Expanding the Helicobacter pylori genetic toolbox: modification of an endogenous plasmid for use as a transcriptional reporter and complementation vector.
ABSTRACT: Helicobacter pylori is an important human pathogen. However, the study of this organism is often limited by a relative shortage of genetic tools. In an effort to expand the methods available for genetic study, an endogenous H. pylori plasmid was modified for use as a transcriptional reporter and as a complementation vector. This was accomplished by addition of an Escherichia coli origin of replication, a kanamycin resistance cassette, a promoterless gfpmut3 gene, and a functional multiple cloning site to form pTM117. The promoters of amiE and pfr, two well-characterized Fur-regulated promoters, were fused to the promoterless gfpmut3, and green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression of the fusions in wild-type and delta fur strains was analyzed by flow cytometry under iron-replete and iron-depleted conditions. GFP expression was altered as expected based on current knowledge of Fur regulation of these promoters. RNase protection assays were used to determine the ability of this plasmid to serve as a complementation vector by analyzing amiE, pfr, and fur expression in wild-type and delta fur strains carrying a wild-type copy of fur on the plasmid. Proper regulation of these genes was restored in the delta fur background under high- and low-iron conditions, signifying complementation of both iron-bound and apo Fur regulation. These studies show the potential of pTM117 as a molecular tool for genetic analysis of H. pylori.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori is a significant human pathogen that has adapted to survive the many stresses found within the gastric environment. Superoxide Dismutase (SodB) is an important factor that helps H. pylori combat oxidative stress. sodB was previously shown to be repressed by the Ferric Uptake Regulator (Fur) in the absence of iron (apo-Fur regulation) . Herein, we show that apo regulation is not fully conserved among all strains of H. pylori. apo-Fur dependent changes in sodB expression are not observed under iron deplete conditions in H. pylori strains G27, HPAG1, or J99. However, Fur regulation of pfr and amiE occurs as expected. Comparative analysis of the Fur coding sequence between G27 and 26695 revealed a single amino acid difference, which was not responsible for the altered sodB regulation. Comparison of the sodB promoters from G27 and 26695 also revealed a single nucleotide difference within the predicted Fur binding site. Alteration of this nucleotide in G27 to that of 26695 restored apo-Fur dependent sodB regulation, indicating that a single base difference is at least partially responsible for the difference in sodB regulation observed among these H. pylori strains. Fur binding studies revealed that alteration of this single nucleotide in G27 increased the affinity of Fur for the sodB promoter. Additionally, the single base change in G27 enabled the sodB promoter to bind to apo-Fur with affinities similar to the 26695 sodB promoter. Taken together these data indicate that this nucleotide residue is important for direct apo-Fur binding to the sodB promoter.
Project description:In Helicobacter pylori, the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) has evolved additional regulatory functions not seen in other bacteria; it can repress and activate different groups of genes in both its iron-bound and apo forms. Because little is understood about the process of apo-Fur repression and because only two apo-Fur-repressed genes (pfr and sodB) have previously been identified, we sought to expand our understanding of this type of regulation. Utilizing published genomic studies, we selected three potential new apo-Fur-regulated gene targets: serB, hydA, and the cytochrome c553 gene. Transcriptional analyses confirmed Fur-dependent repression of these genes in the absence of iron, as well as derepression in the absence of Fur. Binding studies showed that apo-Fur directly interacted with the suspected hydA and cytochrome c553 promoters but not that of serB, which was subsequently shown to be cotranscribed with pfr; apo-Fur-dependent regulation occurred at the pfr promoter. Alignments of apo-regulated promoter regions revealed a conserved, 6-bp consensus sequence (AAATGA). DNase I footprinting showed that this sequence lies within the protected regions of the pfr and hydA promoters. Moreover, mutation of the sequence in the pfr promoter abrogated Fur binding and DNase protection. Likewise, fluorescence anisotropy studies and binding studies with mutated consensus sequences showed that the sequence was important for apo-Fur binding to the pfr promoter. Together these studies expand the known apo-Fur regulon in H. pylori and characterize the first reported apo-Fur box sequence.
Project description:The ferric uptake regulator (Fur) of Helicobacter pylori is a global regulator that is important for colonization and survival within the gastric mucosa. H. pylori Fur is unique in its ability to activate and repress gene expression in both the iron-bound (Fe-Fur) and apo forms (apo-Fur). In the current study we combined random and site-specific mutagenesis to identify amino acid residues important for both Fe-Fur and apo-Fur function. We identified 25 mutations that affected Fe-Fur repression and 23 mutations that affected apo-Fur repression, as determined by transcriptional analyses of the Fe-Fur target gene amiE, and the apo-Fur target gene, pfr. In addition, eight of these mutations also significantly affected levels of Fur in the cell. Based on regulatory phenotypes, we selected several representative mutations to characterize further. Of those selected, we purified the wild-type (HpFurWT) and three mutant Fur proteins (HpFurE5A, HpFurA92T and HpFurH134Y), which represent mutations in the N-terminal extension, the regulatory metal binding site (S2) and the structural metal binding site (S3) respectively. Purified proteins were evaluated for secondary structure by circular dichroism spectroscopy, iron-binding by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, oligomerization in manganese-substituted and apo conditions by in vitro cross-linking assays, and DNA binding to Fe-Fur and apo-Fur target sequences by fluorescence anisotropy. The results showed that the N-terminal, S2 and S3 regions play distinct roles in terms of Fur structure-function relationships. Overall, these studies provide novel information regarding the role of these residues in Fur function, and provide mechanistic insight into how H. pylori Fur regulates gene expression in both the iron-bound and apo forms of the protein.
Project description:In Helicobacter pylori, iron balance is controlled by the Ferric uptake regulator (Fur), an iron-sensing repressor protein that typically regulates expression of genes implicated in iron transport and storage. Herein, we carried out extensive analysis of Fur-regulated promoters and identified a 7-1-7 motif with dyad symmetry (5'-TAATAATnATTATTA-3'), which functions as the Fur box core sequence of H. pylori. Addition of this sequence to the promoter region of a typically non-Fur regulated gene was sufficient to impose Fur-dependent regulation in vivo. Moreover, mutation of this sequence within Fur-controlled promoters negated regulation. Analysis of the H. pylori chromosome for the occurrence of the Fur box established the existence of well-conserved Fur boxes in the promoters of numerous known Fur-regulated genes, and revealed novel putative Fur targets. Transcriptional analysis of the new candidate genes demonstrated Fur-dependent repression of HPG27_51, HPG27_52, HPG27_199, HPG27_445, HPG27_825 and HPG27_1063, as well as Fur-mediated activation of the cytotoxin associated gene A, cagA (HPG27_507). Furthermore, electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed specific binding of Fur to the promoters of each of these genes. Future experiments will determine whether loss of Fur regulation of any of these particular genes contributes to the defects in colonization exhibited by the H. pylori fur mutant.
Project description:Gastric Helicobacter pylori colonization leads to iron deficiency anemia (IDA), especially in children and adolescents. However the pathogenesis is poorly understood.We sought to identify specific H. pylori genes involved in IDA development, by comparing bacterial genome-wide expression profiling in patients affected or not.H. pylori were isolated from four children with IDA and four from matched controls without IDA. Based on these isolates, cDNA microarrays under iron-replete or depleted conditions were systematically performed to compare gene expression profiles at the whole genome level. Real-time reverse-transcription (RT-) PCR and protein assays were performed for further assessing the profile differentiation of the identified H. pylori IDA-associated genes.We identified 29 and 11 genes with significantly higher or lower expression in the IDA isolates compared to non-IDA isolates, respectively. Especially notable were higher expression of sabA gene encoding sialic acid-binding adhesin in the IDA isolates, which was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR study. Moreover, iron-depletion in vitro led to up-regulation of fecA1 and frpB1 genes and down-regulation of pfr, as predicted. Known iron-regulated genes such as fur, pfr, fecA, and feoB did not significantly differ between both groups. The IDA isolates had significantly higher expression of vacuolating cytotoxin gene vacA than non-IDA isolates, consistent with the results of VacA protein assays. There were no significant differences in bacterial growth value between IDA and non-IDA isolates.It is likely that H. pylori carrying high expression of sabA causes IDA, especially in children and adolescents who have increased daily iron demand. In addition, it is possible that several host-interactive genes, including vacA, may play a synergistic role for sabA in IDA development.
Project description:We have generated a set of plasmids, based on the mobilizable shuttle vector pMIDG100, which can be used as tools for genetic manipulation of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae and other members of the Pasteurellaceae. A tandem reporter plasmid, pMC-Tandem, carrying promoterless xylE and gfpmut3 genes downstream of a multiple-cloning site (MCS), can be used for identification of transcriptional regulators and conditions which favor gene expression from different cloned promoters. The ability to detect transcriptional regulators using the tandem reporter system was validated in A. pleuropneumoniae using the cloned rpoE (sigma(E)) promoter (P). The resulting plasmid, pMCrpoEP, was used to identify a mutant defective in production of RseA, the negative regulator of sigma(E), among a bank of random transposon mutants, as well as to detect induction of sigma(E) following exposure of A. pleuropneumoniae to ethanol or heat shock. pMCsodCP, carrying the cloned sodC promoter of A. pleuropneumoniae, was functional in A. pleuropneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Haemophilus parasuis, Mannheimia haemolytica, and Pasteurella multocida. Two general expression vectors, pMK-Express and pMC-Express, which differ in their antibiotic resistance markers (kanamycin and chloramphenicol, respectively), were constructed for the Pasteurellaceae. Both plasmids have the A. pleuropneumoniae sodC promoter upstream of the gfpmut3 gene and an extended MCS. Replacement of gfpmut3 with a gene of interest allows complementation and heterologous gene expression, as evidenced by expression of the Haemophilus ducreyi nadV gene in A. pleuropneumoniae, rendering the latter NAD independent.
Project description:Background Gastric Helicobacter pylori colonization leads to iron deficiency anemia (IDA), especially in children and adolescents. However the pathogenesis is poorly understood. Objective We sought to identify specific H. pylori genes involved in IDA development, by comparing bacterial genome-wide expression profiling in patients affected or not. Methods H. pylori were isolated from four children with IDA and four from matched controls without IDA. Based on these isolates, cDNA microarrays under iron-replete or depleted conditions were systematically performed to compare gene expression profiles at the whole genome level. Real-time reverse-transcription (RT-) PCR and protein assays were performed for further assessing the profile differentiation of the identified H. pylori IDA-associated genes. Results We identified 29 and 11 genes with significantly higher or lower expression in the IDA isolates compared to non-IDA isolates, respectively. Especially notable were higher expression of sabA gene encoding sialic acid-binding adhesin in the IDA isolates, which was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR study. Moreover, iron-depletion in vitro led to up-regulation of fecA1 and frpB1 genes and down-regulation of pfr, as predicted. Known iron-regulated genes such as fur, pfr, fecA, and feoB did not significantly differ between both groups. The IDA isolates had significantly higher expression of vacuolating cytotoxin gene vacA than non-IDA isolates, consistent with the results of VacA protein assays. There were no significant differences in bacterial growth value between IDA and non-IDA isolates. Conclusions It is likely that H. pylori carrying high expression of sabA causes IDA, especially in children and adolescents who have increased daily iron demand. In addition, it is possible that several host-interactive genes, including vacA, may play a synergistic role for sabA in IDA development. Overall design: The four H. pylori strains isolated from the IDA patients and 4 strains from other gastric disorder patients were analysed by DNA micro array. In addition, two samples from IDA patients and two control samples were treated with DFM.
Project description:We developed techniques for the genetic manipulation of Flavobacterium species and used it to characterize several promoters found in these bacteria. Our studies utilized Flavobacterium hibernum strain W22, an environmental strain we isolated from tree hole habitats of mosquito larvae. Plasmids from F. hibernum strain W22 were more efficiently (approximately 1,250-fold) transferred by electroporation into F. hibernum strain W22 than those isolated from Escherichia coli, thus indicating that an efficient restriction barrier exists between these species. The strong promoter, tac, functional in proteobacteria, did not function in Flavobacterium strains. Therefore, a promoter-trap plasmid, pSCH03, containing a promoterless gfpmut3 gene was constructed. A library of 9,000 clones containing chromosomal fragments of F. hibernum strain W22 in pSCH03 was screened for their ability to drive expression of the promoterless gfpmut3 gene. Twenty strong promoters were used for further study. The transcription start points were determined from seven promoter clones by the 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends technique. Promoter consensus sequences from Flavobacterium were identified as TAnnTTTG and TTG, where n is any nucleotide, centered approximately 7 and 33 bp upstream of the transcription start site, respectively. A putative novel ribosome binding site consensus sequence is proposed as TAAAA by aligning the 20-bp regions upstream of the translational start site in 25 genes. Our primary results demonstrate that at least some promoter and ribosome binding site motifs of Flavobacterium strains are unusual within the bacterial domain and suggest an early evolutionary divergence of this bacterial group. The techniques presented here allow for more detailed genetics-based studies and analyses of Flavobacterium species in the environment.
Project description:Bacterial htrA genes are typically activated as part of the periplasmic stress response and are dependent on the extracytoplasmic sigma factor rpoE. A putative promoter region, P1, of the sigma(E)-type heat-inducible promoters has previously been identified upstream of the htrA gene of Bartonella henselae. Further analysis of the htrA mRNA by primer extension demonstrated that transcription initiates from P1 and a second region downstream of P1. This second promoter region, termed P2, had no sequence identity to sigma(E)-type heat-inducible promoters. Promoter regions were cloned individually and in tandem into pANT3 upstream of a promoterless version of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene (gfpmut3) and transformed into B. henselae by electroporation. The contiguous promoter region containing both P1 and P2 were necessary for the optimal transcriptional activation of the htrA gene. Promoter activity at 37 degrees C was distinctively higher than at 27 degrees C. However, thermal induction at 47 degrees C did not increase expression of gfpmut3. Invasion of human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1) by B. henselae resulted in the formation of well-defined vacuoles containing clusters of bacteria exhibiting marked expression of gfpmut3 transcribed from the P1-P2 region. In addition, a moderate yet significant increase in the ratio of bacterial GFP to DNA was detected for intracellular bacteria compared to extracellular bacteria, indicating upregulation of htrA upon invasion of HMEC-1. The activation of specific genes in the intracellular environment may help us better understand the novel pathogenic mechanisms used by this bacterium.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori's Fur regulatory protein controls transcription of dozens of genes in response to iron availability, acidity and oxidative stress, and affects the vigor of infection and severity of disease. It is unusual among Fur family proteins in being active both when iron-loaded and iron-free. METHOLODOLGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We tested if H. pylori fur mutations could affect resistance to metronidazole (Mtz), an anti-H. pylori prodrug rendered bactericidal by chemical reduction. Point mutations were made by PCR in DNA containing fur and a downstream chloramphenicol resistance gene, and were placed in the H. pylori chromosome by transformation of a fur-deletion (?fur) strain. Several substitutions affecting H. pylori Fur's ?10 residue N terminal arm, which has no counterpart in prototype (E. coli-type) Fur proteins, increased Mtz resistance, as did mutations affecting the region between DNA binding and dimerization domains. Three types of mutations decreased resistance more than did ?fur: substitutions affecting the N-terminal arm; substitutions affecting the metal binding pocket; and nonsense mutations that resulted in a truncated Fur protein with no C-terminal dimerization domain. Most metal binding pocket mutations were obtained only in fur genes with additional inactivating mutations, and thus seemed deleterious or lethal because they.These results establish that H. pylori Fur's distinctive N terminal arm is functional, and more generally illustrate that point mutations can confer informative phenotypes, distinct from those conferred by null mutations. We propose that fur mutations can affect Mtz susceptibility by altering the balance among Fur's several competing activities, and thereby the expression of genes that control cellular redox potential or elimination of bactericidal Mtz activation products. Further analyses of selected mutants should provide insights into Fur interactions with other cellular components, metabolic circuitry, and how H. pylori thrives in its special gastric niche.