins of papillomaviruses, SET-domain methyltransferases and Jumonji-related demethylases in certain nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses and BEN domains in poxviruses and polydnaviruses. In other cases, chromatin-interacting modules, such as the LxCxE motif, appear to have been widely disseminated across distinct viral lineages, resulting in similar retinoblastoma targeting strategies. Viruses, especially those with large linear genomes, have evolved a number of mechanisms to manipulate viral chromosomes in the process of replication-associated recombination. These include topoisomerases, Rad50/SbcC-like ABC ATPases and a novel recombinase system in bacteriophages utilizing RecA and Rad52 homologs. Larger DNA viruses also encode SWI2/SNF2 and A18-like ATPases which appear to play specialized roles in transcription and recombination. Finally, it also appears that certain domains of viral provenance have given rise to key functions in eukaryotic chromatin such as a HEH domain of chromosome tethering proteins and the TET/JBP-like cytosine and thymine hydroxylases.
PMCID: PMC3243496  PMID: 19878744
6.  Predicted class-I aminoacyl tRNA synthetase-like proteins in non-ribosomal peptide synthesis 
Biology Direct  2010;5:48.
Recent studies point to a great diversity of non-ribosomal peptide synthesis systems with major roles in amino acid and co-factor biosynthesis, secondary metabolism, and post-translational modifications of proteins by peptide tags. The least studied of these systems are those utilizing tRNAs or aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AAtRS) in non-ribosomal peptide ligation.
Here we describe novel examples of AAtRS related proteins that are likely to be involved in the synthesis of widely distributed peptide-derived metabolites. Using sensitive sequence profile methods we show that the cyclodipeptide synthases (CDPSs) are members of the HUP class of Rossmannoid domains and are likely to be highly derived versions of the class-I AAtRS catalytic domains. We also identify the first eukaryotic CDPSs in fungi and in animals; they might be involved in immune response in the latter organisms. We also identify a paralogous version of the methionyl-tRNA synthetase, which is widespread in bacteria, and present evidence using contextual information that it might function independently of protein synthesis as a peptide ligase in the formation of a peptide- derived secondary metabolite. This metabolite is likely to be heavily modified through multiple reactions catalyzed by a metal-binding cupin domain and a lysine N6 monooxygenase that are strictly associated with this paralogous methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MtRS). We further identify an analogous system wherein the MtRS has been replaced by more typical peptide ligases with the ATP-grasp or modular condensation-domains.
The prevalence of these predicted biosynthetic pathways in phylogenetically distant, pathogenic or symbiotic bacteria suggests that metabolites synthesized by them might participate in interactions with the host. More generally, these findings point to a complete spectrum of recruitment of AAtRS to various non-ribosomal biosynthetic pathways, ranging from the conventional AAtRS, through closely related paralogous AAtRS dedicated to certain pathways, to highly derived versions of the class-I AAtRS catalytic domain like the CDPSs. Both the conventional AAtRS and their closely related paralogs often provide aminoacylated tRNAs for peptide ligations by MprF/Fem/MurM-type acetyltransferase fold ligases in the synthesis of peptidoglycan, N-end rule modifications of proteins, lipid aminoacylation or biosynthesis of antibiotics, such as valinamycin. Alternatively they might supply aminoacylated tRNAs for other biosynthetic pathways like that for tetrapyrrole or directly function as peptide ligases as in the case of mycothiol and those identified here.
This article was reviewed by Andrei Osterman and Igor Zhulin.
PMCID: PMC2922099  PMID: 20678224
7.  Development and validation of a Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri DNA microarray platform (XACarray) generated from the shotgun libraries previously used in the sequencing of this bacterial genome 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:150.
From shotgun libraries used for the genomic sequencing of the phytopathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri (XAC), clones that were representative of the largest possible number of coding sequences (CDSs) were selected to create a DNA microarray platform on glass slides (XACarray). The creation of the XACarray allowed for the establishment of a tool that is capable of providing data for the analysis of global genome expression in this organism.
The inserts from the selected clones were amplified by PCR with the universal oligonucleotide primers M13R and M13F. The obtained products were purified and fixed in duplicate on glass slides specific for use in DNA microarrays. The number of spots on the microarray totaled 6,144 and included 768 positive controls and 624 negative controls per slide. Validation of the platform was performed through hybridization of total DNA probes from XAC labeled with different fluorophores, Cy3 and Cy5. In this validation assay, 86% of all PCR products fixed on the glass slides were confirmed to present a hybridization signal greater than twice the standard deviation of the deviation of the global median signal-to-noise ration.
Our validation of the XACArray platform using DNA-DNA hybridization revealed that it can be used to evaluate the expression of 2,365 individual CDSs from all major functional categories, which corresponds to 52.7% of the annotated CDSs of the XAC genome. As a proof of concept, we used this platform in a previously work to verify the absence of genomic regions that could not be detected by sequencing in related strains of Xanthomonas.
PMCID: PMC2890508  PMID: 20507617
8.  UMA and MABP domains throw light on receptor endocytosis and selection of endosomal cargoes 
Bioinformatics  2010;26(12):1477-1480.
Interactions of the ESCRT complexes are critical for endosomal trafficking. We identify two domains with potential significance for this process. The MABP domain present in metazoan ESCRT-I/MVB12 subunits, Crag, a regulator of protein sorting, and bacterial pore-forming proteins might mediate novel membrane interactions in trafficking. The UBAP1-MVB12-associated UMA domain found in MVB12 and UBAP1 defines a novel adaptor that might recruit diverse targets to ESCRT-I.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at
PMCID: PMC2881412  PMID: 20448139
9.  Origin and evolution of peptide-modifying dioxygenases and identification of the wybutosine hydroxylase/hydroperoxidase 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;38(16):5261-5279.
Unlike classical 2-oxoglutarate and iron-dependent dioxygenases, which include several nucleic acid modifiers, the structurally similar jumonji-related dioxygenase superfamily was only known to catalyze peptide modifications. Using comparative genomics methods, we predict that a family of jumonji-related enzymes catalyzes wybutosine hydroxylation/peroxidation at position 37 of eukaryotic tRNAPhe. Identification of this enzyme raised questions regarding the emergence of protein- and nucleic acid-modifying activities among jumonji-related domains. We addressed these with a natural classification of DSBH domains and reconstructed the precursor of the dioxygenases as a sugar-binding domain. This precursor gave rise to sugar epimerases and metal-binding sugar isomerases. The sugar isomerase active site was exapted for catalysis of oxygenation, with a radiation of these enzymes in bacteria, probably due to impetus from the primary oxygenation event in Earth’s history. 2-Oxoglutarate-dependent versions appear to have further expanded with rise of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. We identify previously under-appreciated aspects of their active site and multiple independent innovations of 2-oxoacid-binding basic residues among these superfamilies. We show that double-stranded β-helix dioxygenases diversified extensively in biosynthesis and modification of halogenated siderophores, antibiotics, peptide secondary metabolites and glycine-rich collagen-like proteins in bacteria. Jumonji-related domains diversified into three distinct lineages in bacterial secondary metabolism systems and these were precursors of the three major clades of eukaryotic enzymes. The specificity of wybutosine hydroxylase/peroxidase probably relates to the structural similarity of the modified moiety to the ancestral amino acid substrate of this superfamily.
PMCID: PMC2938197  PMID: 20423905
10.  Novel insights into the genomic basis of citrus canker based on the genome sequences of two strains of Xanthomonas fuscans subsp. aurantifolii 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:238.
Citrus canker is a disease that has severe economic impact on the citrus industry worldwide. There are three types of canker, called A, B, and C. The three types have different phenotypes and affect different citrus species. The causative agent for type A is Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, whose genome sequence was made available in 2002. Xanthomonas fuscans subsp. aurantifolii strain B causes canker B and Xanthomonas fuscans subsp. aurantifolii strain C causes canker C.
We have sequenced the genomes of strains B and C to draft status. We have compared their genomic content to X. citri subsp. citri and to other Xanthomonas genomes, with special emphasis on type III secreted effector repertoires. In addition to pthA, already known to be present in all three citrus canker strains, two additional effector genes, xopE3 and xopAI, are also present in all three strains and are both located on the same putative genomic island. These two effector genes, along with one other effector-like gene in the same region, are thus good candidates for being pathogenicity factors on citrus. Numerous gene content differences also exist between the three cankers strains, which can be correlated with their different virulence and host range. Particular attention was placed on the analysis of genes involved in biofilm formation and quorum sensing, type IV secretion, flagellum synthesis and motility, lipopolysacharide synthesis, and on the gene xacPNP, which codes for a natriuretic protein.
We have uncovered numerous commonalities and differences in gene content between the genomes of the pathogenic agents causing citrus canker A, B, and C and other Xanthomonas genomes. Molecular genetics can now be employed to determine the role of these genes in plant-microbe interactions. The gained knowledge will be instrumental for improving citrus canker control.
PMCID: PMC2883993  PMID: 20388224
11.  The Anabaena sensory rhodopsin transducer defines a novel superfamily of prokaryotic small-molecule binding domains 
Biology Direct  2009;4:25.
The Anabaena sensory rhodopsin transducer (ASRT) is a small protein that has been claimed to function as a signaling molecule downstream of the cyanobacterial sensory rhodopsin. However, orthologs of ASRT have been detected in several bacteria that lack rhodopsin, raising questions about the generality of this function. Using sequence profile searches we show that ASRT defines a novel superfamily of β-sandwich fold domains. Through contextual inference based on domain architectures and predicted operons and structural analysis we present strong evidence that these domains bind small molecules, most probably sugars. We propose that the intracellular versions like ASRT probably participate as sensors that regulate a diverse range of sugar metabolism operons or even the light sensory behavior in Anabaena by binding sugars or related metabolites. We also show that one of the extracellular versions define a predicted sugar-binding structure in a novel cell-surface lipoprotein found across actinobacteria, including several pathogens such as Tropheryma, Actinomyces and Thermobifida. The analysis of this superfamily also provides new data to investigate the evolution of carbohydrate binding modes in β-sandwich domains with very different topologies.
Reviewers: This article was reviewed by M. Madan Babu and Mark A. Ragan.
PMCID: PMC2739507  PMID: 19682383
12.  Cytological Characterization of YpsB, a Novel Component of the Bacillus subtilis Divisome▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(21):7096-7107.
Cell division in bacteria is carried out by an elaborate molecular machine composed of more than a dozen proteins and known as the divisome. Here we describe the characterization of a new divisome protein in Bacillus subtilis called YpsB. Sequence comparisons and phylogentic analysis demonstrated that YpsB is a paralog of the division site selection protein DivIVA. YpsB is present in several gram-positive bacteria and likely originated from the duplication of a DivIVA-like gene in the last common ancestor of bacteria of the orders Bacillales and Lactobacillales. We used green fluorescent protein microscopy to determine that YpsB localizes to the divisome. Similarly to that for DivIVA, the recruitment of YpsB to the divisome requires late division proteins and occurs significantly after Z-ring formation. In contrast to DivIVA, however, YpsB is not retained at the newly formed cell poles after septation. Deletion analysis suggests that the N terminus of YpsB is required to target the protein to the divisome. The high similarity between the N termini of YpsB and DivIVA suggests that the same region is involved in the targeting of DivIVA. YpsB is not essential for septum formation and does not appear to play a role in septum positioning. However, a ypsB deletion has a synthetic effect when combined with a mutation in the cell division gene ftsA. Thus, we conclude that YpsB is a novel B. subtilis cell division protein whose function has diverged from that of its paralog DivIVA.
PMCID: PMC2580690  PMID: 18776011

Results 1-12 (12)