Two Protein Lysine Methyltransferases Methylate Outer Membrane Protein B from Rickettsia

Journal of Bacteriology (Impact Factor: 2.81). 12/2012; 194(23). DOI: 10.1128/JB.01379-12


Rickettsia prowazekii, the etiologic agent of epidemic typhus, is a potential biological threat agent. Its outer membrane protein B (OmpB) is an immunodominant antigen and plays roles as protective envelope and as adhesins. The observation of the correlation between methylation of lysine residues in rickettsial OmpB and bacterial virulence has suggested the importance of an enzymatic system for the methylation of OmpB. However, no rickettsial lysine methyltransferase has been characterized. Bioinformatic analysis of genomic DNA sequences of Rickettsia identified putative lysine methyltransferases. The genes of the potential methyltransferases were synthesized, cloned, and expressed in Escherichia coli, and expressed proteins were purified by nickel-nitrilotriacetic acid (Ni-NTA) affinity chromatography. The methyltransferase activities of the purified proteins were analyzed by methyl incorporation of radioactively labeled S-adenosylmethionine into recombinant fragments of OmpB. Two putative recombinant methyltransferases (rRP789 and rRP027-028) methylated recombinant OmpB fragments. The specific activity of rRP789 is 10- to 30-fold higher than that of rRP027-028. Western blot analysis using specific antibodies against trimethyl lysine showed that both rRP789 and rRP027-028 catalyzed trimethylation of recombinant OmpB fragments. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS-MS) analysis showed that rRP789 catalyzed mono-, di-, and trimethylation of lysine, while rRP027-028 catalyzed exclusively trimethylation. To our knowledge, rRP789 and rRP027-028 are the first biochemically characterized lysine methyltransferases of outer membrane proteins from Gram-negative bacteria. The production and characterization of rickettsial lysine methyltransferases provide new tools to investigate the mechanism of methylation of OmpB, effects of methylation on the structure and function of OmpB, and development of methylated OmpB-based diagnostic assays and vaccine candidates.

9 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The post-translational modification (PTM) of proteins plays a critical role in the regulation of a broad range of cellular processes in eukaryotes. Yet their role in governing similar systems in the conventionally presumed 'simpler' forms of life has been largely neglected and, until recently, was thought to occur only rarely, with some modifications assumed to be limited to higher organisms alone. Recent developments in mass spectrometry-based proteomics have provided an unparalleled power to enrich, identify and quantify peptides with PTMs. Additional modifications to biological molecules such as lipids and carbohydrates that are essential for bacterial pathophysiology have only recently been detected on proteins. Here we review bacterial protein PTMs, focusing on phosphorylation, acetylation, proteolytic degradation, methylation and lipidation and the roles they play in bacterial adaptation - thus highlighting the importance of proteomic techniques in a field that is only just in its infancy. Biological Significance Protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) are crucial in defining the structure / function relationship. In higher organisms, PTMs crosstalk to propagate signal pathways, regulate enzyme activities, protect against damage and enable physical interactions between proteins, other proteins, DNA, ligands and substrates present in the molecular environment. Such modifications until recently were presumed to be rare in bacteria. The 'proteome' era defined by the advent of high-resolution mass spectrometry has provided the tools necessary to demonstrate the presence of many different PTMs in single-celled organisms. The biological significance of such modifications remains largely to be determined. This review examines the targets of PTMs and discusses the biological implications of modifications in bacterial species.
    Journal of proteomics 08/2013; 97. DOI:10.1016/j.jprot.2013.08.012 · 3.89 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human infections with arthropod-borne Rickettsia species remain a major global health issue, causing significant morbidity and mortality. Epidemic typhus due to Rickettsia prowazekii has an established reputation as the 'scourge of armies', and as a major determinant of significant 'historical turning points'. No suitable vaccines for human use are currently available to prevent rickettsial diseases. The unique lifestyle features of rickettsiae include obligate intracellular parasitism, intracytoplasmic niche within the host cell, predilection for infection of microvascular endothelium in mammalian hosts, association with arthropods and the tendency for genomic reduction. The fundamental research in the field of Rickettsiology has witnessed significant recent progress in the areas of pathogen adhesion/invasion and host immune responses, as well as the genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, phylogenetics, motility and molecular manipulation of important rickettsial pathogens. The focus of this review article is to capture a snapshot of the latest developments pertaining to the mechanisms of rickettsial pathogenesis and immunity.
    Future Microbiology 10/2013; 8(10):1265-88. DOI:10.2217/fmb.13.102 · 4.28 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Methylation of rickettsial OmpB (outer membrane protein B) has been implicated in bacterial virulence. Rickettsial methyltransferases RP789 and RP027-028 are the first biochemically characterized methyltransferases to catalyze methylation of outer membrane protein (OMP). Methylation in OMP remains poorly understood. Using semiquantitative integrated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectroscopy, we characterize methylation of (i) recombinantly expressed fragments of Rickettsia typhi OmpB exposed in vitro to trimethyltransferases of Rickettsia prowazekii RP027-028 and of R. typhi RT0101 and to monomethyltransferases of R. prowazekii RP789 and of R. typhi RT0776, and (ii) native OmpBs purified from R. typhi and R. prowazekii strains Breinl, RP22, and Madrid E. We found that in vitro trimethylation occurs at relatively specific locations in OmpB with consensus motifs, KX(G/A/V/I)N and KT(I/L/F), whereas monomethylation is pervasive throughout OmpB. Native OmpB from virulent R. typhi contains mono- and trimethyllysines at locations well correlated with methylation in recombinant OmpB catalyzed by methyltransferases in vitro. Native OmpBs from highly virulent R. prowazekii strains Breinl and RP22 contain multiple clusters of trimethyllysine in contrast to a single cluster in OmpB from mildly virulent R. typhi. Furthermore, OmpB from the avirulent strain Madrid E contains mostly monomethyllysine and no trimethyllysine. The native OmpB from Madrid E was minimally trimethylated by RT0101 or RP027-028, consistent with a processive mechanism of trimethylation. This study provides the first in-depth characterization of methylation of an OMP at the molecular level and may lead to uncovering the link between OmpB methylation and rickettsial virulence.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2014; 289(11). DOI:10.1074/jbc.M113.535567 · 4.57 Impact Factor
Show more


9 Reads
Available from