Inhibition of the expression of penicillin resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae by inactivation of cell wall muropeptide branching genes.

Laboratory of Microbiology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 05/2000; 97(9):4891-6. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.080067697
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Penicillin-resistant strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae contain low affinity penicillin-binding proteins and often also produce abnormal indirectly crosslinked cell walls. However the relationship between cell wall abnormality and penicillin resistance has remained obscure. We now show that the genome of S. pneumoniae contains an operon composed of two genes (murM and murN) that encode enzymes involved with the biosynthesis of branched structured cell wall muropeptides. The sequences of murMN were compared in two strains: the penicillin-susceptible strain R36A producing the species-specific pneumococcal cell wall peptidoglycan in which branched stem peptides are rare, and the highly penicillin-resistant transformant strain Pen6, the cell wall of which is enriched for branched-structured stem peptides. The two strains carried different murM alleles: murM of the penicillin-resistant strain Pen6 had a "mosaic" structure encoding a protein that was only 86.5% identical to the product of murM identified in the isogenic penicillin-susceptible strain R36A. Mutants of R36A and Pen6 in which the murMN operon was interrupted by insertion-duplication mutagenesis produced peptidoglycan from which all branched muropeptide components were missing. The insertional mutant of Pen6 carried a pbp2x gene with the same "mosaic" sequence found in Pen6. On the other hand, inactivation of murMN in strain Pen6 and other resistant strains caused a virtually complete loss of penicillin resistance. Our observations indicate that the capacity to produce branched cell wall precursors plays a critical role in the expression of penicillin resistance in S. pneumoniae.

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    ABSTRACT: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases provide the first step in protein synthesis quality control by discriminating cognate from noncognate amino acid and tRNA substrates. While substrate specificity is enhanced in many instances by cis- and trans-editing pathways, it has been revealed that in organisms such as Streptococcus pneumoniae some aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases display significant tRNA mischarging activity. To investigate the extent of tRNA mischarging in this pathogen, the aminoacylation profiles of class I isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase (IleRS) and class II lysyl-tRNA synthetase (LysRS) were determined. Pneumococcal IleRS mischarged tRNA(Ile) with both Val, as demonstrated in other bacteria, and Leu in a tRNA sequence-dependent manner. IleRS substrate specificity was achieved in an editing-independent manner, indicating that tRNA mischarging would only be significant under growth conditions where Ile is depleted. Pneumococcal LysRS was found to misaminoacylate tRNA(Lys) with Ala and to a lesser extent Thr and Ser, with mischarging efficiency modulated by the presence of an unusual U4:G69 wobble pair in the acceptor stems of both pneumococcal tRNA(Lys) isoacceptors. Addition of the trans-editing factor MurM, which also functions in peptidoglycan synthesis, reduced Ala-tRNA(Lys) production by LysRS, providing evidence for cross talk between the protein synthesis and cell wall biogenesis pathways. Mischarging of tRNA(Lys) by AlaRS was also observed, and this would provide additional potential MurM substrates. More broadly, the extensive mischarging activities now described for a number of Streptococcus pneumoniae aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases suggest that adaptive misaminoacylation may contribute significantly to the viability of this pathogen during amino acid starvation.
    mBio 08/2014; 5(5). · 6.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Carolacton is a newly identified secondary metabolite causing altered cell morphology and death of Streptococcus mutans biofilm cells. To unravel key regulators mediating these effects, the transcriptional regulatory response network of S. mutans biofilms upon carolacton treatment was constructed and analyzed. A systems biological approach integrating time-resolved transcriptomic data, reverse engineering, transcription factor binding sites, and experimental validation was carried out. Results The co-expression response network constructed from transcriptomic data using the reverse engineering algorithm called the Trend Correlation method consisted of 8284 gene-pairs. The regulatory response network inferred by superimposing transcription factor binding site information into the co-expression network comprised 329 putative transcriptional regulatory interactions and could be classified into 27 sub-networks each co-regulated by a transcription factor. These sub-networks were significantly enriched with genes sharing common functions. The regulatory response network displayed global hierarchy and network motifs as observed in model organisms. The sub-networks modulated by the pyrimidine biosynthesis regulator PyrR, the glutamine synthetase repressor GlnR, the cysteine metabolism regulator CysR, global regulators CcpA and CodY and the two component system response regulators VicR and MbrC among others could putatively be related to the physiological effect of carolacton. The predicted interactions from the regulatory network between MbrC, known to be involved in cell envelope stress response, and the murMN-SMU_718c genes encoding peptidoglycan biosynthetic enzymes were experimentally confirmed using Electro Mobility Shift Assays. Furthermore, gene deletion mutants of five predicted key regulators from the response networks were constructed and their sensitivities towards carolacton were investigated. Deletion of cysR, the node having the highest connectivity among the regulators chosen from the regulatory network, resulted in a mutant which was insensitive to carolacton thus demonstrating not only the essentiality of cysR for the response of S. mutans biofilms to carolacton but also the relevance of the predicted network. Conclusion The network approach used in this study revealed important regulators and interactions as part of the response mechanisms of S. mutans biofilm cells to carolacton. It also opens a door for further studies into novel drug targets against streptococci.
    BMC Genomics 05/2012; 15:362. · 4.04 Impact Factor

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