Article

Molecular analysis of a locus for the biosynthesis and phase-variable expression of the lacto-N-neotetraose terminal lipopolysaccharide structure in Neisseria meningitidis

Molecular Infectious Diseases Group, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, UK.
Molecular Microbiology (Impact Factor: 5.03). 12/1995; 18(4). DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1995.mmi_18040729.x

ABSTRACT Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a major determinant of Neisseria, meningitidis virulence. A key feature of meningococcal LPS is the phase-variable expression of terminal structures which are proposed to have disparate roles in pathogenesis. In order to identify the biosynthetic genes for terminal LPS structures and the control mechanisms for their phase-variable expression, the lic2A gene, which is involved in LPS biosynthesis in Haemophilus influenzae, was used as a hybridization probe to identify a homologous gene in N. meningitidis strain MC58. The homologous region of DNA was cloned and nucleotide sequence analysis revealed three open reading frames (ORFs), two of which were homologous to the H. influenzae lic2A gene. All three ORFs were mutagenized by the insertion of antibiotic-resistance cassettes and the LPS from these mutant strains was analysed to determine if the genes had a role in LPS biosynthesis. Immunological and tricine-SDS-PAGE analysis of LPS from the mutant strains indicated that all three genes were probably transferases in the biosynthesis of the terminal lacto-N-neotetraose structure of meningococcal LPS. The first ORF of the locus contains a homopolymeric tract of 14 guanosine residues within the 5'-end of the coding sequence. As the lacto-N-neotetraose structure in meningococcal LPS is subject to phase-variable expression, colonies that no longer expressed the terminal structure, as determined by monoclonal antibody binding, were isolated. Analysis of an 'off' phase variant revealed a change in the number of guanosine residues resulting in a frameshift mutation, indicating that a slipped-strand mispairing mechanism, operating in the first ORF, controls the phase-variable expression of lacto-N-neotetraose Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE Language: Eng 96414473

0 Followers
 · 
46 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: OxyR regulates the expression of the majority of H(2)O(2) responses in Gram-negative organisms. In a previous study we reported the OxyR-dependent derepression of catalase expression in the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In the present study we used microarray expression profiling of N. gonorrhoeae wild-type strain 1291 and an oxyR mutant strain to define the OxyR regulon. In addition to katA (encoding catalase), only one other locus displayed a greater than two-fold difference in expression in the wild type : oxyR comparison. This locus encodes an operon of two genes, a putative peroxiredoxin/glutaredoxin (Prx) and a putative glutathione oxidoreductase (Gor). Mutant strains were constructed in which each of these genes was inactivated. A previous biochemical study in Neisseria meningitidis had confirmed function of the glutaredoxin/peroxiredoxin. Assay of the wild-type 1291 cell free extract confirmed Gor activity, which was lost in the gor mutant strain. Phenotypic analysis of the prx mutant strain in H(2)O(2) killing assays revealed increased resistance, presumably due to upregulation of alternative defence mechanisms. The oxyR, prx and gor mutant strains were deficient in biofilm formation, and the oxyR and prx strains had decreased survival in cervical epithelial cells, indicating a key role for the OxyR regulon in these processes.
    Molecular Microbiology 02/2007; 63(1):54-68. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2958.2006.05478.x · 5.03 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: N-terminal His-tagged recombinant beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase from Neisseria meningitidis was expressed and purified to homogeneity by column chromatography using Ni-NTA resin. Mutations were introduced to investigate the roles of, Ser68, His69, Glu88, Asp90, and Tyr156, which are components of a highly conserved region in recombinant beta-1,4 galactosyltransferase. Also, the functions of three other cysteine residues, Cys65, Cys139, and Cys205, were investigated using site-directed mutagenesis to determine the location of the disulfide bond and the role of the sulfhydryl groups. Purified mutant galactosyltransferases, His69Phe, Glu88Gln and Asp90Asn completely shut down wild-type galactosyltransferase activity (1-3 %). Also, Ser68Ala showed much lower activity than wild-type galactosyltransferase (19 %). However, only the substitution of Tyr156Phe resulted in a slight reduction in galactosyltransferase activity (90 %). The enzyme was found to remain active when the cysteine residues at positions 139 and 205 were replaced separately with serine. However, enzyme reactivity was found to be markedly reduced when Cys65 was replaced with serine (27 %). These results indicate that conserved amino acids such as Cys65, Ser68, His69, Glu88, and Asp90 may be involved in the binding of substrates or in the catalysis of the galactosyltransferase reaction.
    Journal of biochemistry and molecular biology 10/2004; 37(5):597-602. DOI:10.5483/BMBRep.2004.37.5.597 · 2.02 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pili of Neisseria meningitidis are a key virulence factor, being the major adhesin of this capsulate organism and contributing to specificity for the human host. Pili are post-translationally modified by addition of either an O-linked trisaccharide, Gal (beta1-4) Gal (alpha1-3) 2,4-diacetamido-2,4,6-trideoxyhexose or an O-linked disaccharide Gal (alpha1,3) GlcNAc. The role of these structures in meningococcal pathogenesis has not been resolved. In previous studies we identified two separate genetic loci, pglA and pglBCD, involved in pilin glycosylation. Putative functions have been allocated to these genes; however, there are not enough genes to account for the complete biosynthesis of the described structures, suggesting additional genes remain to be identified. In addition, it is not known why some strains express the trisaccharide structure and some the disaccharide structure. In order to find additional genes involved in the biosynthesis of these structures, we used the recently published group A strain Z2491 and group B strain MC58 Neisseria meningitidis genomes and the unfinished Neisseria meningitidis group C strain FAM18 and Neisseria gonorrhoeae strain FA1090 genomes to identify novel genes involved in pilin glycosylation, based on homology to known oligosaccharide biosynthetic genes. We identified a new gene involved in pilin glycosylation designated pglE and examined four additional genes pglB/B2, pglF, pglG and pglH. A strain survey revealed that pglE and pglF were present in each strain examined. The pglG, pglH and pglB2 polymorphisms were not found in strain C311 musical sharp 3 but were present in a large number of clinical isolates. Insertional mutations were constructed in pglE and pglF in N. meningitidis strain C311 musical sharp 3, a strain with well-defined lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and pilin-linked glycan structures. Increased gel migration of the pilin subunit molecules of pglE and pglF mutants was observed by Western analysis, indicating truncation of the trisaccharide structure. Antisera specific for the C311 musical sharp 3 trisaccharide failed to react with pilin from these pglE and pglF mutants. GC-MS analysis of the sugar composition of the pglE mutant showed a reduction in galactose compared with C311 musical sharp 3 wild type. Analysis of amino acid sequence homologies has suggested specific roles for pglE and pglF in the biosynthesis of the trisaccharide structure. Further, we present evidence that pglE, which contains heptanucleotide repeats, is responsible for the phase variation between trisaccharide and disaccharide structures in strain C311 musical sharp 3 and other strains. We also present evidence that pglG, pglH and pglB2 are potentially phase variable.
    Molecular Microbiology 09/2003; 49(3):833-47. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03602.x · 5.03 Impact Factor