[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The field of antibiotic drug discovery and the monitoring of new antibiotic resistance elements have yet to fully exploit the power of the genome revolution. Despite the fact that the first genomes sequenced of free living organisms were those of bacteria, there have been few specialized bioinformatic tools developed to mine the growing amount of genomic data associated with pathogens. In particular, there are few tools to study the genetics and genomics of antibiotic resistance and how it impacts bacterial populations, ecology and the clinic. We have initiated development of such tools in the form of the Comprehensive Antibiotic Research Database (CARD, arpcard.mcmaster.ca). The CARD integrates disparate molecular and sequence data, provides a unique organizing principle in the form of the Antibiotic Resistance Ontology (ARO), and can quickly identify putative antibiotic resistance genes in new unannotated genome sequences. This unique platform provides an informatic tool that bridges antibiotic resistance concerns in health care, agriculture and the environment.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 05/2013; · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Macrolide antibiotics such as azithromycin and erythromycin are mainstays of modern antibacterial chemotherapy, and like all antibiotics, they are vulnerable to resistance. One mechanism of macrolide resistance is via drug inactivation: enzymatic hydrolysis of the macrolactone ring catalyzed by erythromycin esterases, EreA and EreB. A genomic enzymology approach was taken to gain insight into the catalytic mechanisms and origins of Ere enzymes. Our analysis reveals that erythromycin esterases comprise a separate group in the hydrolase superfamily, which includes homologues of uncharacterized function found on the chromosome of Bacillus cereus, Bcr135 and Bcr136, whose three-dimensional structures have been determined. Biochemical characterization of Bcr136 confirms that it is an esterase that is, however, unable to inactivate macrolides. Using steady-state kinetics, homology-based structure modeling, site-directed mutagenesis, solvent isotope effect studies, pH, and inhibitor profiling performed in various combinations for EreA, EreB, and Bcr136 enzymes, we identified the active site and gained insight into some catalytic features of this novel enzyme superfamily. We rule out the possibility of a Ser/Thr nucleophile and show that one histidine, H46 (EreB numbering), is essential for catalytic function. This residue is proposed to serve as a general base in activation of a water molecule as the reaction nucleophile. Furthermore, we show that EreA, EreB, and Bcr136 are distinct, with only EreA inhibited by chelating agents and hypothesized to contain a noncatalytic metal. Detailed characterization of these esterases allows for a direct comparison of the resistance determinants, EreA and EreB, with their prototype, Bcr136, and for the discussion of their potential connections.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The discovery of antibiotics more than 70 years ago initiated a period of drug innovation and implementation in human and animal health and agriculture. These discoveries were tempered in all cases by the emergence of resistant microbes. This history has been interpreted to mean that antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is a modern phenomenon; this view is reinforced by the fact that collections of microbes that predate the antibiotic era are highly susceptible to antibiotics. Here we report targeted metagenomic analyses of rigorously authenticated ancient DNA from 30,000-year-old Beringian permafrost sediments and the identification of a highly diverse collection of genes encoding resistance to β-lactam, tetracycline and glycopeptide antibiotics. Structure and function studies on the complete vancomycin resistance element VanA confirmed its similarity to modern variants. These results show conclusively that antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that predates the modern selective pressure of clinical antibiotic use.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The need for new antibiotic therapies is acute and growing in large part because of the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens. A vast number of resistance determinants are, however, found in nonpathogenic micro-organisms. The resistance totality in the global microbiota is the antibiotic resistome and includes not only established resistance genes but also genes that have the potential to evolve into resistance elements. We term these proto-resistance genes and hypothesize that they share common ancestry with other functional units known as housekeeping genes. Genomic enzymology is the study of protein structure-function in light of genetic context and evolution of protein superfamilies. This concept is highly applicable to study of antibiotic resistance evolution from proto-resistance elements. In this review, we summarize some of the genomic enzymology evidence for resistance enzymes pointing to common ancestry with genes of other metabolic functions. Genomic enzymology plays a key role in understanding the origins of antibiotic resistance and aids in designing strategies for diagnosis and prevention thereof.
Annual Review of Genetics 01/2010; 44:25-51. · 17.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lincosamides make up an important class of antibiotics used against a wide range of pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Predictably, lincosamide-resistant microorganisms have emerged with antibiotic modification as one of their major resistance strategies. Inactivating enzymes LinB/A catalyze adenylylation of the drug; however, little is known about their mechanistic and structural properties. We determined two X-ray structures of LinB: ternary substrate- and binary product-bound complexes. Structural and kinetic characterization of LinB, mutagenesis, solvent isotope effect, and product inhibition studies are consistent with a mechanism involving direct in-line nucleotidyl transfer. The characterization of LinB enabled its classification as a member of a nucleotidyltransferase superfamily, along with nucleotide polymerases and aminoglycoside nucleotidyltransferases, and this relationship offers further support for the LinB mechanism. The LinB structure provides an evolutionary link to ancient nucleotide polymerases and suggests that, like protein kinases and acetyltransferases, these are proto-resistance elements from which drug resistance can evolve.