A Biosynthetic Strategy for Re-engineering the Staphylococcus aureus Cell Wall with Non-native Small Molecules

Department of Chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.
ACS Chemical Biology (Impact Factor: 5.33). 10/2010; 5(12):1147-55. DOI: 10.1021/cb100195d
Source: PubMed


Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen that has emerged as a major public health threat. Here we report that the cell wall of S. aureus can be covalently re-engineered to contain non-native small molecules. This process makes use of endogenous levels of the bacterial enzyme sortase A (SrtA), which ordinarily functions to incorporate proteins into the bacterial cell wall. Thus, incubation of wild-type bacteria with rationally designed SrtA substrates results in covalent incorporation of functional molecular handles (fluorescein, biotin, and azide) into cell wall peptidoglycan. These conclusions are supported by data obtained through a variety of experimental techniques (epifluorescence and electron microscopy, biochemical extraction, and mass spectrometry), and cell-wall-incorporated azide was exploited as a chemical handle to perform an azide-alkyne cycloaddition reaction on the bacterial cell surface. This report represents the first example of cell wall engineering of S. aureus or any other pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria and has the potential for widespread utility.

Download full-text


Available from: Alexander Chamessian, Feb 19, 2015
  • Source
    • "Culturing in the presence of the scrambled substrate 2 did not result in any substantial incorporation , neither in the WT nor in the srtA KO strain (75 FU and 50 FU for WT and srtA KO strains, respectively) (Fig 2). This confirms previous studies[13,14]that the incorporation of substrate 1 was mediated for > 90% by SrtA. We next tested a set of substrates that included the native sequence of the C-terminal region of the fibronectin-binding protein (FnBP) of S. aureus (substrate 3, Fig 1, Table 1)[24]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The endogenous Staphylococcus aureus sortase A (SrtA) transpeptidase covalently anchors cell wall-anchored (CWA) proteins equipped with a specific recognition motif (LPXTG) into the peptidoglycan layer of the staphylococcal cell wall. Previous in situ experiments have shown that SrtA is also able to incorporate exogenous, fluorescently labelled, synthetic substrates equipped with the LPXTG motif (K(FITC)LPETG-amide) into the bacterial cell wall, albeit at high concentrations of 500 μM to 1 mM. In the present study, we have evaluated the effect of substrate modification on the incorporation efficiency. This revealed that (i) by elongation of LPETG-amide with a sequence of positively charged amino acids, derived from the C-terminal domain of physiological SrtA substrates, the incorporation efficiency was increased by 20-fold at 10 μM, 100 μM and 250 μM; (ii) Substituting aspartic acid (E) for methionine increased the incorporation of the resulting K(FITC)LPMTG-amide approximately three times at all concentrations tested; (iii) conjugation of the lipid II binding antibiotic vancomycin to K(FITC)LPMTG-amide resulted in the same incorporation levels as K(FITC)LPETG-amide, but much more efficient at an impressive 500-fold lower substrate concentration. These newly developed synthetic substrates can potentially find broad applications in for example the in situ imaging of bacteria; the incorporation of antibody recruiting moieties; the targeted delivery and covalent incorporation of antimicrobial compounds into the bacterial cell wall.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · PLoS ONE
  • Source
    • "FITC-labelling was achieved by incorporating a fluorescein-containing lysine at the N-terminus of the LPXTG-amide. More detailed description of the peptide synthesis procedure and the chemical structure has been described elsewhere [17]. The substrates used in this study are shown in Table 1. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The majority of Staphylococcus aureus virulence- and colonization-associated surface proteins contain a pentapeptide recognition motif (LPXTG). This motif can be recognized and cleaved by sortase A (SrtA) which is a membrane-bound transpeptidase. After cleavage these proteins are covalently incorporated into the peptidoglycan. Therefore, SrtA plays a key role in S. aureus virulence. We aimed to generate a substrate mimicking this SrtA recognition motif for several purposes: to incorporate this substrate into the S. aureus cell-wall in a SrtA-dependent manner, to characterize this incorporation and to determine the effect of substrate incorporation on the incorporation of native SrtA-dependent cell-surface-associated proteins. We synthesized substrate containing the specific LPXTG motif, LPETG. As a negative control we used a scrambled version of this substrate, EGTLP and a S. aureus srtA knockout strain. Both substrates contained a fluorescence label for detection by FACScan and fluorescence microscope. A spreading assay and a competitive Luminex assay were used to determine the effect of substrate treatment on native LPXTG containing proteins deposition in the bacterial cell-wall. We demonstrate a SrtA-dependent covalent incorporation of the LPETG-containing substrate in wild type S. aureus strains and several other Gram-positive bacterial species. LPETG-containing substrate incorporation in S. aureus was growth phase-dependent and peaked at the stationary phase. This incorporation negatively correlated with srtA mRNA expression. Exogenous addition of the artificial substrate did not result in a decreased expression of native SrtA substrates (e.g. clumping factor A/B and protein A) nor induced a srtA knockout phenotype.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sortases are a class of bacterial enzymes that possess transpeptidase activity. It is their ability to site-specifically break a peptide bond and then reform a new bond with an incoming nucleophile that makes sortase an attractive tool for protein engineering. This technique has been adopted for a range of applications, from chemistry-based to cell biology and technology. In this Minireview we provide a brief overview of the biology of sortase enzymes and current applications in protein engineering. We identify areas that lend themselves to further innovation and that suggest new applications.
    No preview · Article · May 2011 · Angewandte Chemie International Edition
Show more