The autolysin LytA contributes to efficient bacteriophage progeny release in Streptococcus pneumoniae.
ABSTRACT: Most bacteriophages (phages) release their progeny through the action of holins that form lesions in the cytoplasmic membrane and lysins that degrade the bacterial peptidoglycan. Although the function of each protein is well established in phages infecting Streptococcus pneumoniae, the role--if any--of the powerful bacterial autolysin LytA in virion release is currently unknown. In this study, deletions of the bacterial and phage lysins were done in lysogenic S. pneumoniae strains, allowing the evaluation of the contribution of each lytic enzyme to phage release through the monitoring of bacterial-culture lysis and phage plaque assays. In addition, we assessed membrane integrity during phage-mediated lysis using flow cytometry to evaluate the regulatory role of holins over the lytic activities. Our data show that LytA is activated at the end of the lytic cycle and that its triggering results from holin-induced membrane permeabilization. In the absence of phage lysin, LytA is able to mediate bacterial lysis and phage release, although exclusive dependence on the autolysin results in reduced virion egress and altered kinetics that may impair phage fitness. Under normal conditions, activation of bacterial LytA, together with the phage lysin, leads to greater phage progeny release. Our findings demonstrate that S. pneumoniae phages use the ubiquitous host autolysin to accomplish an optimal phage exiting strategy.
Project description:Recent metagenomic sequencing studies of uncultured viral populations have provided novel insights into the ecology of environmental bacteriophage. At the same time, viral metagenomes could also represent a potential source of recombinant proteins with biotechnological value. In order to identify such proteins, a novel two-step screening technique was devised for cloning phage lytic enzymes from uncultured viral DNA. This plasmid-based approach first involves a primary screen in which transformed Escherichia coli clones that demonstrate colony lysis following exposure to inducing agent are identified. This effect, which can be due to the expression of membrane-permeabilizing phage holins, is discerned by the development a hemolytic effect in surrounding blood agar. In a secondary step, the clones identified in the primary screen are overlaid with autoclaved Gram-negative bacteria (specifically Pseudomonas aeruginosa) to assay directly for recombinant expression of lytic enzymes, which are often encoded proximally to holins in phage genomes. As proof-of-principle, the method was applied to a viral metagenomic library constructed from mixed animal feces, and 26 actively expressed lytic enzymes were cloned. These proteins include both Gram-positive-like and Gram-negative-like enzymes, as well as several atypical lysins whose predicted structures are less common among known phage. Overall, this study represents one of the first functional screens of a viral metagenomic population, and it provides a general approach for characterizing lysins from uncultured phage.
Project description:Lysins are phage-encoded, peptidoglycan (cell wall) hydrolases that accumulate in the bacterial cytoplasm during a lytic infection cycle. Late during infection, the lysins undergo holin-mediated translocation across the inner membrane into the peptidoglycan matrix where they cleave cell wall covalent bonds required for wall stability and allow bacterial lysis and progeny phage release. This potent hydrolytic activity is now the foundation of a powerful genetic-based screening process for the identification and analysis of phage lysin proteins. Here, we describe a method for identifying a lysin, PlyG, from a bacteriophage that specifically infects the Gram-positive organism Bacillus anthracis; however, the techniques described can be adapted to clone, express, and analyze lysins from any phage infecting Gram-positive bacteria or possibly even Gram-negative bacteria.
Project description:In the billion years that bacteriophage (or phage) have existed together with bacteria the phage have evolved systems that may be exploited for our benefit. One of these is the lytic system used by the phage to release their progeny from an infected bacterium. Endolysins (or lysins) are highly evolved enzymes in the lytic system produced to cleave essential bonds in the bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan for progeny release. Small quantities of purified recombinant lysin added externally to gram-positive bacteria results in immediate lysis causing log-fold death of the target bacterium. Lysins have now been used successfully in a variety of animal models to control pathogenic antibiotic resistant bacteria found on mucosal surfaces and in infected tissues. The advantages over antibiotics are their specificity for the pathogen without disturbing the normal flora, the low chance of bacterial resistance, and their ability to kill colonizing pathogens on mucosal surfaces, a capacity previously unavailable. Lysins therefore, may be a much-needed anti-infective (or enzybiotic) in an age of mounting antibiotic resistance.
Project description:The Paenibacillus larvae infecting phage API480 (vB_PlaP_API480) is the first reported podovirus for this bacterial species, with an 58?nm icosahedral capsid and a 12?×?8?nm short, non-contractile tail. API480 encodes 77 coding sequences (CDSs) on its 45,026?bp dsDNA genome, of which 47 were confirmed using mass spectrometry. This phage has got very limited genomic and proteomic similarity to any other known ones registered in public databases, including P. larvae phages. Comparative genomics indicates API480 is a new species as it's a singleton with 28 unique proteins. Interestingly, the lysis module is highly conserved among P. larvae phages, containing a predicted endolysin and two putative holins. The well kept overall genomic organisation (from the structural and morphogenetic modules to the host lysis, DNA replication and metabolism related proteins) confirms a common evolutionary ancestor among P. larvae infecting phages. API480 is able to infect 69% of the 61 field strains with an ERIC I genotype, as well as ERIC II strains. Furthermore, this phage is very stable when exposed to high glucose concentrations and to larval gastrointestinal conditions. This highly-specific phage, with its broad lytic activity and stability in hive conditions, might potentially be used in the biocontrol of American Foulbrood (AFB).
Project description:Two new temperate bacteriophages exhibiting a Myoviridae (phiB6) and a Siphoviridae (phiHER) morphology have been isolated from Streptococcus mitis strains B6 and HER 1055, respectively, and partially characterized. The lytic phage genes were overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and their encoded proteins were purified. The lytAHER and lytAB6 genes are very similar (87% identity) and appeared to belong to the group of the so-called typical LytA amidases (atypical LytA displays a characteristic two-amino-acid deletion signature). although they exhibited several differential biochemical properties with respect to the pneumococcal LytA, e.g., they were inhibited in vitro by sodium deoxycholate and showed a more acidic pH for optimal activity. However, and in sharp contrast with the pneumococcal LytA, a short dialysis of LytAHER or LytAB6 resulted in reversible deconversion to the low-activity state (E-form) of the fully active phage amidases (C-form). Comparison of the amino acid sequences of LytAHER and LytAB6 with that of the pneumococcal amidase suggested that Val317 might be responsible for at least some of the peculiar properties of S. mitis phage enzymes. Site-directed mutagenesis that changed Val317 in the pneumococcal LytA amidase to a Thr residue (characteristic of LytAB6 and LytAHER) produced a fully active pneumococcal enzyme that differs from the parental one only in that the mutant amidase can reversibly recover the low-activity E-form upon dialysis. This is the first report showing that a single amino acid residue is involved in the conversion process of the major S. pneumoniae autolysin. Our results also showed that some lysogenic S. mitis strains possess a lytA-like gene, something that was previously thought to be exclusive to Streptococcus pneumoniae. Moreover, the newly discovered phage lysins constitute a missing link between the typical and atypical pneumococcal amidases known previously.
Project description:The rumen is known to harbor dense populations of bacteriophages (phages) predicted to be capable of infecting a diverse range of rumen bacteria. While bacterial genome sequencing projects are revealing the presence of phages which can integrate their DNA into the genome of their host to form stable, lysogenic associations, little is known of the genetics of phages which utilize lytic replication. These phages infect and replicate within the host, culminating in host lysis, and the release of progeny phage particles. While lytic phages for rumen bacteria have been previously isolated, their genomes have remained largely uncharacterized. Here we report the first complete genome sequences of lytic phage isolates specifically infecting three genera of rumen bacteria: Bacteroides, Ruminococcus, and Streptococcus. All phages were classified within the viral order Caudovirales and include two phage morphotypes, representative of the Siphoviridae and Podoviridae families. The phage genomes displayed modular organization and conserved viral genes were identified which enabled further classification and determination of closest phage relatives. Co-examination of bacterial host genomes led to the identification of several genes responsible for modulating phage:host interactions, including CRISPR/Cas elements and restriction-modification phage defense systems. These findings provide new genetic information and insights into how lytic phages may interact with bacteria of the rumen microbiome.
Project description:Host- and phage-coded cell wall hydrolases have been used to fight Streptococcus pneumoniae growing as planktonic cells in vitro as well as in animal models. Until now, however, the usefulness of these enzymes in biofilm-grown pneumococci has gone untested. The antipneumococcal activity of different cell wall hydrolases produced by S. pneumoniae and a number of its phages was examined in an in vitro biofilm model. The major pneumococcal autolysin LytA, an N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidase, showed the greatest efficiency in disintegrating S. pneumoniae biofilms. The phage-encoded lysozymes Cpl-1 and Cpl-7 were also very efficient. Biofilms formed by the close pneumococcal relatives Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae and Streptococcus oralis were also destroyed by the phage endolysins but not by the S. pneumoniae autolysin LytA. A cooperative effect of LytA and Cpl-1 in the disintegration of S. pneumoniae biofilms was recorded.
Project description:Analysis of autolysis of derivatives of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris MG1363 and subsp. lactis IL1403, both lacking the major autolysin AcmA, showed that L. lactis IL1403 still lysed during growth while L. lactis MG1363 did not. Zymographic analysis revealed that a peptidoglycan hydrolase activity of around 30 kDa is present in cell extracts of L. lactis IL1403 that could not be detected in strain MG1363. A comparison of all genes encoding putative peptidoglycan hydrolases of IL1403 and MG1363 led to the assumption that one or more of the 99 % homologous 27.9-kDa endolysins encoded by the prophages bIL285, bIL286 and bIL309 could account for the autolysis phenotype of IL1403. Induced expression of the endolysins from bIL285, bIL286 or bIL309 in L. lactis MG1363 resulted in detectable lysis or lytic activity. Prophage deletion and insertion derivatives of L. lactis IL1403 had a reduced cell lysis phenotype. RT-qPCR and zymogram analysis showed that each of these strains still expressed one or more of the three phage lysins. A homologous gene and an endolysin activity were also identified in the natural starter culture L. lactis subsp. cremoris strains E8, Wg2 and HP, and the lytic activity could be detected under growth conditions that were identical as those used for IL1403. The results presented here show that these endolysins of L. lactis are expressed during normal growth and contribute to autolysis without production of (lytic) phages. Screening for natural strains expressing homologous endolysins could help in the selection of strains with enhanced autolysis and, thus, cheese ripening properties.
Project description:The pneumococcal autolysin LytA is a virulence factor involved in autolysis as well as in fratricidal- and penicillin-induced lysis. In this study, we used biochemical and molecular biological approaches to elucidate which factors control the cytoplasmic translocation and lytic activation of LytA. We show that LytA is mainly localized intracellularly, as only a small fraction was found attached to the extracellular cell wall. By manipulating the extracellular concentration of LytA, we found that the cells were protected from lysis during exponential growth, but not in the stationary phase, and that a defined threshold concentration of extracellular LytA dictates the onset of autolysis. Stalling growth through nutrient depletion, or the specific arrest of cell wall synthesis, sensitized cells for LytA-mediated lysis. Inhibition of cell wall association via the choline binding domain of an exogenously added enzymatically inactive form of LytA revealed a potential substrate for the amidase domain within the cell wall where the formation of nascent peptidoglycan occurs.
Project description:The pathogenesis of the disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae begins with colonization of the upper respiratory tract. Temperate phages have been identified in the genomes of up to 70% of clinical isolates. How these phages affect the bacterial host during colonization is unknown. Here, we examined a clinical isolate that carries a novel prophage element, designated Spn1, which was detected in both integrated and episomal forms. Surprisingly, both lytic and lysogenic Spn1 genes were expressed under routine growth conditions. Using a mouse model of asymptomatic colonization, we demonstrate that the Spn1(-) strain outcompeted the Spn1(+) strain >70-fold. To determine if Spn1 causes a fitness defect through a trans-acting factor, we constructed an Spn1(+) mutant that does not become an episome or express phage genes. This mutant competed equally with the Spn1(-) strain, indicating that expression of phage genes or phage lytic activity is required to confer this fitness defect. In vitro, we demonstrate that the presence of Spn1 correlated with a defect in LytA-mediated autolysis. Furthermore, the Spn1(+) strain displayed increased chain length and resistance to lysis by penicillin compared to the Spn(-) strain, indicating that Spn1 alters the cell wall physiology of its host strain. We posit that these changes in cell wall physiology allow for tolerance of phage gene products and are responsible for the relative defect of the Spn1(+) strain during colonization. This study provides new insight into how bacteria and prophages interact and affect bacterial fitness in vivo.