Dustin L Johnson

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (4)14.05 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have shown previously that Chlamydophila pneumoniae contains a dual-specific Ser/Thr protein kinase that phosphorylates CdsD, a structural component of the type III secretion apparatus. To further study the role of PknD in growth and development we sought to identify a PknD inhibitor to determine whether PknD activity is required for replication. Using an in vitro kinase assay we screened 80 known eukaryotic protein kinase inhibitors for activity against PknD and identified a 3'-pyridyl oxindole compound that inhibited PknD autophosphorylation and phosphorylation of CdsD. The PknD inhibitor significantly retarded the growth rate of C. pneumoniae as evidenced by the presence of very small inclusions with a reduced number of bacteria as seen by electron microscopy. These inclusions contained the normal replicative forms including elementary bodies (EB), intermediate bodies (IB) and reticulate bodies (RB), but lacked persistent bodies (PB), indicating that induction of persistence was not the cause of reduced chlamydial growth. Blind passage of C. pneumoniae grown in the presence of this PknD inhibitor for 72 or 84 hr failed to produce inclusions, suggesting this compound blocks an essential step in the production of infectious chlamydial EB. The compound was not toxic to HeLa cells, did not block activation of the MEK/ERK pathway required for chlamydial invasion and did not block intracellular replication of either Chlamydia trachomatis serovar D or Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium suggesting that the inhibitory effect of the compound is specific for C. pneumoniae. We have identified a 3'-pyridyl oxindole compound that inhibits the in vitro kinase activity of C. pneumoniae PknD and inhibits the growth and production of infectious C. pneumoniae progeny in HeLa cells. Together, these results suggest that PknD may play a key role in the developmental cycle of C. pneumoniae.
    BMC Microbiology 01/2009; 9:218. · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Type III secretion (T3S) is utilized by a wide range of gram-negative bacterial pathogens to allow the efficient delivery of effector proteins into the host cell cytoplasm through the use of a syringe-like injectisome. Chlamydophila pneumoniae is a gram-negative, obligate intracellular pathogen that has the structural genes coding for a T3S system, but the functionality of the system has not yet been demonstrated. T3S is dependent on ATPase activity, which catalyzes the unfolding of proteins and the secretion of effector proteins through the injectisome. CdsN (Cpn0707) is predicted to be the T3S ATPase of C. pneumoniae based on sequence similarity to other T3S ATPases. Full-length CdsN and a C-terminal truncation of CdsN were cloned as glutathione S-transferase (GST)-tagged constructs and expressed in Escherichia coli. The GST-tagged C-terminal truncation of CdsN possessed ATPase activity, catalyzing the release of ADP and P(i) from ATP at a rate of 0.55 +/- 0.07 micromol min(-1) mg(-1) in a time- and dose-dependent manner. CdsN formed oligomers and high-molecular-weight multimers, as assessed by formaldehyde fixation and nondenaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Using bacterial two-hybrid and GST pull-down assays, CdsN was shown to interact with CdsD, CdsL, CdsQ, and CopN, four putative structural components of the C. pneumoniae T3S system. CdsN also interacted with an unannotated protein, Cpn0706, a putative CdsN chaperone. Interactions between CdsN, CdsD, and CopN represent novel interactions not previously reported for other bacterial T3S systems and may be important in the localization and/or function of the ATPase at the inner membrane of C. pneumoniae.
    Journal of bacteriology 09/2008; 190(20):6580-8. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    Dustin L Johnson, Chris B Stone, James B Mahony
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    ABSTRACT: Chlamydophila pneumoniae is a gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes pneumonia and bronchitis and may contribute to atherosclerosis. The developmental cycle of C. pneumoniae includes a morphological transition from an infectious extracellular elementary body (EB) to a noninfectious intracellular reticulate body (RB) that divides by binary fission. The C. pneumoniae genome encodes a type III secretion (T3S) apparatus that may be used to infect eukaryotic cells and to evade the host immune response. In the present study, Cpn0712 (CdsD), Cpn0704 (CdsQ), and Cpn0826 (CdsL), three C. pneumoniae genes encoding yersiniae T3S YscD, YscQ, and YscL homologs, respectively, were cloned and expressed as histidine- and glutathione S-transferase (GST)-tagged proteins in Escherichia coli. Purified recombinant proteins were used to raise hyper-immune polyclonal antiserum and were used in GST pull-down and copurification assays to identify protein-protein interactions. CdsD was detected in both EB and RB lysates by Western blot analyses, and immunofluorescent staining demonstrated the presence of CdsD within inclusions. Triton X-114 solubilization and phase separation of chlamydial EB proteins indicated that CdsD partitions with cytoplasmic proteins, suggesting it is not an integral membrane protein. GST pull-down assays indicated that recombinant CdsD interacts with CdsQ and CdsL, and copurification assays with chlamydial lysates confirmed that native CdsD interacts with CdsQ and CdsL. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating interactions between YscD, YscQ, and YscL homologs of bacterial T3S systems. These novel protein interactions may play important roles in the assembly or function of the chlamydial T3S apparatus.
    Journal of bacteriology 05/2008; 190(8):2972-80. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    Dustin L Johnson, James B Mahony
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    ABSTRACT: Chlamydophila pneumoniae is an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes bronchitis, pharyngitis, and pneumonia and may be involved in atherogenesis and Alzheimer's disease. Genome sequencing has identified three eukaryote-type serine/threonine protein kinases, Pkn1, Pkn5, and PknD, that may be important signaling molecules in Chlamydia. Full-length PknD was cloned and expressed as a histidine-tagged protein in Escherichia coli. Differential centrifugation followed by sodium carbonate treatment of E. coli membranes demonstrated that His-PknD is an integral membrane protein. Fusions of overlapping PknD fragments to alkaline phosphatase revealed that PknD contains a single transmembrane domain and that the kinase domain is in the cytoplasm. To facilitate solubility, the kinase domain was cloned and expressed as a glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion protein in E. coli. Purified GST-PknD kinase domain autophosphorylated, and catalytic mutants (K33G, D156G, and K33G-D156G mutants) and activation loop mutants (T185A and T193A) were inactive. PknD phosphorylated recombinant Cpn0712, a type III secretion YscD homolog that has two forkhead-associated domains. Thin-layer chromatography revealed that the PknD kinase domain autophosphorylated on threonine and tyrosine and phosphorylated the FHA-2 domain of Cpn0712 on serine and tyrosine. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a bacterial protein kinase with amino acid specificity for both serine/threonine and tyrosine residues and this is the first study to show phosphorylation of a predicted type III secretion structural protein.
    Journal of Bacteriology 12/2007; 189(21):7549-55. · 3.19 Impact Factor