We have shown previously that Chlamydophila pneumoniae contains a dual-specific Ser/Thr protein kinase that phosphorylates CdsD, a structural component of the type III secretion apparatus. To further study the role of PknD in growth and development we sought to identify a PknD inhibitor to determine whether PknD activity is required for replication.
Using an in vitro kinase assay we screened 80 known eukaryotic protein kinase inhibitors for activity against PknD and identified a 3'-pyridyl oxindole compound that inhibited PknD autophosphorylation and phosphorylation of CdsD. The PknD inhibitor significantly retarded the growth rate of C. pneumoniae as evidenced by the presence of very small inclusions with a reduced number of bacteria as seen by electron microscopy. These inclusions contained the normal replicative forms including elementary bodies (EB), intermediate bodies (IB) and reticulate bodies (RB), but lacked persistent bodies (PB), indicating that induction of persistence was not the cause of reduced chlamydial growth. Blind passage of C. pneumoniae grown in the presence of this PknD inhibitor for 72 or 84 hr failed to produce inclusions, suggesting this compound blocks an essential step in the production of infectious chlamydial EB. The compound was not toxic to HeLa cells, did not block activation of the MEK/ERK pathway required for chlamydial invasion and did not block intracellular replication of either Chlamydia trachomatis serovar D or Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium suggesting that the inhibitory effect of the compound is specific for C. pneumoniae.
We have identified a 3'-pyridyl oxindole compound that inhibits the in vitro kinase activity of C. pneumoniae PknD and inhibits the growth and production of infectious C. pneumoniae progeny in HeLa cells. Together, these results suggest that PknD may play a key role in the developmental cycle of C. pneumoniae.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria use type III secretion (T3S) to inject effector proteins into the host cell to create appropriate conditions for infection and intracellular replication. Chlamydia spp. are believed to use T3S to infect their host cell, and the translocator proteins are an essential component of this system. Chlamydia pneumoniae contains genes encoding two sets of translocator proteins; CopB and CopD, and CopB2 and CopD2. In this study, we identified novel interactions between CopD and three type III secretion proteins; namely, CopN, CdsN, and CdsF. We identified a CopD putative chaperone binding motif, PxLxxP, within the N-terminal region (CopD amino acids 120-125), which was necessary for interaction with its putative chaperone LcrH_1. Using size exclusion chromatography, we showed that CopD and LcrH_1 formed higher order structures in solution with CopD and LcrH_1 binding in a ratio of 1∶1, which is unique for T3SS translocator proteins. Lastly, we showed that antibodies to CopD reduced C. pneumoniae infectivity by >95%. Collectively, this data suggests that CopD plays a critical role in pathogenesis and likely functions as a hydrophobic translocator of the type III secretion system in Chlamydia pneumoniae.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular pathogens that likely require type III secretion (T3S) to invade cells and replicate intracellularly within a cytoplasmic vacuole called an inclusion body. Chlamydia pneumoniae possess a YscL ortholog, CdsL, that has been shown to interact with the T3S ATPase (CdsN). In this report we demonstrate that CdsL down-regulates CdsN enzymatic activity in a dose-dependent manner. Using Pepscan epitope mapping we identified two separate binding domains to which CdsL binds viz. CdsN(221-229) and CdsN(265-270). We confirmed the binding domains using a pull-down assay and showed that GST-CdsN(221-270), which encompasses these peptides, co-purified with His-CdsL. Next, we used orthology modeling based on the crystal structure of a T3S ATPase ortholog from Escherichia coli, EscN, to map the binding domains on the predicted 3D structure of CdsN. The CdsL binding domains mapped to the catalytic domain of the ATPase, one in the central channel of the ATPase hexamer and one on the outer face. Since peptide mimetics have been used to disrupt essential protein interactions of the chlamydial T3S system and inhibit T3S-mediated invasion of HeLa cells, we hypothesized that if CdsL-CdsN binding is essential for regulating T3S then a CdsN peptide mimetic could be used to potentially block T3S and chlamydial invasion. Treatment of elementary body with a CdsN peptide mimetic inhibited C. pneumoniae invasion into HeLa cells in a dose-dependent fashion. This report represents the first use of Pepscan technology to identify binding domains for specific T3S proteins viz. CdsL on the ATPase, CdsN, and demonstrates that peptide mimetics can be used as anti-virulence factors to block bacterial invasion.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Frontiers in Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Present-day members of the Chlamydiaceae contain parasitic bacteria that have been co-evolving with their eukaryotic hosts over hundreds of millions of years. Likewise, a type III secretion system encoded within all genomes has been refined to complement the unique obligate intracellular niche colonized so successfully by Chlamydia spp. All this adaptation has occurred in the apparent absence of the horizontal gene transfer responsible for creating the wide range of diversity in other Gram-negative, type III-expressing bacteria. The result is a system that is, in many ways, uniquely chlamydial. A critical mass of information has been amassed that sheds significant light on how the chlamydial secretion system functions and contributes to an obligate intracellular lifestyle. Although the overall mechanism is certainly similar to homologous systems, an image has emerged where the chlamydial secretion system is essential for both survival and virulence. Numerous apparent differences, some subtle and some profound, differentiate chlamydial type III secretion from others. Herein, we provide a comprehensive review of the current state of knowledge regarding the Chlamydia type III secretion mechanism. We focus on the aspects that are distinctly chlamydial and comment on how this important system influences chlamydial pathogenesis. Gaining a grasp on this fascinating system has been challenging in the absence of a tractable genetic system. However, the surface of this tough nut has been scored and the future promises to be fruitful and revealing.
Preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Frontiers in Microbiology