Jean-Yves F Dubois

Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen, Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

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Publications (17)75.82 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Bacillus subtilis is a well-established cell factory for efficient secretion of many biotechnologically relevant enzymes that are naturally produced by it or related organisms. However, the use of B. subtilis as a host for production of heterologous secretory proteins can be complicated by problems related to inefficient translocation of the foreign proteins across the plasma membrane or to inefficient release of the exported proteins from the cell surface into the surrounding medium. Therefore, there is a clear need for tools that allow more efficient membrane targeting, translocation, and release during the production of these proteins. In the present study, we investigated the contributions of the pre (pre(lip)) and pro (pro(lip)) sequences of a Staphylococcus hyicus lipase to secretion of a heterologous protein, the alkaline phosphatase PhoA of Escherichia coli, by B. subtilis. The results indicate that the presence of the pro(lip)-peptide, in combination with the lipase signal peptide (pre(lip)), contributes significantly to the efficient secretion of PhoA by B. subtilis and that pre(lip) directs PhoA secretion more efficiently than the authentic signal peptide of PhoA. Genome-wide transcriptional analyses of the host cell responses indicate that, under the conditions tested, no known secretion or membrane-cell wall stress responses were provoked by the production of PhoA with any of the pre- and pro-region sequences used. Our data underscore the view that the pre-pro signals of the S. hyicus lipase are very useful tools for secretion of heterologous proteins in B. subtilis.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 11/2009; 76(3):659-69. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacillus subtilis strain 168 produces the extremely stable and broad-spectrum lantibiotic sublancin 168. Known sublancin 168-susceptible organisms include important pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus. Nevertheless, since its discovery, the mode of action of sublancin 168 has remained elusive. The present studies were, therefore, aimed at the identification of cellular determinants for bacterial susceptibility toward sublancin 168. Growth inhibition and competition assays on plates and in liquid cultures revealed that sublancin 168-mediated growth inhibition of susceptible B. subtilis and S. aureus cells is affected by the NaCl concentration in the growth medium. Added NaCl did not influence the production, activity, or stability of sublancin 168 but, instead, lowered the susceptibility of sensitive cells toward this lantibiotic. Importantly, the susceptibility of B. subtilis and S. aureus cells toward sublancin 168 was shown to depend on the presence of the large mechanosensitive channel of conductance MscL. In contrast, MscL was not involved in susceptibility toward the bacteriocin nisin or Pep5. Taken together, our unprecedented results demonstrate that MscL is a critical and specific determinant in bacterial sublancin 168 susceptibility that may serve either as a direct target for this lantibiotic or as a gate of entry to the cytoplasm.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 10/2009; 53(11):4702-11. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacillus subtilis strain 168 produces the extremely stable lantibiotic sublancin 168, which has a broad spectrum of bactericidal activity. Both sublancin 168 production and producer immunity are determined by the SPbeta prophage. While the sunA and sunT genes for sublancin 168 production have been known for several years, the genetic basis for sublancin 168 producer immunity has remained elusive. Therefore, the present studies were aimed at identifying an SPbeta gene(s) for sublancin 168 immunity. By systematic deletion analysis, we were able to pinpoint one gene, named yolF, as the sublancin 168 producer immunity gene. Growth inhibition assays performed using plates and liquid cultures revealed that YolF is both required and sufficient for sublancin 168 immunity even when heterologously produced in the sublancin-sensitive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Accordingly, we propose to rename yolF to sunI (for sublancin immunity). Subcellular localization studies indicate that the SunI protein is anchored to the membrane with a single N-terminal membrane-spanning domain that has an N(out)-C(in) topology. Thus, the bulk of the protein faces the cytoplasm of B. subtilis. This topology has not yet been reported for known bacteriocin producer immunity proteins, which implies that SunI belongs to a novel class of bacteriocin antagonists.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 01/2009; 53(2):651-61. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Disulfide bonds are important for the correct folding, structural integrity, and activity of many biotechnologically relevant proteins. For synthesis and subsequent secretion of these proteins in bacteria, such as the well-known "cell factory" Bacillus subtilis, it is often the correct formation of disulfide bonds that is the greatest bottleneck. Degradation of inefficiently or incorrectly oxidized proteins and the requirement for costly and time-consuming reduction and oxidation steps in the downstream processing of the proteins still are major limitations for full exploitation of B. subtilis for biopharmaceutical production. Therefore, the present study was aimed at developing a novel in vivo strategy for improved production of secreted disulfide-bond-containing proteins. Three approaches were tested: depletion of the major cytoplasmic reductase TrxA; introduction of the heterologous oxidase DsbA from Staphylococcus carnosus; and addition of redox-active compounds to the growth medium. As shown using the disulfide-bond-containing molecule Escherichia coli PhoA as a model protein, combined use of these three approaches resulted in secretion of amounts of active PhoA that were approximately 3.5-fold larger than the amounts secreted by the parental strain B. subtilis 168. Our findings indicate that Bacillus strains with improved oxidizing properties can be engineered for biotechnological production of heterologous high-value proteins containing disulfide bonds.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 11/2008; 74(24):7536-45. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Thioredoxin functions in nearly all organisms as the major thiol-disulfide oxidoreductase within the cytosol. Its prime purpose is to maintain cysteine-containing proteins in the reduced state by converting intramolecular disulfide bonds into dithiols in a disulfide exchange reaction. Thioredoxin has been reported to contribute to a wide variety of physiological functions by interacting with specific sets of substrates in different cell types. To investigate the function of the essential thioredoxin A (TrxA) in the low-GC Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, we purified wild-type TrxA and three mutant TrxA proteins that lack either one or both of the two cysteine residues in the CxxC active site. The pure proteins were used for substrate-binding studies known as "mixed disulfide fishing" in which covalent disulfide-bonded reaction intermediates can be visualized. An unprecedented finding is that both active-site cysteine residues can form mixed disulfides with substrate proteins when the other active-site cysteine is absent, but only the N-terminal active-site cysteine forms stable interactions. A second novelty is that both single-cysteine mutant TrxA proteins form stable homodimers due to thiol oxidation of the remaining active-site cysteine residue. To investigate whether these dimers resemble mixed enzyme-substrate disulfides, the structure of the most abundant dimer, C32S, was characterized by X-ray crystallography. This yielded a high-resolution (1.5A) X-ray crystallographic structure of a thioredoxin homodimer from a low-GC Gram-positive bacterium. The C32S TrxA dimer can be regarded as a mixed disulfide reaction intermediate of thioredoxin, which reveals the diversity of thioredoxin/substrate-binding modes.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 07/2008; 379(3):520-34. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Disulphide bond formation catalysed by thiol-disulphide oxidoreductases (TDORs) is a universally conserved mechanism for stabilizing extracytoplasmic proteins. In Escherichia coli, disulphide bond formation requires a concerted action of distinct TDORs in thiol oxidation and subsequent quinone reduction. TDOR function in other bacteria has remained largely unexplored. Here we focus on TDORs of low-GC Gram-positive bacteria, in particular DsbA of Staphylococcus aureus and BdbA-D of Bacillus subtilis. Phylogenetic analyses reveal that the homologues DsbA and BdbD cluster in distinct groups typical for Staphylococcus and Bacillus species respectively. To compare the function of these TDORs, DsbA was produced in various bdb mutants of B. subtilis. Next, we assessed the ability of DsbA to sustain different TDOR-dependent processes, including heterologous secretion of E. coli PhoA, competence development and bacteriocin (sublancin 168) production. The results show that DsbA can function in all three processes. While BdbD needs a quinone oxidoreductase for activity, DsbA activity appears to depend on redox-active medium components. Unexpectedly, both quinone oxidoreductases of B. subtilis are sufficient to sustain production of sublancin. Moreover, DsbA can functionally replace these quinone oxidoreductases in sublancin production. Taken together, our unprecedented findings imply that TDOR systems of low-GC Gram-positive bacteria have a modular composition.
    Molecular Microbiology 06/2007; 64(4):984-99. · 5.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis secretes high levels of proteins into its environment. Most of these secretory proteins are exported from the cytoplasm in an unfolded state and have to fold efficiently after membrane translocation. As previously shown for alpha-amylases of Bacillus species, inefficient posttranslocational protein folding is potentially detrimental and stressful. In B. subtilis, this so-called secretion stress is sensed and combated by the CssRS two-component system. Two known members of the CssRS regulon are the htrA and htrB genes, encoding potential extracytoplasmic chaperone proteases for protein quality control. In the present study, we investigated whether high-level production of a secretory protein with two disulfide bonds, PhoA of Escherichia coli, induces secretion stress in B. subtilis. Our results show that E. coli PhoA production triggers a relatively moderate CssRS-dependent secretion stress response in B. subtilis. The intensity of this response is significantly increased in the absence of BdbC, which is a major determinant for posttranslocational folding of disulfide bond-containing proteins in B. subtilis. Our findings show that BdbC is required to limit the PhoA-induced secretion stress. This conclusion focuses interest on the BdbC-dependent folding pathway for biotechnological production of proteins with disulfide bonds in B. subtilis and related bacilli.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 12/2006; 72(11):6876-85. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Thioredoxins are important thiol-reactive proteins. Most knowledge about this class of proteins is derived from proteome studies, and little is known about the global transcriptional response of cells to various thioredoxin levels. In Bacillus subtilis, thioredoxin A is encoded by trxA and is essential for viability. In this study, we report the effects of minimal induction of a strain carrying an IPTG (isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside)-inducible trxA gene (ItrxA) on transcription levels, as determined by DNA macroarrays. The effective depletion of thioredoxin A leads to the induction of genes involved in the oxidative stress response (but not those dependent on PerR), phage-related functions, and sulfur utilization. Also, several stationary-phase processes, such as sporulation and competence, are affected. The majority of these phenotypes are rescued by a higher induction level of ItrxA, leading to an approximately wild-type level of thioredoxin A protein. A comparison with other studies shows that the effects of thioredoxin depletion are distinct from, but show some similarity to, oxidative stress and disulfide stress. Some of the transcriptional effects may be linked to thioredoxin-interacting proteins. Finally, thioredoxin-linked processes appear to be conserved between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
    Journal of Bacteriology 07/2005; 187(12):3921-30. · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proteins that are exported from the cytoplasm to the periplasm and outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, or the cell wall and growth medium of Gram-positive bacteria, are generally synthesized as precursors with a cleavable signal peptide. During or shortly after pre-protein translocation across the cytoplasmic membrane, the signal peptide is removed by signal peptidases. Importantly, pre-protein processing by signal peptidases is essential for bacterial growth and viability. This review is focused on the signal peptidases of Gram-positive bacteria, Bacillus and Streptomyces species in particular. Evolutionary concepts, current knowledge of the catalytic mechanism, substrate specificity requirements and structural aspects are addressed. As major insights in signal peptidase function and structure have been obtained from studies on the signal peptidase LepB of Escherichia coli, similarities and differences between this enzyme and known Gram-positive signal peptidases are highlighted. Notably, while the incentive for previous research on Gram-positive signal peptidases was largely based on their role in the biotechnologically important process of protein secretion, present-day interest in these essential enzymes is primarily derived from the idea that they may serve as targets for novel anti-microbials.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2004; 1694(1-3):279-97. · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Secretory proteins perform a variety of important "remote-control" functions for bacterial survival in the environment. The availability of complete genome sequences has allowed us to make predictions about the composition of bacterial machinery for protein secretion as well as the extracellular complement of bacterial proteomes. Recently, the power of proteomics was successfully employed to evaluate genome-based models of these so-called secretomes. Progress in this field is well illustrated by the proteomic analysis of protein secretion by the gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, for which approximately 90 extracellular proteins were identified. Analysis of these proteins disclosed various "secrets of the secretome," such as the residence of cytoplasmic and predicted cell envelope proteins in the extracellular proteome. This showed that genome-based predictions reflect only approximately 50% of the actual composition of the extracellular proteome of B. subtilis. Importantly, proteomics allowed the first verification of the impact of individual secretion machinery components on the total flow of proteins from the cytoplasm to the extracellular environment. In conclusion, proteomics has yielded a variety of novel leads for the analysis of protein traffic in B. subtilis and other gram-positive bacteria. Ultimately, such leads will serve to increase our understanding of virulence factor biogenesis in gram-positive pathogens, which is likely to be of high medical relevance.
    Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 07/2004; 68(2):207-33. · 15.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There have been many studies on the chemistry of mammalian pancreatic ribonucleases (ribonucleases 1), but the functional biology of this family of homologous proteins is still largely unknown. Many studies have been performed on the molecular evolution and properties of this enzyme from species belonging to a large number of mammalian taxa, including paralogous gene products resulting from recent gene duplications. Novel ribonuclease 1 sequences were determined for three rodent species (gundi, brush-tailed porcupine, and squirrel), rabbit, a fruit bat, elephant, and aardvark, and the new sequences were used for deriving most parsimonious networks of ribonucleases from different mammalian orders, including earlier determined nucleotide sequences and also a larger set of protein sequences. Weak support for interordinal relationships were obtained, except for an Afrotheria clade containing elephant and aardvark. Results of current analyses and also those obtained 20 years ago on amino acid sequences confirm conclusions derived recently from larger data sets of other molecules. Several examples of recent gene duplications in ribonucleases 1 are discussed, with respect to illustrate the concepts of orthology and paralogy. Previously evidence was presented for extensive parallelism between sequence regions with attached carbohydrate (about one quarter of the molecule) of unrelated species with cecal digestion (pig and guinea pig). These features are also present in the sequences of elephant and fruit bat, species with cecal digestion, but with a very low ribonuclease content in their pancreas.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 07/2003; 27(3):453-63. · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic analyses based on primary structures of mammalian ribonucleases, indicated that three homologous enzymes (pancreatic, seminal and brain ribonucleases) present in the bovine species are the results of gene duplication events, which occurred in the ancestor of the ruminants after divergence from other artiodactyls. In this paper sequences are presented of genes encoding pancreatic and brain-type ribonuclease genes of pronghorn (Antilocapra americana). The seminal-type ribonuclease gene could not be detected in this species, neither by PCR amplification nor by Southern blot analyses, indicating that it may be deleted completely in this species. Previously we demonstrated of a study of amino acid sequences of pancreatic ribonucleases of a large number of ruminants the monophyly of bovids and cervids, and that pronghorn groups with giraffe. Here we present phylogenetic analyses of nucleotide sequences of ribonucleases and other molecules from ruminant species and compare these with published data. Chevrotain (Tragulus) always groups with the other ruminants as separate taxon from the pecora or true ruminants. Within the pecora the relationships between Bovidae, Cervidae, Giraffidae, and pronghorn (Antilocapra) cannot be decided with certainty, although in the majority of analyses Antilocapra diverges first, separately or joined with giraffe. Broad taxon sampling and investigation of specific sequence features may be as important for reliable conclusions in phylogeny as the lengths of analyzed sequences.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 02/2003; 26(1):18-25. · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian pancreatic-type ribonucleases (RNases) 1 represent single-copy genes in the genome of most investigated mammalian species, including Mus musculus and other murid rodents. However, in six species belonging to the genus Rattus and closely related taxa, several paralogous gene products were identified by Southern blotting and PCR amplifications of genomic sequences. Phylogenies of nucleotide and derived amino acid sequences were reconstructed by several procedures, with three Mus species as outgroup. Duplications of the RNase 1 occurred after the divergence of Niviventer cremoriventer and Leopoldamys edwardsi from the other investigated species. Four groups of paralogous genes could be identified from specific amino acid sequence features in each of them. Low ratios of nonsynonymous-to-synonymous substitutions and the paucity of pseudogene features suggest functional gene products. One of the RNase 1 genes of R. norvegicus is expressed in the pancreas. RNases 1 were isolated from pancreatic tissues of R. rattus and R. exulans and submitted to N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis. In R. rattus, the orthologue of the expressed gene of R. norvegicus was identified, but in R. exulans, two paralogous gene products were found. The gene encoding for one of these had not yet been found by PCR amplification of genomic DNA. A well-defined group of orthologous sequences found in five investigated species codes for very basic RNases. Northern blot analysis showed expression of messenger RNA for this RNase in the spleen of R. norvegicus, but the protein product could not be identified. Evolutionary rates of RNase 1, expressed as nucleotide substitutions per site per 10(3) million years (Myr), vary between 5 and 9 in the lines leading to Mus, Niviventer, and Lepoldamys (on the basis of an ancestral date of mouse/rat divergence of 12.2 Myr) and between 20 and 50 in the lines to the other sequences after divergence from Niviventer and Leopoldamys (5.5 Myr).
    Journal of Molecular Evolution 12/2002; 55(5):522-33. · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The processing of secretory preproteins by signal peptidases (SPases) is essential for cell viability. As previously shown for Bacillus subtilis, only certain SPases of organisms containing multiple paralogous SPases are essential. This allows a distinction between SPases that are of major and minor importance for cell viability. Notably, the functional difference between major and minor SPases is not reflected clearly in sequence alignments. Here, we have successfully used molecular phylogeny to predict major and minor SPases. The results were verified with SPases from various bacilli. As predicted, the latter enzymes behaved as major or minor SPases when expressed in B. subtilis. Strikingly, molecular modeling indicated that the active site geometry is not a critical parameter for the classification of major and minor Bacillus SPases. Even though the substrate binding site of the minor SPase SipV is smaller than that of other known SPases, SipV could be converted into a major SPase without changing this site. Instead, replacement of amino-terminal residues of SipV with corresponding residues of the major SPase SipS was sufficient for conversion of SipV into a major SPase. This suggests that differences between major and minor SPases are based on activities other than substrate cleavage site selection.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2001; 276(27):25230-25235. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phylogenetic relationships of Acomys and Uranomys within Muridae were investigated using nuclear pancreatic ribonuclease A gene sequences. The various kinds of substitutions in the data matrix (15 taxa × 375 nucleotides) were examined for saturation, in order to apply a weighted parsimony approach. Phylogenies were derived by maximum parsimony (weighted and unweighted) and maximum likelihood procedures, using a dormouse (Gliridae) as outgroup. Maximum likelihood gave the most robust results. All analyses cluster some traditional taxa with a strong robustness, such as three species of the genus Mus, two South-East Asian rats, and two genera in each of the gerbil and vole families. When analyzed with those of other murid rodents representing Murinae, Gerbillinae, Arvicolinae, Cricetinae, and Sigmodontinae, sequences of the ribonuclease gene suggest that Acomys and Uranomys constitute a monophyletic clade at the subfamily level, denoted “Acomyinae.” The relationships between the six subfamilies of Muridae appear poorly resolved, except for a clade uniting Murinae, Acomyinae, and Gerbillinae. Within this clade, the sister group of Acomyinae could not be identified, as the branch length defining a Gerbillinae + Murinae cluster is extremely short. The poor resolution of our phylogenetic inferences is probably the result of two confounding factors, namely the limited size of the pancreatic ribonuclease sequence and the probable short time intervals during the radiation of the six murid subfamilies involved in this study.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 11/1999; · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The relationships of Nesomyinae, a group of murid rodents endemic to the island of Madagascar, were investigated with two comparative molecular approaches. Compared to those of other muroid rodents representing Murinae, Cricetinae, Cricetomyinae. Arvicolinae, and Sigmodontinae, complete sequences of the 12S rRNA mitochondrial gene suggest that the Malagasy nesomyinesMacrotarsomys andNesomys are monophyletic and that their sister-group among the taxa analyzed isCricetomys. A limited series of DNA/DNA hybridization experiments extends these observations to a third nesomyine genus,Eliurus, and a second cricetomyine taxon,Saccostomus. By relating the amounts of overall genomic divergence with geological time as calibrated by theMus/Rattus dichotomy estimated at 12–14 My, the oldest within-Nesomyinae dichotomy is estimated to be 10.8 to 12.6 My. Thus, these three genera of Malagasy nesomyine rodents appear to be a rather ancient offshoot from African ancestors whose Recent relatives are Cricetomyinae. This preliminary observation should be confirmed by sampling additional genera of nesomyines and additional representatives for other subfamilies of African muroids.
    Journal of Mammalian Evolution 08/1996; 3(3):239-260. · 2.63 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

488 Citations
75.82 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009
    • Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen
      • Department of Medical Microbiology
      Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
  • 1999–2009
    • University of Groningen
      • • Department of Medical Microbiology
      • • Department of Biochemistry
      • • Department of Genetics
      Groningen, Province of Groningen, Netherlands
  • 2008
    • Forschungszentrum Jülich
      Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1996
    • Institut Pasteur de Lille
      Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
    • Université de Montpellier 1
      Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France