[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Chromosome Region of Maintenance 1 (CRM1) protein mediates nuclear export of hundreds of proteins through recognition of their nuclear export signals (NESs), which are highly variable in sequence and structure. The plasticity of the CRM1-NES interaction is not well understood, as there are many NES sequences that seem incompatible with structures of the NES-bound CRM1 groove. Crystal structures of CRM1 bound to two different NESs with unusual sequences showed the NES peptides binding the CRM1 groove in the opposite orientation (minus) to that of previously studied NESs (plus). Comparison of minus and plus NESs identified structural and sequence determinants for NES orientation. The binding of NESs to CRM1 in both orientations results in a large expansion in NES consensus patterns and therefore a corresponding expansion of potential NESs in the proteome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The syphilis spirochete Treponema pallidum is an important human pathogen but a highly enigmatic bacterium that cannot be cultivated in vitro. T. pallidum lacks many biosynthetic pathways and therefore has evolved the capability to exploit host-derived metabolites via its periplasmic lipoprotein repertoire. We recently reported a flavin-trafficking protein in T. pallidum (Ftp_Tp; TP0796) as the first bacterial metal-dependent flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) pyrophosphatase that hydrolyzes FAD into AMP and flavin mononucleotide (FMN) in the spirochete’s periplasm. However, orthologs of Ftp_Tp from other bacteria appear to lack this hydrolytic activity; rather, they bind and flavinylate subunits of a cytoplasmic membrane redox system (Nqr/Rnf). To further explore this dichotomy, biochemical analyses, protein crystallography, and structure-based mutagenesis were used to show that a single amino acid change (N55Y) in Ftp_Tp converts it from an Mg2+-dependent FAD pyrophosphatase to an FAD-binding protein. We also demonstrated that Ftp_Tp has a second enzymatic activity (Mg2+-FMN transferase); it flavinylates protein(s) covalently with FMN on a threonine side chain of an appropriate sequence motif using FAD as the substrate. Moreover, mutation of a metal-binding residue (D284A) eliminates Ftp_Tp’s dual activities, thereby underscoring the role of Mg2+ in the enzyme-catalyzed reactions. The posttranslational flavinylation activity that can target a periplasmic lipoprotein (TP0171) has not previously been described. The observed activities reveal the catalytic flexibility of a treponemal protein to perform multiple functions. Together, these findings imply mechanisms by which a dynamic pool of flavin cofactor is maintained and how flavoproteins are generated by Ftp_Tp locally in the T. pallidum periplasm.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC) is a first principles based method to determine absolute sedimentation coefficients and buoyant molar masses of macromolecules and their complexes, reporting on their size and shape in free solution. The purpose of this multi-laboratory study was to establish the precision and accuracy of basic data dimensions in AUC and validate previously proposed calibration techniques. Three kits of AUC cell assemblies containing radial and temperature calibration tools and a bovine serum albumin (BSA) reference sample were shared among 67 laboratories, generating 129 comprehensive data sets. These allowed for an assessment of many parameters of instrument performance, including accuracy of the reported scan time after the start of centrifugation, the accuracy of the temperature calibration, and the accuracy of the radial magnification. The range of sedimentation coefficients obtained for BSA monomer in different instruments and using different optical systems was from 3.655 S to 4.949 S, with a mean and standard deviation of (4.304 ± 0.188) S (4.4%). After the combined application of correction factors derived from the external calibration references for elapsed time, scan velocity, temperature, and radial magnification, the range of s-values was reduced 7-fold with a mean of 4.325 S and a 6-fold reduced standard deviation of ± 0.030 S (0.7%). In addition, the large data set provided an opportunity to determine the instrument-to-instrument variation of the absolute radial positions reported in the scan files, the precision of photometric or refractometric signal magnitudes, and the precision of the calculated apparent molar mass of BSA monomer and the fraction of BSA dimers. These results highlight the necessity and effectiveness of independent calibration of basic AUC data dimensions for reliable quantitative studies.
PLoS ONE 05/2015; 10(5). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0126420. · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sexually transmitted disease syphilis is caused by the bacterial spirochete Treponema pallidum. This microorganism is genetically intractable, accounting for the large number of putative and under-characterized members of the pathogen's proteome. In an effort to ascribe a function(s) to the TP0435 (Tp17) lipoprotein, we engineered a soluble variant of the protein (rTP0435) and determined its crystal structure at a resolution of 2.42 Å. The structure is characterized by an eight-stranded β-barrel protein with a shallow “basin” at one end of the barrel and an α-helix stacked on the opposite end. Furthermore, there is a disulfide-linked dimer of the protein in the asymmetric unit of the crystals. Solution hydrodynamic experiments established that purified rTP0435 is monomeric, but specifically forms the disulfide-stabilized dimer observed in the crystal structure. The data herein, when considered with previous work on TP0435, imply plausible roles for the protein in either ligand binding, treponemal membrane architecture, and/or pathogenesis.
Protein Science 01/2015; 24(1). DOI:10.1002/pro.2576 · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
To adapt to stresses encountered in stationary phase, Gram-negative bacteria utilize the alternative sigma factor RpoS. However, some species lack RpoS; thus, it is unclear how stationary-phase adaptation is regulated in these organisms. Here we defined the growth-phase-dependent transcriptomes of Haemophilus ducreyi, which lacks an RpoS homolog. Compared to mid-log-phase organisms, cells harvested from the stationary phase upregulated genes encoding several virulence determinants and a homolog of hfq. Insertional inactivation of hfq altered the expression of ~16% of the H. ducreyi genes. Importantly, there were a significant overlap and an inverse correlation in the transcript levels of genes differentially expressed in the hfq inactivation mutant relative to its parent and the genes differentially expressed in stationary phase relative to mid-log phase in the parent. Inactivation of hfq downregulated genes in the flp-tad and lspB-lspA2 operons, which encode several virulence determinants. To comply with FDA guidelines for human inoculation experiments, an unmarked hfq deletion mutant was constructed and was fully attenuated for virulence in humans. Inactivation or deletion of hfq downregulated Flp1 and impaired the ability of H. ducreyi to form microcolonies, downregulated DsrA and rendered H. ducreyi serum susceptible, and downregulated LspB and LspA2, which allow H. ducreyi to resist phagocytosis. We propose that, in the absence of an RpoS homolog, Hfq serves as a major contributor of H. ducreyi stationary-phase and virulence gene regulation. The contribution of Hfq to stationary-phase gene regulation may have broad implications for other organisms that lack an RpoS homolog.
Pathogenic bacteria encounter a wide range of stresses in their hosts, including nutrient limitation; the ability to sense and respond to such stresses is crucial for bacterial pathogens to successfully establish an infection. Gram-negative bacteria frequently utilize the alternative sigma factor RpoS to adapt to stresses and stationary phase. However, homologs of RpoS are absent in some bacterial pathogens, including Haemophilus ducreyi, which causes chancroid and facilitates the acquisition and transmission of HIV-1. Here, we provide evidence that, in the absence of an RpoS homolog, Hfq serves as a major contributor of stationary-phase gene regulation and that Hfq is required for H. ducreyi to infect humans. To our knowledge, this is the first study describing Hfq as a major contributor of stationary-phase gene regulation in bacteria and the requirement of Hfq for the virulence of a bacterial pathogen in humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) has become a standard and widely available tool to measure the thermodynamic parameters of macromolecular associations. Modern applications of the method, including global analysis and drug screening, require the acquisition of multiple sets of data; sometimes these data sets number in the hundreds. Therefore, there is a need for quick, precise, and automated means to process the data, particularly at the first step of data analysis, which is commonly the integration of the raw data to yield an interpretable isotherm. Herein, we describe enhancements to an algorithm that previously has been shown to provide an automated, unbiased, and high-precision means to integrate ITC data. These improvements allow for the speedy and precise serial integration of an unlimited number of ITC data sets, and they have been implemented in the freeware program NITPIC, version 1.1.0. We present a comprehensive comparison of the performance of this software against an older version of NITPIC and a current version of Origin, which is commonly used for integration. The new methods recapitulate the excellent performance of the previous versions of NITPIC while speeding it up substantially, and their precision is significantly better than that of Origin. This new version of NITPIC is therefore well suited to the serial integration of many ITC data sets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are a paucity of data concerning gene products that could contribute to the ability of Moraxella catarrhalis to colonize the human nasopharynx. Inactivation of a gene (mesR) encoding a predicted response regulator of a two-component signal transduction system in M. catarrhalis yielded a mutant unable to grow in liquid media. This mesR mutant also exhibited increased sensitivity to certain stressors, including polymyxin B, SDS, and hydrogen peroxide. Inactivation
of the gene (mesS) encoding the predicted cognate sensor (histidine) kinase yielded a mutant with the same inability to grow in liquid media
as the mesR mutant. DNA microarray and real-time reverse transcriptase PCR analyses indicated that several genes previously shown to
be involved in the ability of M. catarrhalis to persist in the chinchilla nasopharynx were upregulated in the mesR mutant. Two other open reading frames upregulated in the mesR mutant were shown to encode small proteins (LipA and LipB) that had amino acid sequence homology to bacterial adhesins and
structural homology to bacterial lysozyme inhibitors. Inactivation of both lipA and lipB did not affect the ability of M. catarrhalis O35E to attach to a human bronchial epithelial cell line in vitro. Purified recombinant LipA and LipB fusion proteins were each shown to inhibit human lysozyme activity in vitro and in saliva. A lipA lipB deletion mutant was more sensitive than the wild-type parent strain to killing by human lysozyme in the presence of human
apolactoferrin. This is the first report of the production of lysozyme inhibitors by M. catarrhalis.
Infection and Immunity 10/2014; 83(1). DOI:10.1128/IAI.02486-14 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: eLife digest
Dynamic filaments of proteins, called microtubules, have several important roles inside cells. Microtubules provide structural support for the cell; they help to pull chromosomes apart during cell division; and they guide the trafficking of proteins and molecules across the cell.
The building blocks of microtubules are proteins called αβ-tubulin, which are continually added to and removed from the ends of a microtubule, causing it to grow and shrink. Other proteins that interact with the microtubules can help to speed up these construction and deconstruction processes. Ayaz et al. took a closer look at the structure of one particular family of proteins that make it easier for the microtubules to grow, using a technique called X-ray crystallography. The resulting images show two sites—called TOG1 and TOG2—on the enzymes that attach to the αβ-tubulin proteins. Ayaz et al. found that this binding can only occur when αβ-tubulin has a curved shape, which only happens when the tubulins are not included in, or are only bound weakly to the end of, a microtubule.
Previous research suggested that the two binding sites might work together to provide ‘scaffolding’ that stabilizes the microtubule. However, genetic experiments by Ayaz et al. show that microtubules will grow even if one of the binding sites is missing. Both TOG1 and TOG2 bind to αβ-tubulin in the same way, and by using computer simulations Ayaz et al. found that this helps to speed up the growth of microtubules. This is because the enzyme's two sites concentrate the individual tubulin building blocks at the ends of the filament. For example, TOG2 could bind to the end of the microtubule, while TOG1 holds an αβ-tubulin protein nearby and ready to bind to the filament's end. This tethering allows the microtubules to be assembled more efficiently.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accurate measurements of rotor temperature are critical for the interpretation of hydrodynamic parameters in analytical ultracentrifugation. We have recently developed methods for a more accurate determination of the temperature of a spinning rotor utilizing iButton® temperature loggers. Here we report that the temperature measured with the iButton on the counterbalance of a resting rotor, following thermal equilibration under high vacuum, closely corresponded to the temperature of the spinning rotor with a precision better than 0.2 °C. This strategy offers an inexpensive and straightforward approach to monitor the accuracy of the temperature calibration and determine corrective temperature offsets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colonization of the human nasopharynx by Moraxella catarrhalis is presumed to involve attachment of this bacterium to the mucosa. DNA microarray analysis was used to determine whether attachment of M. catarrhalis to human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells in vitro affected gene expression in this bacterium. Attachment affected expression of at least 454 different genes, with 163 being up-regulated and 291 being down-regulated. Among the up-regulated genes was one (ORF 113) previously annotated as encoding a protein with some similarity to outer membrane protein A (OmpA). The protein encoded by ORF 113 was predicted to have a signal peptidase II cleavage site, and globomycin inhibition experiments confirmed that this protein was indeed a lipoprotein. The ORF 113 protein also contained a predicted peptidoglycan-binding domain in its C-terminal half. The use of mutant and recombinant M. catarrhalis strains confirmed that the ORF 113 protein was present in outer membrane preparations, and this protein was also shown to be at least partially exposed on the bacterial cell surface. A mutant unable to produce the ORF 113 protein showed little or no change in its growth rate in vitro, in its ability to attach to HBE cells in vitro, or in its autoagglutination characteristics, but did exhibit a reduced ability to survive in the chinchilla nasopharynx. This is the first report of a lipoprotein essential to the ability of M. catarrhalis to persist in an animal model.
Infection and immunity 03/2014; 82(6). DOI:10.1128/IAI.01745-14 · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The alternative sigma factor RpoS in Borrelia burgdorferi plays a central role in modulating host adaptive responses when spirochetes cycle between ticks and mammals. The transcriptional activation of σ54-dependent rpoS requires a Fur homologue designated as BosR. Previously, we found that BosR directly activates rpoS transcription by binding to the rpoS promoter. However, many other DNA-binding features of BosR have remained obscure. In particular, the precise DNA sequence targeted by BosR has not yet been completely elucidated. The prediction of a putative Per box within the rpoS promoter region has further confounded the identification of the BosR binding sequence. Herein, by using electrophoretic mobility shift assays, we demonstrate that the putative Per box predicted in the rpoS promoter region is not involved in the binding of BosR. Rather, a 13-bp palindromic sequence (ATTTAANTTAAAT) with dyad symmetry, which we herein denote as the "BosR box", functions as the core sequence recognized by BosR in the rpoS promoter region of B. burgdorferi. Similar to a Fur box and a Per box, the BosR box likely comprises a 6-1-6 inverted repeat composed of two hexamers (ATTTAA) in a head-to-tail orientation. Selected mutations in the BosR box prevented recombinant BosR from binding to rpoS. In addition, we found that sequences neighboring the BosR box also are required for the formation of BosR-DNA complexes. Identification of the BosR box advances our understanding of how BosR recognizes its DNA target(s), and provides new insight into the mechanistic details behind the unique regulatory function of BosR.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Lyme disease agent Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted via a tick vector, is dependent on its tick and mammalian hosts for a number of essential nutrients. Like other bacterial diderms, it must transport these biochemicals from the extracellular milieu across two membranes, ultimately to the B. burgdorferi cytoplasm. In the current study, we established that a gene cluster comprising genes bb0215 through bb0218 is cotranscribed and is therefore an operon. Sequence analysis of these proteins suggested that they are the components of an ABC-type transporter responsible for translocating phosphate anions from the B. burgdorferi periplasm to the cytoplasm. Biophysical experiments established that the putative ligand-binding protein of this system, BbPstS (BB0215), binds to phosphate in solution. We determined the high-resolution (1.3 Å) crystal structure of the protein in the absence of phosphate, revealing that the protein's fold is similar to other phosphate-binding proteins, and residues that are implicated in phosphate binding in other such proteins are conserved in BbPstS. Taken together, the gene products of bb0215-0218 function as a phosphate transporter for B. burgdorferi.
Protein Science 02/2014; 23(2). DOI:10.1002/pro.2406 · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The presence of DNA in the cytoplasm is a danger signal that triggers immune and inflammatory responses. Cytosolic DNA binds to and activates cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) synthase (cGAS), which produces the second messenger cGAMP. cGAMP binds to the adaptor protein STING and activates a signaling cascade that leads to the production of type I interferons and other cytokines. Here, we report the crystal structures of human cGAS in its apo form, representing its autoinhibited conformation as well as in its cGAMP- and sulfate-bound forms. These structures reveal switch-like conformational changes of an activation loop that result in the rearrangement of the catalytic site. The structure of DNA-bound cGAS reveals a complex composed of dimeric cGAS bound to two molecules of DNA. Functional analyses of cGAS mutants demonstrate that both the protein-protein interface and the two DNA binding surfaces are critical for cGAS activation. These results provide insights into the mechanism of DNA sensing by cGAS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
Bacterial transporter proteins are involved in the translocation of many essential nutrients and metabolites. However, many of these key bacterial transport systems remain to be identified, including those involved in the transport of riboflavin (vitamin B(2)). Pathogenic spirochetes lack riboflavin biosynthetic pathways, implying reliance on obtaining riboflavin from their hosts. Using structural and functional characterizations of possible ligand-binding components, we have identified an ABC-type riboflavin transport system within pathogenic spirochetes. The putative lipoprotein ligand-binding components of these systems from three different spirochetes were cloned, hyperexpressed in Escherichia coli, and purified to homogeneity. Solutions of all three of the purified recombinant proteins were bright yellow. UV-visible spectra demonstrated that these proteins were likely flavoproteins; electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and thin-layer chromatography confirmed that they contained riboflavin. A 1.3-Å crystal structure of the protein (TP0298) encoded by Treponema pallidum, the syphilis spirochete, demonstrated that the protein's fold is similar to the ligand-binding components of ABC-type transporters. The structure also revealed other salient details of the riboflavin binding site. Comparative bioinformatics analyses of spirochetal genomes, coupled with experimental validation, facilitated the discovery of this new ABC-type riboflavin transport system(s). We denote the ligand-binding component as riboflavin uptake transporter A (RfuA). Taken together, it appears that pathogenic spirochetes have evolved an ABC-type transport system (RfuABCD) for survival in their host environments, particularly that of the human host.
Syphilis remains a public health problem, but very little is known about the causative bacterium. This is because Treponema pallidum still cannot be cultured in the laboratory. Rather, T. pallidum must be cultivated in laboratory rabbits, a restriction that poses many insurmountable experimental obstacles. Approaches to learn more about the structure and function of T. pallidum's cell envelope, which is both the physical and functional interface between T. pallidum and its human host, are severely limited. One approach for elucidating T. pallidum's cell envelope has been to determine the three-dimensional structures of its membrane lipoproteins, molecules that serve many critical survival functions. Herein, we describe a previously unknown transport system that T. pallidum uses to import riboflavin, an essential nutrient for the organism's survival. Moreover, we found that this transport system is present in other pathogenic spirochetes. This is the first description of this new type of bacterial riboflavin transport system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plexins are cell surface receptors that bind semaphorins and transduce signals for regulating neuronal axon guidance and other processes. Plexin signaling depends on their cytoplasmic GTPase activating protein (GAP) domain, which specifically inactivates the Ras homolog Rap through an ill-defined non-canonical catalytic mechanism. The plexin GAP is activated by semaphorin-induced dimerization, the structural basis for which remained unknown. Here we present the crystal structures of the active dimer of zebrafish PlexinC1 cytoplasmic region in the apo state and in complex with Rap. The structures show that the dimerization induces a large-scale conformational change in plexin, which opens the GAP active site to allow Rap binding. Plexin stabilizes the switch II region of Rap in an unprecedented conformation, bringing Gln63 in Rap into the active site for catalyzing GTP hydrolysis. The structures also explain the unique Rap-specificity of plexins. Mutational analyses support that these mechanisms underlie plexin activation and signaling. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01279.001
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of the lspB-lspA2 operon encoding a virulence-related two-partner secretion system in Haemophilus ducreyi 35000HP is directly regulated by the CpxRA regulatory system [Labandeira-Rey M, Mock JR, Hansen E. Regulation of expression of the Haemophilus ducreyi LspB and LspA2 proteins by CpxR. Infect. Immun. 77: 3402-3411 (2009)]. In the present study, we show that this secretion system is also regulated by the small nucleoid-associated protein Fis. Inactivation of the H. ducreyi fis gene resulted in a reduction in expression of both the H. ducreyi LspB and LspA2 proteins. DNA microarray experiments showed that a H. ducreyi fis deletion mutant exhibited altered expression of genes encoding other important H. ducreyi virulence factors including DsrA and Flp1, suggesting a possible global role for Fis in control of virulence in this obligate human pathogen. While the H. ducreyi Fis protein has a high degree of sequence and structural similarity to the Fis proteins of other bacteria, its temporal pattern of expression was very different from that of enterobacterial Fis proteins. The use of a lacZ-based transcriptional reporter provided evidence which indicated that the H. ducreyi Fis homolog is a positive regulator of gyrB, a gene that is negatively regulated by Fis in enteric bacteria. Taken together, the Fis protein expression data and the observed regulatory effects of Fis in H. ducreyi suggest that this small DNA binding protein has a regulatory role in H. ducreyi which may differ in substantial ways from that of other Fis proteins.
Infection and immunity 08/2013; 81(11). DOI:10.1128/IAI.00714-13 · 3.73 Impact Factor