[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacteria of the genus Brucella have the unusual capability to catabolize erythritol and this property has been associated with their virulence mainly because of the presence of erythritol in bovine foetal tissues and because the attenuated S19 vaccine strain is the only Brucella strain unable to oxydize erythritol. In this work we have analyzed the transcriptional changes produced in Brucella by erythritol by means of two high throughput approaches: RNA hybridization against a microarray containing most of Brucella ORF's constructed from the Brucella ORFeome and next generation sequencing of Brucella mRNA in an Illumina GAIIx platform. The results obtained showed the overexpression of a group of genes, many of them in a single cluster around the ery operon, able to co-ordinately mediate the transport and degradation of erythritol into three carbon atoms intermediates that will be then converted into fructose-6P (F6P) by gluconeogenesis. Other induced genes participating in the nonoxidative branch of the pentose phosphate shunt and the TCA may collaborate with the ery genes to conform an efficient degradation of sugars by this route. On the other hand, several routes of amino acid and nucleotide biosynthesis are up-regulated whilst amino acid transport and catabolism genes are down-regulated. These results corroborate previous descriptions indicating that in the presence of erythritol, this sugar was used preferentially over other compounds and provides a neat explanation of the the reported stimulation of growth induced by erythritol.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e50876. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Isoprenoids are a large family of compounds with essential functions in all domains of life. Most eubacteria synthesize their isoprenoids using the methylerythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway, whereas a minority uses the unrelated mevalonate pathway and only a few have both. Interestingly, Brucella abortus and some other bacteria that only use the MEP pathway lack deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate (DXP) reductoisomerase (DXR), the enzyme catalyzing the NADPH-dependent production of MEP from DXP in the first committed step of the pathway. Fosmidomycin, a specific competitive inhibitor of DXR, inhibited growth of B. abortus cells expressing the Escherichia coli GlpT transporter (required for fosmidomycin uptake), confirming that a DXR-like (DRL) activity exists in these bacteria. The B. abortus DRL protein was found to belong to a family of uncharacterized proteins similar to homoserine dehydrogenase. Subsequent experiments confirmed that DRL and DXR catalyze the same biochemical reaction. DRL homologues shown to complement a DXR-deficient E. coli strain grouped within the same phylogenetic clade. The scattered taxonomic distribution of sequences from the DRL clade and the occurrence of several paralogues in some bacterial strains might be the result of lateral gene transfer and lineage-specific gene duplications and/or losses, similar to that described for typical mevalonate and MEP pathway genes. These results reveal the existence of a novel class of oxidoreductases catalyzing the conversion of DXP into MEP in prokaryotic cells, underscoring the biochemical and genetic plasticity achieved by bacteria to synthesize essential compounds such as isoprenoids.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2010; 107(32):14081-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Urease is a virulence factor that plays a role in the resistance of Brucella to low pH conditions, both in vivo and in vitro. Brucella contains two separate urease gene clusters, ure1 and ure2. Although only ure1 codes for an active urease, ure2 is also transcribed, but its contribution to Brucella biology is unknown.
Re-examination of the ure2 locus showed that the operon includes five genes downstream of ureABCEFGDT that are orthologs to a nikKMLQO cluster encoding an ECF-type transport system for nickel. ureT and nikO mutants were constructed and analyzed for urease activity and acid resistance. A non-polar ureT mutant was unaffected in urease activity at neutral pH but showed a significantly decreased activity at acidic pH. It also showed a decreased survival rate to pH 2 at low concentration of urea when compared to the wild type. The nikO mutant had decreased urease activity and acid resistance at all urea concentrations tested, and this phenotype could be reverted by the addition of nickel to the growth medium.
Based on these results, we concluded that the operon ure2 codes for an acid-activated urea transporter and a nickel transporter necessary for the maximal activity of the urease whose structural subunits are encoded exclusively by the genes in the ure1 operon.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two-component systems (TCSs) are the predominant bacterial signal transduction mechanisms. Species of the genus Brucella are genetically highly related and differ mainly in mammalian host adaptation and pathogenesis. In this study, TCS proteins encoded in the available genome sequences of Brucella species have been identified using bioinformatic methods. All the Brucella species share an identical set of TCS proteins, and the number of TCS proteins in the closely related opportunistic human pathogen Ochrobactrum anthropi was higher than in Brucella species as expected from its lifestyle. O. anthropi lacks orthologs of the Brucella TCSs NodVW, TceSR and TcfSR, suggesting that these TCS proteins could be necessary for the adaptation of Brucella as an intracellular pathogen. This genomic analysis revealed the presence of a differential distribution of TCS pseudogenes among Brucella species. Moreover, there were also differences in TCS pseudogenes between strains belonging to the same Brucella species, and in particular between B. suis biovars 1 and 2.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The two-component BvrR/BvrS system is essential for Brucella abortus virulence. It was shown previously that its dysfunction alters the expression of some major outer membrane proteins and the pattern of lipid A acylation. To determine the genes regulated by BvrR/BvrS, we performed a whole-genome microarray analysis using B. abortus RNA obtained from wild type and bvrR mutant cells grown in the same conditions.
A total of 127 differentially expressed genes were found: 83 were over expressed and 44 were less expressed in the bvrR mutant. Two operons, the phosphotransferase system and the maltose transport system, were down-regulated. Several genes involved in cell envelope or outer membrane biogenesis were differentially expressed: genes for outer membrane proteins (omp25a, omp25d), lipoproteins, LPS and fatty acid biosynthesis, stress response proteins, chaperones, flagellar genes, and twelve genes encoding ABC transport systems. Ten genes related with carbon metabolism (pckA and fumB among others) were up-regulated in the bvrR mutant, and denitrification genes (nirK, norC and nosZ) were also regulated. Notably, seven transcriptional regulators were affected, including VjbR, ExoR and OmpR that were less expressed in the bvrR mutant. Finally, the expression of eleven genes which have been previously related with Brucella virulence was also altered.
All these data corroborate the impact of BvrR/BvrS on cell envelope modulation, confirm that this system controls the carbon and nitrogen metabolism, and suggest a cross-talk among some regulators to adjust the Brucella physiology to the shift expected to occur during the transit from the extracellular to the intracellular niche.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(4):e10216. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genus Brucella contains bacteria producing a zoonosis of large sanitary and economical impact. The complete nucleotide sequence of eight Brucella isolates is currently available. This information can be used for high throughput approaches to the biology of this genus such as the construction of comprehensive collections of ORF clones or ORFeomes. The ORFeome of Brucella melitensis was a first contribution to this goal. Using the Brucella ORFeome as starting material we have amplified each ORF and printed them in duplicate onto coated glass slides along with the appropriate positive and negative controls. Quality control of the microarray was performed by image analysis after ethidium bromide staining. This Brucella DNA microarray was used to determine the global transcriptional profile of Brucella abortus grown under laboratory conditions. Two sets of genes representing strongly and poorly expressed genes have been defined. The occurrence of several genes of the same operon in the same data set has been taken as additional proof of the significance of the results. The two sets have been validated by RT-PCR of retrotranscribed RNA. Among the more abundant transcripts we found ribosomal proteins, Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation enzymes. virB, flagellar components and other genes related with virulence and intracellular growth were in the poorly transcribed set. This report demonstrated the usefulness of the ORFeome for the construction of a PCR product microarray for the analysis of global gene expression in Brucella and also applicable to other microorganisms. The results provided here represent a comprehensive description of the global transcriptional profile of B. abortus grown under laboratory conditions and, at the same time, validate the use of this Brucella microarray for the study of the biology and pathogenesis of Brucella through the analysis of gene expression under any experimental conditions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this work was to carry out the molecular investigation of the OXA-40 carbapenemase detected in two isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa resistant to imipenem. The sequence showed 100% of homology with the gene previously described in Acinetobacter baumannii. Hybridization experiments located the gene on a plasmid also found in the OXA-40 control strain of A. baumannii.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Brucella genome contains an insertion sequence (IS) element called IS711 or IS6501, which is specific to the genus. The copy number of IS711 varies in the genome of the different Brucella species, ranging from 7 in B. abortus, B. melitensis and B. suis to more than 30 in B. ovis and in Brucella strains isolated from marine mammals. At present, there is no experimental evidence of transposition of IS711, but the occurrence of this element with a high copy number in some species, and the isolation of Brucella strains with "ectopic" copies of IS711 suggested that this IS could still transpose.
In this study we obtained evidence of transposition of IS711 from the B. ovis and B. pinnipedialis chromosomes by using the "transposon trap" plasmid pGBG1. This plasmid expresses resistance to tetracycline only if the repressor gene that it contains is inactivated. The strains B. melitensis 16 M, B. abortus RB51, B. ovis BOC22 (field strain) and B. pinnipedialis B2/94, all containing the plasmid pGBG1, were grown in culture media with tetracycline until the appearance of tetracycline resistant mutants (TcR). TcR mutants due to IS711 transposition were only detected in B. ovis and B. pinnipedialis strains.
Four different copies of IS711 were found to transpose to the same target sequence in the plasmid pGBG1. This demonstrated that IS711 are active in vivo, specially in Brucella species with a high number of IS711 copies as B. ovis and B. pinnipedialis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper reports an analysis of the functional interactions between type IV secretion systems (T4SS) that are part of the conjugative machinery for horizontal DNA transfer (cT4SS), and T4SS involved in bacterial pathogenicity (pT4SS). The authors' previous work showed that a conjugative coupling protein (T4CP) interacts with the VirB10-type component of the T4SS in order to recruit the protein-DNA complex to the transporter for conjugative DNA transfer. This study now shows by two-hybrid analysis that conjugative T4CPs also interact with the VirB10 element of the pT4SS of Agrobacterium tumefaciens (At), Bartonella tribocorum (Bt) and Brucella suis (Bs). Moreover, the VirB10 component of a cT4SS (protein TrwE of plasmid R388) could be partially substituted by that of a pT4SS (protein TrwE of Bt) for conjugation. This result opens the way for the construction of hybrid T4SS that deliver DNA into animal cells. Interestingly, in the presence of part of the Bs T4SS the R388 T4SS protein levels were decreased and R388 conjugation was strongly inhibited. Complementation assays between the Trw systems of R388 and Bt showed that only individual components from the so-called 'core complex' could be exchanged, supporting the concept that this core is the common scaffold for the transport apparatus while the other 'peripheral components' are largely system-specific.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One hundred twenty-nine Brucella field strains isolated from cattle in Cantabria, Spain, from March 1999 to February 2003, were analysed by using the AMOS-ERY PCR assay and by Southern blot hybridisation with a probe from insertion sequence IS711. Most of the field isolates produced only the ery band in the AMOS-ERY assay and showed a hybridisation pattern identical to that exhibited by reference strains of biovars 5, 6 and 9 of Brucella abortus, but different from strain Tulya, belonging to biovar 3 of B. abortus. However, typing of these strains by standard methods demonstrated that they belonged to biovar 3 of B. abortus. These results indicated that B. abortus biovar 3 was not genetically homogeneous and at least could be divided in two. In one class, that we called biovar 3a, would be the Tulya strain, while the local field strains would belong to biovar 3b. Cloning and nucleotide sequencing of a DNA fragment containing an IS711 copy exclusive of the B. abortus field strains from biovar 3b and reference strains from biovars 5, 6 and 9, revealed the existence of a 5.4 kb deletion close to an IS711 copy. Based on these data, we designed a new primer, which together with the IS711 AMOS primer produced a PCR fragment of 1.7 kb only from the isolates of biovars 3b, 5, 6 and 9 of B. abortus. No amplification products were produced with these primers from strains of the rest of species and biovars of Brucella and from bacteria phylogenetically close to Brucella analysed in this work. Addition of this primer to the AMOS-ERY PCR primer cocktail allows the positive distinction of B. abortus biovars 3b, 5, 6 and 9 from the rest of Brucella species and biovars.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bacteria of the Brucella genus are responsible for a worldwide zoonosis called brucellosis. They belong to the alpha-proteobacteria group, as many other bacteria that live in close association with a eukaryotic host. Importantly, the Brucellae are mainly intracellular pathogens, and the molecular mechanisms of their virulence are still poorly understood. Using the complete genome sequence of Brucella melitensis, we generated a database of protein-coding open reading frames (ORFs) and constructed an ORFeome library of 3091 Gateway Entry clones, each containing a defined ORF. This first version of the Brucella ORFeome (v1.1) provides the coding sequences in a user-friendly format amenable to high-throughput functional genomic and proteomic experiments, as the ORFs are conveniently transferable from the Entry clones to various Expression vectors by recombinational cloning. The cloning of the Brucella ORFeome v1.1 should help to provide a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of virulence, including the identification of bacterial protein-protein interactions, but also interactions between bacterial effectors and their host's targets.
Genome Research 11/2004; 14(10B):2201-6. · 14.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most Yersinia enterocolitica strains are resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics due to the production of one or two chromosomally encoded beta-lactamases. Strain Y56 is a Y. enterocolitica O:3 serotype natural isolate that is resistant to moderate amounts of penicillins and that produces a single class A beta-lactamase. To select mutants with increased levels of resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, strain Y56 was grown on plates containing increasing amounts of ampicillin, and variants resistant to up to 500 micro g of ampicillin per ml were obtained. Chromosomal DNA from hyperresistant isolates was analyzed by Southern hybridization with a blaA-specific probe to detect gene rearrangements. The use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed that the increase in the resistance level correlated with the amplification in tandem of a DNA fragment of about 28 kb containing the blaA gene. The phenotype of these isolates was not stable, and they recovered the basal low resistance level when the ampicillin used for selection was withdrawn from the growth medium. This loss of resistance was followed by the recovery of the original chromosomal structure. To understand this amplification process, the 28-kb amplification unit was cloned, and the ends were sequenced. The analysis of these sequences did not reveal the presence of either repeats or transposable elements to explain this process. However, we found short sequences similar to some DNA gyrase target sequences that have been described. In addition, we observed that the frequency of appearance of ampicillin-hyperresistant isolates by amplification of the blaA locus was lowered in the presence of the gyrase inhibitor novobiocin. These findings suggest that the DNA gyrase could be involved in this amplification event.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 03/2003; 47(2):682-8. · 4.57 Impact Factor