Structural and functional characterization of VanG D-Ala:D-Ser ligase associated with vancomycin resistance in Enterococcus faecalis.
ABSTRACT: d-Alanyl:d-lactate (d-Ala:d-Lac) and d-alanyl:d-serine ligases are key enzymes in vancomycin resistance of Gram-positive cocci. They catalyze a critical step in the synthesis of modified peptidoglycan precursors that are low binding affinity targets for vancomycin. The structure of the d-Ala:d-Lac ligase VanA led to the understanding of the molecular basis for its specificity, but that of d-Ala:d-Ser ligases had not been determined. We have investigated the enzymatic kinetics of the d-Ala:d-Ser ligase VanG from Enterococcus faecalis and solved its crystal structure in complex with ADP. The overall structure of VanG is similar to that of VanA but has significant differences mainly in the N-terminal and central domains. Based on reported mutagenesis data and comparison of the VanG and VanA structures, we show that residues Asp-243, Phe-252, and Arg-324 are molecular determinants for d-Ser selectivity. These residues are conserved in both enzymes and explain why VanA also displays d-Ala:d-Ser ligase activity, albeit with low catalytic efficiency in comparison with VanG. These observations suggest that d-Ala:d-Lac and d-Ala:d-Ser enzymes have evolved from a common ancestral d-Ala:d-X ligase. The crystal structure of VanG showed an unusual interaction between two dimers involving residues of the omega loop that are deeply anchored in the active site. We constructed an octapeptide mimicking the omega loop and found that it selectively inhibits VanG and VanA but not Staphylococcus aureus d-Ala:d-Ala ligase. This study provides additional insight into the molecular evolution of d-Ala:d-X ligases and could contribute to the development of new structure-based inhibitors of vancomycin resistance enzymes.
Project description:VanRS two-component regulatory systems are key elements required for the transcriptional activation of inducible vancomycin resistance genes in bacteria, but the precise nature of the ligand signal that activates these systems has remained undefined. Using the resistance system in Streptomyces coelicolor as a model, we have undertaken a series of in vivo studies which indicate that the VanS sensor kinase in VanB-type resistance systems is activated by vancomycin in complex with the d-alanyl-d-alanine (d-Ala-d-Ala) termini of cell wall peptidoglycan (PG) precursors. Complementation of an essential d-Ala-d-Ala ligase activity by constitutive expression of vanA encoding a bifunctional d-Ala-d-Ala and d-alanyl-d-lactate (d-Ala-d-Lac) ligase activity allowed construction of strains that synthesized variable amounts of PG precursors containing d-Ala-d-Ala. Assays quantifying the expression of genes under VanRS control showed that the response to vancomycin in these strains correlated with the abundance of d-Ala-d-Ala-containing PG precursors; strains producing a lower proportion of PG precursors terminating in d-Ala-d-Ala consistently exhibited a lower response to vancomycin. Pretreatment of wild-type cells with vancomycin or teicoplanin to saturate and mask the d-Ala-d-Ala binding sites in nascent PG also blocked the transcriptional response to subsequent vancomycin exposure, and desleucyl vancomycin, a vancomycin analogue incapable of interacting with d-Ala-d-Ala residues, failed to induce van gene expression. Activation of resistance by a vancomycin-d-Ala-d-Ala PG complex predicts a limit to the proportion of PG that can be derived from precursors terminating in d-Ala-d-Lac, a restriction also enforced by the bifunctional activity of the VanA ligase.
Project description:Acquired VanG-type resistance to vancomycin in Enterococcus faecalis BM4518 arises from inducible synthesis of peptidoglycan precursors ending in D-alanyl-D-serine, to which vancomycin exhibits low binding affinity. VanG, a D-alanine:D-serine ligase, catalyzes the ATP-dependent synthesis of the D-Ala-D-Ser dipeptide, which is incorporated into the peptidoglycan synthesis of VanG-type vancomycin-resistant strains. Here, the purification, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of VanG in complex with ADP are reported. The crystal belonged to space group P3(1)21, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 116.1, c = 177.2 A, and contained two molecules in the asymmetric unit. A complete data set has been collected to 2.35 A resolution from a single crystal under cryogenic conditions using synchrotron radiation.
Project description:Since glycopeptide-resistant enterococci (GRE) were reported in 1988, they have appeared in hospitals worldwide. Seven van gene cluster types (vanA, vanB, vanC, vanD, vanE, vanG, and vanL) are currently known. We investigated a clinical strain of Enterococcus faecium Efm-HS0661 that was isolated in 2006 from an inpatient with intra-abdominal infection in Shanghai. It was resistant to most antimicrobials, including vancomycin (MIC, >256 ?g/ml) and teicoplanin (MIC, 96 ?g/ml). Glycopeptide resistance could be transferred to E. faecium BM4105RF by conjugation. The donor and its transconjugant were negative by PCR for the known van genes. By cloning and primer walk sequencing, we discovered a novel van gene cluster, designated vanM. The vanM ligase gene was 1,032-bp in length and encoded a 343-amino-acid protein that shared 79.9, 70.8, 66.3, and 78.8% amino acid identity with VanA, VanB, VanD, and VanF, respectively. Although the vanM DNA sequence was closest to vanA, the organization of the vanM gene cluster was most similar to that of vanD. Upstream from the vanM cluster was an IS1216-like element, which may play a role in the dissemination of this resistance determinant. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of peptidoglycan precursors extracted from the VanM-type strain Efm-HS0661 treated with vancomycin or teicoplanin revealed a modified precursor (UDP-N-acetylmuramic acid [MurNAc]-tetrapeptide-D-Lac), indicating that VanM, like VanA, confers glycopeptide resistance by the inducible synthesis of precursor ending in D-Ala-D-Lac.
Project description:The crisis in antibiotic resistance has resulted in an increasing fear of the emergence of untreatable organisms. Resistance to the glycopeptide antibiotic vancomycin in the enterococci, and the spread of these pathogens throughout the environment, has shown that this scenario is a matter of fact rather than fiction. The basis for vancomycin resistance is the manufacture of the depsipeptide D-Ala-D-lactate, which is incorporated into the peptidoglycan cell wall in place of the vancomycin target D-Ala-D-Ala. Pivotal to the resistance mechanism is the production of a D-Ala-D-Ala ligase capable of ester formation. Two highly efficient depsipeptide ligases have been cloned from vancomycin-resistant enterococci: VanA and VanB. These ligases show high amino acid sequence similarity to each other ( approximately 75%), but less so to other D-Ala-D-X ligases (<30%). We have cloned ddls from two glycopeptide-producing organisms, the vancomycin producer Amycolatopsis orientalis and the A47934 producer Streptomyces toyocaensis. These ligases show strong predicted amino acid homology to VanA and VanB (>60%) but not to other D-Ala-D-X ligases (<35%). The D-Ala-D-Ala ligase from S. toyocaensis shows D-Ala-D-lactate synthase activity in cell-free extracts of S. lividans transformed with the ddl gene and confirms the predicted enzymatic activity. These results imply a close evolutionary relationship between resistance mechanisms in the clinics and in drug-producing bacteria.
Project description:Paenibacillus popilliae contains vanF encoding a putative D-Ala:D-lactate (D-Lac) ligase, VanF, as part of the vanY(F)Z(F)H(F)FX(F) cluster that is similar in structure to the enterococcal vanA and vanB clusters. Using growth curves, we demonstrated that vancomycin resistance in P. popilliae is inducible. Using degenerate oligonucleotides targeted at bacterial cell wall ligases, we identified a second ligase gene with features of a D-Ala:D-Ala ligase in both P. popilliae and the related, vancomycin-susceptible, Paenibacillus lentimorbus. The 3,380-bp region upstream of vanY(F)Z(F)H(F)FX(F) in P. popilliae ATCC 14706 was sequenced and found to contain genes encoding a putative two-component regulator, VanR(F)S(F), similar to VanRS but more closely related to a family of two-component regulators linked to VanY-like carboxypeptidases in several glycopeptide-susceptible Bacillus species. This upstream region also included a transposase similar to a transposase found in Bacillus halodurans and, in some strains, a 99-bp insertion of unknown function with 95% nucleotide identity to a portion of the Tn1546 transposase gene. Analysis of glycopeptide resistance-associated clusters from soil and/or insect-dwelling organisms may provide important clues to the molecular evolution of acquired glycopeptide resistance elements in human pathogens.
Project description:The glycopeptide vancomycin is a drug of last resort for infection with gram-positive organisms, and three genes are vital to resistance: vanH, vanA, and vanX. These genes are found in a vanHAX cluster, which is conserved across pathogenic bacteria, glycopeptide antibiotic producers, and other environmental bacteria. The genome sequence of the anaerobic, gram-positive, dehalogenating bacterium Desulfitobacterium hafniense Y51 revealed a predicted vanA homolog; however, it exists in a vanAWK-murFX cluster, unlike those of other vancomycin-resistant organisms. Using purified recombinant VanA from D. hafniense Y51, we determined its substrate specificity and found it to have a 42-fold preference for D-lactate over D-alanine, confirming its activity as a D-Ala-D-Lac ligase and its annotation as VanA. Furthermore, we showed that D. hafniense Y51 is highly resistant to vancomycin, with a MIC for growth of 64 microg/ml. Finally, vanA(Dh) is expressed during growth in vancomycin, as demonstrated by reverse transcription-PCR. This finding represents a new glycopeptide antibiotic resistance gene cluster and expands the genetic diversity of resistance to this important class of antibiotic.
Project description:An open reading frame located 230 nucleotides downstream from the stop codon of vanS(c) and in the opposite direction relative to the other genes of the vanC cluster was identified in Enterococcus gallinarum BM4174. This gene (designated ddl2) encoded a protein of 343 amino acids that had significant predicted structural similarity to D-Ala:D-Ala ligases and displayed 33 and 35% amino acid identity to VanC-1 and the previously reported partial sequence of Ddl from E. gallinarum, respectively. Biochemical characterization by thin-layer chromatography confirmed that Ddl2 is a D-Ala:D-Ala ligase with no detectable D-Ala:D-Ser ligase activity. The vancomycin dependence of Enterococcus faecalis BM4320 (ddl mutant) was lost on electroporation of a plasmid construct expressing ddl2 constitutively. The latter strain was able to grow in the absence of vancomycin, and peptidoglycan precursor analysis under the same conditions indicated the synthesis of pentapeptide[D-Ala] as the main precursor, confirming the activity of Ddl2 in vivo. Expression of ddl and ddl2 in BM4174 was tested by reverse transcription-PCR: results suggested that both D-Ala:D-Ala ligases were expressed concomitantly. Our findings indicate that vancomycin-resistant E. gallinarum BM4174 is likely to express one D-Ala:D-Ser and two D-Ala:D-Ala ligase genes.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Vancomycin resistance in Gram-positive bacteria results from the replacement of the D-alanyl-D-alanine target of peptidoglycan precursors with D-alanyl-D-lactate or D-alanyl-D-serine (D-Ala-D-Ser), to which vancomycin has low binding affinity. VanT is one of the proteins required for the production of D-Ala-D-Ser-terminating precursors by converting L-Ser to D-Ser. VanT is composed of two domains, an N-terminal membrane-bound domain, likely involved in L-Ser uptake, and a C-terminal cytoplasmic catalytic domain which is related to bacterial alanine racemases. To gain insight into the molecular function of VanT, the crystal structure of the catalytic domain of VanTG from VanG-type resistant Enterococcus faecalis BM4518 was determined. The structure showed significant similarity to type III pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP)-dependent alanine racemases, which are essential for peptidoglycan synthesis. Comparative structural analysis between VanTG and alanine racemases as well as site-directed mutagenesis identified three specific active site positions centered around Asn696 which are responsible for the L-amino acid specificity. This analysis also suggested that VanT racemases evolved from regular alanine racemases by acquiring additional selectivity toward serine while preserving that for alanine. The 4-fold-lower relative catalytic efficiency of VanTG against L-Ser versus L-Ala implied that this enzyme relies on its membrane-bound domain for L-Ser transport to increase the overall rate of d-Ser production. These findings illustrate how vancomycin pressure selected for molecular adaptation of a housekeeping enzyme to a bifunctional enzyme to allow for peptidoglycan remodeling, a strategy increasingly observed in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. IMPORTANCE:Vancomycin is one of the drugs of last resort against Gram-positive antibiotic-resistant pathogens. However, bacteria have evolved a sophisticated mechanism which remodels the drug target, the D-alanine ending precursors in cell wall synthesis, into precursors terminating with D-lactate or D-serine, to which vancomycin has less affinity. D-Ser is synthesized by VanT serine racemase, which has two unusual characteristics: (i) it is one of the few serine racemases identified in bacteria and (ii) it contains a membrane-bound domain involved in L-Ser uptake. The structure of the catalytic domain of VanTG showed high similarity to alanine racemases, and we identified three specific active site substitutions responsible for L-Ser specificity. The data provide the molecular basis for VanT evolution to a bifunctional enzyme coordinating both transport and racemization. Our findings also illustrate the evolution of the essential alanine racemase into a vancomycin resistance enzyme in response to antibiotic pressure.
Project description:The increasing resistance of clinical pathogens against the glycopeptide antibiotic vancomycin, a last-resort drug against infections with Gram-positive pathogens, is a major problem in the nosocomial environment. Vancomycin inhibits peptidoglycan synthesis by binding to the d-Ala-d-Ala terminal dipeptide moiety of the cell wall precursor lipid II. Plasmid-transferable resistance is conferred by modification of the terminal dipeptide into the vancomycin-insensitive variant d-Ala-d-Lac, which is produced by VanA. Here we show that exogenous d-Ala competes with d-Lac as a substrate for VanA, increasing the ratio of wild-type to mutant dipeptide, an effect that was augmented by several orders of magnitude in the absence of the d-Ala-d-Ala peptidase VanX. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis showed that high concentrations of d-Ala led to the production of a significant amount of wild-type cell wall precursors, while vanX-null mutants produced primarily wild-type precursors. This enhanced the efficacy of vancomycin in the vancomycin-resistant model organism Streptomyces coelicolor, and the susceptibility of vancomycin-resistant clinical isolates of Enterococcus faecium (VRE) increased by up to 100-fold. The enhanced vancomycin sensitivity of S. coelicolor cells correlated directly to increased binding of the antibiotic to the cell wall. Our work offers new perspectives for the treatment of diseases associated with vancomycin-resistant pathogens and for the development of drugs that target vancomycin resistance.
Project description:The emergence of bacteria resistant to vancomycin, often the antibiotic of last resort, poses a major health problem. Vancomycin-resistant bacteria sense a glycopeptide antibiotic challenge and remodel their cell wall precursor peptidoglycan terminus from d-Ala-d-Ala to d-Ala-d-Lac, reducing the binding of vancomycin to its target 1000-fold and accounting for the loss in antimicrobial activity. Here, we report [?[C(?NH)NH]Tpg(4)]vancomycin aglycon designed to exhibit the dual binding to d-Ala-d-Ala and d-Ala-d-Lac needed to reinstate activity against vancomycin-resistant bacteria. Its binding to a model d-Ala-d-Ala ligand was found to be only 2-fold less than vancomycin aglycon and this affinity was maintained with a model d-Ala-d-Lac ligand, representing a 600-fold increase relative to vancomycin aglycon. Accurately reflecting these binding characteristics, it exhibits potent antimicrobial activity against vancomycin-resistant bacteria (MIC = 0.31 ?g/mL, VanA VRE). Thus, a complementary single atom exchange in the vancomycin core structure (O ? NH) to counter the single atom exchange in the cell wall precursors of resistant bacteria (NH ? O) reinstates potent antimicrobial activity and charts a rational path forward for the development of antibiotics for the treatment of vancomycin-resistant bacterial infections.