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  • 1.
    Aliashkevich, Alena
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    New Insights Into the Mechanisms and Biological Roles of D-Amino Acids in Complex Eco-Systems2018In: Frontiers in Microbiology, ISSN 1664-302X, E-ISSN 1664-302X, Vol. 9, article id 683Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the environment bacteria share their habitat with a great diversity of organisms, from microbes to humans, animals and plants. In these complex communities, the production of extracellular effectors is a common strategy to control the biodiversity by interfering with the growth and/or viability of nearby microbes. One of such effectors relies on the production and release of extracellular D-amino acids which regulate diverse cellular processes such as cell wall biogenesis, biofilm integrity, and spore germination. Non-canonical D-amino acids are mainly produced by broad spectrum racemases (Bsr). Bsr's promiscuity allows it to generate high concentrations of D-amino acids in environments with variable compositions of L-amino acids. However, it was not clear until recent whether these molecules exhibit divergent functions. Here we review the distinctive biological roles of D-amino acids, their mechanisms of action and their modulatory properties of the biodiversity of complex eco-systems.

  • 2.
    Alvarez, Laura
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Aliashkevich, Alena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    de Pedro, Miguel A.
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Bacterial secretion of D-arginine controls environmental microbial biodiversity2018In: The ISME Journal, ISSN 1751-7362, E-ISSN 1751-7370, Vol. 12, no 2, p. 438-450Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Bacteria face tough competition in polymicrobial communities. To persist in a specific niche, many species produce toxic extracellular effectors to interfere with the growth of nearby microbes. These effectors include the recently reported non-canonical D-amino acids (NCDAAs). In Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, NCDAAs control cell wall integrity in stationary phase. Here, an analysis of the composition of the extracellular medium of V. cholerae revealed the unprecedented presence of D-Arg. Compared with other D-amino acids, D-Arg displayed higher potency and broader toxicity in terms of the number of bacterial species affected. Tolerance to D-Arg was associated with mutations in the phosphate transport and chaperone systems, whereas D-Met lethality was suppressed by mutations in cell wall determinants. These observations suggest that NCDAAs target different cellular processes. Finally, even though virtually all Vibrio species are tolerant to D-Arg, only a few can produce this D-amino acid. Indeed, we demonstrate that D-Arg may function as part of a cooperative strategy in vibrio communities to protect non-producing members from competing bacteria. Because NCDAA production is widespread in bacteria, we anticipate that D-Arg is a relevant modulator of microbial subpopulations in diverse ecosystems.

  • 3.
    Alvarez, Laura
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Bacterial Competition Assay Based on Extracellular D-amino Acid Production2018In: Bio-protocol, E-ISSN 2331-8325, Vol. 8, no 7, article id e2787Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Bacteria live in polymicrobial communities under tough competition. To persist in a specific niche many species produce toxic extracellular effectors as a strategy to interfere with the growth of nearby microbes. One of such effectors are the non-canonical D-amino acids. Here we describe a method to test the effect of D-amino acid production in fitness/survival of bacterial subpopulations within a community. Co-cultivation methods usually involve the growth of the competing bacteria in the same container. Therefore, within such mixed cultures the effect on growth caused by extracellular metabolites cannot be distinguished from direct physical interactions between species (e.g., T6SS effectors). However, this problem can be easily solved by using a filtration unit that allows free diffusion of small metabolites, like L- and D-amino acids, while keeping the different subpopulations in independent compartments. With this method, we have demonstrated that D-arginine is a bactericide effector produced by Vibrio cholerae, which strongly influences survival of diverse microbial subpopulations. Moreover, D-arginine can be used as a cooperative instrument in mixed Vibrio communities to protect non-producing members from competing bacteria.

  • 4.
    Alvarez, Laura
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Espaillat, Akbar
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Hermoso, Juan A.
    de Pedro, Miguel A.
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Peptidoglycan Remodeling by the Coordinated Action of Multispecific Enzymes2014In: Microbial Drug Resistance, ISSN 1076-6294, E-ISSN 1931-8448, Vol. 20, no 3, p. 190-198Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The peptidoglycan (PG) cell wall constitutes the main defense barrier of bacteria against environmental insults and acts as communication interface. The biochemistry of this macromolecule has been well characterized throughout the years but recent discoveries have unveiled its chemical plasticity under environmental stresses. Non-canonical D-amino acids (NCDAA) are produced and released to the extracellular media by diverse bacteria. Such molecules govern cell wall adaptation to challenging environments through their incorporation into the polymer, a widespread capability among bacteria that reveals the inherent catalytic plasticity of the enzymes involved in the cell wall metabolism. Here, we analyze the recent structural and biochemical characterization of Bsr, a new family of broad spectrum racemases able to generate a wide range of NCDAA. We also discuss the necessity of a coordinated action of PG multispecific enzymes to generate adequate levels of modification in the murein sacculus. Finally, we also highlight how this catalytic plasticity of NCDAA-incorporating enzymes has allowed the development of new revolutionary methodologies for the study of PG modes of growth and in vivo dynamics.

  • 5.
    Alvarez, Laura
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).
    Hernandez, Sara B
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).
    de Pedro, Miguel A
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).
    Ultra-sensitive, high-resolution liquid chromatography methods for the high-throughput quantitative analysis of bacterial cell wall chemistry and structure2016In: Bacterial cell wall homeostasis: methods and protocols /edited by Hee-Jeon Hong / [ed] Hee-Jeon Hong, New York: Humana Press, 2016, Vol. 1440, p. 11-27Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis has been critical for determining the structural and chemical complexity of the cell wall. However this method is very time consuming in terms of sample preparation and chromatographic separation. Here we describe (1) optimized methods for peptidoglycan isolation from both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria that dramatically reduce the sample preparation time, and (2) the application of the fast and highly efficient ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) technology to muropeptide separation and quantification. The advances in both analytical instrumentation and stationary-phase chemistry have allowed for evolved protocols which cut run time from hours (2-3 h) to minutes (10-20 min), and sample demands by at least one order of magnitude. Furthermore, development of methods based on organic solvents permits in-line mass spectrometry (MS) of the UPLC-resolved muropeptides. Application of these technologies to high-throughput analysis will expedite the better understanding of the cell wall biology.

  • 6.
    Alvarez, Laura
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid—Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, Spain.
    Quintáns, Nieves G.
    Blesa, Alba
    Baquedano, Ignacio
    Mencía, Mario
    Bricio, Carlos
    Berenguer, José
    Hierarchical control of nitrite respiration by transcription factors encoded within mobile gene clusters of Thermus thermophilus2017In: Genes, ISSN 2073-4425, E-ISSN 2073-4425, Vol. 8, no 12, article id 361Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Denitrification in Thermus thermophilus is encoded by the nitrate respiration conjugative element (NCE) and nitrite and nitric oxide respiration (nic) gene clusters. A tight coordination of each cluster's expression is required to maximize anaerobic growth, and to avoid toxicity by intermediates, especially nitric oxides (NO). Here, we study the control of the nitrite reductases (Nir) and NO reductases (Nor) upon horizontal acquisition of the NCE and nic clusters by a formerly aerobic host. Expression of the nic promoters PnirS, PnirJ, and PnorC, depends on the oxygen sensor DnrS and on the DnrT protein, both NCE-encoded. NsrR, a nic-encoded transcription factor with an iron-sulfur cluster, is also involved in Nir and Nor control. Deletion of nsrR decreased PnorC and PnirJ transcription, and activated PnirS under denitrification conditions, exhibiting a dual regulatory role never described before for members of the NsrR family. On the basis of these results, a regulatory hierarchy is proposed, in which under anoxia, there is a pre-activation of the nic promoters by DnrS and DnrT, and then NsrR leads to Nor induction and Nir repression, likely as a second stage of regulation that would require NO detection, thus avoiding accumulation of toxic levels of NO. The whole system appears to work in remarkable coordination to function only when the relevant nitrogen species are present inside the cell.

  • 7.
    Alvarez, Laura
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, Spain.
    Sanchez-Hevia, Dione
    Sanchez, Mercedes
    Berenguer, Jose
    A new family of nitrate/nitrite transporters involved in denitrification2019In: International Microbiology, ISSN 1139-6709, E-ISSN 1618-1905, Vol. 22, no 1, p. 19-28Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Denitrifying bacteria carry out nitrate and nitrite respiration inside and outside the cell, respectively. In Thermus thermophilus, nitrate and nitrite transport processes are carried out by major facilitator superfamily (MFS) transporters. The sequence of the nar operon of nitrate-only respiring strains of T. thermophilus includes two tandemly organized MFS transporter genes (narK and narT) of the NarK1 and NarK2 families. Both can function as nitrate/nitrite antiporters, but NarK has been proposed as more specific for nitrate whereas NarT more specific for nitrite. In some nitrate- and nitrite-respiring strains of the same species, a single MFS transporter (NarO) belonging to a different MFS subfamily appears. To analyze the role of this single MFS in the same genetic context, we transferred the two types of nar operon to the aerobic strain HB27, and further included in both of them the ability to respire nitrite. The new denitrifying strains HB27dn, with two MFS, and HB27dp, with a single one, were used to isolate mutants devoid of transporters. Through in trans complementation experiments, we demonstrate that the NarO single MFS works efficiently in the transport of both nitrate and nitrite.

  • 8. Chahlafi, Zahra
    et al.
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Berenguer, José
    The role of conserved proteins DrpA and DrpB in nitrate respiration of Thermus thermophilus2018In: Environmental Microbiology, ISSN 1462-2912, E-ISSN 1462-2920, Vol. 20, no 10, p. 3851-3861Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In many Thermus thermophilus strains, nitrate respiration is encoded in mobile genetic regions, along with regulatory circuits that modulate its expression based on anoxia and nitrate presence. The oxygen‐responsive system has been identified as the product of the dnrST (dnr) operon located immediately upstream of the nar operon (narCGHJIKT), which encodes the nitrate reductase (NR) and nitrate/nitrite transporters. In contrast, the nature of the nitrate sensory system is not known. Here, we analyse the putative nitrate‐sensing role of the bicistronic drp operon (drpAB) present downstream of the nar operon in most denitrifying Thermus spp. Expression of drp was found to depend on the master regulator DnrT, whereas the absence of DrpA or DrpB increased the expression of both DnrS and DnrT and, concomitantly, of the NR. Absence of both proteins made expression from the dnr and nar operons independent of nitrate. Polyclonal antisera allowed us to identify DrpA as a periplasmic protein and DrpB as a membrane protein, with capacity to bind to the cytoplasmic membrane. Here, we propose a role for DrpA/DrpB as nitrate sensors during denitrification.

  • 9. Dörr, Tobias
    et al.
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Delgado, Fernanda
    Davis, Brigid M.
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Waldor, Matthew K.
    A cell wall damage response mediated by a sensor kinase/response regulator pair enables beta-lactam tolerance2016In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 113, no 2, p. 404-409Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The bacterial cell wall is critical for maintenance of cell shape and survival. Following exposure to antibiotics that target enzymes required for cell wall synthesis, bacteria typically lyse. Although several cell envelope stress response systems have been well described, there is little knowledge of systems that modulate cell wall synthesis in response to cell wall damage, particularly in Gram-negative bacteria. Here we describe WigK/WigR, a histidine kinase/response regulator pair that enables Vibrio cholerae, the cholera pathogen, to survive exposure to antibiotics targeting cell wall synthesis in vitro and during infection. Unlike wild-type V. cholerae, mutants lacking wigR fail to recover following exposure to cell-wall-acting antibiotics, and they exhibit a drastically increased cell diameter in the absence of such antibiotics. Conversely, overexpression of wigR leads to cell slimming. Overexpression of activated WigR also results in increased expression of the full set of cell wall synthesis genes and to elevated cell wall content. WigKR-dependent expression of cell wall synthesis genes is induced by various cell-wall-acting antibiotics as well as by overexpression of an endogenous cell wall hydrolase. Thus, WigKR appears to monitor cell wall integrity and to enhance the capacity for increased cell wall production in response to damage. Taken together, these findings implicate WigKR as a regulator of cell wall synthesis that controls cell wall homeostasis in response to antibiotics and likely during normal growth as well.

  • 10. Dörr, Tobias
    et al.
    Lam, Hubert
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Davis, Brigid M.
    Waldor, Matthew K.
    A novel peptidoglycan binding protein crucial for PBP1A-mediated cell wall biogenesis in Vibrio cholerae2014In: PLOS Genetics, ISSN 1553-7390, E-ISSN 1553-7404, Vol. 10, no 6, p. e1004433-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The bacterial cell wall, which is comprised of a mesh of polysaccharide strands crosslinked via peptide bridges (peptidoglycan, PG), is critical for maintenance of cell shape and survival. PG assembly is mediated by a variety of Penicillin Binding Proteins (PBP) whose fundamental activities have been characterized in great detail; however, there is limited knowledge of the factors that modulate their activities in different environments or growth phases. In Vibrio cholerae, the cause of cholera, PG synthesis during the transition into stationary phase is primarily mediated by the bifunctional enzyme PBP1A. Here, we screened an ordered V. cholerae transposon library for mutants that are sensitive to growth inhibition by non-canonical D-amino acids (DAA), which prevent growth and maintenance of cell shape in PBP1A-deficient V. cholerae. In addition to PBP1A and its lipoprotein activator LpoA, we found that CsiV, a small periplasmic protein with no previously described function, is essential for growth in the presence of DAA. Deletion of csiV, like deletion of lpoA or the PBP1A-encoding gene mrcA, causes cells to lose their rod shape in the presence of DAA or the beta-lactam antibiotic cefsulodin, and all three mutations are synthetically lethal with deletion of mrcB, which encodes PBP1B, V. cholerae's second key bifunctional PBP. CsiV interacts with LpoA and PG but apparently not with PBP1A, supporting the hypothesis that CsiV promotes LpoA's role as an activator of PBP1A, and thereby modulates V. cholerae PG biogenesis. Finally, the requirement for CsiV in PBP1A-mediated growth of V. cholerae can be overcome either by augmenting PG synthesis or by reducing PG degradation, thereby highlighting the importance of balancing these two processes for bacterial survival.

  • 11.
    Espaillat, Akbar
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).
    Carrasco-Lopez, Cesar
    Bernardo-Garcia, Noelia
    Pietrosemoli, Natalia
    Otero, Lisandro H.
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).
    de Pedro, Miguel A.
    Pazos, Florencio
    Davis, Brigid M.
    Waldor, Matthew K.
    Hermoso, Juan A.
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).
    Structural basis for the broad specificity of a new family of amino-acid racemases2014In: Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography, ISSN 0907-4449, E-ISSN 1399-0047, Vol. 70, p. 79-90Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Broad-spectrum amino-acid racemases (Bsrs) enable bacteria to generate noncanonical D-amino acids, the roles of which in microbial physiology, including the modulation of cell-wall structure and the dissolution of biofilms, are just beginning to be appreciated. Here, extensive crystallographic, mutational, biochemical and bioinformatic studies were used to define the molecular features of the racemase BsrV that enable this enzyme to accommodate more diverse substrates than the related PLP-dependent alanine racemases. Conserved residues were identified that distinguish BsrV and a newly defined family of broad-spectrum racemases from alanine racemases, and these residues were found to be key mediators of the multispecificity of BrsV. Finally, the structural analysis of an additional Bsr that was identified in the bioinformatic analysis confirmed that the distinguishing features of BrsV are conserved among Bsr family members.

  • 12. Hsu, Yen-Pang
    et al.
    Hall, Edward
    Booher, Garrett
    Murphy, Brennan
    Radkov, Atanas D.
    Yablonowski, Jacob
    Mulcahey, Caitlyn
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Brun, Yves, V
    Kuru, Erkin
    VanNieuwenhze, Michael S.
    Fluorogenic D-amino acids enable real-time monitoring of peptidoglycan biosynthesis and high-throughput transpeptidation assays2019In: Nature Chemistry, ISSN 1755-4330, E-ISSN 1755-4349, Vol. 11, no 4, p. 335-341Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Peptidoglycan is an essential cell wall component that maintains the morphology and viability of nearly all bacteria. Its biosynthesis requires periplasmic transpeptidation reactions, which construct peptide crosslinkages between polysaccharide chains to endow mechanical strength. However, tracking the transpeptidation reaction in vivo and in vitro is challenging, mainly due to the lack of efficient, biocompatible probes. Here, we report the design, synthesis and application of rotor-fluorogenic D-amino acids (RfDAAs), enabling real-time, continuous tracking of transpeptidation reactions. These probes allow peptidoglycan biosynthesis to be monitored in real time by visualizing transpeptidase reactions in live cells, as well as real-time activity assays of D,D- and L,D-transpeptidases and sortases in vitro. The unique ability of RfDAAs to become fluorescent when incorporated into peptidoglycan provides a powerful new tool to study peptidoglycan biosynthesis with high temporal resolution and prospectively enable high-throughput screening for inhibitors of peptidoglycan biosynthesis.

  • 13.
    Moell, Andrea
    et al.
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA .
    Doerr, Tobias
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA .
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Chao, Michael C.
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA .
    Davis, Brigid M.
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA .
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Waldor, Matthew K.
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA .
    Cell Separation in Vibrio cholerae Is Mediated by a Single Amidase Whose Action Is Modulated by Two Nonredundant Activators2014In: Journal of Bacteriology, ISSN 0021-9193, E-ISSN 1098-5530, Vol. 196, no 22, p. 3937-3948Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Synthesis and hydrolysis of septal peptidoglycan (PG) are critical processes at the conclusion of cell division that enable separation of daughter cells. Cleavage of septal PG is mediated by PG amidases, hydrolytic enzymes that release peptide side chains from the glycan strand. Most gammaproteobacteria, including Escherichia coli, encode several functionally redundant periplasmic amidases. However, members of the Vibrio genus, including the enteric pathogen Vibrio cholerae, encode only a single PG amidase, AmiB. Here, we show that V. cholerae AmiB is crucial for cell division and growth. Genetic and biochemical analyses indicated that AmiB is regulated by two activators, EnvC and NlpD, at least one of which is required for AmiB's localization to the cell division site. Localization of the activators (and thus of AmiB) is dependent upon the cell division protein FtsN. These factors mediate septal PG cleavage in E. coli as well; however, their precise roles vary between the two organisms in a number of ways. Notably, even though V. cholerae EnvC and NlpD appear to be functionally redundant under most growth conditions tested, NlpD is specifically required for intestinal colonization in the infant mouse model of cholera and for V. cholerae resistance against bile salts, perhaps due to environmental regulation of AmiB or its activators. Collectively, our findings reveal that although the cellular components that enable cleavage of septal PG appear to be generally conserved between E. coli and V. cholerae, they can be combined into diverse functional regulatory networks.

  • 14. Murphy, Shannon G.
    et al.
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Adams, Myfanwy C.
    Liu, Shuning
    Chappie, Joshua S.
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Dorr, Tobias
    Endopeptidase Regulation as a Novel Function of the Zur-Dependent Zinc Starvation Response2019In: mBio, ISSN 2161-2129, E-ISSN 2150-7511, Vol. 10, no 1, article id e02620-18Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The cell wall is a strong, yet flexible, meshwork of peptidoglycan (PG) that gives a bacterium structural integrity. To accommodate a growing cell, the wall is remodeled by both PG synthesis and degradation. Vibrio cholerae encodes a group of three nearly identical zinc-dependent endopeptidases (EPs) that are predicted to hydrolyze PG to facilitate cell growth. Two of these (ShyA and ShyC) are conditionally essential housekeeping EPs, while the third (ShyB) is not expressed under standard laboratory conditions. To investigate the role of ShyB, we conducted a transposon screen to identify mutations that activate shyB transcription. We found that shyB is induced as part of the Zur-mediated zinc starvation response, a mode of regulation not previously reported for cell wall lytic enzymes. In vivo, ShyB alone was sufficient to sustain cell growth in low-zinc environments. In vitro, ShyB retained its D, D-endopeptidase activity against purified sacculi in the presence of the metal chelator EDTA at concentrations that inhibit ShyA and ShyC. This insensitivity to metal chelation is likely what enables ShyB to substitute for other EPs during zinc starvation. Our survey of transcriptomic data from diverse bacteria identified other candidate Zur-regulated EPs, suggesting that this adaptation to zinc starvation is employed by other Gram-negative bacteria. IMPORTANCE Bacteria encode a variety of adaptations that enable them to survive during zinc starvation, a condition which is encountered both in natural environments and inside the human host. In Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of the diarrheal disease cholera, we have identified a novel member of this zinc starvation response, a cell wall hydrolase that retains function and is conditionally essential for cell growth in low-zinc environments. Other Gram-negative bacteria contain homologs that appear to be under similar regulatory control. These findings are significant because they represent, to our knowledge, the first evidence that zinc homeostasis influences cell wall turnover. Anti-infective therapies commonly target the bacterial cell wall; therefore, an improved understanding of how the cell wall adapts to host-induced zinc starvation could lead to new antibiotic development. Such therapeutic interventions are required to combat the rising threat of drug-resistant infections.

  • 15. Möll, Andrea
    et al.
    Dörr, Tobias
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS).
    Davis, Brigid M
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine).
    Waldor, Matthew K
    A D, D-carboxypeptidase is required for Vibrio cholerae halotolerance2015In: Environmental Microbiology, ISSN 1462-2912, E-ISSN 1462-2920, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 527-540Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The biological roles of low molecular weight penicillin-binding proteins (LMW PBP) have been difficult to discern in Gram-negative organisms. In Escherichia coli, mutants lacking these proteins often have no phenotype, and cells lacking all seven LMW PBPs remain viable. In contrast, we report here that Vibrio cholerae lacking DacA-1, a PBP5 homologue, displays slow growth, aberrant morphology and altered peptidoglycan (PG) homeostasis in Luria-Bertani (LB) medium, as well as a profound plating defect. DacA-1 alone among V.cholerae'sLMW PBPs is critical for bacterial growth; mutants lacking the related protein DacA-2 and/or homologues of PBP4 or PBP7 displayed normal growth and morphology. Remarkably, the growth and morphology of the dacA-1 mutant were unimpaired in LB media containing reduced concentrations of NaCl (100mM or less), and also within suckling mice, a model host for the study of cholera pathogenesis. Peptidoglycan from the dacA-1 mutant contained elevated pentapeptide levels in standard and low salt media, and comparative analyses suggest that DacA-1 is V.cholerae's principal DD-carboxypeptidase. The basis for the dacA-1 mutant's halosensitivity is unknown; nonetheless, the mutant's survival in biochemically uncharacterized environments (such as the suckling mouse intestine) can be used as a reporter of low Na+ content.

  • 16. Terceti, Mateus S.
    et al.
    Rivas, Amable J.
    Alvarez, Laura
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).
    Noia, Manuel
    Cava, Felipe
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).
    Osorio, Carlos R.
    rstB Regulates Expression of the Photobacterium damselae subsp damselae Major Virulence Factors Damselysin, Phobalysin P and Phobalysin C2017In: Frontiers in Microbiology, ISSN 1664-302X, E-ISSN 1664-302X, Vol. 8, article id 582Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The marine pathogenic bacterium Photobacterium damselae subsp. damselae causes septicemia in marine animals and in humans. The pPHDD1 plasmid-encoded hemolysins damselysin (Dly) and phobalysin P (PhlyP), and the chromosome-encoded hemolysin phobalysin C (PhlyC) constitute its main virulence factors. However, the mechanisms by which expression of these three hemolysins is regulated remain unknown. Here we report the isolation of a mini-Tn10 transposon mutant which showed a strong impairment in its hemolytic activity. The transposon disrupted a putative sensor histidine kinase gene vda_000600 (rstB), which together with vda_000601 (rstA) is predicted to encode a putative two-component regulatory system. This system showed to be homologous to the Vibrio cholerae CarSR/VprAB and Escherichia coli RstAB systems. Reconstruction of the mutant by allelic exchange of rstB showed equal impairment in hemolysis, and complementation with a plasmid expressing rstAB restored hemolysis to wild-type levels. Remarkably, we demonstrated by promoter expression analyses that the reduced hemolysis in the rstB mutant was accompanied by a strong decrease in transcription activities of the three hemolysin genes dly (damselysin), hlyA(pl) (phobalysin P) and hlyA(ch) (phobalysin C). Thus, RstB, encoded in the small chromosome, regulates plasmid and chromosomal virulence genes. We also found that reduced expression of the three virulence genes correlated with a strong decrease in virulence in a sea bass model, demonstrating that RstB constitutes a master regulator of the three P. damselae subsp. damselae hemolysins and plays critical roles in the pathogenicity of this bacterium. This study represents the first evidence of a direct role of a RstAB-like system in the regulation of bacterial toxins.

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