A synthetic arabinose-inducible promoter confers high levels of recombinant protein expression in hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus islandicus.
ABSTRACT: Despite major progresses in genetic studies of hyperthermophilic archaea, recombinant protein production in these organisms always suffers from low yields and a robust expression system is still in great demand. Here we report a versatile vector that confers high levels of protein expression in Sulfolobus islandicus, a hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon. Two expression vectors, pSeSD and pEXA, harboring 11 unique restriction sites were constructed. They contain coding sequences of two hexahistidine (6×His) peptide tags and those coding for two protease sites, the latter of which make it possible to remove the peptide tags from expressed recombinant proteins. While pEXA employed an araS promoter for protein expression, pSeSD utilized P(araS-SD), an araS derivative promoter carrying an engineered ribosome-binding site (RBS; a Shine-Dalgarno [SD] sequence). We found that P(araS-SD) directed high levels of target gene expression. More strikingly, N-terminal amino acid sequencing of recombinant proteins unraveled that the protein synthesized from pEXA-N-lacS lacked the designed 6×His tag and that translation initiation did not start at the ATG codon of the fusion gene. Instead, it started at multiple sites downstream of the 6×His codons. Intriguingly, inserting an RBS site upstream of the ATG codon regained the expression of the 6×His tag, as shown with pSeSD-N-lacS. These results have yielded novel insight into the archaeal translation mechanism. The crenarchaeon Sulfolobus can utilize N-terminal coding sequences of proteins to specify translation initiation in the absence of an RBS site.
Project description:We report the first example of antisense RNA regulation in a hyperthermophilic archaeon. In Sulfolobus solfataricus, the transposon-derived paralogous RNAs, RNA-257(1-4), show extended complementarity to the 3' UTR of the 1183 mRNA, encoding a putative phosphate transporter. Phosphate limitation results in decreased RNA-257(1) and increased 1183 mRNA levels. Correspondingly, the 1183 mRNA is faster degraded in vitro upon duplex formation with RNA-257(1). Insertion of the 1183 3' UTR downstream of the lacS gene results in strongly reduced lacS mRNA levels in transformed cells, indicating that antisense regulation can function in trans.
Project description:The hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus employs a catabolite repression-like regulatory system to control enzymes involved in carbon and energy metabolism. To better understand the basis of this system, spontaneous glycosyl hydrolase mutants were isolated using a genetic screen for mutations, which reduced expression of the lacS gene. The specific activities of three glycosyl hydrolases, including an alpha-glucosidase (malA), a beta-glycosidase (lacS), and the major secreted alpha-amylase, were measured in the mutant strains using enzyme activity assays, Western blot analysis, and Northern blot analysis. On the basis of these results the mutants were divided into two classes. Group I mutants exhibited a pleiotropic defect in glycosyl hydrolase expression, while a single group II mutant was altered only in lacS expression. PCR, Southern blot analysis, comparative heterologous expression in Escherichia coli, and DNA sequence analysis excluded cis-acting mutations as the explanation for reduced lacS expression in group I mutants. In contrast lacS and flanking sequences were deleted in the group II mutant. Revertants were isolated from group I mutants using a lacS-specific screen and selection. These revertants were pleiotropic and restored glycosyl hydrolase activity either partially or completely to wild-type levels as indicated by enzyme assays and Western blots. The lacS mutation in the group II mutant, however, was nonrevertible. The existence of group I mutants and their revertants reveals the presence of a trans-acting transcriptional regulatory system for glycosyl hydrolase expression.
Project description:The existence of a global gene regulatory system in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus is described. The system is responsive to carbon source quality and acts at the level of transcription to coordinate synthesis of three physically unlinked glycosyl hydrolases implicated in carbohydrate utilization. The specific activities of three enzymes, an alpha-glucosidase (malA), a beta-glycosidase (lacS), and an alpha-amylase, were reduced 4-, 20-, and 10-fold, respectively, in response to the addition of supplementary carbon sources to a minimal sucrose medium. Western blot analysis using anti-alpha-glucosidase and anti-beta-glycosidase antibodies indicated that reduced enzyme activities resulted exclusively from decreased enzyme levels. Northern blot analysis of malA and lacS mRNAs revealed that changes in enzyme abundance arose primarily from reductions in transcript concentrations. Culture conditions precipitating rapid changes in lacS gene expression were established to determine the response time of the regulatory system in vivo. Full induction occurred within a single generation whereas full repression occurred more slowly, requiring nearly 38 generations. Since lacS mRNA abundance changed much more rapidly in response to a nutrient down shift than to a nutrient up shift, transcript synthesis rather than degradation likely plays a role in the regulatory response.
Project description:Proteins of the Sac10b family are highly conserved in Archaea. Ssh10b, a member of the Sac10b family from the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus shibatae, binds to RNA in vivo. Here we show that binding by Ssh10b destabilizes RNA secondary structure. Structural analysis of Ssh10b in complex with a 25-bp RNA duplex containing local distortions reveals that Ssh10b binds the two RNA strands symmetrically as a tetramer with each dimer bound asymmetrically to a single RNA strand. Amino acid residues involved in double-stranded RNA binding are similar, but non-identical, to those in dsDNA binding. The dimer-dimer interaction mediated by the intermolecular ?-sheet appears to facilitate the destabilization of base pairing in the secondary structure of RNA. Our results suggest that proteins of the Sac10b family may play important roles in RNA transactions requiring destabilization of RNA secondary structure in Sulfolobus.
Project description:Basal elements in archaeal promoters, except for putative initiator elements encompassing transcription start sites, are well characterized. Here, we employed the Sulfolobus araS promoter as a model to study the function of the initiator element (Inr) in archaea. We have provided evidence for the presence of a third core promoter element, the Sulfolobus Inr, whose action depends on a TATA box and the TFB recognition element (BRE). Substitution mutations in the araS Inr did not alter the location of the transcription start site. Using systematic mutagenesis, the most functional araS Inr was defined as +1 GAGAMK +6 (where M is A/C and K is G/T). Furthermore, WebLogo analysis of a subset of promoters with coding sequences for 5' untranslated regions (UTRs) larger than 4 nucleotides (nt) in Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 identified an Inr consensus that exactly matches the functional araS Inr sequence. Moreover, mutagenesis of 3 randomly selected promoters confirmed the Inr sequences to be important for basal promoter strength in the subgroup. Importantly, the result of the araS Inr being added to the Inr-less promoters indicates that the araS Inr, the core promoter element, is able to enhance the strength of Inr-less promoters. We infer that transcription factor B (TFB) and subunits of RNA polymerase bind the Inr to enhance promoter strength. Taken together, our data suggest that the presence or absence of an Inr on basal promoters is important for global gene regulation in Sulfolobus.
Project description:While studying gene expression of the rudivirus SIRV1 in cells of its host, the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus, a novel archaeal transcriptional regulator was isolated. The 14 kDa protein, termed Sulfolobus transcription activator 1, Sta1, is encoded on the host chromosome. Its activating effect on transcription initiation from viral promoters was demonstrated in in vitro transcription experiments using a reconstituted host system containing the RNA polymerase, TATA-binding protein (TBP) and transcription factor B (TFB). Most pronounced activation was observed at low concentrations of either of the two transcription factors, TBP or TFB. Sta1 was able to bind viral promoters independently of any component of the host pre-initiation complex. Two binding sites were revealed by footprinting, one located in the core promoter region and the second approximately 30 bp upstream of it. Comparative modeling, NMR and circular dichroism of Sta1 indicated that the protein contained a winged helix-turn-helix motif, most probably involved in DNA binding. This strategy of the archaeal virus to co-opt a host cell regulator to promote transcription of its genes resembles eukaryal virus-host relationships.
Project description:We purified from crude extracts of the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus a protease that is able to hydrolyse proteins with a pH optimum of 7.5 and a temperature optimum of 70 degrees C. Assays in the presence of classical protease inhibitors showed that the hydrolytic activity is sensitive to thiol-blocking reagents. Fluorescence assays using synthetic peptides demonstrated that the protease has a preference for cleaving glutamic acid residues. The first 12 residues of the protease match the N-terminus residues of a hypothetical protein in the S. solfataricus genome of 95 amino acids in length and calculated molecular mass of 11072 Da. The whole sequence of the protease is not related to any known protein, but it bears a segment which is highly similar to one containing the active cysteine residue in eukaryotic peptidases known as legumains. This is the first protease isolated from S. solfataricus capable of degrading native proteins effectively. Our results add to the knowledge of the intracellular proteolytic machine in hyperthermophilic micro-organisms.
Project description:Low rates of replication errors in chromosomal genes of Sulfolobus spp. demonstrate that these extreme thermoacidophiles can maintain genome integrity in environments with high temperature and low pH. In contrast to this genetic stability, we observed unusually frequent mutation of the ?-D-glycosidase gene (lacS) of a shuttle plasmid (pJlacS) propagated in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. The resulting Lac(-) mutants also grew faster than the Lac(+) parent, thereby amplifying the impact of the frequent lacS mutations on the population. We developed a mutant accumulation assay and corrections for the effects of copy number and differential growth for this system; the resulting measurements and calculations yielded a corrected rate of 5.1 × 10(-4) mutational events at the lacS gene per plasmid replication. Analysis of independent lacS mutants revealed three types of mutations: (i) G · C-to-A · T transitions, (ii) slipped-strand events, and (iii) deletions. These mutations were frequent in plasmid-borne lacS expressed at a high level but not in single-copy lacS in the chromosome or at lower levels of expression in a plasmid. Substitution mutations arose at only two of 12 potential priming sites of the DNA primase of the pRN1 replicon, but nearly all these mutations created nonsense (chain termination) codons. The spontaneous mutation rate of plasmid-borne lacS was 175-fold higher under high-expression than under low-expression conditions. The results suggest that important DNA repair or replication fidelity functions are impaired or overwhelmed in pJlacS, with results analogous to those of the "transcription-associated mutagenesis" seen in bacteria and eukaryotes.
Project description:Archaea contain a variety of chromatin proteins consistent with the evolution of different genome packaging mechanisms. Among the two main kingdoms in the Archaea, Euryarchaeota synthesize histone homologs, whereas Crenarchaeota have not been shown to possess a chromatin protein conserved at the kingdom level. We report the identification of Cren7, a novel family of chromatin proteins highly conserved in the Crenarchaeota. A small, basic, methylated and abundant protein, Cren7 displays a higher affinity for double-stranded DNA than for single-stranded DNA, constrains negative DNA supercoils and is associated with genomic DNA in vivo. The solution structure and DNA-binding surface of Cren7 from the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus were determined by NMR. The protein adopts an SH3-like fold. It interacts with duplex DNA through a beta-sheet and a long flexible loop, presumably resulting in DNA distortions through intercalation of conserved hydrophobic residues into the DNA structure. These data suggest that the crenarchaeal kingdom in the Archaea shares a common strategy in chromatin organization.
Project description:<h4>Unlabelled</h4>Sulfolobus islandicus serves as a model for studying archaeal biology as well as linking novel biology to evolutionary ecology using functional population genomics. In the present study, we developed a new counterselectable genetic marker in S. islandicus to expand the genetic toolbox for this species. We show that resistance to the purine analog 6-methylpurine (6-MP) in S. islandicus M.16.4 is due to the inactivation of a putative adenine phosphoribosyltransferase encoded by M164_0158 (apt). The application of the apt gene as a novel counterselectable marker was first illustrated by constructing an unmarked ?-amylase deletion mutant. Furthermore, the 6-MP counterselection feature was employed in a forward (loss-of-function) mutation assay to reveal the profile of spontaneous mutations in S. islandicus M.16.4 at the apt locus. Moreover, the general conservation of apt genes in the crenarchaea suggests that the same strategy can be broadly applied to other crenarchaeal model organisms. These results demonstrate that the apt locus represents a new tool for genetic manipulation and sequence analysis of the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon S. islandicus<h4>Importance</h4>Currently, the pyrEF/5-fluoroorotic acid (5-FOA) counterselection system remains the sole counterselection marker in crenarchaeal genetics. Since most Sulfolobus mutants constructed by the research community were derived from genetic hosts lacking the pyrEF genes, the pyrEF/5-FOA system is no longer available for use in forward mutation assays. Demonstration of the apt/6-MP counterselection system for the Sulfolobus model renders it possible to again study the mutation profiles in mutants that have already been constructed by the use of strains with a pyrEF-deficient background. Furthermore, additional counterselectable markers will allow us to conduct more sophisticated genetic studies, i.e., investigate mechanisms of chromosomal DNA transfer and quantify recombination frequencies among S. islandicus strains.