[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Archaea share fundamental properties with bacteria and eukaryotes. Yet, they also possess unique attributes, which largely remain poorly characterized. Haloferax volcanii is an aerobic, moderately halophilic archaeon that can be grown in defined media. It serves as an excellent archaeal model organism to study the molecular mechanisms of biological processes and cellular responses to changes in the environment. Studies on haloarchaea have been impeded by the lack of efficient genetic screens that would facilitate the identification of protein functions and respective metabolic pathways.ResultsHere, we devised an insertion mutagenesis strategy that combined Mu in vitro DNA transposition and homologous-recombination-based gene targeting in H. volcanii. We generated an insertion mutant library, in which the clones contained a single genomic insertion. From the library, we isolated pigmentation-defective and auxotrophic mutants, and the respective insertions pinpointed a number of genes previously known to be involved in carotenoid and amino acid biosynthesis pathways, thus validating the performance of the methodologies used. We also identified mutants that had a transposon insertion in a gene encoding a protein of unknown or putative function, demonstrating that novel roles for non-annotated genes could be assigned.Conclusions
We have generated, for the first time, a random genomic insertion mutant library for a halophilic archaeon and used it for efficient gene discovery. The library will facilitate the identification of non-essential genes behind any specific biochemical pathway. It represents a significant step towards achieving a more complete understanding of the unique characteristics of halophilic archaea.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several pathways have evolved in the three domains of life to facilitate membrane protein insertion and the transport of proteins
across lipid membranes. Haloarchaea employ the universally conserved Sec pathway, which transports unfolded proteins, for
the transport of biologically important substrates into and across the membrane. However, they also extensively employ the
twin arginine translocation (Tat) system, which transports substrates across the lipid bilayer in a folded conformation. Most
haloarchaeal Tat substrates appear to be anchored to cytoplasmic membranes via lipid modifications. In silico analyses suggest
that the prominent use of the Tat pathway and the lipid tethering of Tat substrates are traits unique to halophilic archaea.
We discuss the selective pressures that may have led to these unique adaptations as well as possible explanations for why
they are not observed in halobacteria.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A conserved lipid-modified cysteine found in a protein motif commonly referred to as a lipobox mediates the membrane anchoring of a subset of proteins transported across the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane via the Sec pathway. Sequenced haloarchaeal genomes encode many putative lipoproteins and recent studies have confirmed the importance of the conserved lipobox cysteine for signal peptide processing of three lipobox-containing proteins in the model archaeon Haloferax volcanii. We have extended these in vivo analyses to additional Hfx. volcanii substrates, supporting our previous in silico predictions and confirming the diversity of predicted Hfx. volcanii lipoproteins. Moreover, using extensive comparative secretome analyses, we identified genes encodining putative lipoproteins across a wide range of archaeal species. While our in silico analyses, supported by in vivo data, indicate that most haloarchaeal lipoproteins are Tat substrates, these analyses also predict that many crenarchaeal species lack lipoproteins altogether and that other archaea, such as nonhalophilic euryarchaeal species, transport lipoproteins via the Sec pathway. To facilitate the identification of genes that encode potential haloarchaeal Tat-lipoproteins, we have developed TatLipo, a bioinformatic tool designed to detect lipoboxes in haloarchaeal Tat signal peptides. Our results provide a strong foundation for future studies aimed at identifying components of the archaeal lipoprotein biogenesis pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Provided are means for evaluating and identifying putative substrates of the twin arginine translocation (Tat) secretory pathway in Streptomyces and other bacterial species. Also provided, therefore, are simple ways to express, secrete and purify correctly folded heterologous proteins on a large scale using host microorganisms, such as, Streptomyces and the Tat pathway therein. Many of the thus-produced proteins are of significant therapeutic value in the pharmaceutical and biochemical industries, particularly when they can be secreted from the host in fully-folded active form. Accordingly, there are further provided the heterologous proteins produced by the Tat secretion pathway using the foregoing methods, and the computer algorithm used to identify the Tat signal sequence and putative substrates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent in silico and in vivo studies have suggested that the majority of proteins destined for secretion in the haloarchaea are trafficked through the twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway. The presence of lipobox motifs in most haloarchaeal Tat signal sequences is intriguing as: (i) bioinformatic searches of archaeal genomes have not identified lipoprotein biogenesis enzymes and (ii) there are no known Tat substrates containing both a twin-arginine and a bona fide lipobox. We have examined six computationally designated Tat substrates in the haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii to verify previous computational predictions and to initiate studies of lipoprotein biogenesis via the Tat pathway. Our results confirmed that the six candidate proteins were not only Tat substrates, but also belonged to diverse classes of secretory proteins. Analysis of predicted lipoprotein Tat substrates revealed that they are anchored to the archaeal membrane in a cysteine-dependent manner. Interestingly, despite the absence of an archaeal lipoprotein signal peptidase II (SPase II) homologue, the SPase II inhibitor globomycin impeded cell growth and specifically prevented maturation of lipoproteins. Together, this work not only represents the first experimental demonstration of a lipoprotein Tat substrate, but also indicates the presence of an unidentified lipoprotein biogenesis pathway in archaea.
No preview · Article · Jan 2008 · Molecular Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway is a protein transport system for the export of folded proteins. Substrate proteins are targeted to the Tat translocase by N-terminal signal peptides harboring a distinctive R-R-x-Phi-Phi "twin-arginine" amino acid motif. Using a combination of proteomic techniques, the protein contents from the cell wall of the model Gram-positive bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor were identified and compared with that of mutant strains defective in Tat transport. The proteomic experiments pointed to 43 potentially Tat-dependent extracellular proteins. Of these, 25 were verified as bearing bona fide Tat-targeting signal peptides after independent screening with a facile, rapid, and sensitive reporter assay. The identified Tat substrates, among others, include polymer-degrading enzymes, phosphatases, and binding proteins as well as enzymes involved in secondary metabolism. Moreover, in addition to predicted extracellular substrates, putative lipoproteins were shown to be Tat-dependent. This work provides strong experimental evidence that the Tat system is used as a major general export pathway in Streptomyces.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2006 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway is present in a wide variety of prokaryotes and is capable of exporting partially or fully folded proteins from the cytoplasm. Although diverse classes of proteins are transported via the Tat pathway, in most organisms it facilitates the secretion of a relatively small number of substrates compared to the Sec pathway. However, computational evidence suggests that haloarchaea route nearly all secreted proteins to the Tat pathway. We have expanded previous computational analyses of the haloarchaeal Tat pathway and initiated in vivo characterization of the Tat machinery in a model haloarchaeon, Haloferax volcanii. Consistent with the predicted usage of the this pathway in the haloarchaea, we determined that three of the four identified tat genes in Haloferax volcanii are essential for viability when grown aerobically in complex medium. This represents the first report of an organism that requires the Tat pathway for viability when grown under such conditions. Deletion of the nonessential gene had no effect on the secretion of a verified substrate of the Tat pathway. The two TatA paralogs TatAo and TatAt were detected in both the membrane and cytoplasm and could be copurified from the latter fraction. Using size exclusion chromatography to further characterize cytoplasmic and membrane TatA proteins, we find these proteins present in high-molecular-weight complexes in both cellular fractions.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2006 · Journal of Bacteriology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cells need to translocate proteins into and across hydrophobic membranes in order to interact with the extracellular environment. Although a subset of proteins are thought to spontaneously insert into lipid bilayers, translocation of most transported proteins requires additional cellular components. Such components catalyze efficient lateral transport into or across cellular membranes in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. These include, among others, the conserved YidC/Oxa1/Alb3 proteins as well as components of the Sec and the Tat pathways. Our current knowledge of the function and distribution of these components and their corresponding pathways in organisms of the three domains of life is reviewed. On the basis of this information, the evolution of protein translocation is discussed.
No preview · Article · Feb 2005 · Annual Review of Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have developed a versatile floral induction system that is based on ectopic overexpression of the transcription factor LEAFY (LFY) in callus. During shoot regeneration, flowers or floral organs are formed directly from root explants without prior formation of rosette leaves. Morphological and reporter gene analyses show that leaf-like structures are converted to floral organs in response to LFY activity. Thus, increased levels of LFY activity are sufficient to bypass normal vegetative development and to direct formation of flowers in tissue culture. We found that about half of the cultured cells respond to inducible LFY activity with a rapid upregulation of the known direct target gene of LFY, APETALA1 (AP1). This dramatic increase in the number of LFY-responsive cells compared to whole plants suggested that the tissue culture system could greatly facilitate the analysis of LFY-dependent gene regulation by genomic approaches. To test this, we monitored the gene expression changes that occur in tissue culture after activation of LFY using a flower-specific cDNA microarray. Induction of known LFY target genes was readily detected in these experiments. In addition, several other genes were identified that had not been implicated in signaling downstream of LFY before. Thus, the floral induction system is suitable for the detection of low abundance transcripts whose expression is controlled in an LFY-dependent manner.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2004 · The Plant Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: All cells need to transport proteins across hydrophobic membranes. Several mechanisms have evolved to facilitate this transport, including: (i) the universally-conserved Sec system, which transports proteins in an unfolded conformation and is thought to be the major translocation pathway in most organisms and (ii) the Tat system, which transports proteins that have already obtained some degree of tertiary structure. Here, we present the current understanding of these processes in the domain Archaea, and how they compare to the corresponding pathways in bacteria and eukaryotes.
Preview · Article · Mar 2004 · FEMS Microbiology Reviews
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway, which has been identified in plant chloroplasts and prokaryotes, allows for
the secretion of folded proteins. However, the extent to which this pathway is used among the prokaryotes is not known. By
using a genomic approach, a comprehensive list of putative Tat substrates for 84 diverse prokaryotes was established. Strikingly,
the results indicate that the Tat pathway is utilized to highly varying extents. Furthermore, while many prokaryotes use this
pathway predominantly for the secretion of redox proteins, analyses of the predicted substrates suggest that certain bacteria
and archaea secrete mainly nonredox proteins via the Tat pathway. While no correlation was observed between the number of
Tat machinery components encoded by an organism and the number of predicted Tat substrates, it was noted that the composition
of this machinery was specific to phylogenetic taxa.
Preview · Article · Mar 2003 · Journal of Bacteriology