The MprB extracytoplasmic domain negatively regulates activation of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis MprAB two-component system.
ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an acid-fast pathogen of humans and the etiological agent of tuberculosis (TB). It is estimated that one-third of the world's population is latently (persistently) infected with M. tuberculosis. M. tuberculosis persistence is regulated, in part, by the MprAB two-component signal transduction system, which is activated by and mediates resistance to cell envelope stress. Here we identify MprAB as part of an evolutionarily conserved cell envelope stress response network and demonstrate that MprAB-mediated signal transduction is negatively regulated by the MprB extracytoplasmic domain (ECD). In particular, we report that deregulated production of the MprB sensor kinase, or of derivatives of this protein, negatively impacts M. tuberculosis growth. The observed growth attenuation is dependent on MprAB-mediated signal transduction and is exacerbated in strains of M. tuberculosis producing an MprB variant lacking its ECD. Interestingly, full-length MprB, and the ECD of MprB specifically, immunoprecipitates the Hsp70 chaperone DnaK in vivo, while overexpression of dnaK inhibits MprAB-mediated signal transduction in M. tuberculosis grown in the absence or presence of cell envelope stress. We propose that under nonstress conditions, or under conditions in which proteins present in the extracytoplasmic space are properly folded, signaling through the MprAB system is inhibited by the MprB ECD. Following exposure to cell envelope stress, proteins present in the extracytoplasmic space become unfolded or misfolded, leading to removal of the ECD-mediated negative regulation of MprB and subsequent activation of MprAB.
Project description:The genetic mechanisms mediating the adaptation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis within the host are poorly understood. The best-characterized regulatory systems in this organism include sigma factors and two-component signal transduction systems. mprAB is a two-component system required by M. tuberculosis for growth in vivo during the persistent stage of infection. In this report, we demonstrate that MprAB is stress responsive and regulates the expression of numerous stress-responsive genes in M. tuberculosis. With DNA microarrays and quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR, genes regulated by MprA in M. tuberculosis that included two stress-responsive sigma factors were identified. Response regulator MprA bound to conserved motifs in the upstream regions of both sigB and sigE in vitro and regulated the in vivo expression of sigB and sigE in M. tuberculosis. In addition, mprA itself was induced following exposure to stress, establishing a direct role for this regulatory system in stress response pathways of M. tuberculosis. Induction of mprA and sigE by MprA in response to stress was mediated through the cognate sensor kinase MprB and required expression of the extracytoplasmic loop domain. These results provide the first evidence that recognition of and adaptation to specific stress in M. tuberculosis are mediated through activation of a two-component signal transduction system that directly regulates the expression of stress-responsive determinants.
Project description:The mechanisms utilized by Mycobacterium tuberculosis to establish, maintain, or reactivate from latent infection in the host are largely unknown but likely include genes that mediate adaptation to conditions encountered during persistence. Previously, a two-component signal transduction system, mprAB, was found to be required in M. tuberculosis for establishment and maintenance of persistent infection in a tissue- and stage-specific fashion. To begin to characterize the role of this system in M. tuberculosis physiology and virulence, a functional analysis of the mprA and mprB gene products was initiated. Here, evidence is presented demonstrating that sensor kinase MprB and response regulator MprA function as an intact signal-transducing pair in vitro and in vivo. Sensor kinase MprB can be autophosphorylated, can donate phosphate to MprA, and can act as a phospho-MprA phosphatase in vitro. Correspondingly, response regulator MprA can accept phosphate from MprB or from small phosphodonors including acetyl phosphate. Mutagenesis of residues His249 in MprB and Asp48 in MprA abolished the ability of these proteins to be phosphorylated in vitro. Introduction of these alleles into Mycobacterium bovis BCG attenuated virulence in macrophages in vivo. Together, these results support a role for the mprAB two-component system in M. tuberculosis physiology and pathogenesis. Characterization of two-component signal transduction systems will enhance our understanding of processes regulated by M. tuberculosis during acute and/or persistent infection in the host.
Project description:Currently, one-third of the world's population is believed to be latently infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The mechanisms by which M. tuberculosis establishes latent infection remain largely undefined. mprAB encodes a two-component signal transduction system required by M. tuberculosis for aspects of persistent infection. MprAB regulates a large and diverse group of genetic determinants in response to membrane stress, including the extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factor sigE and the HtrA-like serine protease pepD. Recent studies have demonstrated that PepD functions as both a protease and chaperone in vitro. In addition, inactivation of pepD alters the virulence of M. tuberculosis in a mouse model system of infection. Here, we demonstrate that PepD plays an important role in the stress response network of Mycobacterium mediated through MprAB and SigE. In particular, we demonstrate that the protease activity of PepD requires the PDZ domain, in addition to the catalytic serine at position 317. pepD expression initiates from at least three promoters in M. tuberculosis, including one that is regulated by SigE and is located upstream of the mprA coding sequence. Deletion of pepD or mprAB in Mycobacterium smegmatis and M. tuberculosis alters the stress response phenotypes of these strains, including increasing sensitivity to SDS and cell wall antibiotics and upregulating the expression of stress-responsive determinants, including sigE. Taking these data together, we hypothesize that PepD utilizes its PDZ domain to recognize and process misfolded proteins at the cell membrane, leading to activation of the MprAB and SigE signaling pathways and subsequent establishment of a positive feedback loop that facilitates bacterial adaptation.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains a significant global health concern largely due to its ability to persist for extended periods within the granuloma of the host. While residing within the granuloma, the tubercle bacilli are likely to be exposed to stress that can result in formation of aberrant proteins with altered structures. Bacteria encode stress responsive determinants such as proteases and chaperones to deal with misfolded or unfolded proteins. pepD encodes an HtrA-like serine protease and is thought to process proteins altered following exposure of M. tuberculosis to extra-cytoplasmic stress. PepD functions both as a protease and chaperone in vitro, and is required for aspects of M. tuberculosis virulence in vivo. pepD is directly regulated by the stress-responsive two-component signal transduction system MprAB and indirectly by extracytoplasmic function (ECF) sigma factor SigE. Loss of PepD also impacts expression of other stress-responsive determinants in M. tuberculosis. To further understand the role of PepD in stress adaptation by M. tuberculosis, a proteomics approach was taken to identify binding proteins and possible substrates of this protein. Using subcellular fractionation, the cellular localization of wild-type and PepD variants was determined. Purified fractions as well as whole cell lysates from Mycobacterium smegmatis or M. tuberculosis strains expressing a catalytically compromised PepD variant were immunoprecipitated for PepD and subjected to LC-MS/MS analyses. Using this strategy, the 35-kDa antigen encoding a homolog of the PspA phage shock protein was identified as a predominant binding partner and substrate of PepD. We postulate that proteolytic cleavage of the 35-kDa antigen by PepD helps maintain cell wall homeostasis in Mycobacterium and regulates specific stress response pathways during periods of extracytoplasmic stress.
Project description:The bacterial envelope integrates essential stress-sensing and adaptive functions; thus, envelope-preserving functions are important for survival. In Gram-negative bacteria, envelope integrity during stress is maintained by the multi-gene Psp response. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was thought to lack the Psp system since it encodes only pspA and no other psp ortholog. Intriguingly, pspA maps downstream from clgR, which encodes a transcription factor regulated by the MprAB-?(E) envelope-stress-signaling system. clgR inactivation lowered ATP concentration during stress and protonophore treatment-induced clgR-pspA expression, suggesting that these genes express Psp-like functions. We identified a four-gene set - clgR, pspA (rv2744c), rv2743c, rv2742c - that is regulated by clgR and in turn regulates ClgR activity. Regulatory and protein-protein interactions within the set and a requirement of the four genes for functions associated with envelope integrity and surface-stress tolerance indicate that a Psp-like system has evolved in mycobacteria. Among Actinobacteria, the four-gene module occurred only in tuberculous mycobacteria and was required for intramacrophage growth, suggesting links between its function and mycobacterial virulence. Additionally, the four-gene module was required for MprAB-?(E) stress-signaling activity. The positive feedback between envelope-stress-sensing and envelope-preserving functions allows sustained responses to multiple, envelope-perturbing signals during chronic infection, making the system uniquely suited to tuberculosis pathogenesis.
Project description:The ?-propeller gene Rv1057 of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is activated by envelope stress and was first characterized as a regulatory target of the TrcRS two-component system (TCS). Rv1057 expression is repressed by TrcRS, and the Rv1057 proximal promoter contains a TrcR binding site. In this study, we determined that Rv1057 is also directly regulated by MprAB, a TCS associated with envelope stress. Multiple potential MprA binding sites (MprA boxes) were identified in the 1 kb intergenic region upstream of Rv1057, and four sites were shown to bind MprA. Although MprA boxes were found in the proximal promoter, analyses suggest that MprA and TrcR do not compete for binding in this region. An MprAB-dependent, detergent-inducible transcriptional start point for Rv1057 was identified downstream of the MprA boxes, and a second TrcR binding site and small ORF of the 13E12 family were discovered in the distal promoter. MprAB was required for activation of Rv1057 during growth in macrophages and under detergent stress, and lacZ promoter constructs suggest the entire intergenic region is utilized during MprAB-dependent activation of Rv1057. These findings indicate that Rv1057 has an extensive and complex promoter, and provide evidence for coordinated regulation of stress response genes by TCSs.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains a significant global pathogen, causing extensive morbidity and mortality worldwide. This bacterium persists within granulomatous lesions in a poorly characterized, nonreplicating state. The two-component signal transduction systems MprAB and DosRS-DosT (DevRS-Rv2027c) are responsive to conditions likely to be present within granulomatous lesions and mediate aspects of M. tuberculosis persistence in vitro and in vivo. Here, we describe a previously uncharacterized locus, Rv1813c-Rv1812c, that is coregulated by both MprA and DosR. We demonstrate that MprA and DosR bind to adjacent and overlapping sequences within the promoter region of Rv1813c and direct transcription from an initiation site located several hundred base pairs upstream of the Rv1813 translation start site. We further show that Rv1813c and Rv1812c are cotranscribed, and that the genomic organization of this operon is specific to M. tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis. Although Rv1813c is not required for survival of M. tuberculosis in vitro, including under conditions in which MprAB and DosRST signaling are activated, an M. tuberculosis ?Rv1813c mutant is attenuated in the low-dose aerosol model of murine tuberculosis, where it exhibits a lower bacterial burden, delayed time to death, and decreased ability to stimulate proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1? (IL-1?) and IL-12. Interestingly, overcomplementation of these phenotypes is observed in the M. tuberculosis ?Rv1813c mutant expressing both Rv1813c and Rv1812c, but not Rv1813c alone, in trans. Therefore, Rv1813c and Rv1812c may represent general stress-responsive elements that are necessary for aspects of M. tuberculosis virulence and the host immune response to infection.
Project description:Phenotypic heterogeneity in an isogenic, microbial population enables a subset of the population to persist under stress. In mycobacteria, stresses like nutrient and oxygen deprivation activate the stress response pathway involving the two-component system MprAB and the sigma factor, SigE. SigE in turn activates the expression of the stringent response regulator, rel. The enzyme polyphosphate kinase 1 (PPK1) regulates this pathway by synthesizing polyphosphate required for the activation of MprB. The precise manner in which only a subpopulation of bacterial cells develops persistence, remains unknown. Rel is required for mycobacterial persistence. Here we show that the distribution of rel expression levels in a growing population of mycobacteria is bimodal with two distinct peaks corresponding to low (L) and high (H) expression states, and further establish that a positive feedback loop involving the mprAB operon along with stochastic gene expression are responsible for the phenotypic heterogeneity. Combining single cell analysis by flow cytometry with theoretical modeling, we observe that during growth, noise-driven transitions take a subpopulation of cells from the L to the H state within a "window of opportunity" in time preceding the stationary phase. It is these cells which adapt to nutrient depletion in the stationary phase via the stringent response. We find evidence of hysteresis in the expression of rel in response to changing concentrations of PPK1. Hysteresis promotes robustness in the maintenance of the induced state. Our results provide, for the first time, evidence that bistability and stochastic gene expression could be important for the development of "heterogeneity with an advantage" in mycobacteria and suggest strategies for tackling tuberculosis like targeting transitions from the low to the high rel expression state.
Project description:The extracytoplasmic factor (ECF) sigma factor sigma(E) is one of the most studied sigma factors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It has been shown to be involved in virulence as well as in survival under conditions of high temperature, alkaline pH, and exposure to detergents and oxidative stress. Unlike many ECF sigma factors, sigma(E) does not directly regulate the transcription of its own gene. Two promoters have been identified upstream of the sigE gene; one is regulated by the two-component system MprAB, while the other has been shown to be sigma(H) dependent. In this paper, we further characterize the regulation of sigma(E) by identifying its anti-sigma factor and a previously unknown promoter. Finally, we show that sigE can be translated from three different translational start codons, depending on the promoter used. Taken together, our data demonstrate that sigma(E) not only is subjected to complex transcriptional regulation but is also controlled at the translational and posttranslational levels.
Project description:Bacterial signal transduction systems are responsible for sensing environmental cues and adjusting the cellular behaviour and/or metabolism in response to these cues. They also monitor the intracellular conditions and the status of the cell envelope and the cytoplasmic membrane and trigger various stress responses to counteract adverse changes. This surveillance involves several classes of sensor proteins: histidine kinases; chemoreceptors; membrane components of the sugar phosphotransferase system; adenylate, diadenylate and diguanylate cyclases and certain cAMP, c-di-AMP and c-di-GMP phosphodiesterases; extracytoplasmic function sigma factors and Ser/Thr/Tyr protein kinases and phosphoprotein phosphatases. We have compiled a detailed listing of sensor proteins that are encoded in the genomes of Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and 10 widespread pathogens: Chlamydia trachomatis, Haemophilus influenzae, Helicobacter pylori, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Rickettsia typhi, Streptococcus pyogenes and Treponema pallidum, and checked what, if anything, is known about their functions. This listing shows significant gaps in the understanding of which environmental and intracellular cues are perceived by these bacteria and which cellular responses are triggered by the changes in the respective parameters. A better understanding of bacterial preferences may suggest new ways to modulate the expression of virulence factors and therefore decrease the reliance on antibiotics to fight infection.