Crystal structure of Escherichia coli MazG, the regulator of nutritional stress response.
ABSTRACT: MazG is a nucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase that hydrolyzes all canonical nucleoside triphosphates. The mazG gene located downstream from the chromosomal mazEF "addiction module," that mediated programmed cell death in Escherichia coli. MazG activity is inhibited by the MazEF complex both in vivo and in vitro. Enzymatic activity of MazG in vivo affects the cellular level of guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate (ppGpp), synthesized by RelA under amino acid starvation. The reduction of ppGpp, caused by MazG, may extend the period of cell survival under nutritional stress. Here we describe the first crystal structure of active MazG from E. coli, which is composed of two similarly folded globular domains in tandem. Among the two putative catalytic domains, only the C-terminal domain has well ordered active sites and exhibits an NTPase activity. The MazG-ATP complex structure and subsequent mutagenesis studies explain the peculiar active site environment accommodating all eight canonical NTPs as substrates. In vivo nutrient starvation experiments show that the C terminus NTPase activity is responsible for the regulation of bacterial cell survival under nutritional stress.
Project description:Bacteriophage possess a variety of auxiliary metabolic genes of bacterial origin. These proteins enable them to maximize infection efficiency, subverting bacterial metabolic processes for the purpose of viral genome replication and synthesis of the next generation of virion progeny. Here, we examined the enzymatic activity of a cyanophage MazG protein - a putative pyrophosphohydrolase previously implicated in regulation of the stringent response via reducing levels of the central alarmone molecule (p)ppGpp. We demonstrate, however, that the purified viral MazG shows no binding or hydrolysis activity against (p)ppGpp. Instead, dGTP and dCTP appear to be the preferred substrates of this protein, consistent with a role preferentially hydrolysing deoxyribonucleotides from the high GC content host Synechococcus genome. This showcases a new example of the fine-tuned nature of viral metabolic processes.
Project description:MazG nucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase (NTP-PPase, EC 184.108.40.206) from the avirulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra contains a spontaneous mutation on a highly conserved residue, resulting in an A219E substitution (MtMazG[A219E]). In this work, we show that mycobacterial MazG from either the virulent M. tuberculosis H37Rv (MtMazG) or the fast-growing Mycobacterium smegmatis (MsMazG) is a potent NTP-PPase capable of hydrolyzing all canonical (d)NTPs, as well as the mutagenic dUTP and 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-dGTP. However, this hydrolysis activity is diminished by the MtMazG[A219E] mutation. Moreover, deletion of mazG in M. smegmatis rendered the mycobacteria defective in response to oxidative stress. Importantly, expression of the wild-type MtMazG, but not the A219E mutant, restored cell viability under oxidative stress. Intriguingly, under oxidative stress, both the mazG-null and MtMazG[A219E]-expressing M. smegmatis strains failed to elevate relA, while retaining their ability to up-regulate sigE, suggesting a specific role for the MazG NTP-PPase activity in oxidative stress-triggered, transcriptional activation of relA. The MtMazG is a homotetramer with each subunit containing a single MazG core domain flanked by two regions, both of which are essential for NTP-PPase activity. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the mycobacterial MazG is a potent NTP-PPase and that this activity is required to maintain the full capacity of the mycobacteria to respond to oxidative stress. Our work implicates a role for the MazG activity in the virulence of M. tuberculosis.
Project description:A major bacterial alarmone, guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate (ppGpp), controls cellular growth under conditions of nutritional starvation. For most bacteria, intracellular ppGpp levels are tightly controlled by the synthesis/degradation cycle of RelA and SpoT activities. This study shows a novel ppGpp regulatory protein governing the cellular growth of Thermus thermophilus, Ndx8, a member of the Nudix pyrophosphatase family that degrades ppGpp to yield guanosine 3',5'-bisphosphate. The ndx8-null mutant strain exhibited early stage growth arrest accompanied by the stationary phase-specific morphologies and global transcriptional modulation under nutritionally defined conditions. Several possible substrate compounds of Ndx8, which specifically accumulated in the ndx8 mutant cells, were identified by employing a capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry-based metabolomics approach. Among them, the hydrolytic activity of Ndx8 for ppGpp was significant not only in vitro but also in vivo. Finally, the elimination of ppGpp synthetic activity suppressed the observed phenotype of the ndx8 mutation, suggesting that the function of Ndx8 as a growth regulator is involved in ppGpp accumulation, which is thought to act as a trigger of the growth phase transition. These results suggest a novel mechanism of ppGpp-mediated growth control by the functional relay between Ndx8 and SpoT activity as ppGpp scavengers.
Project description:Era is an essential GTPase in Escherichia coli, and Era has been implicated in a number of cellular functions. Homologues of Era have been identified in various bacteria and some eukaryotes. Using the era gene as bait in the yeast two-hybrid system to screen E. coli genomic libraries, we discovered that Era interacts with MazG, a protein of unknown function which is highly conserved among bacteria. The direct interaction between Era and MazG was also confirmed in vitro, being stronger in the presence of GDP than in the presence of GTPgammaS. MazG was characterized as a nucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase which can hydrolyze all eight of the canonical ribo- and deoxynucleoside triphosphates to their respective monophosphates and PP(i), with a preference for deoxynucleotides. A mazG deletion strain of E. coli was constructed by replacing the mazG gene with a kanamycin resistance gene. Unlike mutT, a gene for another conserved nucleotide triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase that functions as a mutator gene, the mazG deletion did not result in a mutator phenotype in E. coli.
Project description:A carbon starvation-responding lac fusion of the marine Vibrio sp. strain S14 was used as a reporter strain in order to identify genes critical in the regulation of the carbon starvation response. Interestingly, sequence data together with an altered phenotype with respect to the accumulation of guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate (ppGpp) imply that one of the genes (csrS) identified by this approach is an Escherichia coli spoT equivalent. Complementary data suggest that the function encoded by the csrS gene is essential for the successful development of starvation and stress resistance.
Project description:Deinococcus radiodurans is among the very few bacterial species extremely resistant to ionizing radiation, UV light, oxidizing agents, and cycles of prolonged desiccation. The proteome of D. radiodurans reflects the evolutionary pressure exerted by chronic exposure to (nonradioactive) forms of DNA and protein damage. A clear example of this adaptation is the overrepresentation of protein families involved in the removal of non-canonical nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) whose incorporation into nascent DNA would promote mutagenesis and DNA damage. The three-dimensional structure of the DR2231 protein has been solved at 1.80 Å resolution. This protein had been classified as an all-?-helical MazG-like protein. The present study confirms that it holds the basic structural module characteristic of the MazG superfamily; two helices form a rigid domain, and two helices form a mobile domain and connecting loops. Contrary to what is known of MazG proteins, DR2231 protein shows a functional affinity with dUTPases. Enzymatic and isothermal calorimetry assays have demonstrated high specificity toward dUTP but an inability to hydrolyze dTTP, a typical feature of dUTPases. Co-crystallization with the product of hydrolysis, dUMP, in the presence of magnesium or manganese cations, suggests similarities with the dUTP/dUDP hydrolysis mechanism reported for dimeric dUTPases. The genome of D. radiodurans encodes for all enzymes required for dTTP synthesis from dCMP, thus bypassing the need of a dUTPase. We postulate that DR2231 protein is not essential to D. radiodurans and rather performs "house-cleaning" functions within the framework of oxidative stress response. We further propose DR2231 protein as an evolutionary precursor of dimeric dUTPases.
Project description:Guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate (ppGpp), also known as "magic spot," has been shown to bind prokaryotic RNA polymerase to down-regulate ribosome production and increase transcription of amino acid biosynthesis genes during the stringent response to amino acid starvation. Because many environmental growth perturbations cause ppGpp to accumulate, we hypothesize ppGpp to have an overarching role in regulating the genetic program that coordinates transitions between logarithmic growth (feast) and growth arrest (famine). We used the classic glucose-lactose diauxie as an experimental system to investigate the temporal changes in transcription that accompany growth arrest and recovery in wild-type Escherichia coli and in mutants that lack RelA (ppGpp synthetase) and other global regulators, i.e., RpoS and Crp. In particular, diauxie was delayed in the relA mutant and was accompanied by a 15% decrease in the number of carbon sources used and a 3-fold overall decrease in the induction of RpoS and Crp regulon genes. Thus the data significantly expand the previously known role of ppGpp and support a model wherein the ppGpp-dependent redistribution of RNA polymerase across the genome is the driving force behind control of the stringent response, general stress response, and starvation-induced carbon scavenging. Our conceptual model of diauxie describes these global control circuits as dynamic, interconnected, and dependent upon ppGpp for the efficient temporal coordination of gene expression that programs the cell for transitions between feast and famine.
Project description:Generation of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species in phagocytes is an important innate immune response mechanism to eliminate microbial pathogens. It is known that deoxynucleotides (dNTPs), the precursor nucleotides to DNA synthesis, are one group of the significant targets for these oxidants and incorporation of oxidized dNTPs into genomic DNA may cause mutations and even cell death. Here we show that the mycobacterial dNTP pyrophosphohydrolase MazG safeguards the bacilli genome by degrading 5-OH-dCTP, thereby, preventing it from incorporation into DNA. Deletion of the (d)NTP pyrophosphohydrolase-encoding mazG in mycobacteria leads to a mutator phenotype both under oxidative stress and in the stationary phase of growth, resulting in increased CG to TA mutations. Biochemical analyses demonstrate that mycobacterial MazG can efficiently hydrolyze 5-OH-dCTP, an oxidized nucleotide that induces CG to TA mutation upon incorporation by polymerase. Moreover, chemical genetic analyses show that direct incorporation of 5-OH-dCTP into mazG-null mutant strain of Mycobacterium smegmatis (Msm) leads to a dose-dependent mutagenesis phenotype, indicating that 5-OH-dCTP is a natural substrate of mycobacterial MazG. Furthermore, deletion of mazG in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) leads to reduced survival in activated macrophages and in the spleen of infected mice. This study not only characterizes the mycobacterial MazG as a novel pyrimidine-specific housecleaning enzyme that prevents CG to TA mutation by degrading 5-OH-dCTP but also reveals a genome-safeguarding mechanism for survival of Mtb in vivo.
Project description:Bacteria rapidly adapt to nutritional changes via the stringent response, which entails starvation-induced synthesis of the small molecule, ppGpp, by RelA/SpoT homologue (Rsh) enzymes. Binding of ppGpp to RNA polymerase modulates the transcription of hundreds of genes and remodels the physiology of the cell. Studies of the stringent response have primarily focused on copiotrophic bacteria such as Escherichia coli; little is known about how stringent signalling is regulated in species that live in consistently nutrient-limited (i.e. oligotrophic) environments. Here we define the input logic and transcriptional output of the stringent response in the oligotroph, Caulobacter crescentus. The sole Rsh protein, SpoT(CC), binds to and is regulated by the ribosome, and exhibits AND-type control logic in which amino acid starvation is a necessary but insufficient signal for activation of ppGpp synthesis. While both glucose and ammonium starvation upregulate the synthesis of ppGpp, SpoT(CC) detects these starvation signals by two independent mechanisms. Although the logic of stringent response control in C. crescentus differs from E. coli, the global transcriptional effects of elevated ppGpp are similar, with the exception of 16S rRNA transcription, which is controlled independently of spoT(CC). This study highlights how the regulatory logic controlling the stringent response may be adapted to the nutritional niche of a bacterial species.
Project description:Bacterial cells sense external nutrient availability to regulate macromolecular synthesis and consequently their growth. In the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, the starvation-inducible nucleotide (p)ppGpp negatively regulates GTP levels, both to resist nutritional stress and to maintain GTP homeostasis during growth. Here, we quantitatively investigated the relationship between GTP level, survival of amino acid starvation, and growth rate when GTP synthesis is uncoupled from its major homeostatic regulator, (p)ppGpp. We analyzed growth and nucleotide levels in cells that lack (p)ppGpp and found that their survival of treatment with a nonfunctional amino acid analog negatively correlates with both growth rate and GTP level. Manipulation of GTP levels modulates the exponential growth rate of these cells in a positive dose-dependent manner, such that increasing the GTP level increases growth rate. However, accumulation of GTP levels above a threshold inhibits growth, suggesting a toxic effect. Strikingly, adenine counteracts GTP stress by preventing GTP accumulation in cells lacking (p)ppGpp. Our results emphasize the importance of maintaining appropriate levels of GTP to maximize growth: cells can survive amino acid starvation by decreasing GTP level, which comes at a cost to growth, while (p)ppGpp enables rapid adjustment to nutritional stress by adjusting GTP level, thus maximizing fitness.