Attenuation of the sensing capabilities of PhoQ in transition to obligate insect-bacterial association.
ABSTRACT: Sodalis glossinidius, a maternally inherited endosymbiont of the tsetse fly, maintains genes encoding homologues of the PhoP-PhoQ two-component regulatory system. This two-component system has been extensively studied in facultative bacterial pathogens and is known to serve as an environmental magnesium sensor and a regulator of key virulence determinants. In the current study, we show that the inactivation of the response regulator, phoP, renders S. glossinidius sensitive to insect derived cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). The resulting mutant strain displays reduced expression of genes involved in the structural modification of lipid A that facilitates resistance to AMPs. In addition, the inactivation of phoP alters the expression of type-III secretion system (TTSS) genes encoded within three distinct chromosomal regions, indicating that PhoP-PhoQ also serves as a master regulator of TTSS gene expression. In the absence of phoP, S. glossinidius is unable to superinfect either its natural tsetse fly host or a closely related hippoboscid louse fly. Furthermore, we show that the S. glossinidius PhoQ sensor kinase has undergone functional adaptations that result in a substantially diminished ability to sense ancestral signals. The loss of PhoQ's sensory capability is predicted to represent a novel adaptation to the static symbiotic lifestyle, allowing S. glossinidius to constitutively express genes that facilitate resistance to host derived AMPs.
Project description:Many bacteria utilize two-component systems consisting of a sensor kinase and a transcriptional response regulator to detect environmental signals and modulate gene expression for adaptation. The response regulator PhoP and its cognate sensor kinase PhoQ compose a two-component system known for its role in responding to low levels of Mg2+ , Ca2+ , pH and to the presence of antimicrobial peptides and activating the expression of genes involved in adaptation to host association. Compared with their free-living relatives, mutualistic insect symbiotic bacteria inhabit a static environment where the requirement for sensory functions is expected to be relaxed. The insect symbiont, Sodalis glossinidius, requires PhoP to resist killing by host derived antimicrobial peptides. However, the S. glossinidius PhoQ was found to be insensitive to Mg2+ , Ca2+ and pH. Here they show that Sodalis praecaptivus, a close non host-associated relative of S. glossinidius, utilizes a magnesium sensing PhoP-PhoQ and an uncharacterized MarR-like transcriptional regulator (Sant_4061) to control antimicrobial peptide resistance in vitro. While the inactivation of phoP, phoQ or Sant_4061 completely retards the growth of S. praecaptivus in the presence of an antimicrobial peptide in vitro, inactivation of both phoP and Sant_4061 is necessary to abrogate growth of this bacterium in an insect host.
Project description:Sodalis glossinidius is an intra- and extracellular symbiont of the tsetse fly (Glossina sp.), which feeds exclusively on vertebrate blood. S. glossinidius resides in a wide variety of tsetse tissues and may encounter environments that differ dramatically in iron content. The Sodalis chromosome encodes a putative TonB-dependent outer membrane heme transporter (HemR) and a putative periplasmic/inner membrane ABC heme permease system (HemTUV). Because these gene products mediate iron acquisition processes by other enteric bacteria, we characterized their regulation and physiological role in the Sodalis/tsetse system. Our results show that the hemR and tonB genes are expressed by S. glossinidius in the tsetse fly. Furthermore, transcription of hemR in Sodalis is repressed in a high-iron environment by the iron-responsive transcriptional regulator Fur. Expression of the S. glossinidius hemR and hemTUV genes in an Escherichia coli strain unable to use heme as an iron source stimulated growth in the presence of heme or hemoglobin as the sole iron source. This stimulation was dependent on the presence of either the E. coli or Sodalis tonB gene. Sodalis tonB and hemR mutant strains were defective in their ability to colonize the gut of tsetse flies that lacked endogenous symbionts, while wild-type S. glossinidius proliferated in this same environment. Finally, we show that the Sodalis HemR protein is localized to the bacterial membrane and appears to bind hemin. Collectively, this study provides strong evidence that TonB-dependent, HemR-mediated iron acquisition is important for the maintenance of symbiont homeostasis in the tsetse fly, and it provides evidence for the expression of bacterial high-affinity iron acquisition genes in insect symbionts.
Project description:Sodalis glossinidius, a vertically transmitted facultative symbiont of the tsetse fly, is a bacterium in the early/intermediate state of its transition toward symbiosis, representing an important model for investigating how the insect host immune defense response is regulated to allow endosymbionts to establish a chronic infection within their hosts without being eliminated. In this study, we report on the establishment of a tsetse fly line devoid of S. glossinidius only, allowing us to experimentally investigate (i) the complex immunological interactions between a single bacterial species and its host, (ii) how the symbiont population is kept under control, and (iii) the impact of the symbiont on the vector competence of the tsetse fly to transmit the sleeping sickness parasite. Comparative transcriptome analysis showed no difference in the expression of genes involved in innate immune processes between symbiont-harboring (Gmm Sod+ ) and S. glossinidius-free (Gmm Sod-) flies. Re-exposure of (Gmm Sod-) flies to the endosymbiotic bacterium resulted in a moderate immune response, whereas exposure to pathogenic E. coli or to a close non-insect associated relative of S. glossinidius, i.e., S. praecaptivus, resulted in full immune activation. We also showed that S. glossinidius densities are not affected by experimental activation or suppression of the host immune system, indicating that S. glossinidius is resistant to mounted immune attacks and that the host immune system does not play a major role in controlling S. glossinidius proliferation. Finally, we demonstrate that the absence or presence of S. glossinidius in the tsetse fly does not alter its capacity to mount an immune response to pathogens nor does it affect the fly's susceptibility toward trypanosome infection.
Project description:The extrachromosomal DNA of Sodalis glossinidius from two tsetse fly species was sequenced and contained four circular elements: three plasmids, pSG1 (82 kb), pSG2 (27 kb), and pSG4 (11 kb), and a bacteriophage-like pSG3 (19 kb) element. The information suggests S. glossinidius is evolving towards an obligate association with tsetse flies.
Project description:Two-component signal-transduction systems are widespread in bacteria. They are usually composed of a transmembrane histidine kinase sensor and a cytoplasmic response regulator. The PhoP/PhoQ two-component system of Salmonella typhimurium contributes to virulence by co-ordinating the adaptation to low concentrations of environmental Mg2+. Limiting concentrations of extracellular Mg2+ activate the PhoP/PhoQ phosphorylation cascade modulating the transcription of PhoP-regulated genes. In contrast, high concentrations of extracellular Mg2+ stimulate the dephosphorylation of the response regulator PhoP by the PhoQ kinase sensor. In the present study, we report the purification and functional reconstitution of PhoQ(His), a PhoQ variant with a C-terminal His tag, into Escherichia coli liposomes. The functionality of PhoQ(His) was essentially similar to that of PhoQ as shown in vivo and in vitro. Purified PhoQ(His) was inserted into liposomes in a unidirectional orientation, with the sensory domain facing the lumen and the catalytic domain facing the extraluminal environment. Reconstituted PhoQ(His) exhibited all the catalytic activities that have been described for histidine kinase sensors. Reconstituted PhoQ(His) was capable of autokinase activity when incubated in the presence of Mg2+-ATP. The phosphoryl group could be transferred from reconstituted PhoQ(His) to PhoP. Reconstituted PhoQ(His) catalysed the dephosphorylation of phospho-PhoP and this activity was stimulated by the addition of extraluminal ADP.
Project description:Acidic conditions, such as those inside phagosomes, stimulate the intracellular pathogen Salmonella enterica to activate virulence genes. The sensor PhoQ responds to a mildly acidic pH by phosphorylating, and thereby activating, the virulence regulator PhoP. This PhoP/PhoQ two-component system is conserved in a subset of Gram-negative bacteria. PhoQ is thought to be sufficient to activate PhoP in mildly acidic pH. However, we found that the Salmonella-specific protein UgtL, which was horizontally acquired by Salmonella before the divergence of S. enterica and Salmonella bongori, was also necessary for PhoQ to activate PhoP under mildly acidic pH conditions but not for PhoQ to activate PhoP in response to low Mg2+ or the antimicrobial peptide C18G. UgtL increased the abundance of phosphorylated PhoP by stimulating autophosphorylation of PhoQ, thereby increasing the amount of the phosphodonor for PhoP. Deletion of ugtL attenuated Salmonella virulence and further reduced PhoP activation in a strain bearing a form of PhoQ that is not responsive to acidic pH. These data suggest that when Salmonella experiences mildly acidic pH, PhoP activation requires PhoQ to detect pH and UgtL to amplify the PhoQ response. Our findings reveal how acquisition of a foreign gene can strengthen signal responsiveness in an ancestral regulatory system.
Project description:PhoP and PhoQ comprise a two-component system in the bacterium Salmonella enterica. PhoQ is the sensor kinase/phosphatase that modifies the phosphorylation state of the regulator PhoP in response to stimuli. The amount of phosphorylated PhoP surges after activation, then declines to reach a steady-state level. We now recapitulate this surge in vitro by incubating PhoP and PhoQ with ATP and ADP. Mathematical modeling identified PhoQ's affinity for ADP as the key parameter dictating phosphorylated PhoP levels, as ADP promotes PhoQ's phosphatase activity toward phosphorylated PhoP. The lid covering the nucleotide-binding pocket of PhoQ governs the kinase to phosphatase switch because a lid mutation that decreased ADP binding compromised PhoQ's phosphatase activity in vitro and resulted in sustained expression of PhoP-dependent mRNAs in vivo. This feedback mechanism may curtail futile ATP consumption because ADP not only stimulates PhoQ's phosphatase activity but also inhibits ATP binding necessary for the kinase reaction.
Project description:The tsetse fly is the insect vector for the Trypanosoma brucei parasite, the causative agent of human African trypanosomiasis. The colonization and spread of the trypanosome correlate positively with the presence of a secondary symbiotic bacterium, Sodalis glossinidius The metabolic requirements and interactions of the bacterium with its host are poorly understood, and herein we describe a metabolic model of S. glossinidius metabolism. The model enabled the design and experimental verification of a defined medium that supports S. glossinidius growth ex vivo This has been used subsequently to analyze in vitro aspects of S. glossinidius metabolism, revealing multiple unique adaptations of the symbiont to its environment. Continued dependence on a sugar, and the importance of the chitin monomer N-acetyl-d-glucosamine as a carbon and energy source, suggests adaptation to host-derived molecules. Adaptation to the amino acid-rich blood diet is revealed by a strong dependence on l-glutamate as a source of carbon and nitrogen and by the ability to rescue a predicted l-arginine auxotrophy. Finally, the selective loss of thiamine biosynthesis, a vitamin provided to the host by the primary symbiont Wigglesworthia glossinidia, reveals an intersymbiont dependence. The reductive evolution of S. glossinidius to exploit environmentally derived metabolites has resulted in multiple weaknesses in the metabolic network. These weaknesses may become targets for reagents that inhibit S. glossinidius growth and aid the reduction of trypanosomal transmission.IMPORTANCE Human African trypanosomiasis is caused by the Trypanosoma brucei parasite. The tsetse fly vector is of interest for its potential to prevent disease spread, as it is essential for T. brucei life cycle progression and transmission. The tsetse's mutualistic endosymbiont Sodalis glossinidius has a link to trypanosome establishment, providing a disease control target. Here, we describe a new, experimentally verified model of S. glossinidius metabolism. This model has enabled the development of a defined growth medium that was used successfully to test aspects of S. glossinidius metabolism. We present S. glossinidius as uniquely adapted to life in the tsetse, through its reliance on the blood diet and host-derived sugars. Additionally, S. glossinidius has adapted to the tsetse's obligate symbiont Wigglesworthia glossinidia by scavenging a vitamin it produces for the insect. This work highlights the use of metabolic modeling to design defined growth media for symbiotic bacteria and may provide novel inhibitory targets to block trypanosome transmission.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Susceptibility of tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) to trypanosomes of both humans and animals has been associated with the presence of the endosymbiont Sodalis glossinidius. However, intrinsic biological characteristics of the flies and environmental factors can influence the presence of both S. glossinidius and the parasites. It thus remains unclear whether it is the S. glossinidius or other attributes of the flies that explains the apparent association. The objective of this study was to test whether the presence of Trypanosoma vivax, T. congolense and T. brucei are related to the presence of S. glossinidius in tsetse flies when other factors are accounted for: geographic location, species of Glossina, sex or age of the host flies. RESULTS:Flies (n?=?1090) were trapped from four sites in the Shimba Hills and Nguruman regions in Kenya. Sex and species of tsetse (G. austeni, G. brevipalpis, G. longipennis and G. pallidipes) were determined based on external morphological characters and age was estimated by a wing fray score method. The presence of trypanosomes and S. glossinidius was detected using PCR targeting the internal transcribed spacer region 1 and the haemolysin gene, respectively. Sequencing was used to confirm species identification. Generalised Linear Models (GLMs) and Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) were applied to investigate multivariable associations. The overall prevalence of trypanosomes was 42.1%, but GLMs revealed complex patterns of associations: the presence of S. glossinidius was associated with trypanosome presence but only in interactions with other factors and only in some species of trypanosomes. The strongest association was found for T. congolense, and no association was found for T. vivax. The MCA also suggested only a weak association between the presence of trypanosomes and S. glossinidius. Trypanosome-positive status showed strong associations with sex and age while S. glossinidius-positive status showed a strong association with geographic location and species of fly. CONCLUSIONS:We suggest that previous conclusions about the presence of endosymbionts increasing probability of trypanosome presence in tsetse flies may have been confounded by other factors, such as community composition of the tsetse flies and the specific trypanosomes found in different regions.
Project description:Bacteria excel in most ecological niches, including insect symbioses. A cluster of bacterial symbionts, established within a broad range of insects, share high 16S rRNA similarities with the secondary symbiont of the tsetse fly (Diptera: Glossinidae), Sodalis glossinidius. Although 16S rRNA has proven informative towards characterization of this clade, the gene is insufficient for examining recent divergence due to selective constraints. Here, we assess the application of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions, specifically the ITS(glu) and ITS(ala,ile), used in conjunction with 16S rRNA to enhance the phylogenetic resolution of Sodalis-allied bacteria. The 16S rRNA + ITS regions of Sodalis and allied bacteria demonstrated significant divergence and were robust towards phylogenetic resolution. A monophyletic clade of Sodalis isolates from tsetse species, distinct from other Enterobacteriaceae, was consistently observed suggesting diversification due to host adaptation. In contrast, the phylogenetic distribution of symbionts isolated from hippoboscid flies and various Hemiptera and Coleoptera were intertwined suggesting either horizontal transfer or a recent establishment from an environmental source. Lineage splitting of Sodalis-allied bacteria into symbiotic and free-living sister groups was also observed. Additionally, we propose an ITS region as a diagnostic marker for the identification of additional Sodalis-allied symbionts in the field. These results expand our knowledge of informative genome regions to assess genetic divergence since splitting from the last common ancestor, of this versatile insect symbiont clade that have become increasingly recognized as valuable towards our understanding of the evolution of symbiosis. These facultative and recently associated symbionts may provide a novel source of traits adaptable to the dynamic ecologies encountered by diverse host backgrounds.