Expression and characterization of an iron-regulated hemin-binding protein, HbpA, from Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai.
ABSTRACT: In an earlier study, based on the ferric enterobactin receptor FepA of Escherichia coli, we identified and modeled a TonB-dependent outer membrane receptor protein (LB191) from the genome of Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai. Based on in silico analysis, we hypothesized that this protein was an iron-dependent hemin-binding protein. In this study, we provide experimental evidence to prove that this protein, termed HbpA (hemin-binding protein A), is indeed an iron-regulated hemin-binding protein. We cloned and expressed the full-length 81-kDa recombinant rHbpA protein and a truncated 55-kDa protein from L. interrogans serovar Lai, both of which bind hemin-agarose. Assay of hemin-associated peroxidase activity and spectrofluorimetric analysis provided confirmatory evidence of hemin binding by HbpA. Immunofluorescence studies by confocal microscopy and the microscopic agglutination test demonstrated the surface localization and the iron-regulated expression of HbpA in L. interrogans. Southern blot analysis confirmed our earlier observation that the hbpA gene was present only in some of the pathogenic serovars and was absent in Leptospira biflexa. Hemin-agarose affinity studies showed another hemin-binding protein with a molecular mass of approximately 44 kDa, whose expression was independent of iron levels. This protein was seen in several serovars, including nonpathogenic L. biflexa. Sequence analysis and immunoreactivity with specific antibodies showed this protein to be LipL41.
Project description:An EcoRI fragment (1.2 kb) which is highly conserved among Leptospira interrogans isolated in Korea was cloned into pBluescript vector from L. interrogans serovar lai WH20. The EcoRI fragment was sequenced, and a pair of primers (LP1 and LP2) was designed for PCR assay. PCR amplification of target DNA obtained from cultured L. interrogans showed that 274 bp could be detected when as little as 100 fg of leptospiral genomic DNA was used in the reaction mixture. No amplification of DNA was detected from DNA of Leptospira biflexa serovars patoc and sau paulo, Borrelia burgdorferi, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella typhimurium. Amplification of 274-bp target DNA could be detected in DNA samples purified from 500 microliters of blood collected from experimentally infected gerbils 2 days after infection, while antibodies to L. interrogans could be detected by the microscopic agglutination test 7 days after infection. The specificity and high sensitivity of the test provided valuable tools for the early diagnosis of leptospirosis.
Project description:Comparative genomic hybridization was used to compare genetic diversity of five strains of Leptospira (Leptospira interrogans serovars Bratislava, Canicola, and Hebdomadis and Leptospira kirschneri serovars Cynopteri and Grippotyphosa). The array was designed based on two available sequenced Leptospira reference genomes, those of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni and L. interrogans serovar Lai. A comparison of genetic contents showed that L. interrogans serovar Bratislava was closest to the reference genomes while L. kirschneri serovar Grippotyphosa had the least similarity to the reference genomes. Cluster analysis indicated that L. interrogans serovars Bratislava and Hebdomadis clustered together first, followed by L. interrogans serovar Canicola, before the two L. kirschneri strains. Confirmed/potential virulence factors identified in previous research were also detected in the tested strains.
Project description:The spirochetes of the Leptospira genus contain saprophytic and pathogenic members, the latter being responsible for leptospirosis. Despite the recent sequencing of the genome of the pathogen L. interrogans, the slow growth of these bacteria, their virulence in humans, and a lack of genetic tools make it difficult to work with these pathogens. In contrast, the development of numerous genetic tools for the saprophyte L. biflexa enables its use as a model bacterium. Leptospira spp. require iron for growth. In this work, we show that Leptospira spp. can acquire iron from different sources, including siderophores. A comparative genome analysis of iron uptake systems and their regulation in the saprophyte L. biflexa and the pathogen L. interrogans is presented in this study. Our data indicated that, for instance, L. biflexa and L. interrogans contain 8 and 12 genes, respectively, whose products share homology with proteins that have been shown to be TonB-dependent receptors. We show that some genes involved in iron uptake were differentially expressed in response to iron. In addition, we were able to disrupt several putative genes involved in iron acquisition systems or iron regulation in L. biflexa. Comparative genomics, in combination with gene inactivation, gives us significant functional information on iron homeostasis in Leptospira spp.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Heme is typically a major iron source for bacteria, but little is known about how bacteria of the Leptospira genus, composed of both saprophytic and pathogenic species, access heme. RESULTS: In this study, we analysed a two-component system of the saprophyte Leptospira biflexa. In vitro phosphorylation and site-directed mutagenesis assays showed that Hklep is a histidine kinase which, after autophosphorylation of a conserved histidine, transfers the phosphate to an essential aspartate of the response regulator Rrlep. Hklep/Rrlep two-component system mutants were generated in L. biflexa. The mutants could only grow in medium supplemented with hemin or delta-aminolevulinic acid (ALA). In the pathogen L. interrogans, the hklep and rrlep orthologous genes are located between hemE and hemL genes, which encode proteins involved in heme biosynthesis. The L. biflexa hklep mutant could be complemented with a replicative plasmid harbouring the L. interrogans orthologous gene, suggesting that these two-component systems are functionally similar. By real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, we also observed that this two-component system might influence the expression of heme biosynthetic genes. CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate that the Hklep/Rrlep regulatory system is critical for the in vitro growth of L. biflexa, and suggest that this two-component system is involved in a complex mechanism that regulates the heme biosynthetic pathway.
Project description:Leptospira interrogans sensu stricto is responsible for the most frequent and severe cases of human leptospirosis. The epidemiology and clinical features of leptospirosis are usually associated with the serovars and serogroups of Leptospira. Because of the difficulties associated with serological identification of Leptospira strains, we evaluated a novel PCR-based method for typing L. interrogans serovars. Based upon the genome sequence of L. interrogans serovar Lai type strain 5660, 44 loci were analyzed by PCR for their variability in size due to the presence of variable-number tandem repeats (VNTR). Seven VNTR loci were found to be powerful markers for serovar identification, epidemiology, and phylogenetic studies of L. interrogans. This rapid and easy method should greatly contribute to a better knowledge of the epidemiology of Leptospira.
Project description:Treponema denticola does not appear to produce siderophores, so it must acquire iron by other pathways. Indeed, T. denticola has been shown to have an iron-regulated 44-kDa outer membrane protein (HbpA) with hemin binding ability. To characterize the HbpA protein, its gene was cloned from genomic DNA libraries of T. denticola. Sequence analysis of the hbpA open reading frame indicated that it encoded a 42.8-kDa protein with a 23-amino-acid signal peptide. HbpA has no significant homology to any proteins in the databases. Southern blot analysis demonstrated that hbpA is present in several T. denticola ATCC strains and clinical isolates, but not in Treponema pectinovorum, Treponema socranskii, or Escherichia coli. HbpA, expressed as a recombinant protein in E. coli and purified by antibody affinity chromatography, has hemin binding activity as determined by lithium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with tetramethylbenzidine staining. Northern blot analysis showed that there were two hbpA-containing transcripts, of approximately 1.3 and 2.6 kb, and that the RNA levels were low-iron induced. Interestingly, the 2.6-kb mRNA also encoded a second protein with significant homology to hbpA. This downstream gene, called hbpB, was cloned and sequenced and its product was expressed as a fusion protein in E. coli. The hbpB gene product is 49% identical to HbpA and binds hemin. Thus, T. denticola has two novel hemin binding proteins which may be part of a previously unrecognized iron acquisition pathway.
Project description:The specific mechanisms by which Leptospira spp. acquire iron from their ecological niches are unknown. A major factor contributing to our ignorance of spirochetal biology is the lack of methods for genetic analysis of these organisms. In this study, we have developed a system for random transposon mutagenesis of Leptospira biflexa using a mariner transposon, Himar1. To demonstrate the validity of Himar1 in vivo transposon mutagenesis in L. biflexa, a screen of mutants for clones impaired in amino acid biosynthesis was first performed, enabling the identification of tryptophan and glutamate auxotrophs. To investigate iron transporters, 2,000 L. biflexa transposon mutants were screened onto media with and without hemin, thus allowing the identification of five hemin-requiring mutants, and the putative genes responsible for this phenotype were identified. Three mutants had distinct insertions in a gene encoding a protein which shares homology with the TonB-dependent receptor FecA, involved in ferric citrate transport. We also identified two mutants with a Himar1 insertion into a feoB-like gene, the product of which is required for ferrous iron uptake in many bacterial organisms. Interestingly, the growth inhibition exhibited by the fecA and feoB mutants was relieved by deferoxamine, suggesting the presence of a ferric hydroxamate transporter. These results confirm the importance of iron for the growth of Leptospira and its ability to use multiple iron sources.
Project description:Select species of the bacterial genus Leptospira are causative agents of leptospirosis, an emerging global zoonosis affecting nearly one million people worldwide annually. We examined two Leptospira pathogens, Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai str. 56601 and Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo-bovis str. L550, as well as the free-living leptospiral saprophyte, Leptospira biflexa serovar Patoc str. 'Patoc 1 (Ames)'. The transport proteins of these leptospires were identified and compared using bioinformatics to gain an appreciation for which proteins may be related to pathogenesis and saprophytism. L. biflexa possesses a disproportionately high number of secondary carriers for metabolite uptake and environmental adaptability as well as an increased number of inorganic cation transporters providing ionic homeostasis and effective osmoregulation in a rapidly changing environment. L. interrogans and L. borgpetersenii possess far fewer transporters, but those that they all have are remarkably similar, with near-equivalent representation in most transporter families. These two Leptospira pathogens also possess intact sphingomyelinases, holins, and virulence-related outer membrane porins. These virulence-related factors, in conjunction with decreased transporter substrate versatility, indicate that pathogenicity arose in Leptospira correlating to progressively narrowing ecological niches and the emergence of a limited set of proteins responsible for host invasion. The variability of host tropism and mortality rates by infectious leptospires suggests that small differences in individual sets of proteins play important physiological and pathological roles.
Project description:Leptospira species colonize a significant proportion of rodent populations worldwide and produce life-threatening infections in accidental hosts, including humans. Complete genome sequencing of Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni and comparative analysis with the available Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai genome reveal that despite overall genetic similarity there are significant structural differences, including a large chromosomal inversion and extensive variation in the number and distribution of insertion sequence elements. Genome sequence analysis elucidates many of the novel aspects of leptospiral physiology relating to energy metabolism, oxygen tolerance, two-component signal transduction systems, and mechanisms of pathogenesis. A broad array of transcriptional regulation proteins and two new families of afimbrial adhesins which contribute to host tissue colonization in the early steps of infection were identified. Differences in genes involved in the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharide O side chains between the Copenhageni and Lai serovars were identified, offering an important starting point for the elucidation of the organism's complex polysaccharide surface antigens. Differences in adhesins and in lipopolysaccharide might be associated with the adaptation of serovars Copenhageni and Lai to different animal hosts. Hundreds of genes encoding surface-exposed lipoproteins and transmembrane outer membrane proteins were identified as candidates for development of vaccines for the prevention of leptospirosis.
Project description:Select species of the bacterial genus Leptospira are causative agents of leptospirosis, an emerging global zoonosis affecting nearly one million people worldwide annually. We examined two Leptospira pathogens, Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai str. 56601 and Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo-bovis str. L550, as well as the free-living leptospiral saprophyte, Leptospira biflexa serovar Patoc str. 'Patoc 1 (Ames)'. The transport proteins of these leptospires were identified and compared using bioinformatics to gain an appreciation for which proteins may be related to pathogenesis and saprophytism. L. biflexa possesses a disproportionately high number of secondary carriers for metabolite uptake and environmental adaptability as well as an increased number of inorganic cation transporters providing ionic homeostasis and effective osmoregulation in a rapidly changing environment. L. interrogans and L. borgpetersenii possess far fewer transporters, but those that they have are remarkably similar, with near-equivalent representation in most transporter families. These two Leptospira pathogens also possess intact sphingomyelinases, holins, and virulence-related outer membrane porins. These virulence-related factors, in conjunction with decreased transporter substrate versatility, indicate that pathogenicity was accompanied by progressively narrowing ecological niches and the emergence of a limited set of proteins responsible for host invasion. The variability of host tropism and mortality rates by infectious leptospires suggests that small differences in individual sets of proteins play important physiological and pathological roles.