Yersinia enterocolitica infection and tcaA-dependent killing of Caenorhabditis elegans.
ABSTRACT: Caenorhabditis elegans is a validated model to study bacterial pathogenicity. We report that Yersinia enterocolitica strains W22703 (biovar 2, serovar O:9) and WA314 (biovar 1B, serovar O:8) kill C. elegans when feeding on the pathogens for at least 15 min before transfer to the feeding strain Escherichia coli OP50. The killing by Yersinia enterocolitica requires viable bacteria and, in contrast to that by Yersinia pestis and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strains, is biofilm independent. The deletion of tcaA encoding an insecticidal toxin resulted in an OP50-like life span of C. elegans, indicating an essential role of TcaA in the nematocidal activity of Y. enterocolitica. TcaA alone is not sufficient for nematocidal activity because E. coli DH5alpha overexpressing TcaA did not result in a reduced C. elegans life span. Spatial-temporal analysis of C. elegans infected with green fluorescent protein-labeled Y. enterocolitica strains showed that Y. enterocolitica colonizes the nematode intestine, leading to an extreme expansion of the intestinal lumen. By low-dose infection with W22703 or DH5alpha followed by transfer to E. coli OP50, proliferation of Y. enterocolitica, but not E. coli, in the intestinal lumen of the nematode was observed. The titer of W22703 cells within the worm increased to over 10(6) per worm 4 days after infection while a significantly lower number of a tcaA knockout mutant was recovered. A strong expression of tcaA was observed during the first 5 days of infection. Y. enterocolitica WA314 (biovar 1B, serovar O:8) mutant strains lacking the yadA, inv, yopE, and irp1 genes known to be important for virulence in mammals were not attenuated or only slightly attenuated in their toxicity toward the nematode, suggesting that these factors do not play a significant role in the colonization and persistence of this pathogen in nematodes. In summary, this study supports the hypothesis that C. elegans is a natural host and nutrient source of Y. enterocolitica.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Yersinia enterocolitica strains responsible for mild gastroenteritis in humans are very diverse with respect to their metabolic and virulence properties. Strain W22703 (biotype 2, serotype O:9) was recently identified to possess nematocidal and insecticidal activity. To better understand the relationship between pathogenicity towards insects and humans, we compared the W22703 genome with that of the highly pathogenic strain 8081 (biotype1B; serotype O:8), the only Y. enterocolitica strain sequenced so far. RESULTS: We used whole-genome shotgun data to assemble, annotate and analyse the sequence of strain W22703. Numerous factors assumed to contribute to enteric survival and pathogenesis, among them osmoregulated periplasmic glucan, hydrogenases, cobalamin-dependent pathways, iron uptake systems and the Yersinia genome island 1 (YGI-1) involved in tight adherence were identified to be common to the 8081 and W22703 genomes. However, sets of ~550 genes revealed to be specific for each of them in comparison to the other strain. The plasticity zone (PZ) of 142 kb in the W22703 genome carries an ancient flagellar cluster Flg-2 of ~40 kb, but it lacks the pathogenicity island YAPI(Ye), the secretion system ysa and yts1, and other virulence determinants of the 8081 PZ. Its composition underlines the prominent variability of this genome region and demonstrates its contribution to the higher pathogenicity of biotype 1B strains with respect to W22703. A novel type three secretion system of mosaic structure was found in the genome of W22703 that is absent in the sequenced strains of the human pathogenic Yersinia species, but conserved in the genomes of the apathogenic species. We identified several regions of differences in W22703 that mainly code for transporters, regulators, metabolic pathways, and defence factors. CONCLUSION: The W22703 sequence analysis revealed a genome composition distinct from other pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica strains, thus contributing novel data to the Y. enterocolitica pan-genome. This study also sheds further light on the strategies of this pathogen to cope with its environments.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Toxin complex (Tc) proteins termed TcaABC, TcdAB, and TccABC with insecticidal activity are present in a variety of bacteria including the yersiniae. RESULTS: The tc gene sequences of thirteen Yersinia strains were compared, revealing a high degree of gene order conservation, but also remarkable differences with respect to pseudogenes, sequence variability and gene duplications. Outside the tc pathogenicity island (tc-PAIYe) of Y. enterocolitica strain W22703, a pseudogene (tccC2'/3') encoding proteins with homology to TccC and similarity to tyrosine phosphatases at its C-terminus was identified. PCR analysis revealed the presence of the tc-PAIYe and of tccC2'/3'-homologues in all biotype 2-5 strains tested, and their absence in most representatives of biotypes 1A and 1B. Phylogenetic analysis of 39 TccC sequences indicates the presence of the tc-PAIYe in an ancestor of Yersinia. Oral uptake experiments with Manduca sexta revealed a higher larvae lethality of Yersinia strains harbouring the tc-PAIYe in comparison to strains lacking this island. Following subcutaneous infection of Galleria mellonella larvae with five non-human pathogenic Yersinia spp. and four Y. enterocolitica strains, we observed a remarkable variability of their insecticidal activity ranging from 20% (Y. kristensenii) to 90% (Y. enterocolitica strain 2594) dead larvae after five days. Strain W22703 and its tcaA deletion mutant did not exhibit a significantly different toxicity towards G. mellonella. These data confirm a role of TcaA upon oral uptake only, and suggest the presence of further insecticidal determinants in Yersinia strains formerly unknown to kill insects. CONCLUSION: This study investigated the tc gene distribution among yersiniae and the phylogenetic relationship between TccC proteins, thus contributing novel aspects to the current discussion about the evolution of insecticidal toxins in the genus Yersinia. The toxic potential of several Yersinia spp. towards M. sexta and G. mellonella demonstrated here for the first time points to insects as a natural reservoir for yersiniae.
Project description:Current efforts to develop plague vaccines focus on LcrV, a polypeptide that resides at the tip of type III secretion needles. LcrV-specific antibodies block Yersinia pestis type III injection of Yop effectors into host immune cells, thereby enabling phagocytes to kill the invading pathogen. Earlier work reported that antibodies against Y. pestis LcrV cannot block type III injection by Yersinia enterocolitica strains and suggested that lcrV polymorphisms may provide for escape from LcrV-mediated plague immunity. We show here that polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies raised against Y. pestis KIM D27 LcrV (LcrV(D27)) bind LcrV from Y. enterocolitica O:9 strain W22703 (LcrV(W22703)) or O:8 strain WA-314 (LcrV(WA-314)) but are otherwise unable to block type III injection by Y. enterocolitica strains. Replacing the lcrV gene on the pCD1 virulence plasmid of Y. pestis KIM D27 with either lcrV(W22703) or lcrV(WA-314) does not affect the ability of plague bacteria to secrete proteins via the type III pathway, to inject Yops into macrophages, or to cause lethal plague infections in mice. LcrV(D27)-specific antibodies blocked type III injection by Y. pestis expressing lcrV(W22703) or lcrV(WA-314) and protected mice against intravenous lethal plague challenge with these strains. Thus, although antibodies raised against LcrV(D27) are unable to block the type III injection of Y. enterocolitica strains, expression of lcrV(W22703) or lcrV(WA-314) in Y. pestis did not allow these strains to escape LcrV-mediated plague protective immunity in the intravenous challenge model.
Project description:Yersinia enterocolitica is a pathogen that causes gastroenteritis in humans. Because of its low-temperature-dependent insecticidal activity, it can oscillate between invertebrates and mammals as host organisms. The insecticidal activity of strain W22703 is associated with a pathogenicity island of 19 kb (Tc-PAI Ye ), which carries regulators and genes encoding the toxin complex (Tc). The island also harbors four phage-related and highly conserved genes of unknown functions, which are polycistronically transcribed. Two open reading frames showed significant homologies to holins and endolysins and exhibited lytic activity in Escherichia coli cells upon overexpression. When a set of Yersinia strains was tested in an equivalent manner, highly diverse susceptibilities to lysis were observed, and some strains were resistant to lysis. If cell lysis occurred (as demonstrated by membrane staining), it was more pronounced when two accessory elements of the cassette coding for an i-spanin and an o-spanin were included in the overexpression construct. The pore-forming function of the putative holin, HolY, was demonstrated by complementation of the lysis defect of a phage ? S holin mutant. In experiments performed with membrane preparations, ElyY exhibited high specificity for W22703 peptidoglycan, with a cleavage activity resembling that of lysozyme. Although the functionality of the lysis cassette from Tc-PAI Ye was demonstrated in this study, its biological role remains to be elucidated.IMPORTANCE The knowledge of how pathogens survive in the environment is pivotal for our understanding of bacterial virulence. The insecticidal and nematocidal activity of Yersinia spp., by which the bacteria gain access to nutrients and thus improve their environmental fitness, is conferred by the toxin complex (Tc) encoded on a highly conserved pathogenicity island termed Tc-PAI Ye While the regulators and the toxin subunits of the island had been characterized in some detail, the role of phage-related genes within the island remained to be elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that this cassette encodes a holin, an endolysin, and two spanins that, at least upon overexpression, lyse Yersinia strains.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Yersinia enterocolitica, an important food- and water-borne enteric pathogen is represented by six biovars viz. 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Despite the lack of recognized virulence determinants, some biovar 1A strains have been reported to produce disease symptoms resembling that produced by known pathogenic biovars (1B, 2-5). It is therefore imperative to identify determinants that might contribute to the pathogenicity of Y. enterocolitica biovar 1A strains. Y. enterocolitica invariably produces urease and the role of this enzyme in the virulence of biovar 1B and biovar 4 strains has been reported recently. The objective of this work was to study genetic organization of the urease (ure) gene complex of Y. enterocolitica biovar 1A, biochemical characterization of the urease, and the survival of these strains under acidic conditions in vitro. RESULTS: The ure gene complex (ureABCEFGD) of Y. enterocolitica biovar 1A included three structural and four accessory genes, which were contiguous and was flanked by a urea transport (yut) gene on the 3' side. Differences were identified in ure gene complex of biovar 1A strain compared to biovar 1B and 4 strains. This included a smaller ureB gene and larger intergenic regions between the structural genes. The crude urease preparation exhibited optimal pH and temperature of 5.5 and 65 degrees C respectively, and Michaelis-Menten kinetics with a Km of 1.7 +/- 0.4 mM urea and Vmax of 7.29 +/- 0.42 micromol of ammonia released/min/mg protein. The urease activity was dependent on growth temperature and growth phase of Y. enterocolitica biovar 1A, and the presence of nickel in the medium. The molecular mass of the enzyme was > 545 kDa and an isoelectric point of 5.2. The number of viable Y. enterocolitica biovar 1A decreased significantly when incubated at pH 2.5 for 2 h. However, no such decrease was observed at this pH in the presence of urea. CONCLUSIONS: The ure gene cluster of biovar 1A strains though similar to biovar 1B and 4 strains, exhibited important differences. The study also showed the ability of biovar 1A strains of Y. enterocolitica to survive at highly acidic pH in vitro in the presence of urea.
Project description:The genus Yersinia comprises 19 species of which three are known as human and animal pathogens. Some species display toxicity toward invertebrates using the so-called toxin complex (TC) and/or determinants that are not yet known. Recent studies showed a remarkable variability of insecticidal activities when representatives of different Yersinia species (spp.) were subcutaneously injected into the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. Here, we demonstrate that Y. intermedia and Y. frederiksenii are highly toxic to this insect. A member of Y. Enterocolitica phylogroup 1B killed G. mellonella larvae with injection doses of approximately 38 cells only, thus resembling the insecticidal activity of Photorhabdus luminescens. The pathogenicity Yersinia spp. displays toward the larvae was higher at 15°C than at 30°C and independent of the TC. However, upon subtraction of all genes of the low-pathogenic Y. enterocolitica strain W22703 from the genomes of Y. intermedia and Y. frederiksenii, we identified a set of genes that may be responsible for the toxicity of these two species. Indeed, a mutant of Y. frederiksenii lacking yacT, a gene that encodes a protein similar to the heat-stable cytotonic enterotoxin (Ast) of Aeromonas hydrophila, exhibited a reduced pathogenicity toward G. mellonella larvae and altered the morphology of hemocytes. The data suggests that the repertoire of virulence determinants present in environmental Yersinia species remains to be elucidated.
Project description:Pathogenic biovars of Yersinia enterocolitica maintain the well-studied plasmid-encoded Ysc type III secretion (TTS) system, which has a definitive role in virulence. Y. enterocolitica biovar 1B additionally has a distinct chromosomal locus, the Yersinia secretion apparatus pathogenicity island (YSA PI) that encodes the Ysa TTS system. The signals to which the Ysa TTS system responds and its role in virulence remain obscure. This exploratory study was conducted to define environmental cues that promote the expression of Ysa TTS genes and to define how the Ysa TTS system influences bacterium-host interactions. Using a genetic approach, a collection of Y. enterocolitica Ysa TTS mutants was generated by mutagenesis with a transposon carrying promoterless lacZYA. This approach identified genes both within and outside of the YSA PI that contribute to Ysa TTS. Expression of these genes was regulated in response to growth phase, temperature, NaCl, and pH. Additional genetic analysis demonstrated that two regulatory genes encoding components of the YsrR-YsrS (ysrS) and RcsC-YojN-RcsB (rcsB) phosphorelay systems affect the expression of YSA PI genes and each other. The collection of Ysa TTS-defective transposon mutants, along with other strains carrying defined mutations that block Ysa and Ysc TTS, was examined for changes in virulence properties by using the BALB/c mouse model of infection. This analysis revealed that the Ysa TTS system impacts the ability of Y. enterocolitica to colonize gastrointestinal tissues. These results reveal facets of how Y. enterocolitica controls the function of the Ysa TTS system and uncovers a role for the Ysa TTS during the gastrointestinal phase of infection.
Project description:Enteropathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis share many traits in terms of infections they cause, but their epidemiology and ecology seem to differ in many ways. Pigs are the only known reservoir for Y. enterocolitica 4/O:3 strains while Y. pseudotuberculosis strains have been isolated from variety of sources including fresh vegetables and wild animals. A comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis with a DNA microarray based on three Yersinia enterocolitica and four Yersinia pseudotuberculosis genomes was conducted to shed light on genomic differences between the enteropathogenic Yersinia. In total 99 strains isolated from various sources were hybridized and analyzed. Overall design: Array CGH. Two-color hybridizations on 8x15K Agilent arrays. Eleven reference strain (Y. enterocolitica strain 8081, Y. enterocolitica strain DSM 130 30 and Y. pseudotuberculosis IP32953) hybridizations and four replicate hybridizations of strain HV.