Critical role of a ferritin-like protein in the control of Listeria monocytogenes cell envelope structure and stability under ?-lactam pressure.
ABSTRACT: The human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes is susceptible to the ?-lactam antibiotics penicillin G and ampicillin, and these are the drugs of choice for the treatment of listerial infections. However, these antibiotics exert only a bacteriostatic effect on this bacterium and consequently, L. monocytogenes is regarded as ?-lactam tolerant. It is widely accepted that the phenomenon of bacterial tolerance to ?-lactams is due to the lack of adequate autolysin activity, but the mechanisms of L. monocytogenes tolerance to this class of antibiotics are poorly characterized. A ferritin-like protein (Fri) was recently identified as a mediator of ?-lactam tolerance in L. monocytogenes, but its function in this process remains unknown. The present study was undertaken to improve our understanding of L. monocytogenes tolerance to ?-lactams and to characterize the role of Fri in this phenomenon. A comparative physiological analysis of wild-type L. monocytogenes and a fri deletion mutant provided evidence of a multilevel mechanism controlling autolysin activity in cells grown under ?-lactam pressure, which leads to a reduction in the level and/or activity of cell wall-associated autolysins. This is accompanied by increases in the amount of teichoic acids, cell wall thickness and cell envelope integrity of L. monocytogenes grown in the presence of penicillin G, and provides the basis for the innate ?-lactam tolerance of this bacterium. Furthermore, this study revealed the inability of the L. monocytogenes ? fri mutant to deplete autolysins from the cell wall, to adjust the content of teichoic acids and to maintain their D-alanylation at the correct level when treated with penicillin G, thus providing further evidence that Fri is involved in the control of L. monocytogenes cell envelope structure and stability under ?-lactam pressure.
Project description:Penicillin and related antibiotics disrupt cell wall synthesis to induce bacteriolysis. Lysis in response to these drugs requires the activity of cell wall hydrolases called autolysins, but how penicillins misactivate these deadly enzymes has long remained unclear. Here, we show that alterations in surface polymers called teichoic acids (TAs) play a key role in penicillin-induced lysis of the Gram-positive pathogen <i>Streptococcus pneumoniae</i> (<i>Sp</i>). We find that during exponential growth, <i>Sp</i> cells primarily produce lipid-anchored TAs called lipoteichoic acids (LTAs) that bind and sequester the major autolysin LytA. However, penicillin-treatment or prolonged stationary phase growth triggers the degradation of a key LTA synthase, causing a switch to the production of wall-anchored TAs (WTAs). This change allows LytA to associate with and degrade its cell wall substrate, thus promoting osmotic lysis. Similar changes in surface polymer assembly may underlie the mechanism of antibiotic- and/or growth phase-induced lysis for other important Gram-positive pathogens.
Project description:?-Lactam antibiotics kill Staphylococcus aureus bacteria by inhibiting the function of cell wall penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) 1 and 3. However, ?-lactams are ineffective against PBP2a, used by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) to perform essential cell wall crosslinking functions. PBP2a requires teichoic acid to properly locate and orient the enzyme, and thus MRSA is susceptible to antibiotics that prevent teichoic acid synthesis in the bacterial cytoplasm. As an alternative, we have used branched poly(ethylenimine), BPEI, to target teichoic acid in the bacterial cell wall. The result is restoration of MRSA susceptibility to the ?-lactam antibiotic ampicillin with a MIC of 1??g?ml-1, superior to that of vancomycin (MIC=3.7??g?ml-1). A checkerboard assay shows synergy of BPEI and ampicillin. NMR data show that BPEI alters the teichoic acid chemical environment. Laser scanning confocal microscopy images show BPEI residing on the bacterial cell wall, where teichoic acids and PBPs are located.
Project description:While β-lactam antibiotics are a critical part of the antimicrobial arsenal, they are frequently compromised by various resistance mechanisms, including changes in penicillin binding proteins of the bacterial cell wall. Genetic deletion of the penicillin binding protein and serine/threonine kinase-associated protein (PASTA) kinase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been shown to restore β-lactam susceptibility. However, the mechanism remains unclear, and whether pharmacologic inhibition would have the same effect is unknown. In this study, we found that deletion or pharmacologic inhibition of the PASTA kinase in Listeria monocytogenes by the nonselective kinase inhibitor staurosporine results in enhanced susceptibility to both aminopenicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics. Resistance to vancomycin, another class of cell wall synthesis inhibitors, or antibiotics that inhibit protein synthesis was unaffected by staurosporine treatment. Phosphorylation assays with purified kinases revealed that staurosporine selectively inhibited the PASTA kinase of L. monocytogenes (PrkA). Importantly, staurosporine did not inhibit a L. monocytogenes kinase without a PASTA domain (Lmo0618) or the PASTA kinase from MRSA (Stk1). Finally, inhibition of PrkA with a more selective kinase inhibitor, AZD5438, similarly led to sensitization of L. monocytogenes to β-lactam antibiotics. Overall, these results suggest that pharmacologic targeting of PASTA kinases can increase the efficacy of β-lactam antibiotics.
Project description:Bactericidal antibiotics are powerful drugs because they not only inhibit essential bacterial functions, but convert them into toxic processes. Many bacteria are remarkably tolerant against antibiotics, due to inducible damage repair responses. How these responses promote whole population tolerance in important human pathogens is poorly understood. The two-component system VxrAB of the diarrheal pathogen Vibrio cholerae, a model system for tolerance against cell wall damaging (e.g., beta-lactam) antibiotics, is required for high-level beta-lactam tolerance. Here, we report the mechanism of VxrAB-mediated survival. We find that -lactam antibiotics inappropriately induce the Fur-regulated iron starvation response, causing an increase in intracellular free iron and colateral oxidative damage. VxrAB reduces antibiotic-induced toxic influx of Fe by downregulating iron importers and induces cell wall synthesis functions to counteract cell wall damage. Our results highlight the complex responses elicited by antibiotics and suggest that the ability to counteract diverse stresses promotes high-level antibiotic tolerance. Overall design: To identify VxrB direct target genes in Vibrio cholerae genome, we sequenced the DNA samples which were pull downed with 6xHis+VxrB (D78E). Especially, VxrB; two component system sense cell wall damage which is triggered by beta-lactam antibioitc such as penicillin (PenG). So we treated PenG 100 ug/ml in Vibrio cells for 3 hour for full induction of VxrB.To characterize highly reproducible and reliable VxrB direct target genes, we sequenced DNA samples which were pooled with biological six replicates. For the exact control experiment, we also sequenced each input samples and penicillin treated or non treated samples as well.
Project description:<i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> is a leading cause of bacterial infections world-wide. Staphylococcal infections are preferentially treated with <i>β</i>-lactam antibiotics, however, methicillin-resistant <i>S. aureus</i> (MRSA) strains have acquired resistance to this superior class of antibiotics. We have developed a growth-based, high-throughput screening approach that directly identifies cell wall synthesis inhibitors capable of reversing <i>β</i>-lactam resistance in MRSA. The screen is based on the finding that <i>S. aureus</i> mutants lacking the ClpX chaperone grow very poorly at 30°C unless specific steps in teichoic acid synthesis or penicillin binding protein (PBP) activity are inhibited. This property allowed us to exploit the <i>S. aureus clpX</i> mutant as a unique screening tool to rapidly identify biologically active compounds that target cell wall synthesis. We tested a library of ∼50,000 small chemical compounds and searched for compounds that inhibited growth of the wild type while stimulating growth of the <i>clpX</i> mutant. Fifty-eight compounds met these screening criteria, and preliminary tests of 10 compounds identified seven compounds that reverse <i>β</i>-lactam resistance of MRSA as expected for inhibitors of teichoic acid synthesis. The hit compounds are therefore promising candidates for further development as novel combination agents to restore <i>β</i>-lactam efficacy against MRSA.
Project description:Penicillin binding protein 2a (PBP2a)-dependent resistance to β-lactam antibiotics in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is regulated by the activity of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle via a poorly understood mechanism. We report that mutations in <i>sucC</i> and <i>sucD</i>, but not other TCA cycle enzymes, negatively impact β-lactam resistance without changing PBP2a expression. Increased intracellular levels of succinyl coenzyme A (succinyl-CoA) in the <i>sucC</i> mutant significantly perturbed lysine succinylation in the MRSA proteome. Suppressor mutations in <i>sucA</i> or <i>sucB</i>, responsible for succinyl-CoA biosynthesis, reversed <i>sucC</i> mutant phenotypes. The major autolysin (Atl) was the most succinylated protein in the proteome, and increased Atl succinylation in the <i>sucC</i> mutant was associated with loss of autolytic activity. Although PBP2a and PBP2 were also among the most succinylated proteins in the MRSA proteome, peptidoglycan architecture and cross-linking were unchanged in the <i>sucC</i> mutant. These data reveal that perturbation of the MRSA succinylome impacts two interconnected cell wall phenotypes, leading to repression of autolytic activity and increased susceptibility to β-lactam antibiotics. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> <i>mecA</i>-dependent methicillin resistance in MRSA is subject to regulation by numerous accessory factors involved in cell wall biosynthesis, nucleotide signaling, and central metabolism. Here, we report that mutations in the TCA cycle gene, <i>sucC</i>, increased susceptibility to β-lactam antibiotics and was accompanied by significant accumulation of succinyl-CoA, which in turn perturbed lysine succinylation in the proteome. Although cell wall structure and cross-linking were unchanged, significantly increased succinylation of the major autolysin Atl, which was the most succinylated protein in the proteome, was accompanied by near complete repression of autolytic activity. These findings link central metabolism and levels of succinyl-CoA to the regulation of β-lactam antibiotic resistance in MRSA through succinylome-mediated control of two interlinked cell wall phenotypes. Drug-mediated interference of the SucCD-controlled succinylome may help overcome β-lactam resistance.
Project description:Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen that can cause a variety of illnesses ranging from gastroenteritis to life-threatening septicemia. The beta-lactam antibiotic ampicillin remains the drug of choice for the treatment of listeriosis. We have previously identified a response regulator of a putative two-component signal transduction system that plays a role in the virulence and ethanol tolerance of L. monocytogenes. Here we present evidence that the response regulator, CesR, and a histidine protein kinase, CesK, which is encoded by the gene downstream from cesR, are involved in the ability of L. monocytogenes to tolerate ethanol and cell wall-acting antibiotics of the beta-lactam family. Furthermore, CesRK controls the expression of a putative extracellular peptide encoded by the orf2420 gene, located immediately downstream from cesRK. Inactivation of orf2420 revealed that it contributes to ethanol tolerance and pathogenesis in mice. Interestingly, we found that transcription of orf2420 was strongly induced by subinhibitory concentrations of various cell wall-acting antibiotics, ethanol, and lysozyme. The induction of orf2420 expression was abolished in the absence of CesRK. Our data suggest that CesRK is involved in regulating aspects of the cell envelope architecture and that changes in cell wall integrity provide a potent stimulus for CesRK-mediated regulation. These results further our understanding of how L. monocytogenes senses and responds to antibiotics that are used therapeutically in the treatment of infectious diseases.
Project description:With its high morbidity rate and increasing resistance to treatment, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a grave concern in the medical field. In methicillin-susceptible strains, ?-lactam antibiotics disable the penicillin binding proteins (PBPs) that cross-link the bacterial cell wall. However, methicillin-resistant strains have PBP2a and PBP4, which continue enzymatic activity in the presence of ?-lactam antibiotics. The activity of PBP2a and PBP4 is linked to the presence of wall teichoic acid (WTA); thus, WTA has emerged as a target for antibiotic drug discovery. In this work, we disable WTA in situ using its anionic phosphodiester backbone to attract cationic branched polyethylenimine (BPEI). Data show that BPEI removes ?-lactam resistance in common MRSA strains and clinical isolates. Fluorescence microscopy was used to investigate this mechanism of action. The results indicate that BPEI prevents the localization of PBP4 to the cell division septum, thereby changing the cellular morphology and inhibiting cell division. Although PBP4 is not required for septum formation, proper cell division and morphology require WTA; BPEI prevents this essential function. The combination of BPEI and ?-lactams is bactericidal and synergistic. Because BPEI allows us to study the role of WTA in the cell wall without genetic mutation or altered translocation of biomolecules and/or their precursors, this approach can help revise existing paradigms regarding the role of WTA in prokaryotic biochemistry at every growth stage.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Bacterial penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) can be visualized by their ability to bind radiolabeled or fluorescent ?-lactam derivatives both whole cells and membrane/cell enriched fractions. Analysis of the Listeria monocytogenes genome sequence predicted ten genes coding for putative PBPs, but not all of their products have been detected in studies using radiolabeled antibiotics, thus hindering their characterization. Here we report the positive identification of the full set of L. monocytogenes PBPs and the characteristics of the hitherto undescribed PBPD2 (Lmo2812). RESULTS: Eight L. monocytogenes PBPs were identified by the binding of fluorescent ?-lactam antibiotic derivatives Boc-FL, Boc-650 and Amp-Alexa430 to proteins in whole cells or membrane/cell wall extracts. The gene encoding a ninth PBP (Lmo2812) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli as a His-tagged protein. The affinity purified recombinant protein had DD-carboxypeptidase activity and preferentially degraded low-molecular-weight substrates. L. monocytogenes mutants lacking the functional Lmo2812 enzyme were constructed and, compared to the wild-type, the cells were longer and slightly curved with bent ends.Protein Lmo1855, previously designated PBPD3, did not bind any of the antibiotic derivatives tested, similarly to the homologous enterococcal protein VanY. CONCLUSIONS: Nine out of the ten putative L. monocytogenes PBP genes were shown to encode proteins that bind derivatives of ?-lactam antibiotics, thus enabling their positive identification. PBPD2 (Lmo2812) was not visualized in whole cell extracts, most probably due to its low abundance, but it was shown to bind Boc-FL after recombinant overexpression and purification. Mutants lacking Lmo2812 and another low molecular mass (LMM) PBP, PBP5 (PBPD1)--both with DD-carboxypeptidase activity--displayed only slight morphological alterations, demonstrating that they are dispensable for cell survival and probably participate in the latter stages of peptidoglycan synthesis. Since Lmo2812 preferentially degrades low-molecular- mass substrates, this may indicate a role in cell wall turnover.
Project description:Infections from antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are a serious threat because reduced antibiotic efficacy complicates treatment decisions and prolongs the disease state in many patients. To expand the arsenal of treatments against antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens, 600-Da branched polyethylenimine (BPEI) can overcome antibiotic resistance mechanisms and potentiate β-lactam antibiotics against Gram-positive bacteria. BPEI binds cell-wall teichoic acids and disables resistance factors from penicillin binding proteins PBP2a and PBP4. This study describes a new mechanism of action for BPEI potentiation of antibiotics generally regarded as agents effective against Gram-positive pathogens but not Gram-negative bacteria. 600-Da BPEI is able to reduce the barriers to drug influx and facilitate the uptake of a non-β-lactam co-drug, erythromycin, which targets the intracellular machinery. Also, BPEI can suppress production of the cytokine interleukin IL-8 by human epithelial keratinocytes. This enables BPEI to function as a broad-spectrum antibiotic potentiator, and expands the opportunities to improve drug design, antibiotic development, and therapeutic approaches against pathogenic bacteria, especially for wound care.