A gene cluster involved in the utilization of both free heme and heme:hemopexin by Haemophilus influenzae type b.
ABSTRACT: The utilization of heme bound to the serum glycoprotein hemopexin by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) strain DL42 requires the presence of the 100-kDa heme:hemopexin-binding protein encoded by the hxuA gene (M. S. Hanson, S. E. Pelzel, J. Latimer, U. Muller-Eberhard, and E. J. Hansen, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89:1973-1977, 1992). Nucleotide sequence analysis of a 5-kb region immediately upstream from the hxuA gene revealed the presence of two genes, designated hxuC and hxuB, which encoded outer membrane proteins. The 78-kDa HxuC protein had similarity to TonB-dependent outer membrane proteins of other organisms, whereas the 60-kDa HxuB molecule most closely resembled the ShlB protein of Serratia marcescens. A set of three isogenic Hib mutants with cat cartridges inserted individually into their hxuA, hxuB, and hxuC genes was constructed. None of these mutants could utilize heme:hemopexin. The hxuC mutant was also unable to utilize low levels of free heme, whereas both the hxuA and hxuB mutants could utilize free heme. When the wild-type hxuC gene was present in trans, the hxuC mutant regained its ability to utilize low levels of free heme but still could not utilize heme:hemopexin. The hxuA mutant could utilize heme:hemopexin when a functional hxuA gene from a nontypeable H. influenzae strain was present in trans. Complementation analysis using this cloned nontypeable H. influenzae hxuA gene also indicated that the HxuB protein likely functions in the release of soluble HxuA from the Hib cell. These studies indicate that at least two and possible three gene products are required for utilization of heme bound to hemopexin by Hib strain DL42.
Project description:Haemophilus influenzae is nearly unique among facultatively anaerobic bacteria in its absolute requirement for exogenously supplied heme for aerobic growth. In this study, a mutant analysis strategy was used to facilitate identification of H. influenzae cell envelope components involved in the uptake of heme. Chemical mutagenesis was employed to produce a mutant of a nontypeable H. influenzae strain unable to utilize either protein-bound forms of heme or low levels of free heme. This mutant was transformed with a plasmid shuttle vector-based genomic library constructed from the same wild-type nontypeable H. influenzae strain, and a growth selection technique was used to obtain a recombinant clone that could utilize heme. Analysis of the DNA insert in the recombinant plasmid revealed the presence of several open reading frames, one of which encoded a 28-kDa protein with significant similarity to the TonB protein of Escherichia coli. This H. influenzae gene product was able to complement a tonB mutation in E. coli, allowing the E. coli tonB mutant to form single colonies on minimal medium containing vitamin B12. When this H. influenzae gene was inactivated by insertional mutagenesis techniques and introduced into the chromosome of wild-type strains of H. influenzae type b, the resultant transformants lost their abilities to utilize heme and produce invasive disease in an animal model. Genetic restoration of the ability to express this TonB homolog resulted in the simultaneous acquisition of both heme utilization ability and virulence. These results indicate that the H. influenzae TonB protein is required not only for heme utilization by this pathogen in vitro, but also for virulence of H. influenzae type b in an animal model.
Project description:Haemophilus influenzae is an obligate human commensal/pathogen that requires haem for survival and can acquire it from several host haemoproteins, including haemopexin. The haem transport system from haem-haemopexin consists of HxuC, a haem receptor, and the two-partner-secretion system HxuB/HxuA. HxuA, which is exposed at the cell surface, is strictly required for haem acquisition from haemopexin. HxuA forms complexes with haem-haemopexin, leading to haem release and its capture by HxuC. The key question is how HxuA liberates haem from haemopexin. Here, we solve crystal structures of HxuA alone, and HxuA in complex with the N-terminal domain of haemopexin. A rational basis for the release of haem from haem-haemopexin is derived from both in vivo and in vitro studies. HxuA acts as a wedge that destabilizes the two-domains structure of haemopexin with a mobile loop on HxuA that favours haem ejection by redirecting key residues in the haem-binding pocket of haemopexin.
Project description:Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) are Gram-negative pathogens that contribute to a variety of diseases, including acute otitis media and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As NTHi have an absolute requirement for heme during aerobic growth, these bacteria have to scavenge heme from their human hosts. These heme sources can range from free heme to heme bound to proteins, such as hemoglobin. To test the impact of heme structural factors on heme acquisition by NTHi, we prepared a series of heme sources that systematically vary in heme exposure and covalent binding of heme to peptide/protein and tested the ability of NTHi to use these sources to support growth. Results from this study suggest that NTHi can utilize protein-associated heme only if it is noncovalently attached to the protein.
Project description:Iron is an essential micronutrient for most living species. In mammals, hemoglobin (Hb) stores more than two thirds of the body's iron content. In the bloodstream, haptoglobin (Hp) and hemopexin (Hpx) sequester free Hb or heme. Pathogenic microorganisms usually acquire iron from their hosts and have evolved complex systems of iron piracy to circumvent nutritional immunity. Herein, we performed an evolutionary analysis of genes coding for mammalian heme-binding proteins and heme-scavengers in pathogen species. The underlying hypothesis is that these molecules are engaged in a molecular arms race. We show that positive selection drove the evolution of mammalian Hb and Hpx. Positively selected sites in Hb are located at the interaction surface with Neisseria meningitidis heme scavenger HpuA and with Staphylococcus aureus iron-regulated surface determinant B (IsdB). In turn, positively selected sites in HpuA and IsdB are located in the flexible protein regions that contact Hb. A residue in Hb (S45H) was also selected on the Caprinae branch. This site stabilizes the interaction with Trypanosoma brucei hemoglobin-haptoglobin (HbHp) receptor (TbHpHbR), a molecule that also mediates trypanosome lytic factor (TLF) entry. In TbHpHbR, positive selection drove the evolution of a variant (L210S) which allows evasion from TLF but reduces affinity for HbHp. Finally, selected sites in Hpx are located at the interaction surface with the Haemophilus influenzae hemophore HxuA, which in turn displays fast evolving sites at the Hpx-binding interface. These results shed light into host-pathogens conflicts and establish the importance of nutritional immunity as an evolutionary force.
Project description:Nutrient iron sequestration is the most significant form of nutritional immunity and causes bacterial pathogens to evolve strategies of host iron scavenging. Cigarette smoking contains iron particulates altering lung and systemic iron homeostasis, which may enhance colonization in the lungs of patients suffering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by opportunistic pathogens such as nontypeable. NTHi is a heme auxotroph, and the NTHi genome contains multiple heme acquisition systems whose role in pulmonary infection requires a global understanding. In this study, we determined the relative contribution to NTHi airway infection of the four heme-acquisition systems HxuCBA, PE, SapABCDFZ, and HbpA-DppBCDF that are located at the bacterial outer membrane or the periplasm. Our computational studies provided plausible 3D models for HbpA, SapA, PE, and HxuA interactions with heme. Generation and characterization of single mutants in the hxuCBA, hpe, sapA, and hbpA genes provided evidence for participation in heme binding-storage and inter-bacterial donation. The hxuA, sapA, hbpA, and hpe genes showed differential expression and responded to heme. Moreover, HxuCBA, PE, SapABCDFZ, and HbpA-DppBCDF presented moonlighting properties related to resistance to antimicrobial peptides or glutathione import, together likely contributing to the NTHi-host airway interplay, as observed upon cultured airway epithelia and in vivo lung infection. The observed multi-functionality was shown to be system-specific, thus limiting redundancy. Together, we provide evidence for heme uptake systems as bacterial factors that act in a coordinated and multi-functional manner to subvert nutritional- and other sources of host innate immunity during NTHi airway infection.
Project description:Haemophilus influenzae can cause serious invasive disease. We report the epidemiology and antimicrobial susceptibility of invasive H. influenzae in Ontario, Canada, from 2014 to 2018 from laboratory-based data. Blood was the most common specimen source (89.5%). Consistent with widespread vaccination against serotype b (Hib), the incidence of Hib in Ontario remained low (0.04 cases per 100,000 population). H. influenzae disease primarily afflicted those <1 and ≥65 years of age. From 2014 to 2018, cases of invasive H. influenzae increased 5.6%, from 1.67 to 2.06 cases per 100,000 population, the majority of which were attributed to a 7.6% increase in the incidence of H. influenzae in those ≥65 years old. H. influenzae disease was primarily caused by nontypeable H. influenzae (NTHi) (74.2%) and, to a much lesser extent, serotype a (Hia) (8.9%) and serotype f (Hif) (10.2%). Serotype-dependent trends in antimicrobial susceptibility were observed. Hia and Hif isolates were predominantly susceptible to all antibiotics tested, while 27.2% of NTHi isolates were nonsusceptible to ampicillin. Resistance to ceftriaxone and meropenem, first-line antibiotics for invasive disease treatment, was nonexistent. The incidence of invasive H. influenzae in Ontario is increasing. The incidence and antimicrobial susceptibility of all serotypes and nontypeable H. influenzae should be monitored. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> H. influenzae can cause serious invasive, life-threatening disease and is considered 1 of 12 priority pathogens by the World Health Organization. Widespread vaccination against H. influenzae serotype b (Hib) has resulted in very low incidence of Hib in Ontario and other regions that have vaccination programs. However, the epidemiology of non-Hib serotypes and nontypeable H. influenzae (NTHi) remains poorly understood. Here, we describe the epidemiology of all invasive H. influenzae isolates (N = 1,338) received by our laboratory over the 5-year period and report on the antimicrobial susceptibility patterns by serotype. Overall, we observed an increase in the incidence of invasive disease over the study period, primarily driven by NTHi. Serotype-dependent trends in antimicrobial susceptibility were also observed. This work contributes to the global understanding of H. influenzae epidemiology and antimicrobial resistance and is additionally important for further vaccine planning initiatives.
Project description:The glpTQ operon of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and nontypeable H. influenzae (NTHi) strains is highly conserved, except for a 1.4-kb glpTQ intergenic region that was found in most Hib strains. The presence of this intergenic region results in divergent glpTQ transcriptional profiles for Hib and NTHi where Hib strains appear to have evolved an alternative promoter for glpQ expression. Based on the intergenic region's low G+C content, we speculate that this DNA fragment was acquired by lateral transfer.
Project description:A pBR322-based library of chromosomal DNA from the nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae TN106 was screened for the expression of transferrin-binding activity in Escherichia coli. A recombinant clone expressing transferrin-binding activity contained a 3.7-kb fragment of nontypeable H. influenzae DNA. Nucleotide sequence analysis of this insert revealed the presence of two complete open reading frames encoding proteins of approximately 26 and 34 kDa. Mini-Tn10kan transposon mutagenesis at different sites within the open reading frame encoding the 34-kDa protein resulted in the abolition of transferrin-binding activity in the recombinant E. coli clone. The deduced amino acid sequence of the 34-kDa protein had 70% identity with the OxyR protein of E. coli; this latter macromolecule is a member of the LysR family of transcriptional activators. When a mutated H. influenzae oxyR gene was introduced into the chromosome of the wild-type H. influenzae strain by allelic exchange, the resulting oxyR mutant still exhibited wild-type levels of transferrin-binding activity but was unable to grow on media containing the heme precursor protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) in place of heme. This mutant also exhibited reduced growth around disks impregnated with heme sources. Supplementation of the PPIX-based growth media with catalase or sodium pyruvate resulted in normal growth of the H. influenzae oxyR mutant. Provision of the wild-type H. influenzae oxyR gene in trans also permitted the growth of this mutant on a PPIX-based medium. Exogenously supplied catalase restored the growth of this mutant with heme sources to nearly wild-type levels. These results indicate that expression of a wild-type OxyR protein by H. influenzae is essential to allow this organism to protect itself against oxidative stresses in vitro.
Project description:The lipooligosaccharides (LOS) of strains of Haemophilus ducreyi, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Neisseria lactamica contain epitopes that are antigenically and structurally similar to carbohydrates present in human glycosphingolipids. LOS from strains of Haemophilus influenzae and H. influenzae biogroup aegyptius were tested for the binding of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that bind to human glycosphingolipids possessing Gal beta 1-4GlcNAc (MAb 3F11) and Gal alpha 1-4Gal beta 1-4Glc (MAb anti-Pk). In solid-phase radioimmunoassays, the LOS of 18 of 19 H. influenzae type b (Hib), 8 of 19 nontypeable H. influenzae, and 10 of 20 H. influenzae biogroup aegyptius strains bound MAb anti-Pk. The LOS of 13 of 19 Hib, 10 of 16 nontypeable H. influenzae, and 2 of 18 H. influenzae biogroup aegyptius strains bound MAb 3F11. Neuraminidase treatment of the strains increased the binding of MAb 3F11 by more than twofold in 47% of the H. influenzae strains, suggesting that sialic acid occluded the LOS structure recognized by MAb 3F11. The material released from neuraminidase-treated Hib LOS was confirmed to be sialic acid by high-performance anion-exchange chromatography. A recombinant plasmid containing genes involved in Hib LOS biosynthesis directed the expression (assembly) of the 3F11 epitope in Escherichia coli. These studies demonstrate that H. influenzae and H. influenzae biogroup aegyptius express at least two LOS epitopes that are similar to those present in human glycosphingolipids. Sialic acid was present on the LOS of some H. influenzae strains and prevented the binding of MAb 3F11 to its epitope. The oligosaccharide portion of sialylated LOS may also resemble sialylated oligosaccharides present in human glycosphingolipids (gangliosides).
Project description:Haemophilus influenzae has an absolute aerobic growth requirement for either heme, or iron in the presence of protoporphyrin IX. Both iron and heme in the mammalian host are strictly limited in their availability to invading microorganisms. Many bacterial species overcome iron limitation in their environment by the synthesis and secretion of small iron binding molecules termed siderophores, which bind iron and deliver it into the bacterial cell via specific siderophore receptor proteins on the bacterial cell surface. There are currently no reports of siderophore production or utilization by H. influenzae.Comparative genomics revealed a putative four gene operon in the recently sequenced nontypeable H. influenzae strain R2846 that encodes predicted proteins exhibiting significant identity at the amino acid level to proteins involved in the utilization of the siderophore ferrichrome in other bacterial species. No siderophore biosynthesis genes were identified in the R2846 genome. Both comparative genomics and a PCR based analysis identified several additional H. influenzae strains possessing this operon. In growth curve assays strains containing the genes were able to utilize ferrichrome as an iron source. H. influenzae strains lacking the operon were unable to obtain iron from ferrichrome. An insertional mutation in one gene of the operon abrogated the ability of strains to utilize ferrichrome. In addition transcription of genes in the identified operon were repressible by high iron/heme levels in the growth media.We have identified an iron/heme-repressible siderophore utilization locus present in several nontypeable H. influenzae strains. The same strains do not possess genes encoding proteins associated with siderophore synthesis. The siderophore utilization locus may enable the utilization of siderophores produced by other microorganisms in the polymicrobial environmental niche of the human nasopharynx colonized by H. influenzae. This is the first report of siderophore utilization by H. influenzae.