Structural insights into Ail-mediated adhesion in Yersinia pestis.

Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-8030, USA.
Structure (Impact Factor: 5.99). 11/2011; 19(11):1672-82. DOI: 10.1016/j.str.2011.08.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ail is an outer membrane protein from Yersinia pestis that is highly expressed in a rodent model of bubonic plague, making it a good candidate for vaccine development. Ail is important for attaching to host cells and evading host immune responses, facilitating rapid progression of a plague infection. Binding to host cells is important for injection of cytotoxic Yersinia outer proteins. To learn more about how Ail mediates adhesion, we solved two high-resolution crystal structures of Ail, with no ligand bound and in complex with a heparin analog called sucrose octasulfate. We identified multiple adhesion targets, including laminin and heparin, and showed that a 40 kDa domain of laminin called LG4-5 specifically binds to Ail. We also evaluated the contribution of laminin to delivery of Yops to HEp-2 cells. This work constitutes a structural description of how a bacterial outer membrane protein uses a multivalent approach to bind host cells.

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    ABSTRACT: The outer membrane protein Ail of Yersinia pestis mediates several virulence functions, including serum resistance. Here, we demonstrate that Ail binds C4b-binding protein (C4BP), the primary fluid-phase regulator of the classical and lectin pathways. Noncovalent binding of C4 and C4b to Ail was also observed. C4BP bound to Ail can act as a cofactor to the serine protease factor I (fI) in the cleavage of fluid-phase C4b. Employing a panel of C4BP alpha-chain mutants, we observed that the absence of complement control protein domain 6 and 8 reduced binding to Ail. Immunoblot analysis of normal human serum (NHS)-treated bacteria revealed minimal C4b alpha’-chain complexes with bacterial outer membrane targets. Addition of the anti-C4BP monoclonal antibody MK104 to NHS restored C4b-alpha’ chain target complexes, suggesting that C4b binds covalently to targets on the Y. pestis surface. C4b bound to Ail noncovalently was also cleaved in a C4BP and fI-dependent manner, leaving the C4c fragment bound to Ail. MK104 also prevented the cleavage of noncovalently bound C4b. Collectively, these data suggest that when C4BP is bound to Ail, fI can cleave and inactivate C4b that has bound covalently to bacterial surface structures as well as C4b bound noncovalently to Ail.
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    ABSTRACT: Yersinia pestis has caused at least three human plague pandemics. The second (Black Death, 14-17th centuries) and third (19-20th centuries) have been genetically characterised, but there is only a limited understanding of the first pandemic, the Plague of Justinian (6-8th centuries). To address this gap, we sequenced and analysed draft genomes of Y pestis obtained from two individuals who died in the first pandemic. Teeth were removed from two individuals (known as A120 and A76) from the early medieval Aschheim-Bajuwarenring cemetery (Aschheim, Bavaria, Germany). We isolated DNA from the teeth using a modified phenol-chloroform method. We screened DNA extracts for the presence of the Y pestis-specific pla gene on the pPCP1 plasmid using primers and standards from an established assay, enriched the DNA, and then sequenced it. We reconstructed draft genomes of the infectious Y pestis strains, compared them with a database of genomes from 131 Y pestis strains from the second and third pandemics, and constructed a maximum likelihood phylogenetic tree. Radiocarbon dating of both individuals (A120 to 533 AD [plus or minus 98 years]; A76 to 504 AD [plus or minus 61 years]) places them in the timeframe of the first pandemic. Our phylogeny contains a novel branch (100% bootstrap at all relevant nodes) leading to the two Justinian samples. This branch has no known contemporary representatives, and thus is either extinct or unsampled in wild rodent reservoirs. The Justinian branch is interleaved between two extant groups, 0.ANT1 and 0.ANT2, and is distant from strains associated with the second and third pandemics. We conclude that the Y pestis lineages that caused the Plague of Justinian and the Black Death 800 years later were independent emergences from rodents into human beings. These results show that rodent species worldwide represent important reservoirs for the repeated emergence of diverse lineages of Y pestis into human populations. McMaster University, Northern Arizona University, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs Program, US Department of Homeland Security, US National Institutes of Health, Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases 01/2014; · 19.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A Yersinia pseudotuberculosis (Yptb) murine model of lung infection was previously developed using the serotype III IP2666NdeI strain, which robustly colonized lungs but only sporadically disseminated to the spleen and liver. We demonstrate here that a serotype Ib Yptb strain, IP32953, colonizes the lungs at higher levels and disseminates more efficiently to the spleen and liver compared to IP2666NdeI . The role of adhesins was investigated during IP32953 lung infection by constructing isogenic Δail, Δinv, ΔpsaE and ΔyadA mutants. An IP32953ΔailΔyadA mutant initially colonized but failed to persist in the lungs and failed to disseminate to the spleen and liver. Yptb expressing these adhesins selectively bound to and targeted neutrophils for translocation of Yops. This selective targeting was critical for virulence because persistence of the ΔailΔyadA mutant was restored following intranasal infection of neutropenic mice. Furthermore, Ail and YadA prevented killing by complement-mediated mechanisms during dissemination to and/or growth in the spleen and liver, but not in the lungs. Combined, these results demonstrate that Ail and YadA are critical, redundant virulence factors during lung infection, because they thwart neutrophils by directing Yop-translocation specifically into these cells.
    Cellular Microbiology 10/2013; · 4.81 Impact Factor

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