Sarah Sanowar

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States

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Publications (9)87.82 Total impact

  • Toni Kline · Heather B Felise · Sarah Sanowar · Samuel I Miller ·
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    ABSTRACT: Type III Secretion Systems (T3SSs) are highly organized multi-protein nanomachines which translocate effector proteins from the bacterial cytosol directly into host cells. These systems are required for the pathogenesis of a wide array of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, and thus have attracted attention as potential antibacterial drug targets. A decade of research has enabled the identification of natural products, conventional small molecule drug-like structures, and proteins that inhibit T3SSs. The mechanism(s) of action and molecular target(s) of the majority of these inhibitors remain to be determined. At the same time, structural biology methods are providing an increasingly detailed picture of the functional arrangement of the T3SS component proteins. The confluence of these two research areas may ultimately identify non-classical drug targets and facilitate the development of novel therapeutics.
    Current drug targets 12/2011; 13(3):338-51. DOI:10.2174/138945012799424642 · 3.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Salmonella enterica species are exposed to envelope stresses due to their environmental and infectious lifestyles. Such stresses include amphipathic cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs), and resistance to these peptides is an important property for microbial virulence for animals. Bacterial mechanisms used to sense and respond to CAMP-induced envelope stress include the RcsFCDB phosphorelay, which contributes to survival from polymyxin B exposure. The Rcs phosphorelay includes two inner membrane (IM) proteins, RcsC and RcsD; the response regulator RcsB; the accessory coregulator RcsA; and an outer membrane bound lipoprotein, RcsF. Transcriptional activation of the Rcs regulon occurred within minutes of exposure to CAMP and during the first detectable signs of CAMP-induced membrane disorder. Rcs transcriptional activation by CAMPs required RcsF and preservation of its two internal disulfide linkages. The rerouting of RcsF to the inner membrane or its synthesis as an unanchored periplasmic protein resulted in constitutive activation of the Rcs regulon and RcsCD-dependent phosphorylation. These findings suggest that RcsFCDB activation in response to CAMP-induced membrane disorder is a result of a change in structure or availability of RcsF to the IM signaling constituents of the Rcs phosphorelay.
    Journal of bacteriology 10/2010; 192(19):4894-903. DOI:10.1128/JB.00505-10 · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The type III secretion system (T3SS) is an interspecies protein transport machine that plays a major role in interactions of Gram-negative bacteria with animals and plants by delivering bacterial effector proteins into host cells. T3SSs span both membranes of Gram-negative bacteria by forming a structure of connected oligomeric rings termed the needle complex (NC). Here, the localization of subunits in the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium T3SS NC were probed via mass spectrometry-assisted identification of chemical cross-links in intact NC preparations. Cross-links between amino acids near the amino terminus of the outer membrane ring component InvG and the carboxyl terminus of the inner membrane ring component PrgH and between the two inner membrane components PrgH and PrgK allowed for spatial localization of the three ring components within the electron density map structures of NCs. Mutational and biochemical analysis demonstrated that the amino terminus of InvG and the carboxyl terminus of PrgH play a critical role in the assembly and function of the T3SS apparatus. Analysis of an InvG mutant indicates that the structure of the InvG oligomer can affect the switching of the T3SS substrate to translocon and effector components. This study provides insights into how structural organization of needle complex base components promotes T3SS assembly and function.
    mBio 06/2010; 1(3). DOI:10.1128/mBio.00158-10 · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The type III secretion system (T3SS) is a macromolecular 'injectisome' that allows bacterial pathogens to transport virulence proteins into the eukaryotic host cell. This macromolecular complex is composed of connected ring-like structures that span both bacterial membranes. The crystal structures of the periplasmic domain of the outer membrane secretin EscC and the inner membrane protein PrgH reveal the conservation of a modular fold among the three proteins that form the outer membrane and inner membrane rings of the T3SS. This leads to the hypothesis that this conserved fold provides a common ring-building motif that allows for the assembly of the variably sized outer membrane and inner membrane rings characteristic of the T3SS. Using an integrated structural and experimental approach, we generated ring models for the periplasmic domain of EscC and placed them in the context of the assembled T3SS, providing evidence for direct interaction between the outer membrane and inner membrane ring components and an unprecedented span of the outer membrane secretin.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 05/2009; 16(5):468-76. DOI:10.1038/nsmb.1603 · 13.31 Impact Factor
  • Lynne R Prost · Sarah Sanowar · Samuel I Miller ·
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    ABSTRACT: Salmonella enterica is a facultative intracellular pathogen that replicates within macrophages. The interaction of this pathogen with mammalian cells is a complex process involving hundreds of bacterial products that are sensed by and alter mammalian hosts. Numerous bacterial genes and their protein products have been identified that are required for Salmonella to resist killing by host innate immunity and to modify host processes. Many of these genes are regulated by a specific bacterial sensor, the PhoQ protein, which responds to the acidified phagosome environment. PhoQ is a sensor histidine kinase, which when activated in vivo within acidified macrophage phagosomes, regulates cell surface modifications that promote resistance to antimicrobial peptides and oxidative stress, alter the phagosome to promote intracellular survival, and reduce innate immune recognition. In this review, we discuss mechanisms by which Salmonella interacts with macrophages and focus in detail on recent reports describing the role of antimicrobial peptides and pH in PhoQ activation.
    Immunological Reviews 11/2007; 219(1):55-65. DOI:10.1111/j.1600-065X.2007.00557.x · 10.12 Impact Factor
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    Samuel I Miller · Lucas R Hoffman · Sarah Sanowar ·
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    ABSTRACT: Bacteria sense and respond to their environment, enabling adaptation to diverse niches, including multicellular eukaryotes. In this issue of Cell Host & Microbe, Torres et al. describe how the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus responds to heme as a molecular marker of the mammalian host environment. It is likely that mechanisms for sensing such markers evolved from systems that recognized cues present in microbial communities before the emergence of eukaryotes.
    Cell host & microbe 04/2007; 1(2):85-7. DOI:10.1016/j.chom.2007.04.002 · 12.33 Impact Factor
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    Sarah Sanowar · Hervé Le Moual ·
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    ABSTRACT: Two-component signal-transduction systems are widespread in bacteria. They are usually composed of a transmembrane histidine kinase sensor and a cytoplasmic response regulator. The PhoP/PhoQ two-component system of Salmonella typhimurium contributes to virulence by co-ordinating the adaptation to low concentrations of environmental Mg2+. Limiting concentrations of extracellular Mg2+ activate the PhoP/PhoQ phosphorylation cascade modulating the transcription of PhoP-regulated genes. In contrast, high concentrations of extracellular Mg2+ stimulate the dephosphorylation of the response regulator PhoP by the PhoQ kinase sensor. In the present study, we report the purification and functional reconstitution of PhoQ(His), a PhoQ variant with a C-terminal His tag, into Escherichia coli liposomes. The functionality of PhoQ(His) was essentially similar to that of PhoQ as shown in vivo and in vitro. Purified PhoQ(His) was inserted into liposomes in a unidirectional orientation, with the sensory domain facing the lumen and the catalytic domain facing the extraluminal environment. Reconstituted PhoQ(His) exhibited all the catalytic activities that have been described for histidine kinase sensors. Reconstituted PhoQ(His) was capable of autokinase activity when incubated in the presence of Mg2+-ATP. The phosphoryl group could be transferred from reconstituted PhoQ(His) to PhoP. Reconstituted PhoQ(His) catalysed the dephosphorylation of phospho-PhoP and this activity was stimulated by the addition of extraluminal ADP.
    Biochemical Journal 10/2005; 390(Pt 3):769-76. DOI:10.1042/BJ20050060 · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PhoQ is a membrane bound sensor kinase important for the pathogenesis of a number of Gram-negative bacterial species. PhoQ and its cognate response regulator PhoP constitute a signal-transduction cascade that controls inducible resistance to host antimicrobial peptides. We show that enzymatic activity of Salmonella typhimurium PhoQ is directly activated by antimicrobial peptides. A highly acidic surface of the PhoQ sensor domain participates in both divalent-cation and antimicrobial-peptide binding as a first step in signal transduction across the bacterial membrane. Identification of PhoQ signaling mutants, binding studies with the PhoQ sensor domain, and structural analysis of this domain can be incorporated into a model in which antimicrobial peptides displace divalent cations from PhoQ metal binding sites to initiate signal transduction. Our findings reveal a molecular mechanism by which bacteria sense small innate immune molecules to initiate a transcriptional program that promotes bacterial virulence.
    Cell 09/2005; 122(3):461-72. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2005.05.030 · 32.24 Impact Factor
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    Sarah Sanowar · Alexandre Martel · Hervé Le Moual ·
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    ABSTRACT: The PhoP/PhoQ two-component regulatory system of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium plays an essential role in controlling virulence by mediating the adaptation to Mg2+ depletion. The pho-24 allele of phoQ harbors a single amino acid substitution (T48I) in the periplasmic domain of the PhoQ histidine kinase sensor. This mutation has been shown to increase net phosphorylation of the PhoP response regulator. We analyzed the effect on signaling by PhoP/PhoQ of various amino acid substitutions at this position (PhoQ-T48X [X = A, S, V, I, or L]). Mutations T48V, T48I, and T48L were found to affect signaling by PhoP/PhoQ both in vivo and in vitro. Mutations PhoQ-T48V and PhoQ-T48I increased both the expression of the mgtA::lacZ transcriptional fusion and the net phosphorylation of PhoP, conferring to cells a PhoP constitutively active phenotype. In contrast, mutation PhoQ-T48L barely responded to changes in the concentration of external Mg2+, in vivo and in vitro, conferring to cells a PhoP constitutively inactive phenotype. By analyzing in vitro the individual catalytic activities of the PhoQ-T48X sensors, we found that the PhoP constitutively active phenotype observed for the PhoQ-T48V and PhoQ-T48I proteins is solely due to decreased phosphatase activity. In contrast, the PhoP constitutively inactive phenotype observed for the PhoQ-T48L mutant resulted from both decreased autokinase activity and increased phosphatase activity. Our data are consistent with a model in which the residue at position 48 of PhoQ contributes to a conformational switch between kinase- and phosphatase-dominant states.
    Journal of Bacteriology 04/2003; 185(6):1935-41. DOI:10.1128/JB.185.6.1935-1941.2003 · 2.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

529 Citations
87.82 Total Impact Points


  • 2007-2011
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • • Department of Immunology
      • • Department of Genome Sciences
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2003-2005
    • McGill University
      • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada