In vivo studies suggest that induction of VanS-dependent vancomycin resistance requires binding of the drug to D-Ala-D-Ala termini in the peptidoglycan cell wall.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Induction of vancomycin resistance in vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) involves replacement of the d-Ala-d-Ala terminus of peptidoglycan (PG) stems with d-Ala-d-Lac, dramatically reducing the binding affinity of vancomycin for lipid II. Effects from vancomycin resistance induction in Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC 51299) were characterized using a combined solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis. Solid-state NMR directly measured the total amounts of d-Lac and l,d-Ala metabolized from [2-13C]pyruvate, accumulated Park's nucleotide, and changes to the PG bridge-linking density during the early exponential growth phase (OD660 = 0.4) in intact whole cells of VRE. A high level of accumulation of depsipeptide-substituted Park's nucleotide consistent with the inhibition of the transglycosylation step of PG biosynthesis during the initial phase of vancomycin resistance was observed, while no changes to the PG bridge-linking density following the induction of vancomycin resistance were detected. This indicated that the attachment of the PG bridge to lipid II by the peptidyl transferases was not inhibited by the d-Ala-d-Lac-substituted PG stem structure in VRE. Compositions of mutanolysin-digested isolated cell walls of VRE grown with and without vancomycin resistance induction were determined by LC-MS. Muropeptides with PG stems terminating in d-Ala-d-Lac were found only in VRE grown in the presence of vancomycin. Percentages of muropeptides with a pentapeptide stem terminating in d-Ala-d-Lac for VRE grown in the presence of vancomycin were 26% for the midexponential phase (OD660 = 0.6) and 57% for the stationary growth phase (OD660 = 1.0). These high percentages indicate that d-Ala-d-Lac-substituted lipid II was efficiently utilized for PG biosynthesis in VRE.
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.
Project description:The d-Ala:d-Lac ligase, VanA, plays a critical role in the resistance of vancomycin. Indeed, it is involved in the synthesis of a peptidoglycan precursor, to which vancomycin cannot bind. The reaction catalyzed by VanA requires the opening of the so-called "?-loop", so that the substrates can enter the active site. Here, the conformational landscape of VanA is explored by an enhanced sampling approach: the temperature-accelerated molecular dynamics (TAMD). Analysis of the molecular dynamics (MD) and TAMD trajectories recorded on VanA permits a graphical description of the structural and kinetics aspects of the conformational space of VanA, where the internal mobility and various opening modes of the ?-loop play a major role. The other important feature is the correlation of the ?-loop motion with the movements of the opposite domain, defined as containing the residues A149-Q208. Conformational and kinetic clusters have been determined and a path describing the ?-loop opening was extracted from these clusters. The determination of this opening path, as well as the relative importance of hydrogen bonds along the path, permit one to propose some key residue interactions for the kinetics of the ?-loop opening.
Project description:An effective synthesis of [Psi[CH(2)NH]Tpg(4)]vancomycin aglycon (5) is detailed in which the residue 4 amide carbonyl of vancomycin aglycon has been replaced with a methylene. This removal of a single atom was conducted to enhance binding to D-Ala-D-Lac, countering resistance endowed to bacteria that remodel their D-Ala-D-Ala peptidoglycan cell wall precursor by a similar single atom change (ester O for amide NH). Key elements of the approach include a synthesis of the modified vancomycin ABCD ring system featuring a reductive amination coupling of residues 4 and 5 for installation of the deep-seated amide modification, the first of two diaryl ether closures for formation of the modified CD ring system (76%, 2.5-3:1 kinetic atropodiastereoselectivity), a Suzuki coupling for installation of the hindered AB biaryl bond (90%) on which the atropisomer stereochemistry could be thermally adjusted, and a macrolactamization closure of the AB ring system (70%). Subsequent DE ring system introduction enlisted a room-temperature aromatic nucleophilic substitution reaction for formation of the remaining diaryl ether (86%, 6-7:1 kinetic atropodiastereoselectivity), completing the carbon skeleton of 5. Consistent with expectations and relative to the vancomycin aglycon, 5 exhibited a 40-fold increase in affinity for D-Ala-D-Lac (K(a) = 5.2 x 10(3) M(-1)) and a 35-fold reduction in affinity for D-Ala-D-Ala (K(a) = 4.8 x 10(3) M(-1)), providing a glycopeptide analogue with balanced, dual binding characteristics. Beautifully, 5 exhibited antimicrobial activity (MIC = 31 microg/mL) against a VanA-resistant organism that remodels its D-Ala-D-Ala cell wall precursor to d-Ala-d-Lac upon glycopeptide antibiotic challenge, displaying a potency that reflects these binding characteristics.
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:Vancomycin resistance is conferred upon vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) through the replacement of peptidoglycan (PG) stem terminal d-Ala-d-Ala with d-Ala-d-Lac. The d-Ala-d-Lac incorporation can affect both the fitness and virulence of VRE. Here we comprehensively investigate the changes to PG composition in vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis following the growth in presence of vancomycin using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, 104 unique muropeptides fragments were identified and the relative abundance of each fragment was accurately quantified by integrating the ion current of a selected ion using extracted-ion chromatogram. The analysis indicates reduced PG cross-linking, increased carboxypeptidase activities, increased N-deacetylation, and increased O-acetylation in VRE when grown in the presence of vancomycin. We found that O-acetylation preferentially occurred on muropeptides fragments with reduced cross-linking with a pentapeptide stem that terminated in d-Ala-d-Lac. These findings show that O-acetylation preferentially occurred in regions of the cell wall with reduced PG cross-linking on PG units that have stems terminating in d-Ala-d-Lac, serving as markers to prevent both the PG-stem modification by carboxypeptidases and the cell wall degradation by autolysins. Accurate quantitative PG composition analysis provided compositional insights into altered cell wall biosynthesis and modification processes in VRE that contribute to lysozyme resistance and enhanced virulence for VRE grown in the presence of vancomycin.
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:In order to seek vancomycin analogs with improved performance against VanA and VanB resistant bacterial strains, extensive computational investigations have been performed to examine the effects of side-chain and backbone modifications. Changes in binding affinities for tripeptide cell-wall precursor mimics, Ac(2)-l-Lys-d-Ala-d-Ala (3) and Ac(2)-l-Lys-d-Ala-d-Lac (4), with vancomycin analogs were computed with Monte Carlo/free energy perturbation (MC/FEP) calculations. Replacements of the 3-hydroxyl group in residue 7 with small alkyl or alkoxy groups, which improve contacts with the methyl side chain of the ligands'd-Ala residue, are predicted to be the most promising to enhance binding for both ligands. The previously reported amine backbone modification as in 5 is shown to complement the hydrophobic modifications for binding monoacetylated tripeptides. In addition, replacement of the hydroxyl groups in residues 5 and 7 by fluorine is computed to have negligible impact on binding the tripeptides, though it may be pharmacologically advantageous.
Project description:Vancomycin is known to bind to Zn(II) and can induce a zinc starvation response in bacteria. Here we identify a novel polymerization of vancomycin dimers by structural analysis of vancomycin-Zn(II) crystals and fibre X-ray diffraction. Bioassays indicate that this structure is associated with an increased antibiotic activity against bacterial strains possessing high level vancomycin resistance mediated by the reprogramming of peptidoglycan biosynthesis to use precursors terminating in D-Ala-D-Lac in place of D-Ala-D-Ala. Polymerization occurs via interaction of Zn(II) with the N-terminal methylleucine group of vancomycin, and we show that the activity of other glycopeptide antibiotics with this feature can also be similarly augmented by Zn(II). Construction and analysis of a model strain predominantly using D-Ala-D-Lac precursors for peptidoglycan biosynthesis during normal growth supports the hypothesis that Zn(II) mediated vancomycin polymerization enhances the binding affinity towards these precursors.