[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PhoB/PhoR is a two-component system originally described as involved in inorganic phosphate (Pi) transport and metabolism under Pi limitation. In order to disclose other roles of this system, a proteomic analysis of V. cholerae 569BSR and its phoB/phoR mutant under high Pi levels was performed. Most of the proteins downregulated by the mutant have roles in energy production and conversion and in amino acids transport and metabolism. In contrast, the phoB/phoR mutant upregulated genes mainly involved in adaptation to atypical conditions, indicating that the absence of a functional PhoB/PhoR caused increased expression of a number of genes from distinct stress response pathways. This might be a strategy to overcome the lack of RpoS, whose expression in the stationary phase cells of V. cholerae seems to be controlled by PhoB/PhoR. Moreover, compared to the wild-type strain the phoB/phoR mutant presented a reduced cell density at stationary phase of culture in Pi abundance, lower resistance to acid shock, but higher tolerance to thermal and osmotic stresses. Together our findings show, for the first time, the requirement of PhoB/PhoR for full growth under high Pi level and for the accumulation of RpoS, indicating that PhoB/PhoR is a fundamental system for the biology of V. cholerae. BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Certain V. cholerae strains are pathogenic to humans, causing cholera, an acute dehydrating diarrhoeal disease endemic in Southern Asia, parts of Africa and Latin America, where it has been responsible for significant mortality and economical damage. Its ability to grow within distinct niches is dependent on gene expression regulation. PhoB/PhoR is a two-component system originally described as involved in inorganic phosphate (Pi) transport and metabolism under Pi limitation. However, Pho regulon genes also play roles in virulence, motility and biolofilm formation, among others. In this paper we report that the absence of a functional PhoB/PhoR caused increased expression of a number of genes from distinct stress response pathways, in Pi abundance. Moreover, we showed, for the first time, that the interrelationship between PhoB-RpoS-(p)ppGpp-poly(P) in V. cholerae, is somewhat diverse from the model of inter-regulation between those systems, described in E. coli. The V. cholerae dependence on PhoB/PhoR for the RpoS mediated stress response and cellular growth under Pi abundance, suggests that this system's roles are broader than previously thought.
Journal of proteomics 05/2013; · 5.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trypanosoma cruzi proteins with molecular weight between 30-34kDa have shown high reactivity in western blot assays with serum samples from chagasic individuals. However, in-depth analysis of the constituents of these protein fractions has not been performed. This is the first report of an immunoaffinity proteomic approach to identify the immunodominant 30-34kDa proteins of T. cruzi that could eventually be used for the diagnosis of Chagas disease. We used two different sample preparation protocols for protein digestion coupled to mass spectrometry to identify proteins in the protein fraction. The immunodominant proteins and their respective epitopes were then identified by co-immunoprecipitation and excision-epitope mapping/mass spectrometry, using human sera followed by the prediction and three-dimensional structural modeling of reactive epitopes. The use of different sample preparation methods allowed the identification of a relatively high number of proteins, some of which were only identified after one or multiple sample preparation and digestion protocols. Seven immunodominant proteins were identified by co-immunoprecipitation with purified IgGs from chagasic serum samples. Moreover, six reactive peptide epitopes were detected in four of these proteins by excision-epitope mapping/mass spectrometry. Three-dimensional structural models were obtained for the immunoreactive peptides, which correlated well with the linear B-cell epitope prediction tools.
Journal of proteomics 11/2012; · 5.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zinc finger proteins are widely found in eukaryotes, representing an important class of DNA-binding proteins frequently involved in transcriptional regulation. Zinc finger motifs are composed by two antiparallel β-strands and one α-helix, stabilized by a zinc ion coordinated by conserved histidine and cysteine residues. In Schistosoma mansoni, these regulatory proteins are known to modulate morphological and physiological changes, having crucial roles in parasite development. A previously described C(2)H(2) zinc finger protein, SmZF1, was shown to be present in cell nuclei of different life stages of S. mansoni and to activate gene transcription in a heterologous system. A high-quality SmZF1 tridimensional structure was generated using comparative modeling. Molecular dynamics simulations of the obtained structure revealed stability of the zinc fingers motifs and high flexibility on the terminals, comparable to the profile observed on the template X-ray structure based on thermal b-factors. Based on the protein tridimensional features and amino acid composition, we were able to characterize four C(2)H(2) zinc finger motifs, the first involved in protein-protein interactions while the three others involved in DNA binding. We defined a consensus DNA binding sequence using three distinct algorithms and further carried out docking calculations, which revealed the interaction of fingers 2-4 with the predicted DNA. A search for S. mansoni genes presenting putative SmZF1 binding sites revealed 415 genes hypothetically under SmZF1 control. Using an automatic annotation and GO assignment approach, we found that the majority of those genes code for proteins involved in developmental processes. Taken together, these results present a consistent base to the structural and functional characterization of SmZF1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The polymorphism of species A rotavirus genotype G1 strains (RVA-G1) circulating in Rio de Janeiro between 1996 and 2004 was evaluated. The VP7 encoding gene of 36 G1 isolates was sequenced and compared to references strains. The deduced amino acid sequences were used as basis for in silico analysis of the VP7 protein. We observed the circulation of two major G1 lineages and five sublineages during the studied period. Comparison between the VP7 trimeric structures of a rotavirus vaccine strain and Brazilian G1 strains showed mutations at amino acid residues located at the calcium binding site and at several neutralizing antibody recognition sites. Although the rotavirus vaccine program has clearly been successful in Brazil, these results suggest the possibility of the emergence of G1 strains that could evade the immune response elicited by a RVA vaccine and cause a vaccine breakthrough. Consequently, continuous monitoring of rotavirus intragenotypes diversity is critical to understand how it could affect vaccine effectiveness.
Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 05/2012; 12(7):1397-404. · 3.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heat shock protein (HSP) 104 is a highly conserved molecular chaperone that catalyzes protein unfolding, disaggregation and degradation under stress conditions. We characterized HSP104 gene structure and expression in Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan parasite that causes Chagas' disease. The T. cruzi HSP104 is an 869 amino-acid protein encoded by a single-copy gene that has the highest sequence similarity (76%) with that of T. brucei and the lowest (23%) with that of the human protein. HSP104 transcripts were detected at room temperature, and levels increased after incubation at 37° or 40°C. The HSP104 protein was found at low levels in non-heat-shocked cells, and accumulated continuously up to 24 h at elevated temperatures. We developed a predicted structural model of hexameric T. cruzi HSP104, which showed some conserved features.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phytomonas species are plant parasites of the family Trypanosomatidae, which are transmitted by phytophagous insects. Some Phytomonas species cause major agricultural damages. The hemipteran Oncopeltus fasciatus is natural and experimental host for several species of trypanosomatids, including Phytomonas spp. The invasion of the insect vectors' salivary glands is one of the most important events for the life cycle of Phytomonas species. In the present study, we show the binding of Phytomonas serpens at the external face of O. fasciatus salivary glands by means of scanning electron microscopy and the in vitro interaction of living parasites with total proteins from the salivary glands in ligand blotting assays. This binding occurs primarily through an interaction with a 130 kDa salivary gland protein. The mass spectrometry of the trypsin-digest of this protein matched 23% of human laminin-5 β3 chain precursor sequence by 16 digested peptides. A protein sequence search through the transcriptome of O. fasciatus embryo showed a partial sequence with 51% similarity to human laminin β3 subunit. Anti-human laminin-5 β3 chain polyclonal antibodies recognized the 130 kDa protein by immunoblotting. The association of parasites with the salivary glands was strongly inhibited by human laminin-5, by the purified 130 kDa insect protein, and by polyclonal antibodies raised against the human laminin-5 β3 chain. This is the first report demonstrating that a laminin-like molecule from the salivary gland of O. fasciatus acts as a receptor for Phytomonas binding. The results presented in this investigation are important findings that will support further studies that aim at developing new approaches to prevent the transmission of Phytomonas species from insects to plants and vice-versa.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(10):e48170. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The control of Vibrio cholerae phoBR expression by PhoB involves its binding to Pho boxes at -35 (box 1), -60 (box 2), and -80 (box 3) from the putative phoB translation start site. These loci were located in the sense (box 1) and antisense (boxes 2 and 3) strands of the phoBR regulatory region, and PhoB binds to these individual boxes with distinct affinities. Fusions of sequences containing different combinations of these boxes upstream of the lacZ reporter in a plasmid demonstrated that only those carrying boxes 1, 2, and 3, or 1 alone, activated transcription under inorganic phosphate (P(i)) limitation. When a fragment, including only boxes 1 and 2, was fused to lacZ, expression was no longer induced by low P(i), suggesting a repressive role for PhoB~box2 (PhoB bound to box 2) over the transcriptional activity induced by PhoB~box1. The similarity between lacZ expression levels from promoter fragments containing the three boxes or box 1 alone showed that PhoB~box3 eliminated the repressive effect imposed by PhoB~box2 on phoBR transcription. Complementation assays with a phoBR-containing plasmid demonstrated that the 234-bp promoter fragment carrying the three boxes is absolutely required for operon expression in Vibrio cholerae ΔphoBR cells. This was observed under P(i) abundance, when phoBR was expressed at a basal level and, also in low P(i) conditions, when Pho regulon genes were fully expressed. Thus, under P(i) limitation, PhoB exerts dual regulatory functions by binding sequentially distinct Pho boxes to enable the fine-tuning and precise control of phoBR expression in V. cholerae cells.
Journal of bacteriology 12/2011; 193(24):6929-38. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Precise mapping of protein-binding sites on DNA is an important application of atomic force microscope (AFM) imaging. For a reliable measurement of distances on curved DNA molecules, an image-processing algorithm is required, which extracts the DNA contour from topographic AFM data. To this end we implemented an image analysis method providing an efficient way to obtain the contour together with a physical map of single and multiple protein-binding sites. This method relies on a calculation of the height profile along the DNA fragment, allowing one to determine the DNA length and the relative position of the binding site occupied by a protein. As a first test, complexes of the LexA repressor protein from the Escherichia coli SOS system and DNA fragments containing a specific LexA binding site (recA operator) were imaged by the torsional resonance mode (TR mode) and analyzed using the specialized algorithm. A topographic height of less than 0.5 nm of the DNA molecules indicates repulsive imaging conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii (Woloszynska) Seenaya & Subba Raju is a freshwater cyanobacterium of worldwide distribution. In the North-eastern region of Brazil many eutrophic water reservoirs are characterized by the dominance of C. raciborskii, with recurrent occurrence of blooms. These water bodies have high conductivity due to a high ionic concentration, and are defined as hard (with high values of CaCO3). In this study, we investigated the long-term effect (12 days) of high calcium concentration (8 mM Ca(2+)) on C. raciborskii (T3 strain) growth, morphology, toxin content, and metabolism. Changes in protein expression profiles were investigated by proteomic analysis using 2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. A continued exposure to calcium had a pronounced effect on C. raciborskii (T3): it limited growth, decreased thricome length, increased chlorophyll-a content, altered toxin profile (although did not affect PST content, saxitoxin + neosaxitoxin), and inhibited the expression of proteins related to primary metabolism.
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology 10/2011; 42(4):1547-59. · 0.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Amazon catfish genus Pterygoplichthys (Loricariidae, Siluriformes) is closely related to the loricariid genus Hypostomus, in which at least two species lack detectable ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity, typically catalyzed by cytochrome P450 1 (CYP1) enzymes. Pterygoplichthys sp. liver microsomes also lacked EROD, as well as activity with other substituted resorufins, but aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonists induced hepatic CYP1A mRNA and protein suggesting structural/functional differences in Pterygoplichthys CYP1s from those in other vertebrates. Comparing the sequences of CYP1As of Pterygoplichthys sp. and of two phylogenetically related siluriform species that do catalyze EROD (Ancistrus sp., Loricariidae and Corydoras sp., Callichthyidae) showed that these three proteins share amino acids at 17 positions that are not shared by any fish in a set of 24 other species. Pterygoplichthys and Ancistrus (the loricariids) have an additional 22 amino acid substitutions in common that are not shared by Corydoras or by other fish species. Pterygoplichthys has six exclusive amino acid substitutions. Molecular docking and dynamics simulations indicate that Pterygoplichthys CYP1A has a weak affinity for ER, which binds infrequently in a productive orientation, and in a less stable conformation than in CYP1As of species that catalyze EROD. ER also binds with the carbonyl moiety proximal to the heme iron. Pterygoplichthys CYP1A has amino acid substitutions that reduce the frequency of correctly oriented ER in the AS preventing the detection of EROD activity. The results indicate that loricariid CYP1As may have a peculiar substrate selectivity that differs from CYP1As of most vertebrate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crithidia deanei is a trypanosomatid protozoan that harbours a symbiotic bacterium. The partners maintain a mutualistic relationship, thus constituting an excellent model for studying metabolic exchanges between the host and the symbiont, the origin of organelles and cellular evolution. According to molecular analysis, symbionts of different trypanosomatid species share high identity and descend from a common ancestor, a β-proteobacterium of the genus Bordetella. The endosymbiont is surrounded by two membranes, like Gram-negative bacteria, but its envelope presents special features, since phosphatidylcholine is a major membrane component and the peptidoglycan layer is highly reduced, as described in other obligate intracellular bacteria. Like the process that generated mitochondria and plastids, the endosymbiosis in trypanosomatids depends on pathways that facilitate the intensive metabolic exchanges between the bacterium and the host protozoan. A search of the annotated symbiont genome database identified one sequence with identity to porin-encoding genes of the genus Bordetella. Considering that the symbiont outer membrane has a great accessibility to cytoplasm host factors, it was important to characterize this single porin-like protein using biochemical, molecular, computational and ultrastructural approaches. Antiserum against the recombinant porin-like molecule revealed that it is mainly located in the symbiont envelope. Secondary structure analysis and comparative modelling predicted the protein 3D structure as an 18-domain β-barrel, which is consistent with porin channels. Electrophysiological measurements showed that the porin displays a slight preference for cations over anions. Taken together, the data presented herein suggest that the C. deanei endosymbiont porin is phylogenetically and structurally similar to those described in Gram-negative bacteria, representing a diffusion channel that might contribute to the exchange of nutrients and metabolic precursors between the symbiont and its host cell.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Describing biological macromolecular energetics from computer simulations can pose major challenges, and often necessitates enhanced conformational sampling. We describe the calculation of conformational free-energy profiles along carefully chosen collective coordinates: “consensus” normal modes, developed recently as robust alternatives to conventional normal modes. In an application to the HIV-1 protease, we obtain efficient sampling of significant flap opening movements governing inhibitor binding from relatively short simulations, in close correspondence with experimental results.
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 07/2011; 7(8-DOI: 10.1021/ct200237u):2348–2352. · 5.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellulases from thermophiles are capable of cleaving sugar chains from cellulose efficiently at high temperatures. The thermo-resistant Cel9A-68 cellulase possesses two important domains: CBM and a catalytic domain connected by a Pro/Ser/Thr rich linker. These domains act cooperatively to allow efficient catalysis. Despite exhaustive efforts to characterize cellulase binding and mechanism of action, a detailed description of the cellulose intrinsic flexibility is still lacking. From computational simulations we studied the temperature influence on the enzyme plasticity, prior to substrate binding. Interestingly, we observed an enhancement of collective motions at high temperatures. These motions are the most representative and describe an intrinsic hinge bending transition. A detailed analysis of these motions revealed an interdomain approximation where D459 and G460, located at the linker region, are the hinge residues. Therefore, we propose a new putative site for mutagenesis targeting the modulation of such conformational transition that may be crucial for activity.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 06/2011; 13(30):13709-20. · 3.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Here, we describe the methodology currently used to analyze the structural organization of protozoa of the Trypanosomatidae family by atomic force microscopy. The results are compared with those obtained using light, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many cells, motility is mediated by flagellar beating. Protist parasites are capable of highly coordinated motility which contributes to their pathogenicity in mammalian hosts. Understanding the structural aspects of the flagellum may be important to the identification of novel targets for therapeutic intervention. Our group used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to examine the ultrastructure of Trypanosoma cruzi, obtaining valuable information on the organisation of the flagellar sub-structure. AFM images revealed novel flagellar components such as the presence of periodically-spaced protrusions organised along a flagellar furrow and oriented through the major flagellar axis between the axoneme and the paraflagellar rod. The nature and functional role of this structure are still unknown, although the hypothesis that the furrow might physically separate the two distinct domains of the flagellar membrane that comprise the surface of the axoneme and the paraflagellar rod (PFR) has been raised. To test whether the furrow was present or not only in PFR-bearing flagella, different protists containing or lacking the PFR, were analysed by AFM. Analysis of T. cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei and Herpetomonas megaseliae, which present distinct PFRs, showed similar and equivalent furrows along the main axis of their flagella, whereas Crithidia deanei, Giardia lamblia and Tritrichomonas foetus (in which the PFR is reduced or absent) lacked a furrow. Our results strongly suggest that the flagellar furrow is a characteristic feature of PFR-containing flagella and opens new perspectives for its functional role in the definition of sub-domains on the flagellar membrane.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus is a plant-growth-promoting bacterium that colonizes sugarcane. In order to investigate molecular aspects of the G. diazotrophicus-sugarcane interaction, we performed a quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis by (15)N metabolic labeling of bacteria, root samples, and co-cultures. Overall, more than 400 proteins were analyzed and 78 were differentially expressed between the plant-bacterium interaction model and control cultures. A comparative analysis of the G. diazotrophicus in interaction with two distinct genotypes of sugarcane, SP70-1143 and Chunee, revealed proteins with fundamental roles in cellular recognition. G. diazotrophicus presented proteins involved in adaptation to atypical conditions and signaling systems during the interaction with both genotypes. However, SP70-1143 and Chunee, sugarcane genotypes with high and low contribution of biological nitrogen fixation, showed divergent responses in contact with G. diazotrophicus. The SP70-1143 genotype overexpressed proteins from signaling cascades and one from a lipid metabolism pathway, whereas Chunee differentially synthesized proteins involved in chromatin remodeling and protein degradation pathways. In addition, we have identified 30 bacterial proteins in the roots of the plant samples; from those, nine were specifically induced by plant signals. This is the first quantitative proteomic analysis of a bacterium-plant interaction, which generated insights into early signaling of the G. diazotrophicus-sugarcane interaction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The putative phosphoporin encoded by vca1008 of Vibrio cholerae O1 is expressed in vivo during infection and is essential for the intestinal colonization of infant mice. In vitro, its expression is induced under inorganic phosphate (P(i)) limitation in a PhoB/R-dependent manner. In this work we demonstrated that VCA1008 has a strain-specific role in the physiology and pathogenicity of V. cholerae O1. Disruption of vca1008 led to a growth defect, an inability to colonize and a high susceptibility to sodium deoxycholate (DOC; the major bile compound) in the El Tor biotype strain N16961, but did not affect the classical strain O395 in the same way. Furthermore, vca1008 promoter activity was higher in N16961 cells grown under a low P(i) supply in the presence of DOC than in the absence of the detergent. In the P(i)-limited cells, vca1008 was positively regulated by PhoB, but when DOC was added to the medium, it negatively affected the PhoB-mediated activation of the gene, and enhanced vca1008 expression in a ToxR-dependent manner. These findings reveal for the first time a complex strain-specific interplay between ToxR and PhoB/R systems to control porin genes, as well as the influence of DOC on the expression of PhoB- and ToxR-regulated genes and pathogenesis in pandemic strains of V. cholerae.