Acinetobacter baumannii has become a major problem in the clinical setting with the prevalence of infections caused by multidrug-resistant strains on the increase. Nevertheless, only a limited number of molecular mechanisms involved in the success of A. baumannii as a human pathogen have been described. In this study, we examined the virulence features of a hypermotile derivative of A. baumannii strain ATCC 17978, which was found to display enhanced adherence to human pneumocytes and elevated levels of lethality toward Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes. Analysis of cellular lipids revealed modifications to the fatty acid composition, providing a possible explanation for the observed changes in hydrophobicity and subsequent alteration in adherence and motility. Comparison of the genome sequences of the hypermotile variant and parental strain revealed that an insertion sequence had disrupted an hns-like gene in the variant. This gene encodes a homologue of the histone-like nucleoid structuring (H-NS) protein, a known global transcriptional repressor. Transcriptome analysis identified the global effects of this mutation on gene expression, with major changes seen in the autotransporter Ata, a type VI secretion system, and a type I pilus cluster. Interestingly, isolation and analysis of a second independent hypermotile ATCC 17978 variant revealed a mutation to a residue within the DNA binding region of H-NS. Taken together, these mutants indicate that the phenotypic and transcriptomic differences seen are due to loss of regulatory control effected by H-NS.
The parasite Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for hundreds of millions of cases of malaria, and kills more than one million African children annually. Here we report an analysis of the genome sequence of P. falciparum clone 3D7. The 23-megabase nuclear genome consists of 14 chromosomes, encodes about 5,300 genes, and is the most (A + T)-rich genome sequenced to date. Genes involved in antigenic variation are concentrated in the subtelomeric regions of the chromosomes. Compared to the genomes of free-living eukaryotic microbes, the genome of this intracellular parasite encodes fewer enzymes and transporters, but a large proportion of genes are devoted to immune evasion and host–parasite interactions. Many nuclear-encoded proteins are targeted to the apicoplast, an organelle involved in fatty-acid and isoprenoid metabolism. The genome sequence provides the foundation for future studies of this organism, and is being exploited in the search for new drugs and vaccines to fight malaria.
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (aEPEC) are important zoonotic pathogens that increasingly are becoming resistant to multiple antibiotics. Here we describe two plasmids, pO26-CRL125 (125 kb) from a human O26:H- EHEC, and pO111-CRL115 (115kb) from a bovine O111 aEPEC, that impart resistance to ampicillin, kanamycin, neomycin, streptomycin, sulfathiazole, trimethoprim and tetracycline and both contain atypical class 1 integrons with an identical IS26-mediated deletion in their 3´-conserved segment. Complete sequence analysis showed that pO26-CRL125 and pO111-CRL115 are essentially identical except for a 9.7 kb fragment, present in the backbone of pO26-CRL125 but absent in pO111-CRL115, and several indels. The 9.7 kb fragment encodes IncI-associated genes involved in plasmid stability during conjugation, a putative transposase gene and three imperfect repeats. Contiguous sequence identical to regions within these pO26-CRL125 imperfect repeats was identified in pO111-CRL115 precisely where the 9.7 kb fragment is missing, suggesting it may be mobile. Sequences shared between the plasmids include a complete IncZ replicon, a unique toxin/antitoxin system, IncI stability and maintenance genes, a novel putative serine protease autotransporter, and an IncI1 transfer system including a unique shufflon. Both plasmids carry a derivate Tn21 transposon with an atypical class 1 integron comprising a dfrA5 gene cassette encoding resistance to trimethoprim, and 24 bp of the 3´-conserved segment followed by Tn6026, which encodes resistance to ampicillin, kanymycin, neomycin, streptomycin and sulfathiazole. The Tn21-derivative transposon is linked to a truncated Tn1721, encoding resistance to tetracycline, via a region containing the IncP-1α oriV. Absence of the 5 bp direct repeats flanking Tn3-family transposons, indicates that homologous recombination events played a key role in the formation of this complex antibiotic resistance gene locus. Comparative sequence analysis of these closely related plasmids reveals aspects of plasmid evolution in pathogenic E. coli from different hosts.
Tannins are a diverse group of plant-produced, polyphenolic compounds with metal-chelating and antimicrobial properties that are prevalent in many soils. Using transcriptomics, we determined that tannic acid, a form of hydrolysable tannin, broadly affects the expression of genes involved in iron and zinc homeostases, sulfur metabolism, biofilm formation, motility, and secondary metabolite biosynthesis in the soil- and rhizosphere-inhabiting bacterium Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5.
The EcoCyc database is an online scientific database which provides an integrated view of the metabolic and regulatory network of the bacterium Escherichia coli K-12 and facilitates computational exploration of this important model organism. We have analysed the occurrence of dead end metabolites within the database – these are metabolites which lack the requisite reactions (either metabolic or transport) that would account for their production or consumption within the metabolic network. 127 dead end metabolites were identified from the 995 compounds that are contained within the EcoCyc metabolic network. Their presence reflects either a deficit in our representation of the network or in our knowledge of E. coli metabolism. Extensive literature searches resulted in the addition of 38 transport reactions and 3 metabolic reactions to the database and led to an improved representation of the pathway for Vitamin B12 salvage. 39 dead end metabolites were identified as components of reactions that are not physiologically relevant to E. coli K-12 – these reactions are properties of purified enzymes in vitro that would not be expected to occur in vivo. Our analysis led to improvements in the software that underpins the database and to the program that finds dead end metabolites within EcoCyc. The remaining dead end metabolites in the EcoCyc database likely represent deficiencies in our knowledge of E. coli metabolism.
Marine microorganisms, particularly those residing in coastal areas, may come in contact with any number of chemicals of environmental or xenobiotic origin. The sensitivity and response of marine cyanobacteria to such chemicals is, at present, poorly understood. We have looked at the transcriptional response of well characterized Synechococcus open ocean (WH8102) and coastal (CC9311) isolates to two DNA damaging agents, mitomycin C and ethidium bromide, using whole-genome expression microarrays. The coastal strain showed differential regulation of a larger proportion of its genome following “shock” treatment with each agent. Many of the orthologous genes in these strains, including those encoding sensor kinases, showed different transcriptional responses, with the CC9311 genes more likely to show significant changes in both treatments. While the overall response of each strain was considerably different, there were distinct transcriptional responses common to both strains observed for each DNA damaging agent, linked to the mode of action of each chemical. In both CC9311 and WH8102 there was evidence of SOS response induction under mitomycin C treatment, with genes recA, lexA and umuC significantly upregulated in this experiment but not under ethidium bromide treatment. Conversely, ethidium bromide treatment tended to result in upregulation of the DNA-directed RNA polymerase genes, not observed following mitomycin C treatment. Interestingly, a large number of genes residing on putative genomic island regions of each genome also showed significant upregulation under one or both chemical treatments.
cyanobacteria; Synechococcus; transcriptome; microarray; toxic stress; ethidium bromide; mitomycin C; DNA damage
Complete sequencing of pEl1573, a representative IncL/M plasmid carrying blaIMP-4 from Sydney, Australia, revealed an ∼60-kb backbone almost identical to those of IncL/M plasmids pCTX-M3, from Poland, and pCTX-M360, from China, and less closely related to pNDM-HK, pOXA-48a, and pEL60, suggesting different lineages. The ∼28-kb Tn2-derived multiresistance region in pEl1573 is inserted in the same location as those in pCTX-M3 and pNDM-HK and shares some of the same components but has undergone rearrangements.
Many sequenced strains of Acinetobacter baumannii are established nosocomial pathogens capable of resistance to multiple antimicrobials. Community-acquired A. baumannii in contrast, comprise a minor proportion of all A. baumannii infections and are highly susceptible to antimicrobial treatment. However, these infections also present acute clinical manifestations associated with high reported rates of mortality. We report the complete 3.70 Mbp genome of A. baumannii D1279779, previously isolated from the bacteraemic infection of an Indigenous Australian; this strain represents the first community-acquired A. baumannii to be sequenced. Comparative analysis of currently published A. baumannii genomes identified twenty-four accessory gene clusters present in D1279779. These accessory elements were predicted to encode a range of functions including polysaccharide biosynthesis, type I DNA restriction-modification, and the metabolism of novel carbonaceous and nitrogenous compounds. Conversely, twenty genomic regions present in previously sequenced A. baumannii strains were absent in D1279779, including gene clusters involved in the catabolism of 4-hydroxybenzoate and glucarate, and the A. baumannii antibiotic resistance island, known to bestow resistance to multiple antimicrobials in nosocomial strains. Phenomic analysis utilising the Biolog Phenotype Microarray system indicated that A. baumannii D1279779 can utilise a broader range of carbon and nitrogen sources than international clone I and clone II nosocomial isolates. However, D1279779 was more sensitive to antimicrobial compounds, particularly beta-lactams, tetracyclines and sulphonamides. The combined genomic and phenomic analyses have provided insight into the features distinguishing A. baumannii isolated from community-acquired and nosocomial infections.
The neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum strains are among the world’s most potent toxins and are the causative agents of paralytic botulism. Here, we present the draft genome sequence of the group III C. botulinum strain Eklund-C, including a pseudolysogen-like bacteriophage that harbors the type C neurotoxin operon.
Members of the genus Acinetobacter have been the focus recent attention due to both their clinical significance and application to molecular biology. The soil commensal bacterium Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 has been proposed as a model system for molecular and genetic studies, whereas in a clinical environment, Acinetobacter spp. are of increasing importance due to their propensity to cause serious and intractable systemic infections. Clinically, a major factor in the success of Acinetobacter spp. as opportunistic pathogens can be attributed to their ability to rapidly evolve resistance to common antimicrobial compounds. Whole genome sequencing of clinical and environmental Acinetobacter spp. isolates has revealed the presence of numerous multidrug transporters within the core and accessory genomes, suggesting that efflux is an important host defense response in this genus. In this work, we used the drug-susceptible organism A. baylyi ADP1 as a model for studies into the evolution of efflux mediated resistance in genus Acinetobacter, due to the high level of conservation of efflux determinants across four diverse Acinetobacter strains, including clinical isolates. A single exposure of therapeutic concentrations of chloramphenicol to populations of A. baylyi ADP1 cells produced five individual colonies displaying multidrug resistance. The major facilitator superfamily pump craA was upregulated in one mutant strain, whereas the resistance nodulation division pump adeJ was upregulated in the remaining four. Within the adeJ upregulated population, two different levels of adeJ mRNA transcription were observed, suggesting at least three separate mutations were selected after single-step exposure to chloramphenicol. In the craA upregulated strain, a T to G substitution 12 nt upstream of the craA translation initiation codon was observed. Subsequent mRNA stability analyses using this strain revealed that the half-life of mutant craA mRNA was significantly greater than that of wild-type craA mRNA.
Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4 is an extreme but facultative alkaliphile that grows non-fermentatively in a pH range from 7.5 to above 11.4 and can withstand large sudden increases in external pH. It is a model organism for studies of bioenergetics at high pH, at which energy demands are higher than at neutral pH because both cytoplasmic pH homeostasis and ATP synthesis require more energy. The alkaliphile also tolerates a cytoplasmic pH > 9.0 at external pH values at which the pH homeostasis capacity is exceeded, and manages other stresses that are exacerbated at alkaline pH, e.g. sodium, oxidative and cell wall stresses. The genome of B. pseudofirmus OF4 includes two plasmids that are lost from some mutants without viability loss. The plasmids may provide a reservoir of mobile elements that promote adaptive chromosomal rearrangements under particular environmental conditions. The genome also reveals a more acidic pI profile for proteins exposed on the outer surface than found in neutralophiles. A large array of transporters and regulatory genes are predicted to protect the alkaliphile from its overlapping stresses. In addition, unanticipated metabolic versatility was observed, which could ensure requisite energy for alkaliphily under diverse conditions.
EcoCyc (http://EcoCyc.org) is a model organism database built on the genome sequence of Escherichia coli K-12 MG1655. Expert manual curation of the functions of individual E. coli gene products in EcoCyc has been based on information found in the experimental literature for E. coli K-12-derived strains. Updates to EcoCyc content continue to improve the comprehensive picture of E. coli biology. The utility of EcoCyc is enhanced by new tools available on the EcoCyc web site, and the development of EcoCyc as a teaching tool is increasing the impact of the knowledge collected in EcoCyc.
Complete sequencing of pJIE137 revealed a backbone closely related to p271A, encoding a novel RepA protein but with a similar organization and up to ∼70% nucleotide identity to IncN plasmids. A region in pJIE137 resembling the IncN CUP regulon is mostly missing from p271A, presumably due to recombination. The class 1 In/Tn and ISEcp1-blaCTX-M-62 transposition unit in pJIE137 and a putative transposon carrying blaNDM-1 in p271A are inserted in different locations in the plasmid backbone.
We provide here a comparative genome analysis of ten strains within the Pseudomonas fluorescens group including seven new genomic sequences. These strains exhibit a diverse spectrum of traits involved in biological control and other multitrophic interactions with plants, microbes, and insects. Multilocus sequence analysis placed the strains in three sub-clades, which was reinforced by high levels of synteny, size of core genomes, and relatedness of orthologous genes between strains within a sub-clade. The heterogeneity of the P. fluorescens group was reflected in the large size of its pan-genome, which makes up approximately 54% of the pan-genome of the genus as a whole, and a core genome representing only 45–52% of the genome of any individual strain. We discovered genes for traits that were not known previously in the strains, including genes for the biosynthesis of the siderophores achromobactin and pseudomonine and the antibiotic 2-hexyl-5-propyl-alkylresorcinol; novel bacteriocins; type II, III, and VI secretion systems; and insect toxins. Certain gene clusters, such as those for two type III secretion systems, are present only in specific sub-clades, suggesting vertical inheritance. Almost all of the genes associated with multitrophic interactions map to genomic regions present in only a subset of the strains or unique to a specific strain. To explore the evolutionary origin of these genes, we mapped their distributions relative to the locations of mobile genetic elements and repetitive extragenic palindromic (REP) elements in each genome. The mobile genetic elements and many strain-specific genes fall into regions devoid of REP elements (i.e., REP deserts) and regions displaying atypical tri-nucleotide composition, possibly indicating relatively recent acquisition of these loci. Collectively, the results of this study highlight the enormous heterogeneity of the P. fluorescens group and the importance of the variable genome in tailoring individual strains to their specific lifestyles and functional repertoire.
We sequenced the genomes of seven strains of the Pseudomonas fluorescens group that colonize plant surfaces and function as biological control agents, protecting plants from disease. In this study, we demonstrated the genomic diversity of the group by comparing these strains to each other and to three other strains that were sequenced previously. Only about half of the genes in each strain are present in all of the other strains, and each strain has hundreds of unique genes that are not present in the other genomes. We mapped the genes that contribute to biological control in each genome and found that most of the biological control genes are in the variable regions of the genome, which are not shared by all of the other strains. This finding is consistent with our knowledge of the distinctive biology of each strain. Finally, we looked for new genes that are likely to confer antimicrobial traits needed to suppress plant pathogens, but have not been identified previously. In each genome, we discovered many of these new genes, which provide avenues for future discovery of new traits with the potential to manage plant diseases in agriculture or natural ecosystems.
Metagenomic data sets were generated from samples collected along a coastal to open ocean transect between Southern California Bight and California Current waters during a seasonal upwelling event, providing an opportunity to examine the impact of episodic pulses of cold nutrient-rich water into surface ocean microbial communities. The data set consists of ∼5.8 million predicted proteins across seven sites, from three different size classes: 0.1–0.8, 0.8–3.0 and 3.0–200.0 μm. Taxonomic and metabolic analyses suggest that sequences from the 0.1–0.8 μm size class correlated with their position along the upwelling mosaic. However, taxonomic profiles of bacteria from the larger size classes (0.8–200 μm) were less constrained by habitat and characterized by an increase in Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Flavobacteria and double-stranded DNA viral sequences. Functional annotation of transmembrane proteins indicate that sites comprised of organisms with small genomes have an enrichment of transporters with substrate specificities for amino acids, iron and cadmium, whereas organisms with larger genomes have a higher percentage of transporters for ammonium and potassium. Eukaryotic-type glutamine synthetase (GS) II proteins were identified and taxonomically classified as viral, most closely related to the GSII in Mimivirus, suggesting that marine Mimivirus-like particles may have played a role in the transfer of GSII gene functions. Additionally, a Planctomycete bloom was sampled from one upwelling site providing a rare opportunity to assess the genomic composition of a marine Planctomycete population. The significant correlations observed between genomic properties, community structure and nutrient availability provide insights into habitat-driven dynamics among oligotrophic versus upwelled marine waters adjoining each other spatially.
marine; metagenomics; upwelling; California Current
One of the most important micronutrients for bacterial growth is iron, whose bioavailability in soil is limited. Consequently, rhizospheric bacteria such as Pseudomonas fluorescens employ a range of mechanisms to acquire or compete for iron. We investigated the transcriptomic and proteomic effects of iron limitation on P. fluorescens Pf-5 by employing microarray and iTRAQ techniques, respectively. Analysis of this data revealed that genes encoding functions related to iron homeostasis, including pyoverdine and enantio-pyochelin biosynthesis, a number of TonB-dependent receptor systems, as well as some inner-membrane transporters, were significantly up-regulated in response to iron limitation. Transcription of a ribosomal protein L36-encoding gene was also highly up-regulated during iron limitation. Certain genes or proteins involved in biosynthesis of secondary metabolites such as 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG), orfamide A and pyrrolnitrin, as well as a chitinase, were over-expressed under iron-limited conditions. In contrast, we observed that expression of genes involved in hydrogen cyanide production and flagellar biosynthesis were down-regulated in an iron-depleted culture medium. Phenotypic tests revealed that Pf-5 had reduced swarming motility on semi-solid agar in response to iron limitation. Comparison of the transcriptomic data with the proteomic data suggested that iron acquisition is regulated at both the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels.
pJIE143 (34 kb), from an Escherichia coli ST131 isolate, carries blaCTX-M-15 but could not be typed using the standard PCR-based replicon-typing primer set. Complete sequencing revealed a backbone with similarity to IncX plasmids, including a pir-like gene encoding a π-like replication protein and iterons related to those of other IncX plasmids. The 2.971-kb ISEcp1-blaCTX-M-15-orf477Δ transposition unit often found within Tn2 is inserted just beyond the end of pir, flanked by 5-bp direct repeats.
Bacillus megaterium is deep-rooted in the Bacillus phylogeny, making it an evolutionarily key species and of particular importance in understanding genome evolution, dynamics, and plasticity in the bacilli. B. megaterium is a commercially available, nonpathogenic host for the biotechnological production of several substances, including vitamin B12, penicillin acylase, and amylases. Here, we report the analysis of the first complete genome sequences of two important B. megaterium strains, the plasmidless strain DSM319 and QM B1551, which harbors seven indigenous plasmids. The 5.1-Mbp chromosome carries approximately 5,300 genes, while QM B1551 plasmids represent a combined 417 kb and 523 genes, one of the largest plasmid arrays sequenced in a single bacterial strain. We have documented extensive gene transfer between the plasmids and the chromosome. Each strain carries roughly 300 strain-specific chromosomal genes that account for differences in their experimentally confirmed phenotypes. B. megaterium is able to synthesize vitamin B12 through an oxygen-independent adenosylcobalamin pathway, which together with other key energetic and metabolic pathways has now been fully reconstructed. Other novel genes include a second ftsZ gene, which may be responsible for the large cell size of members of this species, as well as genes for gas vesicles, a second β-galactosidase gene, and most but not all of the genes needed for genetic competence. Comprehensive analyses of the global Bacillus gene pool showed that only an asymmetric region around the origin of replication was syntenic across the genus. This appears to be a characteristic feature of the Bacillus spp. genome architecture and may be key to their sporulating lifestyle.
Pseudomonas fluorescens are rhizobacteria known for their biocontrol properties. Several antimicrobial functions are crucial for this process, and the experiments described here investigate the modulation of their expression during the plant-bacterium interaction. The role of a LuxR family regulator in interkingdom signaling has been investigated using genome-scale transcriptome analysis, gene promoter studies in vivo and in vitro, biocontrol assays, and response to plant compounds. PsoR, a LuxR solo or orphan regulator of P. fluorescens, was identified. PsoR is solubilized and activates a lux-box-containing promoter only in the presence of macerated plants, suggesting the presence of a plant molecule(s) that most likely binds to PsoR. Gene expression profiles revealed that genes involved in the inhibition of plant pathogens were affected by PsoR, including a chitinase gene, iron metabolism genes, and biosynthetic genes of antifungal compounds. 2,4-Diacetylphloroglucinol production is PsoR dependent both in vitro and in vivo. psoR mutants were significantly reduced for their ability to protect wheat plants from root rot, and damping-off caused by Pythium ultimum infection. PsoR most likely senses a molecule(s) in the plant and modulates expression of genes that have a role in biocontrol. PsoR and related proteins form a subfamily of LuxR family regulators in plant-associated bacteria.
Environmental metagenomics provides snippets of genomic sequences from all organisms in an environmental sample and are an unprecedented resource of information for investigating microbial population genetics. Current analytical methods, however, are poorly equipped to handle metagenomic data, particularly of short, unlinked sequences. A custom analytical pipeline was developed to calculate dN/dS ratios, a common metric to evaluate the role of selection in the evolution of a gene, from environmental metagenomes sequenced using 454 technology of flow-sorted populations of marine Synechococcus, the dominant cyanobacteria in coastal environments. The large majority of genes (98%) have evolved under purifying selection (dN/dS<1). The metagenome sequence coverage of the reference genomes was not uniform and genes that were highly represented in the environment (i.e. high read coverage) tended to be more evolutionarily conserved. Of the genes that may have evolved under positive selection (dN/dS>1), 77 out of 83 (93%) were hypothetical. Notable among annotated genes, ribosomal protein L35 appears to be under positive selection in one Synechococcus population. Other annotated genes, in particular a possible porin, a large-conductance mechanosensitive channel, an ATP binding component of an ABC transporter, and a homologue of a pilus retraction protein had regions of the gene with elevated dN/dS. With the increasing use of next-generation sequencing in metagenomic investigations of microbial diversity and ecology, analytical methods need to accommodate the peculiarities of these data streams. By developing a means to analyze population diversity data from these environmental metagenomes, we have provided the first insight into the role of selection in the evolution of Synechococcus, a globally significant primary producer.
Pseudomonas fluorescens Q8r1-96 represents a group of rhizosphere strains responsible for the suppressiveness of agricultural soils to take-all disease of wheat. It produces the antibiotic 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol and aggressively colonizes the roots of cereal crops. In this study, we analyzed the genome of Q8r1-96 and identified a type III protein secretion system (T3SS) gene cluster that has overall organization similar to that of the T3SS gene cluster of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. We also screened a collection of 30 closely related P. fluorescens strains and detected the T3SS genes in all but one of them. The Q8r1-96 genome contained ropAA and ropM type III effector genes, which are orthologs of the P. syringae effector genes hopAA1-1 and hopM1, as well as a novel type III effector gene designated ropB. These type III effector genes encoded proteins that were secreted in culture and injected into plant cells by both P. syringae and Q8r1-96 T3SSs. The Q8r1-96 T3SS was expressed in the rhizosphere, but mutants lacking a functional T3SS were not altered in their rhizosphere competence. The Q8r1-96 type III effectors RopAA, RopB, and RopM were capable of suppressing the hypersensitive response and production of reactive oxygen species, two plant immune responses.
Vibrio rotiferianus is a marine pathogen capable of causing disease in various aquatic organisms. We announce the genome sequence of V. rotiferianus DAT722, which has a large chromosomal integron containing 116 gene cassettes and is a model organism for studying the role of this system in vibrio evolution.
The direct isolation of integron gene cassettes from cultivated and environmental microbial sources allows an assessment of the impact of the integron/gene cassette system on the emergence of new phenotypes, such as drug resistance or virulence. A structural approach is being exploited to investigate the modularity and function of novel integron gene cassettes.
We report the 1.8 Å crystal structure of Cass2, an integron-associated protein derived from an environmental V. cholerae. The structure defines a monomeric beta-barrel protein with a fold related to the effector-binding portion of AraC/XylS transcription activators. The closest homologs of Cass2 are multi-drug binding proteins, such as BmrR. Consistent with this, a binding pocket made up of hydrophobic residues and a single glutamate side chain is evident in Cass2, occupied in the crystal form by polyethylene glycol. Fluorescence assays demonstrate that Cass2 is capable of binding cationic drug compounds with submicromolar affinity. The Cass2 module possesses a protein interaction surface proximal to its drug-binding cavity with features homologous to those seen in multi-domain transcriptional regulators.
Genetic analysis identifies Cass2 to be representative of a larger family of independent effector-binding proteins associated with lateral gene transfer within Vibrio and closely-related species. We propose that the Cass2 family not only has capacity to form functional transcription regulator complexes, but represents possible evolutionary precursors to multi-domain regulators associated with cationic drug compounds.
Iron acquisition systems are important virulence factors in pathogenic bacteria. To identify these systems in Acinetobacter baumannii, the transcriptomic response of the completely sequenced strain ATCC 17978 under iron limiting conditions was investigated using a genomic microarray that contained probes for all annotated open reading frames.
Under low iron conditions, transcription levels were more than 2-fold up-regulated for 463 genes, including 95 genes that were up-regulated more than 4-fold. Of particular significance, three siderophore biosynthesis gene clusters, including one novel cluster, were highly up-regulated. Binding sites for the ferric uptake regulator were identified in the promoter regions of many up-regulated genes, suggesting a prominent role for this regulator in the Acinetobacter iron acquisition response. Down-regulation under iron limitation was less dramatic as the transcription of only 202 genes varied more than 2-fold. Various genes involved in motility featured prominently amongst the genes down-regulated when iron was less readily available. Motility assays confirmed that these transcriptional changes are manifested at the phenotypic level. The siderophore biosynthesis gene clusters were further investigated by means of comparative genomic analysis of 10 sequenced Acinetobacter isolates. These analyses revealed important roles for mobile genetic elements in shaping the siderophore meditated iron acquisition mechanisms between different Acinetobacter strains.
A. baumannii grown under iron limited conditions resulted in major transcriptional changes of not only many iron acquisition related genes, but also genes involved in other processes such as motility. Overall, this study showed that A. baumannii is well adaptable to growth in an environment which has limiting iron availability.
Pathway Tools is a production-quality software environment for creating a type of model-organism database called a Pathway/Genome Database (PGDB). A PGDB such as EcoCyc integrates the evolving understanding of the genes, proteins, metabolic network and regulatory network of an organism. This article provides an overview of Pathway Tools capabilities. The software performs multiple computational inferences including prediction of metabolic pathways, prediction of metabolic pathway hole fillers and prediction of operons. It enables interactive editing of PGDBs by DB curators. It supports web publishing of PGDBs, and provides a large number of query and visualization tools. The software also supports comparative analyses of PGDBs, and provides several systems biology analyses of PGDBs including reachability analysis of metabolic networks, and interactive tracing of metabolites through a metabolic network. More than 800 PGDBs have been created using Pathway Tools by scientists around the world, many of which are curated DBs for important model organisms. Those PGDBs can be exchanged using a peer-to-peer DB sharing system called the PGDB Registry.
Genome informatics; Metabolic pathways; Pathway bioinformatics; Model organism databases; Genome databases; Biological networks; Regulatory networks