Molecular characterization of the pathogen-specific, 34-kilodalton membrane immunogen of Treponema pallidum.
ABSTRACT: The 34-kilodalton (kDa) antigen of Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum (T. pallidum) is a pathogen-specific integral membrane protein. DNA sequence analysis of the cloned gene revealed an open reading frame encoding a primary product of 204 residues with a molecular mass of 22,087 daltons. Sequences that correspond to a consensus Escherichia coli promoter and a ribosome-binding site were found upstream from the AUG start codon that begins the open reading frame, suggesting that the cloned gene can use its own regulatory sequences for expression. Examination of the deduced amino acid sequence revealed the presence of a typical procaryotic leader peptide 19 amino acids long; processing results in a mature molecule with a molecular mass of 20,123 daltons. Pulse-chase experiments with E. coli minicells confirmed that the 34-kDa antigen is synthesized as a higher-molecular-weight precursor that is processed to a mature form with the electrophoretic mobility that is characteristic for this protein. The presence in the leader peptide of the sequence Phe-Ser-Ala-Cys suggested that the 34-kDa antigen is a proteolipid. Although hydropathy analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence of the mature 34-kDa antigen predicted that the molecule was primarily hydrophilic, both the native and recombinant 34-kDa molecules displayed hydrophobic biochemical behavior by fractionating into the detergent phase after extraction of intact organisms with Triton X-114. Cell fractionation experiments with E. coli showed that the 34-kDa molecule was localized in both the inner and outer membranes of the recombinant host. The combined data demonstrate that the 34-kDa antigen is an integral membrane protein that behaves in a biochemically consistent manner in both T. pallidum and E. coli.
Project description:A murine monoclonal antibody specific for a 17-kDa major membrane immunogen of Treponema pallidum was used to select recombinant Escherichia coli clones expressing the molecule from a T. pallidum genomic library. Sequence analysis of the structural gene for the immunogen (designated tpp17) revealed a 468-bp open reading frame encoding a polypeptide of 156 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 16,441 Da. The deduced amino acid sequence included a putative leader peptide terminated by a consensus tetrapeptide for the modification and processing of prokaryotic lipoproteins. Immunoprecipitation of the cloned immunogen radiolabeled with [3H]palmitate confirmed that it was a lipoprotein. The amino acid sequence also predicted that the mature protein contains four cysteine residues in addition to the lipid-modified cysteine of the N terminus. The existence of disulfide-bonded multimeric forms of the native immunogen was demonstrated by immunoblotting T. pallidum solubilized in the presence and absence of 2-mercaptoethanol. Triton X-114 phase partitioning of a nonlipidated form of the 17-kDa immunogen cleaved from a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein demonstrated that lipid modification is responsible for the immunogen's hydrophobic character. The same nonlipidated form of the immunogen also was used to demonstrate that lipid modification is essential for the molecule's ability to stimulate production of tumor necrosis factor alpha by murine macrophages. We conclude that covalently attached fatty acids not only anchor T. pallidum lipoproteins to spirochetal membranes but also confer upon these molecules the ability to activate immune effector cells.
Project description:The recent discovery that abundant and immunogenic lipoproteins constitute the integral membrane proteins of Treponema pallidum has prompted efforts to investigate their importance in the physiology and ultrastructure of the organism and in immune responses during infection. Earlier studies identified a 38-kDa lipoprotein of T. pallidum believed to be specific to the pathogen. In the present study, monoclonal antibodies generated against the 38-kDa lipoprotein of T. pallidum reacted with cognate 37-kDa molecules in the nonpathogens Treponema phagedenis, Treponema denticola, and Treponema refringens. Cloning and expression of the 38-kDa-lipoprotein gene of T. pallidum in Escherichia coli revealed that the recombinant product displayed a slightly larger (39-kDa) apparent molecular mass but remained reactive with anti-38-kDa-protein monoclonal antibodies. The recombinant product was processed and acylated in E. coli. DNA and amino acid sequence analyses indicated an open reading frame encoding 403 amino acids, with the first 25 amino acids corresponding to a leader peptide terminated by a signal peptidase II processing site of Val-Val-Gly-Cys. The predicted mature protein is 378 amino acids in length with a deduced molecular weight of 40,422 (excluding acylation). Southern blotting failed to demonstrate in nonpathogenic treponemes genomic sequences homologous with the 38-kDa-lipoprotein gene of T. pallidum. Computer analysis revealed that the 38-kDa lipoprotein of T. pallidum had 34.2% identity and 58.9% similarity with the glucose/galactose-binding protein (MglB) of E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium. Furthermore, of the 19 amino acids of MglB involved in carbohydrate binding, the 38-kDa lipoprotein had identity with 11. These studies have allowed the first putative functional assignment (carbohydrate binding) to a T. pallidum integral membrane protein. Recognition of this potential physiological role for the 38-kDa lipoprotein underscores the possibility that the membrane biology of T. pallidum may more closely resemble that of gram-positive organisms, which also utilize lipoproteins as anchored transporters, than that of gram-negative bacteria to which T. pallidum often is analogized.
Project description:The 47-kDa lipoprotein is an abundant integral membrane protein and dominant immunogen of Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum. Previous DNA sequencing of the 47-kDa-lipoprotein gene did not reveal consensus features representative of other bacterial lipoprotein genes; this prompted further analyses with emphasis on elucidation of the N terminus of the molecule. To assist in localizing start signals for the protein, the transcription initiation site for the 47-kDa-antigen gene was determined. RNA isolated from both T. pallidum and recombinant Escherichia coli expressing the 47-kDa antigen was used as a template in reverse transcriptase primer extension. Upon analysis of cDNA products, transcription initiation was localized to one nucleotide in T. pallidum and to two adjacent nucleotides in E. coli. When various primers were used in DNA sequencing reactions for these analyses, a previously undetected nucleotide (G) was found in the purported 5' untranslated region; this altered the upstream reading frame to reveal plausible sites for ribosome binding (GGAGG), translation initiation (GTG start codon), and signal peptidase II processing (Val-Val-Gly-Cys). Discounting acylation, the molecular weight of the mature polypeptide is 45,756 (approximately 46,600 with acylation). To derive nonacylated 47-kDa antigen for further structure-function studies, the 47-kDa-antigen gene was subcloned without acylation signals as a genetic construct encoding a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein; following cleavage with thrombin, the nonacylated 47-kDa protein was hydrophilic rather than amphiphilic but retained its antigenicity when tested against 116 human serum samples from patients with various stages of syphilis.
Project description:Automated Edman degradation was used to obtain N-terminal and internal amino acid sequences from a 26-kDa protein in isolated Treponema pallidum outer membranes (OMs). The resulting sequences enabled us to PCR amplify from T. pallidum DNA a 275-bp fragment of the corresponding gene. The complete nucleotide sequence of the gene was determined from fragments amplified by long-distance PCR. Primer extension verified the assigned translational start of the open reading frame (ORF) and putative upstream promoter elements. The ORF encoded a highly basic (pI 9.6) 26-kDa protein which contained an N-terminal 25-amino-acid leader peptide terminated by a signal peptidase I cleavage site. The mature protein contained seven tandemly spaced copies (as well as an eighth incomplete copy) of a leucine-rich repeat (LRR), a motif previously identified in a number of prokaryotic and eukaryotic proteins. Accordingly, the polypeptide was designated T. pallidum leucine-rich repeat protein (TpLRR). Although Triton X-114 phase partitioning showed that TpLRR was hydrophilic, cell localization studies showed that most of the antigen was associated with the peptidoglycan-cytoplasmic membrane complex rather than being freely soluble in the periplasmic space. Immunoblot studies showed that syphilis patients develop a weak antibody response to the antigen. Lastly, the lrr(T. pallidum) gene was mapped to a 60-kb SfiI-SpeI fragment of the T. pallidum chromosome which also contains the rrnA and flaA genes. The function(s) of TpLRR is currently unknown; however, protein-protein and/or protein-lipid interactions mediated by its LRR motifs may facilitate interactions between components of the T. pallidum cell envelope.
Project description:The 15-kDa lipoprotein of Treponema pallidum is a major immunogen during natural syphilis infection in humans and experimental infection in other hosts. The humoral and cellular immune responses to this molecule appear late in infection as resistance to reinfection is developing. One therefore might hypothesize that this antigen is important for protective immunity. This possibility is explored by using both genetic and antigenic approaches. Limited or no cross-protection has been demonstrated between the T. pallidum subspecies and strains or between Treponema species. We therefore hypothesized that if the 15-kDa antigen was of major importance in protective immunity, it might be a likely site of antigenic diversity. To explore this possibility, the sequences of the open reading frames of the 15-kDa gene have been determined for Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum (Nichols and Bal-3 strains), T. pallidum subsp. pertenue (Gauthier strain), T. pallidum subsp. endemicum (Bosnia strain), Treponema paraluiscuniculi (Cuniculi A, H, and K strains), and a little-characterized simian isolate of Treponema sp. (Fribourg-Blanc strain). No significant differences in DNA sequences of the genes for the coding region of the 15-kDa antigen were found among the different species and subspecies studied. In addition, all organisms showed expression of the 15-kDa antigen as determined by monoclonal antibody staining. The role of the 15-kDa antigen in protection against homologous infection with T. pallidum subsp. pallidum Nichols was examined in rabbits immunized with a purified recombinant 15-kDa fusion protein. No alteration in chancre development was observed in immunized, compared to unimmunized, rabbits, and the antisera induced by the immunization failed to enhance phagocytosis of T. pallidum subsp. pallidum by macrophages in vitro. These results do not support a major role for this antigen in protection against syphilis infection.
Project description:A full-length cDNA clone encoding human mitochondrial carbonic anhydrase (CA), CA V, was isolated from a human liver cDNA library. The 1123-bp cDNA includes a 55-bp 5' untranslated region, a 915-bp open reading frame, and a 153-bp 3' untranslated region. Expression of the cDNA in COS cells produced active enzyme. The 34-kDa precursor and 30-kDa mature form of CA V were identified on Western blots of COS-cell homogenates by a CA V-specific antibody raised to a synthetic peptide corresponding to the C-terminal 17 aa of CA V. Both 34-kDa and 30-kDa bands were also present in mitochondria isolated from transfected COS cells, whereas only the 30-kDa band was present in mitochondria isolated from normal human liver. The N-terminal sequence determined directly on the 30-kDa soluble CA purified from transfected COS cells indicated that processing of the precursor to mature human CA V involves removal of a 38-aa mitochondrial leader sequence. The 267-aa sequence deduced for mature human CA V shows 30-49% similarity to amino acid sequences of previously characterized human CAs (CA I-CA VII) and 76% similarity to the corresponding amino acid sequence deduced from the mouse cDNA. PCR analysis of DNAs from human-rodent somatic cell hybrids localized the gene for CA V to human chromosome 16, the same chromosome to which CA VII has previously been mapped.
Project description:Previous studies have shown that appendage pili of Burkholderia cepacia strains isolated from patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada, mediate adherence to mucus glycoproteins and also enhance adherence to epithelial cells. The specific pilin-associated adhesin molecule is a 22-kDa protein. In the present study we purified the major subunit pilin (17 kDa) and immunolocalized it to peritrichously arranged pili. On the basis of their novel morphological appearance as giant intertwined fibers, we refer to them as cable (Cbl) pili. Using an oligonucleotide probe corresponding to regions of the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the pilin subunit, we detected the encoding cblA gene in a chromosomal DNA library. Sequencing revealed this structural gene to be 555 bp in length, encoding a leader sequence of 19 amino acids, a cleavage site between the alanine at position 19 and the valine at position 20, and a mature pilin sequence of 165 amino acids. The calculated molecular mass is 17.3 kDa. Hydrophobic plus apolar amino acids account for 60% of the total residues. The pilin exhibits some similarities in its amino acid sequence to colonization factor antigen I and CS1 fimbriae of Escherichia coli. With the cblA gene used as a probe, hybridization assays of 59 independent isolates, including those from several geographically separated CF centers, plus environmental and clinical (non-CF) strains, gave positive results with all of the 15 CF-associated B. cepacia isolates from Toronto, plus a single strain from one other CF center (Jackson, Mississippi). The cblA gene is the first pilin subunit gene of B. cepacia to be identified.
Project description:The gene encoding the 35-kDa immunogenic Treponema pallidium subsp. pallidum (T. pallidum) membrane protein C, TmpC, was cloned, sequenced, and expressed in Escherichia coli. The deduced amino acid sequence carries on N-terminal signal sequence with a four-amino-acid motif, which is characteristic for bacterial lipoproteins. Metabolic labeling with radioactive palmitic acid of E. coli expressing TmpC revealed incorporation of the fatty acid into the antigen. The antigen was overproduced, purified to near homogeneity and used in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to evaluate its potential for the serodiagnosis of syphilis. Although all sera from untreated secondary syphilis patients were reactive in this TmpC ELISA, only a minority of the serum samples from untreated patients in the primary or early latent stage of the disease contained significant anti-TmpC antibodies. To study the influence of the lipid moiety on the antigenic properties of the TmpC, TmpA, and TpD lipoproteins, plasmids encoding nonlipidated forms of these antigens were constructed. In addition, a plasmid expressing a lipidated form of the otherwise non-lipid-modified antigen TmpB was constructed. Immunization and absorption experiments with these lipidated and nonlipidated antigens showed that antibodies against the lipid moiety of lipoproteins could not be detected on immunoblots, neither in sera from infected rabbits nor in sera from animals immunized with the lipoproteins. In addition, we were unable to demonstrate cross-reactivity between antibodies against the T. pallidum lipoproteins and those reactive to the Venereal Diseases Research Laboratories test, suggesting that antibodies reactive to the Venereal Diseases Research Laboratories test are unrelated to antilipoprotein antibodies.
Project description:A high-molecular-mass (120- to 128-kDa) Helicobacter pylori antigen has been associated with peptic ulcer disease. We created a bank of 40,000 random chromosomal fragments of H. pylori 84-183 by using lambda ZapII. Screening of this bank in Escherichia coli XL1-Blue with absorbed serum from an H. pylori-infected person permitted the isolation and purification of a clone with a 3.5-kb insert. Subcloning of this insert (pMC3) permitted the expression of a recombinant H. pylori protein that had a mass of approximately 96 kDa and that was recognized by the human serum. Sera that were obtained from H. pylori-infected persons and that recognized the native 120- to 128-kDa H. pylori antigen recognized the recombinant 96-kDa pMC3 protein to a significantly greater extent than did sera that did not recognize the native H. pylori antigen. All 19 H. pylori isolates producing the 120- to 128-kDa antigen hybridized with pMC3; none of 13 nonproducers did so (P < 0.001). Because all 15 isolates producing the vacuolating cytotoxin hybridized with pMC3, we called the gene cagA (cytotoxin-associated gene). Sequence analysis of pMC3 identified an open reading frame of 859 amino acids, without a termination codon. Parallel screening of a lambda gt11 library with human serum revealed positive plaques with identical 0.6-kb inserts and sequences matching the sequence of the downstream region of pMC3. To clone the full-length gene, we used the 0.6-kb fragment as a probe and isolated a clone with a 2.7-kb insert from the lambda ZapII genomic library. Nucleotide sequencing of this insert (pYB 2) revealed a 785-bp sequence that overlapped the downstream region of pMC3. Translation of the complete nucleotide sequence of cagA revealed an open reading frame of 1,181 amino acids yielding a protein of 131,517 daltons. There was no significant homology with any previously reported protein sequence. These findings indicate the cloning and characterization of a high-molecular-mass H. pylori antigen potentially associated with virulence and with cytotoxin production.
Project description:Proteins secreted into the culture medium by Mycobacterium tuberculosis are thought to play an important role in the development of protective immune responses. In this report, we describe the molecular cloning of a novel, low-molecular-weight antigen (MTB12) secreted by M. tuberculosis. Sequence analysis of the MTB12 gene indicates that the protein is initially synthesized as a 16.6-kDa precursor protein containing a 48-amino-acid hydrophobic leader sequence. The mature, fully processed form of MTB12 protein found in culture filtrates has a molecular mass of 12. 5 kDa. MTB12 protein constitutes a major component of the M. tuberculosis culture supernatant and appears to be at least as abundant as several other well-characterized culture filtrate proteins, including members of the 85B complex. MTB12 is encoded by a single-copy gene which is present in both virulent and avirulent strains of the M. tuberculosis complex, the BCG strain of M. bovis, and M. leprae. Recombinant MTB12 containing an N-terminal six-histidine tag was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by affinity chromatography. Recombinant MTB12 protein elicited in vitro proliferative responses from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of a number of purified protein derivative-positive (PPD+) human donors but not from PPD- donors.