Brucella abortus ure2 region contains an acid-activated urea transporter and a nickel transport system.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Urease is a virulence factor that plays a role in the resistance of Brucella to low pH conditions, both in vivo and in vitro. Brucella contains two separate urease gene clusters, ure1 and ure2. Although only ure1 codes for an active urease, ure2 is also transcribed, but its contribution to Brucella biology is unknown. RESULTS: Re-examination of the ure2 locus showed that the operon includes five genes downstream of ureABCEFGDT that are orthologs to a nikKMLQO cluster encoding an ECF-type transport system for nickel. ureT and nikO mutants were constructed and analyzed for urease activity and acid resistance. A non-polar ureT mutant was unaffected in urease activity at neutral pH but showed a significantly decreased activity at acidic pH. It also showed a decreased survival rate to pH 2 at low concentration of urea when compared to the wild type. The nikO mutant had decreased urease activity and acid resistance at all urea concentrations tested, and this phenotype could be reverted by the addition of nickel to the growth medium. CONCLUSIONS: Based on these results, we concluded that the operon ure2 codes for an acid-activated urea transporter and a nickel transporter necessary for the maximal activity of the urease whose structural subunits are encoded exclusively by the genes in the ure1 operon.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In prokaryotes, the ureases are multi-subunit, nickel-containing enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of urea to carbon dioxide and ammonia. The Brucella genomes contain two urease operons designated as ure1 and ure2. We investigated the role of the two Brucella suis urease operons on the infection, intracellular persistence, growth, and resistance to low-pH killing. RESULTS: The deduced amino acid sequence of urease-alpha subunits of operons-1 and -2 exhibited substantial identity with the structural ureases of alpha- and beta-proteobacteria, Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and higher plants. Four ure deficient strains were generated by deleting one or more of the genes encoding urease subunits of B. suis strain 1330 by allelic exchange: strain 1330Deltaure1K (generated by deleting ureD and ureA in ure1 operon), strain 1330Deltaure2K (ureB and ureC in ure2 operon), strain 1330Deltaure2C (ureA, ureB, and ureC in ure2 operon), and strain 1330Deltaure1KDeltaure2C (ureD and ureA in ure1 operon and ureA, ureB, and ureC in ure2 operon). When grown in urease test broth, strains 1330, 1330Deltaure2K and 1330Deltaure2C displayed maximal urease enzyme activity within 24 hours, whereas, strains 1330Deltaure1K and 1330Deltaure1KDeltaure2C exhibited zero urease activity even 96 h after inoculation. Strains 1330Deltaure1K and 1330Deltaure1KDeltaure2C exhibited slower growth rates in tryptic soy broth relative to the wild type strain 1330. When the BALB/c mice were infected intraperitoneally with the strains, six weeks after inoculation, the splenic recovery of the ure deficient strains did not differ from the wild type. In contrast, when the mice were inoculated by gavage, one week after inoculation, strain 1330Deltaure1KDeltaure2C was cleared from livers and spleens while the wild type strain 1330 was still present. All B. suis strains were killed when they were incubated in-vitro at pH 2.0. When the strains were incubated at pH 2.0 supplemented with 10 mM urea, strain 1330Deltaure1K was completely killed, strain 1330Deltaure2C was partially killed, but strains 1330 and 1330Deltaure2K were not killed. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that the ure1 operon is necessary for optimal growth in culture, urease activity, resistance against low-pH killing, and in vivo persistence of B. suis when inoculated by gavage. The ure2 operon apparently enhances the resistance to low-pH killing in-vitro.
Project description:Most members of the genus Brucella show strong urease activity. However, the role of this enzyme in the pathogenesis of Brucella infections is poorly understood. We isolated several Tn5 insertion mutants deficient in urease activity from Brucella abortus strain 2308. The mutations of most of these mutants mapped to a 5.7-kbp DNA region essential for urease activity. Sequencing of this region, designated ure1, revealed the presence of seven open reading frames corresponding to the urease structural proteins (UreA, UreB, and UreC) and the accessory proteins (UreD, UreE, UreF, and UreG). In addition to the urease genes, another gene (cobT) was identified, and inactivation of this gene affected urease activity in Brucella. Subsequent analysis of the previously described sequences of the genomes of Brucella spp. revealed the presence of a second urease cluster, ure2, in all them. The ure2 locus was apparently inactive in B. abortus 2308. Urease-deficient mutants were used to evaluate the role of urease in Brucella pathogenesis. The urease-producing strains were found to be resistant in vitro to strong acid conditions in the presence of urea, while urease-negative mutants were susceptible to acid treatment. Similarly, the urease-negative mutants were killed more efficiently than the urease-producing strains during transit through the stomach. These results suggested that urease protects brucellae during their passage through the stomach when the bacteria are acquired by the oral route, which is the major route of infection in human brucellosis.
Project description:Urease in Cryptococcus neoformans plays an important role in fungal dissemination to the brain and causing meningoencephalitis. Although urea is not required for synthesis of apourease encoded by URE1, the available nitrogen source affected the expression of URE1 as well as the level of the enzyme activity. Activation of the apoenzyme requires three accessory proteins, Ure4, Ure6, and Ure7, which are homologs of the bacterial urease accessory proteins UreD, UreF, and UreG, respectively. A yeast two-hybrid assay showed positive interaction of Ure1 with the three accessory proteins encoded by URE4, URE6, and URE7. Metalloproteomic analysis of cryptococcal lysates using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and a biochemical assay of urease activity showed that, as in many other organisms, urease is a metallocentric enzyme that requires nickel transported by Nic1 for its catalytic activity. The Ure7 accessory protein (bacterial UreG homolog) binds nickel likely via its conserved histidine-rich domain and appears to be responsible for the incorporation of Ni(2+) into the apourease. Although the cryptococcal genome lacks the bacterial UreE homolog, Ure7 appears to combine the functions of bacterial UreE and UreG, thus making this pathogen more similar to that seen with the plant system. Brain invasion by the ure1, ure7, and nic1 mutant strains that lack urease activity was significantly less effective in a mouse model. This indicated that an activated urease and not the Ure1 protein was responsible for enhancement of brain invasion and that the factors required for urease activation in C. neoformans resemble those of plants more than those of bacteria.Cryptococcus neoformans is the major fungal agent of meningoencephalitis in humans. Although urease is an important factor for cryptococcal brain invasion, the enzyme activation system has not been studied. We show that urease is a nickel-requiring enzyme whose activity level is influenced by the type of available nitrogen source. C. neoformans contains all the bacterial urease accessory protein homologs and nickel transporters except UreE, a nickel chaperone. Cryptococcal Ure7 (a homolog of UreG) apparently functions as both the bacterial UreG and UreE in activating the Ure1 apoenzyme. The cryptococcal urease accessory proteins Ure4, Ure6, and Ure7 interacted with Ure1 in a yeast two-hybrid assay, and deletion of any one of these not only inactivated the enzyme but also reduced the efficacy of brain invasion. This is the first study showing a holistic picture of urease in fungi, clarifying that urease activity, and not Ure1 protein, contributes to pathogenesis in C. neoformans.
Project description:Urease catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea to ammonia and carbamate and has been found to be an important pathogenic factor for certain bacteria. Cryptococcus neoformans is a significant human pathogenic fungus that produces large amounts of urease; thus we wanted to investigate the importance of urease in the pathogenesis of cryptococcosis. We cloned and sequenced the genomic locus containing the single-copy C. neoformans urease gene (URE1) and used this to disrupt the native URE1 in the serotype A strain H99. The ure1 mutant strains were found to have in vitro growth characteristics, phenoloxidase activity, and capsule size similar to those of the wild type. Comparison of a ure1 mutant with H99 after intracisternal inoculation into corticosteroid-treated rabbits revealed no significant differences in colony counts recovered from the cerebrospinal fluid. However, when these two strains were compared in both the murine intravenous and inhalational infection models, there were significant differences in survival. Mice infected with a ure1 strain lived longer than mice infected with H99 in both models. The ure1 strain was restored to urease positivity by complementation with URE1, and two resulting transformants were significantly more pathogenic than the ure1 strain. Our results suggest that urease activity is involved in the pathogenesis of cryptococcosis but that the importance may be species and/or infection site specific.
Project description:A 4.8-kilobase-pair region of cloned DNA encoding the genes of the Klebsiella aerogenes urease operon has been sequenced. Six closely spaced open reading frames were found: ureA (encoding a peptide of 11.1 kilodaltons [kDa]), ureB (11.7-kDa peptide), ureC (60.3-kDa peptide), ureE (17.6-kDa peptide), ureF (25.2-kDa peptide), and ureG (21.9-kDa peptide). Immediately after the ureG gene is a putative rho-dependent transcription terminator. The three subunits of the nickel-containing enzyme are encoded by ureA, ureB, and ureC based on protein structural studies and sequence homology to jack bean urease. Potential roles for ureE, ureF, and ureG were explored by deleting these accessory genes from the operon. The deletion mutant produced inactive urease, which was partially purified and found to have the same subunit stoichiometry and native size as the active enzyme but which contained no significant levels of nickel. The three accessory genes were able to activate apo-urease in vivo when they were cloned into a compatible expression vector and cotransformed into cells carrying the plasmid containing ureA, ureB, and ureC. Thus, one or more of the ureE, ureF, or ureG gene products are involved in nickel incorporation into urease.
Project description:Helicobacter hepaticus causes disease in the liver and lower intestinal tract of mice. It is strongly urease positive, although it does not live in an acidic environment. The H. hepaticus urease gene cluster was expressed in Escherichia coli with and without coexpression of the Helicobacter pylori nickel transporter NixA. As for H. pylori, it was difficult to obtain enzymatic activity from recombinant H. hepaticus urease; special conditions including NiCl2 supplementation were required. The H. hepaticus urease cluster contains a homolog of each gene in the H. pylori urease cluster, including the urea transporter gene ureI. Downstream genes were homologs of the nik nickel transport operon of E. coli. Nongastric H. hepaticus produces urease similar to that of H. pylori.
Project description:Helicobacter pylori is a human pathogen that infects the stomach, where it experiences variable pH. To survive the acidic gastric conditions, H. pylori produces large quantities of urease, a nickel enzyme that hydrolyzes urea to ammonia, which neutralizes the local environment. One of the regulators of urease expression in H. pylori is HpNikR, a nickel-responsive transcription factor. Here we show that HpNikR also regulates urease expression in response to changes in pH, linking acid adaptation and nickel homeostasis. Upon measuring the cytosolic pH of H. pylori exposed to an external pH of 2, similar to the acidic shock conditions that occur in the human stomach, a significant drop in internal pH was observed. This decrease in internal pH resulted in HpNikR-dependent activation of ureA transcription. Furthermore, analysis of a slate of H. pylori genes encoding other acid adaptation or nickel homeostasis components revealed HpNikR-dependent regulation in response to acid shock. This regulation was consistent with pH-dependent DNA binding to the corresponding promoter sequences observed in vitro with purified HpNikR. These results demonstrate that HpNikR can directly respond to changes in cytosolic pH during acid acclimation and illustrate the exquisitely coordinated regulatory networks that support H. pylori infections in the harsh environment of the human stomach.
Project description:The important human pathogen Helicobacter pylori requires the abundant expression and activity of its urease enzyme for colonization of the gastric mucosa. The transcription, expression, and activity of H. pylori urease were previously demonstrated to be induced by nickel supplementation of growth media. Here it is demonstrated that the HP1338 protein, an ortholog of the Escherichia coli nickel regulatory protein NikR, mediates nickel-responsive induction of urease expression in H. pylori. Mutation of the HP1338 gene (nikR) of H. pylori strain 26695 resulted in significant growth inhibition of the nikR mutant in the presence of supplementation with NiCl(2) at > or =100 microM, whereas the wild-type strain tolerated more than 10-fold-higher levels of NiCl(2). Mutation of nikR did not affect urease subunit expression or urease enzyme activity in unsupplemented growth media. However, the nickel-induced increase in urease subunit expression and urease enzyme activity observed in wild-type H. pylori was absent in the H. pylori nikR mutant. A similar lack of nickel responsiveness was observed upon removal of a 19-bp palindromic sequence in the ureA promoter, as demonstrated by using a genomic ureA::lacZ reporter gene fusion. In conclusion, the H. pylori NikR protein and a 19-bp operator sequence in the ureA promoter are both essential for nickel-responsive induction of urease expression in H. pylori.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The sequenced genomes of the Brucella spp. have two urease operons, ure-1 and ure-2, but there is evidence that only one is responsible for encoding an active urease. The present work describes the purification and the enzymatic and phylogenomic characterization of urease from Brucella suis strain 1330. Additionally, the urease reactivity of sera from patients diagnosed with brucellosis was examined. RESULTS: Urease encoded by the ure-1 operon of Brucella suis strain 1330 was purified to homogeneity using ion exchange and hydrophobic interaction chromatographies. The urease was purified 51-fold with a recovery of 12% of the enzyme activity and 0.24% of the total protein. The enzyme had an isoelectric point of 5, and showed optimal activity at pH 7.0 and 28-35 degrees C. The purified enzyme exhibited a Michaelis-Menten saturation kinetics with a Km of 5.60 +/- 0.69 mM. Hydroxyurea and thiourea are competitive inhibitors of the enzyme with Ki of 1.04 +/- 0.31 mM and 26.12 +/- 2.30 mM, respectively. Acetohydroxamic acid also inhibits the enzyme in a competitive way. The molecular weight estimated for the native enzyme was between 130-135 kDa by gel filtration chromatography and 157 +/- 7 kDa using 5-10% polyacrylamide gradient non-denaturing gel. Only three subunits in SDS-PAGE were identified: two small subunits of 14,000 Da and 15,500 Da, and a major subunit of 66,000 Da. The amino terminal sequence of the purified large subunit corresponded to the predicted amino acid sequence encoded by ureC1. The UreC1 subunit was recognized by sera from patients with acute and chronic brucellosis. By phylogenetic and cluster structure analyses, ureC1 was related to the ureC typically present in the Rhizobiales; in contrast, the ureC2 encoded in the ure-2 operon is more related to distant species. CONCLUSION: We have for the first time purified and characterized an active urease from B. suis. The enzyme was characterized at the kinetic, immunological and phylogenetic levels. Our results confirm that the active urease of B. suis is a product of ure-1 operon.
Project description:Ureases are multisubunit enzymes requiring Ni(2+) for activity. The low pH-inducible urease gene cluster in Streptococcus salivarius 57.I is organized as an operon, beginning with ureI, followed by ureABC (structural genes), and ureEFGD (accessory genes). Urease biogenesis also requires a high-affinity Ni(2+) uptake system. By searching the partial genome sequence of a closely related organism, Streptococcus thermophilus LMG18311, three open reading frame (ORFs) homologous to those encoding proteins involved in cobalamin biosynthesis and cobalt transport (cbiMQO) were identified immediately 3' to the ure operon. To determine whether these genes were involved in urease biogenesis by catalyzing Ni(2+) uptake in S. salivarius, regions 3' to ureD were amplified by PCRs from S. salivarius by using primers identical to the S. thermophilus sequences. Sequence analysis of the products revealed three ORFs. Reverse transcriptase PCR was used to demonstrate that the ORFs are transcribed as part of the ure operon. Insertional inactivation of ORF1 with a polar kanamycin marker completely abolished urease activity and the ability to accumulate (63)Ni(2+) during growth. Supplementation of the growth medium with NiCl(2) at concentrations as low as 2.5 micro M partially restored urease activity in the mutant. Both wild-type and mutant strains showed enhanced urease activity when exogenous Ni(2+) was provided at neutral pH. Enhancement of urease activity by adding nickel was regulated at the posttranslational level. Thus, ORF1, ORF2, and ORF3 are part of the ure operon, and these genes, designated ureM, ureQ, and ureO, respectively, likely encode a Ni(2+)-specific ATP-binding cassette transporter.