Riho Teras

Estonian Biocentre, Dorpat, Tartu County, Estonia

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Publications (11)36.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Homologous recombination (HR) has a major impact in bacterial evolution. Most of the knowledge about the mechanisms and control of HR in bacteria has been obtained in fast growing bacteria. However, in their natural environment bacteria frequently meet adverse conditions which restrict the growth of cells. We have constructed a test system to investigate HR between a plasmid and a chromosome in carbon-starved populations of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida restoring the expression of phenol monooxygenase gene pheA. Our results show that prolonged starvation of P. putida in the presence of phenol stimulates HR. The emergence of recombinants on selective plates containing phenol as an only carbon source for the growth of recombinants is facilitated by reactive oxygen species and suppressed by DNA mismatch repair enzymes. Importantly, the chromosomal location of the HR target influences the frequency and dynamics of HR events. In silico analysis of binding sites of nucleoid-associated proteins (NAPs) revealed that chromosomal DNA regions which flank the test system in bacteria exhibiting a lower HR frequency are enriched in binding sites for a subset of NAPs compared to those which express a higher frequency of HR. We hypothesize that the binding of these proteins imposes differences in local structural organization of the genome that could affect the accessibility of the chromosomal DNA to HR processes and thereby the frequency of HR.
    Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis 08/2012; 737(1-2):12-24. · 3.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An important link between the environment and the physiological state of bacteria is the regulation of the transcription of a large number of genes by global transcription factors. One of the global regulators, Fis (factor for inversion stimulation), is well studied in Escherichia coli, but the role of this protein in pseudomonads has only been examined briefly. According to studies in Enterobacteriaceae, Fis regulates positively the flagellar movement of bacteria. In pseudomonads, flagellar movement is an important trait for the colonization of plant roots. Therefore we were interested in the role of the Fis protein in Pseudomonas putida, especially the possible regulation of the colonization of plant roots. We observed that Fis reduced the migration of P. putida onto the apices of barley roots and thereby the competitiveness of bacteria on the roots. Moreover, we observed that overexpression of Fis drastically reduced swimming motility and facilitated P. putida biofilm formation, which could be the reason for the decreased migration of bacteria onto the root apices. It is possible that the elevated expression of Fis is important in the adaptation of P. putida during colonization of plant roots by promoting biofilm formation when the migration of bacteria is no longer favoured.
    Microbiology 03/2012; 158(Pt 3):708-20. · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is still an open question whether mutation rate can vary across the bacterial chromosome. In this study, the occurrence of mutations within the same mutational target sequences at different chromosomal locations of Pseudomonas putida was monitored. For that purpose we constructed two mutation detection systems, one for monitoring the occurrence of a broad spectrum of mutations and transposition of IS element IS1411 inactivating LacI repressor, and another for detecting 1-bp deletions. Our results revealed that both the mutation frequency and the spectrum of mutations vary at different chromosomal positions. We observed higher mutation frequencies when the direction of transcription of the mutational target gene was opposite to the direction of replisome movement in the chromosome and vice versa, lower mutation frequency was accompanied with co-directional transcription and replication. Additionally, asymmetry of frameshift mutagenesis at homopolymeric and repetitive sequences during the leading and lagging-strand replication was found. The transposition frequency of IS1411 was also affected by the chromosomal location of the target site, which implies that regional differences in chromosomal topology may influence transposition of this mobile element. The occurrence of mutations in the P. putida chromosome was investigated both in growing and in stationary-phase bacteria. We found that the appearance of certain mutational hot spots is strongly affected by the chromosomal location of the mutational target sequence especially in growing bacteria. Also, artificial increasing transcription of the mutational target gene elevated the frequency of mutations in growing bacteria.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(10):e48511. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The majority of bacteria possess a different set of specialized DNA polymerases than those identified in the most common model organism Escherichia coli. Here, we have studied the ability of specialized DNA polymerases to substitute Pol I in DNA replication in Pseudomonas putida. Our results revealed that P. putida Pol I-deficient cells have severe growth defects in LB medium, which is accompanied by filamentous cell morphology. However, growth of Pol I-deficient bacteria on solid rich medium can be restored by reduction of reactive oxygen species in cells. Also, mutants with improved growth emerge rapidly. Similarly to the initial Pol I-deficient P. putida, its adapted derivatives express a moderate mutator phenotype, which indicates that DNA replication carried out in the absence of Pol I is erroneous both in the original Pol I-deficient bacteria and the adapted derivatives. Analysis of the spectra of spontaneous Rif(r) mutations in P. putida strains lacking different DNA polymerases revealed that the presence of specialized DNA polymerases Pol II and Pol IV influences the frequency of certain base substitutions in Pol I-proficient and Pol I-deficient backgrounds in opposite ways. Involvement of another specialized DNA polymerase DnaE2 in DNA replication in Pol I-deficient bacteria is stimulated by UV irradiation of bacteria, implying that DnaE2-provided translesion synthesis partially substitutes the absence of Pol I in cells containing heavily damaged DNA.
    Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis 09/2011; 714(1-2):63-77. · 3.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transposition activity in bacteria is generally maintained at a low level. The activity of mobile DNA elements can be controlled by bacterially encoded global regulators. Regulation of transposition of Tn4652 in Pseudomonas putida is one such example. Activation of transposition of Tn4652 in starving bacteria requires the stationary-phase sigma factor RpoS and integration host factor (IHF). IHF plays a dual role in Tn4652 translocation by activating transcription of the transposase gene tnpA of the transposon and facilitating TnpA binding to the inverted repeats of the transposon. Our previous results have indicated that besides IHF some other P. putida-encoded global regulator(s) might bind to the ends of Tn4652 and regulate transposition activity. In this study, employing a DNase I footprint assay we have identified a binding site of P. putida Fis (factor for inversion stimulation) centred 135 bp inside the left end of Tn4652. Our results of gel mobility shift and DNase I footprint studies revealed that Fis out-competes IHF from the left end of Tn4652, thereby abolishing the binding of TnpA. Thus, the results obtained in this study indicate that the transposition of Tn4652 is regulated by the cellular amount of P. putida global regulators Fis and IHF.
    Microbiology 05/2009; 155(Pt 4):1203-14. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RpoS is a bacterial sigma factor of RNA polymerase which is involved in the expression of a large number of genes to facilitate survival under starvation conditions and other stresses. The results of our study demonstrate that the frequency of emergence of base substitution mutants is significantly increased in long-term-starved populations of rpoS-deficient Pseudomonas putida cells. The increasing effect of the lack of RpoS on the mutation frequency became apparent in both a plasmid-based test system measuring Phe(+) reversion and a chromosomal rpoB system detecting rifampin-resistant mutants. The elevated mutation frequency coincided with the death of about 95% of the cells in a population of rpoS-deficient P. putida. Artificial overexpression of superoxide dismutase or catalase in the rpoS-deficient strain restored the survival of cells and resulted in a decline in the mutation frequency. This indicated that, compared to wild-type bacteria, rpoS-deficient cells are less protected against damage caused by reactive oxygen species. 7,8-Dihydro-8-oxoguanine (GO) is known to be one of the most stable and frequent base modifications caused by oxygen radical attack on DNA. However, the spectrum of base substitution mutations characterized in rpoS-deficient P. putida was different from that in bacteria lacking the GO repair system: it was broader and more similar to that identified in the wild-type strain. Interestingly, the formation of large deletions was also accompanied by a lack of RpoS. Thus, the accumulation of DNA damage other than GO elevates the frequency of mutation in these bacteria. It is known that oxidative damage of proteins and membrane components, but not that of DNA, is a major reason for the death of cells. Since the increased mutation frequency was associated with a decline in the viability of bacteria, we suppose that the elevation of the mutation frequency in the surviving population of carbon-starved rpoS-deficient P. putida may be caused both by oxidative damage of DNA and enzymes involved in DNA replication and repair fidelity.
    Journal of bacteriology 05/2009; 191(11):3604-14. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The strain Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP is able to degrade atrazine as a sole nitrogen source and therefore needs a single source for both carbon and energy for growth. In addition to the typical C source for Pseudomonas, Na(2)-succinate, the strain can also grow with phenol as a carbon source. Phenol is oxidized to catechol by a multicomponent phenol hydroxylase. Catechol is degraded via the ortho pathway using catechol 1,2-dioxygenase. It was possible to stimulate the strain in order to degrade very high concentrations of phenol (1,000 mg/liter) and atrazine (150 mg/liter) simultaneously. With cyanuric acid, the major intermediate of atrazine degradation, as an N source, both the growth rate and the phenol degradation rate were similar to those measured with ammonia as an N source. With atrazine as an N source, the growth rate and the phenol degradation rate were reduced to approximately 35% of those obtained for cyanuric acid. This presents clear evidence that although the first three enzymes of the atrazine degradation pathway are constitutively present, either these enzymes or the uptake of atrazine is the bottleneck that diminishes the growth rate of Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP with atrazine as an N source. Whereas atrazine and cyanuric acid showed no significant toxic effect on the cells, phenol reduces growth and activates or induces typical membrane-adaptive responses known for the genus Pseudomonas. Therefore Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP is an ideal bacterium for the investigation of the regulatory interactions among several catabolic genes and stress response mechanisms during the simultaneous degradation of toxic phenolic compounds and a xenobiotic N source such as atrazine.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 05/2004; 70(4):1907-12. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transpositional activity of mobile elements is not constant. Conditional regulation of host factors involved in transposition may severely change the activity of mobile elements. We have demonstrated previously that transposition of Tn4652 in Pseudomonas putida is a stationary phase-specific event, which requires functional sigma S (Ilves et al., 2001, J Bacteriol 183: 5445-5448). We hypothesized that integration host factor (IHF), the concentration of which is increased in starving P. putida, might contribute to the transposition of Tn4652 as well. Here, we demonstrate that transposition of Tn4652 in stationary phase P. putida is essentially limited by the amount of IHF. No transposition of Tn4652 occurs in a P. putida ihfA-defective strain. Moreover, overexpression of IHF results in significant enhancement of transposition compared with the wild-type strain. This indicates that the amount of IHF is a bottleneck in Tn4652 transposition. Gel mobility shift and DNase I footprinting studies revealed that IHF is necessary for the binding of transposase to both transposon ends. In vitro, transposase can bind to inverted repeats of transposon only after the binding of IHF. The results obtained in this study indicate that, besides sigma S, IHF is another host factor that is implicated in the elevation of transposition in stationary phase.
    Molecular Microbiology 04/2004; 51(6):1773-85. · 4.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The main sigma factor activating gene expression, necessary in stationary phase and under stress conditions, is sigma(S). In contrast to other minor sigma factors, RNA polymerase holoenzyme containing sigma(S) (Esigma(S)) recognizes a number of promoters which are also recognized by that containing sigma(70) (Esigma(70)). We have previously shown that transposon Tn4652 can activate silent genes in starving Pseudomonas putida cells by creating fusion promoters during transposition. The sequence of the fusion promoters is similar to the sigma(70)-specific promoter consensus. The -10 hexameric sequence and the sequence downstream from the -10 element differ among these promoters. We found that transcription from the fusion promoters is stationary phase specific. Based on in vivo experiments carried out with wild-type and rpoS-deficient mutant P. putida, the effect of sigma(S) on transcription from the fusion promoters was established only in some of these promoters. The importance of the sequence of the -10 hexamer has been pointed out in several published papers, but there is no information about whether the sequences downstream from the -10 element can affect sigma(S)-dependent transcription. Combination of the -10 hexameric sequences and downstream sequences of different fusion promoters revealed that sigma(S)-specific transcription from these promoters is not determined by the -10 hexameric sequence only. The results obtained in this study indicate that the sequence of the -10 element influences sigma(S)-specific transcription in concert with the sequence downstream from the -10 box.
    Journal of Bacteriology 01/2001; 182(23):6707-13. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    R Teras, R Hõrak, M Kivisaar
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that both ends of the Tn3 family transposon Tn4652 contain integration host factor (IHF) binding sites and that IHF positively regulates expression of the Tn4652 transposase gene tnpA in Pseudomonas putida (R. Hõrak, and M. Kivisaar, J. Bacteriol. 180:2822-2829, 1998). Tn4652 can activate silent genes by creating fusion promoters during the transposition. The promoters are created as fusions between the -35 hexamer provided by the terminal inverted repeats of Tn4652 and the -10 hexamers in the target DNA. Two fusion promoters, PRA1 and PLA1, that contain sequences of the right and left termini of Tn4652, respectively, were chosen for the study of mechanisms of transcription activation. Gel mobility shift analysis using crude extracts from P. putida cells allowed us to detect specific binding of P. putida IHF to the ends of the transposon Tn4652. We found that the rate of transcription from the fusion promoter PRA1 is enhanced by IHF. Notably, the positive effect of IHF on transcription from the promoter PRA1 appeared only when cells of P. putida reached the stationary growth phase. We speculate that the intracellular concentration of IHF might be critical for the in vivo effect of IHF on transcription from the fusion promoters in P. putida. In the case of PLA1, the mechanism of transcription modulation by IHF is different than that observed for PRA1. Our results demonstrate that transcription of neighboring genes from outwardly directed promoters at the ends of a mobile DNA element could be influenced by the same factors that control transposition of the element.
    Journal of Bacteriology 03/2000; 182(3):589-98. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    Riho Teras