Maria M Bednar

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (3)18.14 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Ramoplanin, a non-ribosomally synthesized peptide antibiotic, is highly effective against several drug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria, including vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), two important opportunistic human pathogens. Recently, the biosynthetic cluster from the ramoplanin producer Actinoplanes ATCC 33076 was sequenced, revealing an unusual architecture of fatty acid and non-ribosomal peptide synthetase biosynthetic genes (NRPSs). The first steps towards understanding how these biosynthetic enzymes cooperatively interact to produce the depsipeptide product are expression and isolation of each enzyme to probe its specificity and function. Here we describe the successful production of soluble enzymes from within the ramoplanin locus and the confirmation of their specific role in biosynthesis. These methods may be broadly applicable to the production of biosynthetic enzymes from other natural product biosynthetic gene clusters, especially those that have been refractory to production in heterologous hosts despite standard expression optimization methods.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: During infection of epithelial cells, the obligate intracellular pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis secretes the serine protease Chlamydia protease-like activity factor (CPAF) into the host cytosol to regulate a range of host cellular processes through targeted proteolysis. Here we report the development of an in vitro assay for the enzyme and the discovery of a cell-permeable CPAF zymogen-based peptide inhibitor with nanomolar inhibitory affinity. Treating C. trachomatis-infected HeLa cells with this inhibitor prevented CPAF cleavage of the intermediate filament vimentin and led to the loss of vimentin cage surrounding the intracellular vacuole. Because Chlamydia is a genetically intractable organism, this inhibitor may serve as a tool for understanding the role of CPAF in pathogenesis.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Biochemistry
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    ABSTRACT: The obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis injects numerous effector proteins into the epithelial cell cytoplasm to manipulate host functions important for bacterial survival. In addition, the bacterium secretes a serine protease, chlamydial protease-like activity factor (CPAF). Although several CPAF targets are reported, the significance of CPAF-mediated proteolysis is unclear due to the lack of specific CPAF inhibitors and the diversity of host targets. We report that CPAF also targets chlamydial effectors secreted early during the establishment of the pathogen-containing vacuole ("inclusion"). We designed a cell-permeable CPAF-specific inhibitory peptide and used it to determine that CPAF prevents superinfection by degrading early Chlamydia effectors translocated during entry into a preinfected cell. Prolonged CPAF inhibition leads to loss of inclusion integrity and caspase-1-dependent death of infected epithelial cells. Thus, CPAF functions in niche protection, inclusion integrity and pathogen survival, making the development of CPAF-specific protease inhibitors an attractive antichlamydial therapeutic strategy.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Cell host & microbe