Secreted proteases control autolysin-mediated biofilm growth of Staphylococcus aureus.
ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus epidermidis, a commensal of humans, secretes Esp protease to prevent Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation and colonization. Blocking S. aureus colonization may reduce the incidence of invasive infectious diseases; however, the mechanism whereby Esp disrupts biofilms is unknown. We show here that Esp cleaves autolysin (Atl)-derived murein hydrolases and prevents staphylococcal release of DNA, which serves as extracellular matrix in biofilms. The three-dimensional structure of Esp was revealed by x-ray crystallography and shown to be highly similar to that of S. aureus V8 (SspA). Both atl and sspA are necessary for biofilm formation, and purified SspA cleaves Atl-derived murein hydrolases. Thus, S. aureus biofilms are formed via the controlled secretion and proteolysis of autolysin, and this developmental program appears to be perturbed by the Esp protease of S. epidermidis.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus exhibits a strong capacity to attach to abiotic or biotic surfaces and form biofilms, which lead to chronic infections. We have recently shown that Esp, a serine protease secreted by commensal Staphylococcus epidermidis, disassembles preformed biofilms of S. aureus and inhibits its colonization. Esp was expected to degrade protein determinants of the adhesive and cohesive strength of S. aureus biofilms. The aim of this study was to elucidate the substrate specificity and target proteins of Esp and thereby determine the mechanism by which Esp disassembles S. aureus biofilms. We used a mutant Esp protein (Esp(S235A)) with defective proteolytic activity; this protein did not disassemble the biofilm formed by a clinically isolated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain, thereby indicating that the proteolytic activity of Esp is essential for biofilm disassembly. Esp degraded specific proteins in the biofilm matrix and cell wall fractions, in contrast to proteinase K, which is frequently used for testing biofilm robustness and showed no preference for proteolysis. Proteomic and immunological analyses showed that Esp degrades at least 75 proteins, including 11 biofilm formation- and colonization-associated proteins, such as the extracellular adherence protein, the extracellular matrix protein-binding protein, fibronectin-binding protein A, and protein A. In addition, Esp selectively degraded several human receptor proteins of S. aureus (e.g., fibronectin, fibrinogen, and vitronectin) that are involved in its colonization or infection. These results suggest that Esp inhibits S. aureus colonization and biofilm formation by degrading specific proteins that are crucial for biofilm construction and host-pathogen interaction.
Project description:Extracellular serine protease (Esp) from Staphylococcus epidermidis is a glutamyl endopeptidase that inhibits the growth and formation of S. aureus biofilms. Previously, crystal structures of the matured and active Esp have been determined. Interestingly, many of the staphylococcal glutamyl endopeptidase zymogens, including V8 from Staphylococcus aureus and Esp from S. epidermidis, contain unusually long pro-peptide segments; however, their function is not known. With the aim of elucidating the function of these pro-peptide segments, crystal structures of the Esp zymogen (Pro-Esp) and its variants were determined. It was observed that the N-terminus of the Pro-Esp crystal structure is flexible and is not associated with the main body of the enzyme, unlike in the known active Esp structure. In addition, the loops that border the putative substrate-binding pocket of Pro-Esp are flexible and disordered; the structural components that are responsible for enzyme specificity and efficiency in serine proteases are disordered in Pro-Esp. However, the N-terminal locked Pro-Esp variants exhibit a rigid substrate-binding pocket similar to the active Esp structure and regain activity. These structural studies highlight the role of the N-terminus in stabilizing the structural components responsible for the activity and specificity of staphylococcal glutamyl endopeptidases.
Project description:The bifunctional major autolysin Atl plays a key role in staphylococcal cell separation. Processing of Atl yields catalytically active amidase (AM) and glucosaminidase (GL) domains that are each fused to repeating units. The two repeats of AM (R1 and R2) target the enzyme to the septum, where it cleaves murein between dividing cells. We have determined the crystal structure of R2, which reveals that each repeat folds into two half-open ?-barrel subunits. We further demonstrate that lipoteichoic acid serves as a receptor for the repeats and that this interaction depends on conserved surfaces in each subunit. Small-angle X-ray scattering of the mature amidase reveals the presence of flexible linkers separating the AM, R1, and R2 units. Different levels of flexibility for each linker provide mechanistic insights into the conformational dynamics of the full-length protein and the roles of its components in cell wall association and catalysis. Our analysis supports a model in which the repeats direct the catalytic AM domain to the septum, where it can optimally perform the final step of cell division.
Project description:The major autolysins (Atl) of Staphylococcus epidermidis and S. aureus play an important role in cell separation, and their mutants are also attenuated in virulence. Therefore, autolysins represent a promising target for the development of new types of antibiotics. Here, we report the high-resolution structure of the catalytically active amidase domain AmiE (amidase S. epidermidis) from the major autolysin of S. epidermidis. This is the first protein structure with an amidase-like fold from a bacterium with a gram-positive cell wall architecture. AmiE adopts a globular fold, with several alpha-helices surrounding a central beta-sheet. Sequence comparison reveals a cluster of conserved amino acids that define a putative binding site with a buried zinc ion. Mutations of key residues in the putative active site result in loss of activity, enabling us to propose a catalytic mechanism. We also identified and synthesized muramyltripeptide, the minimal peptidoglycan fragment that can be used as a substrate by the enzyme. Molecular docking and digestion assays with muramyltripeptide derivatives allow us to identify key determinants of ligand binding. This results in a plausible model of interaction of this ligand not only for AmiE, but also for other PGN-hydrolases that share the same fold. As AmiE active-site mutations also show a severe growth defect, our findings provide an excellent platform for the design of specific inhibitors that target staphylococcal cell separation and can thereby prevent growth of this pathogen.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus epidermidis has emerged as one of the most important nosocomial pathogens, mainly because of its ability to colonize implanted biomaterials by forming a biofilm. Extensive studies are focused on the molecular mechanisms involved in biofilm formation. The LytSR two-component regulatory system regulates autolysis and biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus. However, the role of LytSR played in S. epidermidis remained unknown. RESULTS: In the present study, we demonstrated that lytSR knock-out in S. epidermidis did not alter susceptibility to Triton X-100 induced autolysis. Quantitative murein hydrolase assay indicated that disruption of lytSR in S. epidermidis resulted in decreased activities of extracellular murein hydrolases, although zymogram showed no apparent differences in murein hydrolase patterns between S. epidermidis strain 1457 and its lytSR mutant. Compared to the wild-type counterpart, 1457?lytSR produced slightly more biofilm, with significantly decreased dead cells inside. Microarray analysis showed that lytSR mutation affected the transcription of 164 genes (123 genes were upregulated and 41 genes were downregulated). Specifically, genes encoding proteins responsible for protein synthesis, energy metabolism were downregulated, while genes involved in amino acid and nucleotide biosynthesis, amino acid transporters were upregulated. Impaired ability to utilize pyruvate and reduced activity of arginine deiminase was observed in 1457?lytSR, which is consistent with the microarray data. CONCLUSIONS: The preliminary results suggest that in S. epidermidis LytSR two-component system regulates extracellular murein hydrolase activity, bacterial cell death and pyruvate utilization. Based on the microarray data, it appears that lytSR inactivation induces a stringent response. In addition, LytSR may indirectly enhance biofilm formation by altering the metabolic status of the bacteria.
Project description:The major staphylococcal autolysin Atl is an important player in cell separation and daughter cell formation. In this study, we investigated the amino acid sequences of Atl proteins derived from 15 staphylococcal and 1 macrococcal species representatives. The overall organization of the bifunctional precursor protein consisting of the signal peptide, a propeptide (PP), the amidase (AM), six repeat sequences (R(1) to R(6)), and the glucosaminidase (GL) was highly conserved in all of the species. The most-conserved domains were the enzyme domains AM and GL; the least-conserved regions were the PP and R regions. An Atl-based phylogenetic tree for the various species representatives correlated well with the corresponding 16S rRNA-based tree and also perfectly matched the phylogenetic trees based on core genome analysis. The phylogenetic distance analysis of 18 AtlA proteins of various Staphylococcus aureus strains and 15 AtlE proteins of S. epidermidis revealed that both species representatives formed a relatively homogeneous cluster. Two S. epidermidis strains, M23864:W1 and VCU116, were identified by Atl typing that clustered far more distantly and belonged to either S. caprae and S. capitis or a new subspecies. Here we show that Atl typing is a useful tool for staphylococcal genus and species typing by using either the highly conserved AM domain or the less-conserved PP domain.
Project description:Sodium houttuyfonate (SH), an addition compound of sodium bisulfite and houttuynin, showed in vitro antibacterial activity against 21 Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) strains grown in planktonic cultures. Microarray results showed decreased levels of autolysin atl, sle1, cidA and lytN transcripts in the SH-treated strain as compared to the control strain, consistent with the induction of the autolytic repressors lrgAB and sarA and with the downregulation of the positive regulators agrA and RNAIII. Triton X-100-induced autolysis was significantly decreased by SH in S. aureus ATCC 25923, and quantitative bacteriolytic assays and zymographic analysis demonstrated SH-mediated reduction of extracellular murein hydrolase activity in these cells. Anti-biofilm assay showed that SH is poorly active against S. aureus grown in biofilm cultures, whereas SH diminished the amounts of extracellular DNA (eDNA) of S. aureus in a dose-dependent manner, which suggested that SH may impede biofilm formation by reducing the expression of cidA to inhibit autolysis and eDNA release in the early phase. Some of the microarray results were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In adults, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus compete for colonization of the nasal mucosa and S. epidermidis strains that produce the Esp serine protease eradicate S. aureus nasal colonization. Whether similar phenomena are seen in newborn infants is unknown. METHODS:Nasal swabs were obtained on admission and discharge from newborn infants (n = 90 and 83, respectively) in the neonatal intensive care unit at UC Davis Children's Hospital. Swabs were cultured for S. aureus and S. epidermidis. S. epidermidis isolates were tested for Esp expression, overall secreted protease activity and biofilm inhibition. RESULTS:No infant had S. aureus on admission. S. epidermidis colonization was rare on admission in inborn infants (2.5%), but common in infants transferred from referring hospitals (50%). At discharge, most infants (96%) were colonized by staphylococci. S. aureus colonization was less common in infants with S. epidermidis colonization (9%) and more common in infants without S. epidermidis (77%) (relative risk of S. aureus colonization in infants colonized with S. epidermidis 0.18, 95% confidence interval: 0.089-0.34, P < 0.0001). Compared with S. epidermidis strains from infants without S. aureus, S. epidermidis from infants co-colonized with S. aureus had lower total proteolytic enzyme activity and decreased biofilm inhibition capacity, but did not have lower frequency of Esp positivity. CONCLUSIONS:In hospitalized neonates, S. epidermidis colonization has a protective effect against S. aureus colonization. Secretion of proteases by S. epidermidis is a possible mechanism of inhibition of S. aureus colonization; however, in this cohort of neonates, the source of major protease activity is likely other than Esp.
Project description:Many microorganisms excrete typical cytoplasmic proteins into the culture supernatant. As none of the classical secretion systems appears to be involved, this type of secretion was referred to as "nonclassical protein secretion." Here, we demonstrate that in Staphylococcus aureus the major autolysin plays a crucial role in release of cytoplasmic proteins. Comparative secretome analysis revealed that in the wild type S. aureus strain, 22 typical cytoplasmic proteins were excreted into the culture supernatant, although in the atl mutant they were significantly decreased. The presence or absence of prophages had little influence on the secretome pattern. In the atl mutant, secondary peptidoglycan hydrolases were increased in the secretome; the corresponding genes were transcriptionally up-regulated suggesting a compensatory mechanism for the atl mutation. Using glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) as a cytoplasmic indicator enzyme, we showed that all clinical isolates tested excreted this protein. In the wall teichoic acid-deficient tagO mutant with its increased autolysis activity, GAPDH was excreted in even higher amounts than in the WT, confirming the importance of autolysis in excretion of cytoplasmic proteins. To answer the question of how discriminatory the excretion of cytoplasmic proteins is, we performed a two-dimensional PAGE of cytoplasmic proteins isolated from WT. Surprisingly, the most abundant proteins in the cytoplasm were not found in the secretome of the WT, suggesting that there exists a selection mechanism in the excretion of cytoplasmic proteins. As the major autolysin binds at the septum site, we assume that the proteins are preferentially released at and during septum formation.
Project description:Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is a threat to human health worldwide. Although progress has been made, mechanisms of CA-MRSA pathogenesis are poorly understood and a comprehensive analysis of CA-MRSA exoproteins has not been conducted. To address that deficiency, we used proteomics to identify exoproteins made by MW2 (USA400) and LAC (USA300) during growth in vitro. Two hundred and fifty unique exoproteins were identified by 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with automated direct infusion-tandem mass spectrometry (ADI-MS/MS) analysis. Eleven known virulence-related exoproteins differed in abundance between the strains, including alpha-haemolysin (Hla), collagen adhesin (Cna), staphylokinase (Sak), coagulase (Coa), lipase (Lip), enterotoxin C3 (Sec3), enterotoxin Q (Seq), V8 protease (SspA) and cysteine protease (SspB). Mice infected with MW2 or LAC produced antibodies specific for known or putative virulence factors, such as autolysin (Atl), Cna, Ear, ferritin (Ftn), Lip, 1-phosphatidylinositol phosphodiesterase (Plc), Sak, Sec3 and SspB, indicating the exoproteins are made during infection in vivo. We used confocal microscopy to demonstrate aureolysin (Aur), Hla, SspA and SspB are produced following phagocytosis by human neutrophils, thereby linking exoprotein production in vitro with that during host-pathogen interaction. We conclude that the exoproteins identified herein likely account in part for the success of CA-MRSA as a human pathogen.