Leptospira interrogans serovar copenhageni harbors two lexA genes involved in SOS response.
ABSTRACT: Bacteria activate a regulatory network in response to the challenges imposed by DNA damage to genetic material, known as the SOS response. This system is regulated by the RecA recombinase and by the transcriptional repressor lexA. Leptospira interrogans is a pathogen capable of surviving in the environment for weeks, being exposed to a great variety of stress agents and yet retaining its ability to infect the host. This study aims to investigate the behavior of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni after the stress induced by DNA damage. We show that L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni genome contains two genes encoding putative LexA proteins (lexA1 and lexA2) one of them being potentially acquired by lateral gene transfer. Both genes are induced after DNA damage, but the steady state levels of both LexA proteins drop, probably due to auto-proteolytic activity triggered in this condition. In addition, seven other genes were up-regulated following UV-C irradiation, recA, recN, dinP, and four genes encoding hypothetical proteins. This set of genes is potentially regulated by LexA1, as it showed binding to their promoter regions. All these regions contain degenerated sequences in relation to the previously described SOS box, TTTGN 5CAAA. On the other hand, LexA2 was able to bind to the palindrome TTGTAN10TACAA, found in its own promoter region, but not in the others. Therefore, the L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni SOS regulon may be even more complex, as a result of LexA1 and LexA2 binding to divergent motifs. New possibilities for DNA damage response in Leptospira are expected, with potential influence in other biological responses such as virulence.
Project description:An examination of the two Leptospira interrogans genomes sequenced so far reveals few genetic differences, including an extra DNA region, 54 kb in length, in L. interrogans serovar Lai. This locus contains 103 predicted coding sequences that are absent from the genome of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni, of which only 20% had significant BLASTP hits in GenBank. By analyzing the L. interrogans serovar Lai genome by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, we also found that this 54-kb DNA fragment exists as a circular plasmid. This was confirmed by amplification of a DNA fragment corresponding to that of the predicted fragment if this region excised from the chromosome and its left and right ends joined together. In addition, cloning of the putative rep gene of this DNA region was responsible for autonomous replication in Leptospira spp., therefore generating a new Escherichia coli-Leptospira sp. shuttle vector. Taken together, our results show that this genomic island can excise from the chromosome and form a replicative plasmid. Analysis of the distribution of this genomic island revealed that highly related sequences exist in other L. interrogans virulent strains. This genomic island, containing a high proportion of novel genes, may have an important role in spreading genes, including virulence factors, among bacterial populations.
Project description:Comparative genomic hybridization was used to compare genetic diversity of five strains of Leptospira (Leptospira interrogans serovars Bratislava, Canicola, and Hebdomadis and Leptospira kirschneri serovars Cynopteri and Grippotyphosa). The array was designed based on two available sequenced Leptospira reference genomes, those of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni and L. interrogans serovar Lai. A comparison of genetic contents showed that L. interrogans serovar Bratislava was closest to the reference genomes while L. kirschneri serovar Grippotyphosa had the least similarity to the reference genomes. Cluster analysis indicated that L. interrogans serovars Bratislava and Hebdomadis clustered together first, followed by L. interrogans serovar Canicola, before the two L. kirschneri strains. Confirmed/potential virulence factors identified in previous research were also detected in the tested strains.
Project description:The RecA/LexA axis of the bacterial DNA damage (SOS) response is a promising, yet nontraditional, drug target. The SOS response is initiated upon genotoxic stress, when RecA, a DNA damage sensor, induces LexA, the SOS repressor, to undergo autoproteolysis, thereby derepressing downstream genes that can mediate DNA repair and accelerate mutagenesis. As genetic inhibition of the SOS response sensitizes bacteria to DNA damaging antibiotics and decreases acquired resistance, inhibitors of the RecA/LexA axis could potentiate our current antibiotic arsenal. Compounds targeting RecA, which has many mammalian homologues, have been reported; however, small-molecules targeting LexA autoproteolysis, a reaction unique to the prokaryotic SOS response, have remained elusive. Here, we describe the logistics and accomplishments of an academic-industry partnership formed to pursue inhibitors against the RecA/LexA axis. A novel fluorescence polarization assay reporting on RecA-induced self-cleavage of LexA enabled the screening of 1.8 million compounds. Follow-up studies on select leads show distinct activity patterns in orthogonal assays, including several with activity in cell-based assays reporting on SOS activation. Mechanistic assays demonstrate that we have identified first-in-class small molecules that specifically target the LexA autoproteolysis step in SOS activation. Our efforts establish a realistic example for navigating academic-industry partnerships in pursuit of anti-infective drugs and offer starting points for dedicated lead optimization of SOS inhibitors that could act as adjuvants for current antibiotics.
Project description:A new repetitive DNA element was identified in an isolate of Leptospira interrogans serovar copenhageni from a patient in Salvador, Brazil. A Sau3A genomic library from this strain was constructed and screened for repetitive DNA elements. An insert of 438 bp (Rep1) from one library clone hybridized to multiple chromosomal DNA fragments resolved electrophoretically after digestion with BamHI, HindIII, and MfeI. A single oligonucleotide primer, designated iRepl, was designed to generate multiple PCR amplicons of various electrophoretic mobilities in a PCR typing method. The method distinguished strains belonging to the eight pathogenic and three saprophytic species of the genus Leptospira. Clinical isolates obtained during urban epidemics between 1996 and 1998 in Salvador, Brazil, were analyzed by this PCR method. Although the iRep1 primer was unable to discriminate strains among L. interrogans serovar copenhageni isolates, it was able to differentiate strains belonging to different species and serogroups of Leptospira identified in Salvador. This PCR-based method may provide a faster and less expensive alternative to serologic tests used in reference laboratories.
Project description:The Escherichia coli SOS system is a well-established model for the cellular response to DNA damage. Control of SOS depends largely on the RecA protein. When RecA is activated by single-stranded DNA in the presence of a nucleotide triphosphate cofactor, it mediates cleavage of the LexA repressor, leading to expression of the 30(+)-member SOS regulon. RecA activation generally requires the introduction of DNA damage. However, certain recA mutants, like recA730, bypass this requirement and display constitutive SOS expression as well as a spontaneous (SOS) mutator effect. Presently, we investigated the possible interaction between SOS and the cellular deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) pools. We found that dNTP pool changes caused by deficiencies in the ndk or dcd genes, encoding nucleoside diphosphate kinase and dCTP deaminase, respectively, had a strongly suppressive effect on constitutive SOS expression in recA730 strains. The suppression of the recA730 mutator effect was alleviated in a lexA-deficient background. Overall, the findings suggest a model in which the dNTP alterations in the ndk and dcd strains interfere with the activation of RecA, thereby preventing LexA cleavage and SOS induction.
Project description:Infectious diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide. Hence, there is a need to develop new antimicrobial agents. Traditional method of drug discovery is time consuming and yields a few drug targets with little intracellular information for guiding target selection. Thus, focus in drug development has been shifted to computational comparative genomics for identifying novel drug targets. Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis of global concern caused by Leptospira interrogans. Availability of L. interrogans serovars and human genome sequences facilitated to search for novel drug targets using bioinformatics tools. The genome sequence of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni has 5,124 genes while that of serovar Lai has 4,727 genes. Through subtractive genomic approach 218 genes in serovar Copenhageni and 158 genes in serovar Lai have been identified as putative drug targets. Comparative genomic approach had revealed that 88 drug targets were common to both the serovars. Pathway analysis using the Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes revealed that 66 targets are enzymes and 22 are non-enzymes. Sixty two common drug targets were predicted to be localized in cytoplasm and 16 were surface proteins. The identified potential drug targets form a platform for further investigation in discovery of novel therapeutic compounds against Leptospira.
Project description:In bacteria, SOS is a global response to DNA damage, mediated by the recA-lexA genes, resulting in cell cycle arrest, DNA repair, and mutagenesis. Previously, we reported that Escherichia coli responds to DNA damage via another recA-lexA-mediated pathway resulting in programmed cell death (PCD). We called it apoptosis-like death (ALD) because it is characterized by membrane depolarization and DNA fragmentation, which are hallmarks of eukaryotic mitochondrial apoptosis. Here, we show that ALD is an extreme SOS response that occurs only under conditions of severe DNA damage. Furthermore, we found that ALD is characterized by additional hallmarks of eukaryotic mitochondrial apoptosis, including (i) rRNA degradation by the endoribonuclease YbeY, (ii) upregulation of a unique set of genes that we called extensive-damage-induced (Edin) genes, (iii) a decrease in the activities of complexes I and II of the electron transport chain, and (iv) the formation of high levels of OH? through the Fenton reaction, eventually resulting in cell death. Our genetic and molecular studies on ALD provide additional insight for the evolution of mitochondria and the apoptotic pathway in eukaryotes. Importance: The SOS response is the first described and the most studied bacterial response to DNA damage. It is mediated by a set of two genes, recA-lexA, and it results in DNA repair and thereby in the survival of the bacterial culture. We have shown that Escherichia coli responds to DNA damage by an additional recA-lexA-mediated pathway resulting in an apoptosis-like death (ALD). Apoptosis is a mode of cell death that has previously been reported only in eukaryotes. We found that E. coli ALD is characterized by several hallmarks of eukaryotic mitochondrial apoptosis. Altogether, our results revealed that recA-lexA is a DNA damage response coordinator that permits two opposite responses: life, mediated by the SOS, and death, mediated by the ALD. The choice seems to be a function of the degree of DNA damage in the cell.
Project description:Leptospira species colonize a significant proportion of rodent populations worldwide and produce life-threatening infections in accidental hosts, including humans. Complete genome sequencing of Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni and comparative analysis with the available Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai genome reveal that despite overall genetic similarity there are significant structural differences, including a large chromosomal inversion and extensive variation in the number and distribution of insertion sequence elements. Genome sequence analysis elucidates many of the novel aspects of leptospiral physiology relating to energy metabolism, oxygen tolerance, two-component signal transduction systems, and mechanisms of pathogenesis. A broad array of transcriptional regulation proteins and two new families of afimbrial adhesins which contribute to host tissue colonization in the early steps of infection were identified. Differences in genes involved in the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharide O side chains between the Copenhageni and Lai serovars were identified, offering an important starting point for the elucidation of the organism's complex polysaccharide surface antigens. Differences in adhesins and in lipopolysaccharide might be associated with the adaptation of serovars Copenhageni and Lai to different animal hosts. Hundreds of genes encoding surface-exposed lipoproteins and transmembrane outer membrane proteins were identified as candidates for development of vaccines for the prevention of leptospirosis.
Project description:Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis, responsible for more than 1 million cases and 60,000 deaths every year. Among the 13 pathogenic species of the genus Leptospira, serovars belonging to L. interrogans serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae are considered to be the most virulent strains, and responsible for majority of the reported severe cases. Serovars Copenhageni and Icterohaemorrhagiae are major representatives of this serogroup and despite their public health relevance, little is known regarding the genetic differences between these two serovars. In this study, we analyzed the genome sequences of 67 isolates belonging to L. interrogans serovars Copenhageni and Icterohaemorrhagiae to investigate the influence of spatial and temporal variations on DNA sequence diversity. Out of the 1072 SNPs identified, 276 were in non-coding regions and 796 in coding regions. Indel analyses identified 258 indels, out of which 191 were found in coding regions and 67 in non-coding regions. Our phylogenetic analyses based on SNP dataset revealed that both serovars are closely related but showed distinct spatial clustering. However, likelihood ratio test of the indel data statistically confirmed the presence of a frameshift mutation within a homopolymeric tract of lic12008 gene (related to LPS biosynthesis) in all the L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae strains but not in the Copenhageni strains. Therefore, this internal indel identified can genetically distinguish L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni from serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae with high discriminatory power. To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify global sequence variations (SNPs and Indels) in L. interrogans serovars Copenhageni and Icterohaemorrhagiae.
Project description:Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis caused by pathogenic Leptospira. The whole-genome sequence of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni together with bioinformatics tools represent a great opportunity to search for novel antigen candidates that could be used as subunit vaccine against leptospirosis. We focused on six genes encoding for conserved hypothetical proteins predicted to be exported to the outer membrane. The genes were amplified by PCR from Leptospira interrogans genomic DNA and were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant proteins tagged with N-terminal hexahistidine were purified by metal-charged chromatography. The immunization of hamsters followed by challenge with lethal dose of virulent strain of Leptospira showed that the recombinant proteins Lsa21, Lsa66 and rLIC11030 elicited partial protection to animals. These proteins could be used combined or in a mixture with novel adjuvants in order to improve their effectiveness.