A widespread family of polymorphic contact-dependent toxin delivery systems in bacteria.
ABSTRACT: Bacteria have developed mechanisms to communicate and compete with one another in diverse environments. A new form of intercellular communication, contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI), was discovered recently in Escherichia coli. CDI is mediated by the CdiB/CdiA two-partner secretion (TPS) system. CdiB facilitates secretion of the CdiA 'exoprotein' onto the cell surface. An additional small immunity protein (CdiI) protects CDI(+) cells from autoinhibition. The mechanisms by which CDI blocks cell growth and by which CdiI counteracts this growth arrest are unknown. Moreover, the existence of CDI activity in other bacteria has not been explored. Here we show that the CDI growth inhibitory activity resides within the carboxy-terminal region of CdiA (CdiA-CT), and that CdiI binds and inactivates cognate CdiA-CT, but not heterologous CdiA-CT. Bioinformatic and experimental analyses show that multiple bacterial species encode functional CDI systems with high sequence variability in the CdiA-CT and CdiI coding regions. CdiA-CT heterogeneity implies that a range of toxic activities are used during CDI. Indeed, CdiA-CTs from uropathogenic E.?coli and the plant pathogen Dickeya dadantii have different nuclease activities, each providing a distinct mechanism of growth inhibition. Finally, we show that bacteria lacking the CdiA-CT and CdiI coding regions are unable to compete with isogenic wild-type CDI(+) cells both in laboratory media and on a eukaryotic host. Taken together, these results suggest that CDI systems constitute an intricate immunity network with an important function in bacterial competition.
Project description:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiA/CdiB family of two-partner secretion proteins. Each CdiA protein exhibits a distinct growth inhibition activity, which resides in the polymorphic C-terminal region (CdiA-CT). CDI(+) cells also express unique CdiI immunity proteins that specifically block the activity of cognate CdiA-CT, thereby protecting the cell from autoinhibition. Here we show that many CDI systems contain multiple cdiA gene fragments that encode CdiA-CT sequences. These "orphan" cdiA-CT genes are almost always associated with downstream cdiI genes to form cdiA-CT/cdiI modules. Comparative genome analyses suggest that cdiA-CT/cdiI modules are mobile and exchanged between the CDI systems of different bacteria. In many instances, orphan cdiA-CT/cdiI modules are fused to full-length cdiA genes in other bacterial species. Examination of cdiA-CT/cdiI modules from Escherichia coli EC93, E. coli EC869, and Dickeya dadantii 3937 confirmed that these genes encode functional toxin/immunity pairs. Moreover, the orphan module from EC93 was functional in cell-mediated CDI when fused to the N-terminal portion of the EC93 CdiA protein. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that the genetic organization of CDI systems shares features with rhs (rearrangement hotspot) loci. Rhs proteins also contain polymorphic C-terminal regions (Rhs-CTs), some of which share significant sequence identity with CdiA-CTs. All rhs genes are followed by small ORFs representing possible rhsI immunity genes, and several Rhs systems encode orphan rhs-CT/rhsI modules. Analysis of rhs-CT/rhsI modules from D. dadantii 3937 demonstrated that Rhs-CTs have growth inhibitory activity, which is specifically blocked by cognate RhsI immunity proteins. Together, these results suggest that Rhs plays a role in intercellular competition and that orphan gene modules expand the diversity of toxic activities deployed by both CDI and Rhs systems.
Project description:Bacteria have developed several strategies to communicate and compete with one another in complex environments. One important mechanism of inter-bacterial competition is contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI), in which Gram-negative bacteria use CdiB/CdiA two-partner secretion proteins to suppress the growth of neighboring target cells. CdiB is an Omp85 outer-membrane protein that exports and assembles CdiA exoproteins onto the inhibitor cell surface. CdiA binds to receptors on susceptible bacteria and subsequently delivers its C-terminal toxin domain (CdiA-CT) into the target cell. CDI systems also encode CdiI immunity proteins, which specifically bind to the CdiA-CT and neutralize its toxin activity, thereby protecting CDI(+) cells from auto-inhibition. Remarkably, CdiA-CT sequences are highly variable between bacteria, as are the corresponding CdiI immunity proteins. Variations in CDI toxin/immunity proteins suggest that these systems function in bacterial self/non-self recognition and thereby play an important role in microbial communities. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the biochemistry, structural biology and physiology of CDI.
Project description:Xenorhabdus is a bacterial symbiont of entomopathogenic Steinernema nematodes and is pathogenic for insects. Its life cycle involves a stage inside the insect cadaver, in which it competes for environmental resources with microorganisms from soil and the insect gut. Xenorhabdus is, thus, a useful model for identifying new interbacterial competition systems. For the first time, in an entomopathogenic bacterium, Xenorhabdus doucetiae strain FRM16, we identified a cdi-like locus. The cdi loci encode contact-dependent inhibition (CDI) systems composed of proteins from the two-partner secretion (TPS) family. CdiB is the outer membrane protein and CdiA is the toxic exoprotein. An immunity protein, CdiI, protects bacteria against inhibition. We describe here the growth inhibition effect of the toxic C-terminus of CdiA from X. doucetiae FRM16, CdiA-CTFRM16, following its production in closely and distantly related enterobacterial species. CdiA-CTFRM16 displayed Mg2+-dependent DNase activity, in vitro. CdiA-CTFRM16-mediated growth inhibition was specifically neutralized by CdiIFRM16. Moreover, the cdi FRM16 locus encodes an ortholog of toxin-activating proteins C that we named CdiCFRM16. In addition to E. coli, the cdiBCAI-type locus was found to be widespread in environmental bacteria interacting with insects, plants, rhizospheres and soils. Phylogenetic tree comparisons for CdiB, CdiA and CdiC suggested that the genes encoding these proteins had co-evolved. By contrast, the considerable variability of CdiI protein sequences suggests that the cdiI gene is an independent evolutionary unit. These findings further characterize the sparsely described cdiBCAI-type locus.
Project description:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiA/CdiB family of two-partner secretion proteins. CDI(+) cells bind to susceptible target bacteria and deliver a toxic effector domain derived from the carboxyl terminus of CdiA (CdiA-CT). More than 60 distinct CdiA-CT sequence types have been identified, and all CDI toxins characterized thus far display RNase, DNase, or pore-forming activities. CDI systems also encode CdiI immunity proteins, which specifically bind and inactivate cognate CdiA-CT toxins to prevent autoinhibition. CDI activity appears to be limited to target cells of the same species, suggesting that these systems play a role in competition between closely related bacteria. Recent work on the CDI system from uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC 536) has revealed that its CdiA-CT toxin binds tightly to a cysteine biosynthetic enzyme (CysK) in the cytoplasm of target cells. The unanticipated complexity in the UPEC CDI pathway raises the possibility that these systems perform other functions in addition to growth inhibition. Finally, we propose that the phenomenon of CDI is more widespread than previously appreciated. Rhs (rearrangement hotspot) systems encode toxin-immunity pairs, some of which share significant sequence identity with CdiA-CT/CdiI proteins. A number of recent observations suggest that Rhs proteins mediate a distinct form of CDI.
Project description:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a widespread mechanism of inter-bacterial competition mediated by the CdiB/CdiA family of two-partner secretion proteins. CdiA effectors carry diverse C-terminal toxin domains (CdiA-CT), which are delivered into neighboring target cells to inhibit growth. CDI(+) bacteria also produce CdiI immunity proteins that bind specifically to cognate CdiA-CT toxins and protect the cell from auto-inhibition. Here, we compare the structures of homologous CdiA-CT/CdiI complexes from Escherichia coli EC869 and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis YPIII to explore the evolution of CDI toxin/immunity protein interactions. Both complexes share an unusual ?-augmentation interaction, in which the toxin domain extends a ?-hairpin into the immunity protein to complete a six-stranded anti-parallel sheet. However, the specific contacts differ substantially between the two complexes. The EC869 ?-hairpin interacts mainly through direct H-bond and ion-pair interactions, whereas the YPIII ?-hairpin pocket contains more hydrophobic contacts and a network of bridging water molecules. In accord with these differences, we find that each CdiI protein only protects target bacteria from its cognate CdiA-CT toxin. The compact ?-hairpin binding pocket within the immunity protein represents a tractable system for the rationale design of small molecules to block CdiA-CT/CdiI complex formation. We synthesized a macrocyclic peptide mimic of the ?-hairpin from EC869 toxin and solved its structure in complex with cognate immunity protein. These latter studies suggest that small molecules could potentially be used to disrupt CDI toxin/immunity complexes.
Project description:Burkholderia pseudomallei is a category B pathogen and the causative agent of melioidosis--a serious infectious disease that is typically acquired directly from environmental reservoirs. Nearly all B.?pseudomallei strains sequenced to date (> 85 isolates) contain gene clusters that are related to the contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems of ?-proteobacteria. CDI systems from Escherichia coli and Dickeya dadantii play significant roles in bacterial competition, suggesting these systems may also contribute to the competitive fitness of B.?pseudomallei. Here, we identify 10 distinct CDI systems in B.?pseudomallei based on polymorphisms within the cdiA-CT/cdiI coding regions, which are predicted to encode CdiA-CT/CdiI toxin/immunity protein pairs. Biochemical analysis of three B.?pseudomallei CdiA-CTs revealed that each protein possesses a distinct tRNase activity capable of inhibiting cell growth. These toxin activities are blocked by cognate CdiI immunity proteins, which specifically bind the CdiA-CT and protect cells from growth inhibition. Using Burkholderia thailandensis E264 as a model, we show that a CDI system from B.?pseudomallei 1026b mediates CDI and is capable of delivering CdiA-CT toxins derived from other B.?pseudomallei strains. These results demonstrate that Burkholderia species contain functional CDI systems, which may confer a competitive advantage to these bacteria.
Project description:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiB/CdiA family of two-partner secretion proteins. CDI systems deploy a variety of distinct toxins, which are contained within the polymorphic C-terminal region (CdiA-CT) of CdiA proteins. Several CdiA-CTs are nucleases, suggesting that the toxins are transported into the target cell cytoplasm to interact with their substrates. To analyze CdiA transfer to target bacteria, we used the CDI system of uropathogenic Escherichia coli 536 (UPEC536) as a model. Antibodies recognizing the amino- and carboxyl-termini of CdiA(UPEC536) were used to visualize transfer of CdiA from CDI(UPEC536+) inhibitor cells to target cells using fluorescence microscopy. The results indicate that the entire CdiA(UPEC536) protein is deposited onto the surface of target bacteria. CdiA(UPEC536) transfer to bamA101 mutants is reduced, consistent with low expression of the CDI receptor BamA on these cells. Notably, our results indicate that the C-terminal CdiA-CT toxin region of CdiA(UPEC536) is translocated into target cells, but the N-terminal region remains at the cell surface based on protease sensitivity. These results suggest that the CdiA-CT toxin domain is cleaved from CdiA(UPEC536) prior to translocation. Delivery of a heterologous Dickeya dadantii CdiA-CT toxin, which has DNase activity, was also visualized. Following incubation with CDI(+) inhibitor cells targets became anucleate, showing that the D.dadantii CdiA-CT was delivered intracellularly. Together, these results demonstrate that diverse CDI toxins are efficiently translocated across target cell envelopes.
Project description:In bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems, CdiA proteins are exported to the outer membrane by cognate CdiB proteins. CdiA binds to receptors on susceptible bacteria and subsequently delivers its C-terminal toxin domain (CdiA-CT) into neighbouring target cells. Whereas self bacteria produce CdiI antitoxins, non-self bacteria lack antitoxins and are therefore inhibited in their growth by CdiA. In silico surveys of pathogenic Acinetobacter genomes have enabled us to identify >40 different CDI systems, which we sorted into two distinct groups. Type-II CdiAs are giant proteins (3711 to 5733 residues) with long arrays of 20-mer repeats. Type-I CdiAs are smaller (1900-2400 residues), lack repeats and feature central heterogeneity (HET) regions, that vary in size and sequence and can be exchanged between CdiA proteins. HET regions in most type-I proteins confer the ability to adopt a coiled-coil conformation. CdiA-CT and pretoxin modules differ significantly between type-I and type-II CdiAs. Moreover, type-II genes only have remnants of genes in their 3' end regions that have been displaced by the insertion of novel cdi sequences. Type-I and type-II CDI systems are equally abundant in A. baumannii, whereas A. pittii and A. nosocomialis predominantly feature type-I and type-II systems, respectively.
Project description:Microbes have evolved many strategies to adapt to changes in environmental conditions and population structures, including cooperation and competition. One apparently competitive mechanism is contact dependent growth inhibition (CDI). Identified in Escherichia coli, CDI is mediated by Two-Partner Secretion (TPS) pathway proteins, CdiA and CdiB. Upon cell contact, the toxic C-terminus of the TpsA family member CdiA, called the CdiA-CT, inhibits the growth of CDI(-) bacteria. CDI(+) bacteria are protected from autoinhibition by an immunity protein, CdiI. Bioinformatic analyses indicate that CDI systems are widespread amongst ?, ?, and ? proteobacteria and that the CdiA-CTs and CdiI proteins are highly variable. CdiI proteins protect against CDI in an allele-specific manner. Here we identify predicted CDI system-encoding loci in species of Burkholderia, Ralstonia and Cupriavidus, named bcpAIOB, that are distinguished from previously-described CDI systems by gene order and the presence of a small ORF, bcpO, located 5' to the gene encoding the TpsB family member. A requirement for bcpO in function of BcpA (the TpsA family member) was demonstrated, indicating that bcpAIOB define a novel class of TPS system. Using fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry, we show that these genes are expressed in a probabilistic manner during culture of Burkholderia thailandensis in liquid medium. The bcpAIOB genes and extracellular DNA were required for autoaggregation and adherence to an abiotic surface, suggesting that CDI is required for biofilm formation, an activity not previously attributed to CDI. By contrast to what has been observed in E. coli, the B. thailandensis bcpAIOB genes only mediated interbacterial competition on a solid surface. Competition occurred in a defined spatiotemporal manner and was abrogated by allele-specific immunity. Our data indicate that the bcpAIOB genes encode distinct classes of CDI and TPS systems that appear to function in sociomicrobiological community development.
Project description:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a form of interbacterial competition mediated by CdiB-CdiA two-partner secretion systems. CdiA effector proteins carry polymorphic C-terminal toxin domains (CdiA-CT), which are neutralized by specific CdiI immunity proteins to prevent self-inhibition. Here, we present the crystal structures of CdiA-CT?CdiI complexes from Klebsiella pneumoniae 342 and Escherichia coli 3006. The toxins adopt related folds that resemble the ribonuclease domain of colicin D, and both are isoacceptor-specific tRNases that cleave the acceptor stem of deacylated tRNAGAUIle. Although the toxins are similar in structure and substrate specificity, CdiA-CTKp342 activity requires translation factors EF-Tu and EF-Ts, whereas CdiA-CTEC3006 is intrinsically active. Furthermore, the corresponding immunity proteins are unrelated in sequence and structure. CdiIKp342 forms a dimeric ? sandwich, whereas CdiIEC3006 is an ?-solenoid monomer. Given that toxin-immunity genes co-evolve as linked pairs, these observations suggest that the similarities in toxin structure and activity reflect functional convergence.