The flaA locus of Bacillus subtilis is part of a large operon coding for flagellar structures, motility functions, and an ATPase-like polypeptide.
ABSTRACT: We cloned and sequenced 8.3 kb of Bacillus subtilis DNA corresponding to the flaA locus involved in flagellar biosynthesis, motility, and chemotaxis. The DNA sequence revealed the presence of 10 complete and 2 incomplete open reading frames. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences to data banks showed similarities of nine of the deduced products to a number of proteins of Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium for which a role in flagellar functioning has been directly demonstrated. In particular, the sequence data suggest that the flaA operon codes for the M-ring protein, components of the motor switch, and the distal part of the basal-body rod. The gene order is remarkably similar to that described for region III of the enterobacterial flagellar regulon. One of the open reading frames was translated into a protein with 48% amino acid identity to S. typhimurium FliI and 29% identity to the beta subunit of E. coli ATP synthase.
Project description:Vibrio cholerae is a Gram-negative bacterium with a monotrichous flagellum that causes the human disease cholera. Flagellum-mediated motility is an integral part of the bacterial life cycle inside the host and in the aquatic environment. The V. cholerae flagellar filament is composed of five flagellin subunits (FlaA, FlaB, FlaC, FlaD, and FlaE); however, only FlaA is necessary and sufficient for filament synthesis. flaA is transcribed from a class III flagellar promoter, whereas the other four flagellins are transcribed from class IV promoters. However, expressing flaA from a class IV promoter still facilitated motility in a strain that was otherwise lacking all five flagellins (?flaA-E). Furthermore, FlaA from V. parahaemolyticus (FlaAVP; 77% identity) supported motility of the V. cholerae ?flaA-E strain, whereas FlaA from V. vulnificus (FlaAVV; 75% identity) did not, indicating that FlaA amino acid sequence is responsible for its critical role in flagellar synthesis. Chimeric proteins composed of different domains of FlaAVC and FlaD or FlaAVV revealed that the N-terminal D1 domain (D1N) contains an important region required for FlaA function. Further analyses of chimeric FlaAVC-FlaD proteins identified a lysine residue present at position 145 of the other flagellins but absent from FlaAVC that can prevent monofilament formation. Moreover, the D1N region of amino acids 87 to 153 of FlaAVV inserted into FlaAVC allows monofilament formation but not motility, apparently due to the lack of filament curvature. These results identify residues within the D1N domain that allow FlaAVC to fold into a functional filament structure and suggest that FlaAVC assists correct folding of the other flagellins.IMPORTANCEV. cholerae causes the severe diarrheal disease cholera. Its ability to swim is mediated by rotation of a polar flagellum, and this motility is integral to its ability to cause disease and persist in the environment. The current studies illuminate how one specific flagellin (FlaA) within a multiflagellin structure mediates formation of the flagellar filament, thus allowing V. cholerae to swim. This knowledge can lead to safer vaccines and potential therapeutics to inhibit cholera.
Project description:Cat scratch disease (CSD) is a frequent clinical outcome of Bartonella henselae infection in humans. Recently, two case reports indicated Bartonella clarridgeiae as an additional causative agent of CSD. Both pathogens have been isolated from domestic cats, which are considered to be their natural reservoir. B. clarridgeiae and B. henselae can be distinguished phenotypically by the presence or absence of flagella, respectively. Separation of the protein content of purified flagella of B. clarridgeiae by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblot analysis indicated that the flagellar filament is mainly composed of a polypeptide with a mass of 41 kDa. N-terminal sequencing of 20 amino acids of this protein revealed a perfect match to the N-terminal sequence of flagellin (FlaA) as deduced from the sequence of the flaA gene cloned from B. clarridgeiae. The flagellin of B. clarridgeiae is closely related to flagellins of Bartonella bacilliformis and several Bartonella-related bacteria. Since flagellar proteins are often immunodominant antigens, we investigated whether antibodies specific for the FlaA protein of B. clarridgeiae are found in patients with CSD or lymphadenopathy. Immunoblotting with 724 sera of patients suffering from lymphadenopathy and 100 healthy controls indicated specific FlaA antibodies in 3.9% of the patients' sera but in none of the controls. B. clarridgeiae FlaA is thus antigenic and expressed in vivo, providing a valuable tool for serological testing. Our results further indicate that B. clarridgeiae might be a possible etiologic agent of CSD or lymphadenopathy. However, it remains to be clarified whether antibodies to the FlaA protein of B. clarridgeiae are a useful indicator of acute infection.
Project description:Many flagellar proteins are exported by a flagellum-specific export pathway. In an initial attempt to characterize the apparatus responsible for the process, we designed a simple assay to screen for mutants with export defects. Temperature-sensitive flagellar mutants of Salmonella typhimurium were grown at the permissive temperature (30 degrees C), shifted to the restrictive temperature (42 degrees C), and inspected in a light microscope. With the exception of switch mutants, they were fully motile. Next, cells grown at the permissive temperature had their flagellar filaments removed by shearing before the cells were shifted to the restrictive temperature. Most mutants were able to regrow filaments. However, flhA, fliH, fliI, and fliN mutants showed no or greatly reduced regrowth, suggesting that the corresponding gene products are involved in the process of flagellum-specific export. We describe here the sequences of fliH, fliI, and the adjacent gene, fliJ; they encode proteins with deduced molecular masses of 25,782, 49,208, and 17,302 Da, respectively. The deduced sequence of FliI shows significant similarity to the catalytic beta subunit of the bacterial F0F1 ATPase and to the catalytic subunits of vacuolar and archaebacterial ATPases; except for limited similarity in the motifs that constitute the nucleotide-binding or catalytic site, it appears unrelated to the E1E2 class of ATPases, to other proteins that mediate protein export, or to a variety of other ATP-utilizing enzymes. We hypothesize that FliI is either the catalytic subunit of a protein translocase for flagellum-specific export or a proton translocase involved in local circuits at the flagellum.
Project description:A large motility operon, referred to as the flgB operon, was identified, characterized, and mapped at 310 to 320 kb on the linear chromosome of the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. This is the first report that a sigma70-like promoter rather than a sigma28-like promoter is involved in the transcription of a major motility operon in bacteria. From these results in conjunction with results from a previous study (Y. Ge and N. W. Charon, Gene, in press), we have identified 26 genes in this operon that are relevant to motility and flagellar synthesis. With few exceptions, the gene order and deduced gene products were most similar to those of other spirochetes and Bacillus subtilis. Primer extension analysis indicated that transcription initiated from a conserved sigma70-like promoter immediately upstream of flgB; this promoter mapped within the heat-shock-induced protease gene hslU. Reverse transcriptase PCR analysis indicated that a single transcript of 21 kb initiated at this promoter and extended through flgE and (with our previous results) onto the putative motility gene flbE. The flgB promoter element had strong activity in both Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium. As expected, a mutant of S. typhimurium with an inactivated flagellum-specific sigma28 factor did not affect the function of this promoter. Western blot analysis indicated that B. burgdorferi recombinant FliG and FliI were antigenically similar to those of E. coli and other spirochetes. Although complementation of E. coli or S. typhimurium fliG or fliI mutants with the B. burgdorferi genes was unsuccessful, B. burgdorferi recombinant FliI completely inhibited flagellar synthesis and motility of wild-type E. coli and S. typhimurium. These results show that spirochete motility genes can influence flagellar synthesis in other species of bacteria. Finally, Western blot analysis with sera from infected humans and animals indicated a weak or nondetectable response to recombinant FliG and FliI. These results indicate that these antigens are not favorable candidate reagents to be used in the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Project description:Spirochete periplasmic flagella (PFs), including those from Brachyspira (Serpulina), Spirochaeta, Treponema, and Leptospira spp., have a unique structure. In most spirochete species, the periplasmic flagellar filaments consist of a core of at least three proteins (FlaB1, FlaB2, and FlaB3) and a sheath protein (FlaA). Each of these proteins is encoded by a separate gene. Using Brachyspira hyodysenteriae as a model system for analyzing PF function by allelic exchange mutagenesis, we analyzed purified PFs from previously constructed flaA::cat, flaA::kan, and flaB1::kan mutants and newly constructed flaB2::cat and flaB3::cat mutants. We investigated whether any of these mutants had a loss of motility and altered PF structure. As formerly found with flaA::cat, flaA::kan, and flaB1::kan mutants, flaB2::cat and flaB3::cat mutants were still motile, but all were less motile than the wild-type strain, using a swarm-plate assay. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blot analysis indicated that each mutation resulted in the specific loss of the cognate gene product in the assembled purified PFs. Consistent with these results, Northern blot analysis indicated that each flagellar filament gene was monocistronic. In contrast to previous results that analyzed PFs attached to disrupted cells, purified PFs from a flaA::cat mutant were significantly thinner (19.6 nm) than those of the wild-type strain and flaB1::kan, flaB2::cat, and flaB3::cat mutants (24 to 25 nm). These results provide supportive genetic evidence that FlaA forms a sheath around the FlaB core. Using high-magnification dark-field microscopy, we also found that flaA::cat and flaA::kan mutants produced PFs with a smaller helix pitch and helix diameter compared to the wild-type strain and flaB mutants. These results indicate that the interaction of FlaA with the FlaB core impacts periplasmic flagellar helical morphology.
Project description:The spirochete which causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, has many features common to other spirochete species. Outermost is a membrane sheath, and within this sheath are the cell cylinder and periplasmic flagella (PFs). The PFs are subterminally attached to the cell cylinder and overlap in the center of the cell. Most descriptions of the B. burgdorferi flagellar filaments indicate that these organelles consist of only one flagellin protein (FlaB). In contrast, the PFs from other spirochete species are comprised of an outer layer of FlaA and a core of FlaB. We recently found that a flaA homolog was expressed in B. burgdorferi and that it mapped in a fla/che operon. These results led us to analyze the PFs and FlaA of B. burgdorferi in detail. Using Triton X-100 to remove the outer membrane and isolate the PFs, we found that the 38.0-kDa FlaA protein purified with the PFs in association with the 41.0-kDa FlaB protein. On the other hand, purifying the PFs by using Sarkosyl resulted in no FlaA in the isolated PFs. Sarkosyl has been used by others to purify B. burgdorferi PFs, and our results explain in part their failure to find FlaA. Unlike other spirochetes, B. burgdorferi FlaA was expressed at a lower level than FlaB. In characterizing FlaA, we found that it was posttranslationally modified by glycosylation, and thus it resembles its counterpart from Serpulina hyodysenteriae. We also tested if FlaA was synthesized in a spontaneously occurring PF mutant of B. burgdorferi (HB19Fla-). Although this mutant still synthesized flaA message in amounts similar to the wild-type amounts, it failed to synthesize FlaA protein. These results suggest that, in agreement with data found for FlaB and other spirochete flagellar proteins, FlaA is likely to be regulated on the translational level. Western blot analysis using Treponema pallidum anti-FlaA serum indicated that FlaA was antigenically well conserved in several spirochete species. Taken together, the results indicate that both FlaA and FlaB comprise the PFs of B. burgdorferi and that they are regulated differently from flagellin proteins of other bacteria.
Project description:Methanococcus voltae possesses four flagellin genes, two of which (flaB1 and flaB2) have previously been reported to encode major components of the flagellar filament. The remaining two flagellin genes, flaA and flaB3, are transcribed at lower levels, and the corresponding proteins remained undetected prior to this work. Electron microscopy examination of flagella isolated by detergent extraction of whole cells revealed a curved, hook-like region of varying length at the end of a long filament. Enrichment of the curved region of the flagella resulted in the identification of FlaB3 by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and N-terminal sequencing, and the localization of this flagellin to the cell-proximal portion of the flagellum was confirmed through immunoblotting and immunoelectron microscopy with FlaB3-specific antibodies, indicating that FlaB3 likely composes the curved portion of the flagella. This could represent a unique case of a flagellin performing the role of the bacterial hook protein. FlaA-specific antibodies were used in immunoblotting to determine that FlaA is found throughout the flagellar filament. M. voltae cells were transformed with a modified flaA gene containing a hemagglutinin (HA) tag introduced into the variable region. Transformants that had replaced the wild-type copy of the flaA gene with the HA-tagged version incorporated the HA-tagged version of FlaA into flagella which appeared normal by electron microscopy.
Project description:Caulobacter crescentus is motile by virtue of a polar flagellum assembled during the predivisional stage of the cell cycle. Three mutant strains in which flagellar assembly was blocked at an early stage were isolated. The mutations in these strains mapped to an operon of two genes, fliI and fliJ, both of which are necessary for motility. fliI encodes a 50-kDa polypeptide whose sequence is closely related to that of the Salmonella typhimurium FliI protein, an ATPase thought to energize the export of flagellar subunits across the cytoplasmic membrane through a type III protein secretion system. fliJ encodes a 16-kDa hydrophilic protein of unknown function. Epistasis experiments demonstrated that the fliIJ operon is located in class II of the C. crescentus flagellar regulatory hierarchy, suggesting that the gene products act at an early stage in flagellar assembly. The expression of fliIJ is induced midway through the cell cycle, coincident with other class II operons, but the FliI protein remains present throughout the cell cycle. Subcellular fractionation showed that FliI is present both in the cytoplasm and in association with the membrane. Mutational analysis of FliI showed that two highly conserved amino acid residues in a bipartite ATP binding motif are necessary for flagellar assembly.
Project description:Most investigators have assumed that the periplasmic flagella (PFs) of Borrelia burgdorferi are composed of only one flagellin protein. The PFs of most other spirochete species are complex: these PFs contain an outer sheath of FlaA proteins and a core filament of FlaB proteins. During an analysis of a chemotaxis gene cluster of B. burgdorferi 212, we were surprised to find a flaA gene homolog with a deduced polypeptide having 54 to 58% similarity to FlaA from other spirochetes. Like other FlaA proteins, B. burgdorferi FlaA has a conserved signal sequence at its N terminus. Based on reverse transcription-PCR and primer extension analysis, this flaA homolog and five chemotaxis genes constitute a motility-chemotaxis operon. Immunoblots using anti-FlaA serum from Treponema pallidum and a lysate of B. burgdorferi showed strong reactivity to a protein of 38.0 kDa, which is consistent with the expression of flaA in growing cells.
Project description:The enterohepatic Helicobacter species Helicobacter hepaticus colonizes the murine intestinal and hepatobiliary tract and is associated with chronic intestinal inflammation, gall stone formation, hepatitis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Thus far, the role of H. hepaticus motility and flagella in intestinal colonization is unknown. In other, closely related bacteria, late flagellar genes are mainly regulated by the sigma factor FliA (sigma(28)). We investigated the function of the H. hepaticus FliA in gene regulation, flagellar biosynthesis, motility, and murine colonization. Competitive microarray analysis of the wild type versus an isogenic fliA mutant revealed that 11 genes were significantly more highly expressed in wild-type bacteria and 2 genes were significantly more highly expressed in the fliA mutant. Most of these were flagellar genes, but four novel FliA-regulated genes of unknown function were identified. H. hepaticus possesses two identical copies of the gene encoding the FliA-dependent major flagellin subunit FlaA (open reading frames HH1364 and HH1653). We characterized the phenotypes of mutants in which fliA or one or both copies of the flaA gene were knocked out. flaA_1 flaA_2 double mutants and fliA mutants did not synthesize detectable amounts of FlaA and possessed severely truncated flagella. Also, both mutants were nonmotile and unable to colonize mice. Mutants with either flaA gene knocked out produced flagella morphologically similar to those of wild-type bacteria and expressed FlaA and FlaB. flaA_1 mutants which had flagella but displayed reduced motility did not colonize mice, indicating that motility is required for intestinal colonization by H. hepaticus and that the presence of flagella alone is not sufficient.