Michael J Pearce

New York University, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (8)65.54 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Proteins targeted for degradation by the Mycobacterium proteasome are post-translationally tagged with prokaryotic ubiquitin-like protein (Pup), an intrinsically disordered protein of 64 residues. In a process termed 'pupylation', Pup is synthesized with a terminal glutamine, which is deamidated to glutamate by Dop (deamidase of Pup) prior to attachment to substrate lysines by proteasome accessory factor A (PafA). Importantly, PafA was previously shown to be essential to cause lethal infections by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) in mice. In this study we show that Dop, like PafA, is required for the full virulence of Mtb. Additionally, we show that Dop is not only involved in the deamidation of Pup, but also needed to maintain wild-type steady state levels of pupylated proteins in Mtb. Finally, using structural models and site-directed mutagenesis our data suggest that Dop and PafA are members of the glutamine synthetase fold family of proteins.
    Molecular Microbiology 07/2010; 77(5):1123-35. · 4.96 Impact Factor
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    Kristin E Burns, Michael J Pearce, K Heran Darwin
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    ABSTRACT: Prokaryotic ubiquitin-like protein (Pup) is a posttranslational modifier that targets proteins for degradation by the mycobacterial proteasome. We show that the disordered amino terminus of Pup is required for degradation, while the helical carboxyl terminus mediates its attachment to proteins. Thus, Pup has distinct regions that either interact with pupylation enzymes or initiate proteasomal degradation.
    Journal of bacteriology 03/2010; 192(11):2933-5. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: [This corrects the article on p. e8589 in vol. 5.].
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(7). · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prokaryotic ubiquitin-like protein (Pup) in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is the first known post-translational small protein modifier in prokaryotes, and targets several proteins for degradation by a bacterial proteasome in a manner akin to ubiquitin (Ub) mediated proteolysis in eukaryotes. To determine the extent of pupylation in Mtb, we used tandem affinity purification to identify its "pupylome". Mass spectrometry identified 55 out of 604 purified proteins with confirmed pupylation sites. Forty-four proteins, including those with and without identified pupylation sites, were tested as substrates of proteolysis in Mtb. Under steady state conditions, the majority of the test proteins did not accumulate in degradation mutants, suggesting not all targets of pupylation are necessarily substrates of the proteasome under steady state conditions. Four proteins implicated in Mtb pathogenesis, Icl (isocitrate lyase), Ino1 (inositol-1-phosphate synthase), MtrA (Mtbresponse regulator A) and PhoP (phosphate response regulator P), showed altered levels in degradation defective Mtb. Icl, Ino1 and MtrA accumulated in Mtb degradation mutants, suggesting these proteins are targeted to the proteasome. Unexpectedly, PhoP was present in wild type Mtb but undetectable in the degradation mutants. Taken together, these data demonstrate that pupylation regulates numerous proteins in Mtb and may not always lead to degradation.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(1):e8589. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The protein modifier ubiquitin is a signal for proteasome-mediated degradation in eukaryotes. Proteasome-bearing prokaryotes have been thought to degrade proteins via a ubiquitin-independent pathway. We have identified a prokaryotic ubiquitin-like protein, Pup (Rv2111c), which was specifically conjugated to proteasome substrates in the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Pupylation occurred on lysines and required proteasome accessory factor A (PafA). In a pafA mutant, pupylated proteins were absent and substrates accumulated, thereby connecting pupylation with degradation. Although analogous to ubiquitylation, pupylation appears to proceed by a different chemistry. Thus, like eukaryotes, bacteria may use a small-protein modifier to control protein stability.
    Science 11/2008; 322(5904):1104-7. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    Richard A Festa, Michael J Pearce, K Heran Darwin
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    ABSTRACT: In a previous screen for Mycobacterium tuberculosis mutants that are hypersusceptible to reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI), two genes associated with the M. tuberculosis proteasome were identified. One of these genes, pafA (proteasome accessory factor A), encodes a protein of unknown function. In this work, we determined that pafA is in an operon with two additional genes, pafB and pafC. In order to assess the contribution of these genes to RNI resistance, we isolated mutants with transposon insertions in pafB and pafC. In contrast to the pafA mutant, the pafB and pafC mutants were not severely sensitized to RNI, but pafB and pafC were nonetheless required for full RNI resistance. We also found that PafB and PafC interact with each other and that each is likely required for the stability of the other protein in M. tuberculosis. Finally, we show that the presence of PafA, but not PafB or PafC, regulates the steady-state levels of three proteasome substrates. Taken together, these data demonstrate that PafA, but not PafB or PafC, is critical for maintaining the steady-state levels of known proteasome substrates, whereas all three proteins appear to play a role in RNI resistance.
    Journal of Bacteriology 05/2007; 189(8):3044-50. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The putative proteasome-associated proteins Mpa (Mycobaterium proteasomal ATPase) and PafA (proteasome accessory factor A) of the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) are essential for virulence and resistance to nitric oxide. However, a direct link between the proteasome protease and Mpa or PafA has never been demonstrated. Furthermore, protein degradation by bacterial proteasomes in vitro has not been accomplished, possibly due to the failure to find natural degradation substrates or other necessary proteasome co-factors. In this work, we identify the first bacterial proteasome substrates, malonyl Co-A acyl carrier protein transacylase and ketopantoate hydroxymethyltransferase, enzymes that are required for the biosynthesis of fatty acids and polyketides that are essential for the pathogenesis of Mtb. Maintenance of the physiological levels of these enzymes required Mpa and PafA in addition to proteasome protease activity. Mpa levels were also regulated in a proteasome-dependent manner. Finally, we found that a conserved tyrosine of Mpa was essential for function. Thus, these results suggest that Mpa, PafA, and the Mtb proteasome degrade bacterial proteins that are important for virulence in mice.
    The EMBO Journal 12/2006; 25(22):5423-32. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein degradation is required for homeostasis of all living organisms. Self-compartmentalized ATP-dependent proteases are required for virulence of several pathogenic bacteria. Among the proteases implicated are ClpP and Lon, as well as the more recently identified bacterial proteasome. It is generally assumed that when a pathogen invades a host, microbial proteins become irreversibly damaged and need to be degraded. However, recent data suggest that proteolysis is also essential for virulence gene regulation. In this review, we will discuss what is known about the relationship between ATP-dependent proteolysis and pathogenesis. In addition, we will propose other potential roles these chambered proteases may have in bacterial virulence. Importantly, these proteases show promise as targets for antimicrobial therapy.
    Molecular Microbiology 06/2006; 60(3):553-62. · 4.96 Impact Factor