Genome-wide identification of genes essential for the survival of Streptococcus pneumoniae in human saliva.
ABSTRACT: Since Streptococcus pneumoniae transmits through droplet spread, this respiratory tract pathogen may be able to survive in saliva. Here, we show that saliva supports survival of clinically relevant S. pneumoniae strains for more than 24 h in a capsule-independent manner. Moreover, saliva induced growth of S. pneumoniae in growth-permissive conditions, suggesting that S. pneumoniae is well adapted for uptake of nutrients from this bodily fluid. By using Tn-seq, a method for genome-wide negative selection screening, we identified 147 genes potentially required for growth and survival of S. pneumoniae in saliva, among which genes predicted to be involved in cell envelope biosynthesis, cell transport, amino acid metabolism, and stress response predominated. The Tn-seq findings were validated by testing a panel of directed gene deletion mutants for their ability to survive in saliva under two testing conditions: at room temperature without CO2, representing transmission, and at 37 °C with CO2, representing in-host carriage. These validation experiments confirmed that the plsX gene and the amiACDEF and aroDEBC operons, involved in respectively fatty acid metabolism, oligopeptide transport, and biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids play an important role in the growth and survival of S. pneumoniae in saliva at 37 °C. In conclusion, this study shows that S. pneumoniae is well-adapted for growth and survival in human saliva and provides a genome-wide list of genes potentially involved in adaptation. This notion supports earlier evidence that S. pneumoniae can use human saliva as a vector for transmission.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Phospholipid biosynthesis commences with the acylation of glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) to form 1-acyl-G3P. This step is catalyzed by the PlsB protein in Escherichia coli. The gene encoding this protein has not been identified, however, in the majority of bacterial genome sequences, including that of Bacillus subtilis. Recently, a new two-step pathway catalyzed by PlsX and PlsY proteins for the initiation of phospholipid formation in Streptococcus pneumoniae has been reported. RESULTS: In B. subtilis, 271 genes have been reported to be indispensable, when inactivated singly, for growth in LB medium. Among these, 11 genes encode proteins with unknown functions. As part of a genetic study to identify the functions of these genes, we show here that the B. subtilis ortholog of S. pneumoniae PlsY, YneS, is required for G3P acyltransferase activity, together with PlsX. The B. subtilis genome lacks plsB, and we show in vivo that the PlsX/Y pathway is indeed essential for the growth of bacteria lacking plsB. Interestingly, in addition to plsB, E. coli possesses plsX and the plsY ortholog, ygiH. We therefore explored the functional relationship between PlsB, PlsX and YgiH in E. coli, and found that plsB is essential for E. coli growth, indicating that PlsB plays an important role in 1-acyl-G3P synthesis in E. coli. We also found, however, that the simultaneous inactivation of plsX and ygiH was impossible, revealing important roles for PlsX and YgiH in E. coli growth. CONCLUSION: Both plsX and yneS are essential for 1-acyl-G3P synthesis in B. subtilis, in agreement with recent reports on their biochemical functions. In E. coli, PlsB plays a principal role in 1-acyl-G3P synthesis and is also essential for bacterial growth. PlsX and YgiH also, however, play important roles in E. coli growth, possibly by regulating the intracellular concentration of acyl-ACP. These proteins are therefore important targets for development of new antibacterial agents.
Project description:Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is one of the leading causes of noninvasive mucosal infections, such as otitis media, sinusitis, and conjunctivitis. During its life cycle, NTHi is exposed to different CO2 levels, which vary from ?0.04% in ambient air during transmission to a new host to over 5% in the respiratory tract and tissues of the human host during colonization and disease. We used the next-generation sequencing Tn-seq technology to identify genes essential for NTHi adaptation to changes in environmental CO2 levels. It appeared that H. influenzae carbonic anhydrase (HICA), which catalyzes the reversible hydration of CO2 to bicarbonate, is a molecular factor that is conditionally essential for NTHi survival in ambient air. Growth of NTHi ?can strains was restored under 5% CO2-enriched conditions, by supplementation of the growth medium with sodium bicarbonate, or by genetic complementation with the can gene. Finally, we showed that HICA not only is essential for environmental survival but also appeared to be important for intracellular survival in host cells. Hence, HICA is important for NTHi niche adaptation.
Project description:While Tn-Seq is a powerful tool to determine genome-wide bacterial fitness in high-throughput, culturing transposon-mutant libraries in pools can mask community or other complex single-cell phenotypes. Droplet Tn-Seq (dTn-Seq) solves this problem by microfluidics facilitated encapsulation of individual transposon mutants into growth medium-in-oil droplets, thereby enabling isolated growth, free from the influence of the population. Here we describe and validate microfluidic chip design, production, encapsulation, and dTn-Seq sample preparation. We determine that 1-3% of mutants in Streptococcus pneumoniae have a different fitness when grown in isolation and show how dTn-Seq can help identify leads for gene function, including those involved in hyper-competence, processing of alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, sensitivity against the human leukocyte elastase and microcolony formation. Additionally, we show dTn-Seq compatibility with microscopy, FACS and investigations of bacterial cell-to-cell and bacteria-host cell interactions. dTn-Seq reduces costs and retains the advantages of Tn-Seq, while expanding the method's original applicability.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The nosocomial pathogen Enterococcus faecium can survive for prolonged periods of time on surfaces in the absence of nutrients. This trait is thought to contribute to the ability of E. faecium to spread among patients in hospitals. There is currently a lack of data on the mechanisms that are responsible for the ability of E. faecium to survive in the absence of nutrients. RESULTS:We performed a high-throughput transposon mutant library screening (Tn-seq) to identify genes that have a role in long-term survival during incubation in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at 20?°C. A total of 24 genes were identified by Tn-seq to contribute to survival in PBS, with functions associated with the general stress response, DNA repair, metabolism, and membrane homeostasis. The gene which was quantitatively most important for survival in PBS was usp (locus tag: EfmE745_02439), which is predicted to encode a 17.4?kDa universal stress protein. After generating a targeted deletion mutant in usp, we were able to confirm that usp significantly contributes to survival in PBS and this defect was restored by in trans complementation. The usp gene is present in 99% of a set of 1644 E. faecium genomes that collectively span the diversity of the species. CONCLUSIONS:We postulate that usp is a key determinant for the remarkable environmental robustness of E. faecium. Further mechanistic studies into usp and other genes identified in this study may shed further light on the mechanisms by which E. faecium can survive in the absence of nutrients for prolonged periods of time.
Project description:Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease in humans, is maintained in a complex biphasic life cycle, which alternates between tick and vertebrate hosts. To successfully survive and complete its enzootic cycle, B. burgdorferi adapts to diverse hosts by regulating genes required for survival in specific environments. Here we describe the first ever use of transposon insertion sequencing (Tn-seq) to identify genes required for B. burgdorferi survival in its tick host. We found that insertions into 46 genes resulted in a complete loss of recovery of mutants from larval Ixodes ticks. Insertions in an additional 56 genes resulted in a >90% decrease in fitness. The screen identified both previously known and new genes important for larval tick survival. Almost half of the genes required for survival in the tick encode proteins of unknown function, while a significant portion (over 20%) encode membrane-associated proteins or lipoproteins. We validated the results of the screen for five Tn mutants by performing individual competition assays using mutant and complemented strains. To better understand the role of one of these genes in tick survival, we conducted mechanistic studies of bb0017, a gene previously shown to be required for resistance against oxidative stress. In this study we show that BB0017 affects the regulation of key borrelial virulence determinants. The application of Tn-seq to in vivo screening of B. burgdorferi in its natural vector is a powerful tool that can be used to address many different aspects of the host pathogen interaction.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of both community- and hospital-acquired infections that are increasingly antibiotic resistant. The emergence of S. aureus resistance to even last-line antibiotics heightens the need for the development of new drugs with novel targets. We generated a highly saturated transposon insertion mutant library in the genome of S. aureus and used Tn-seq analysis to probe the entire genome, with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity, for genes of importance in infection. We further identified genes contributing to fitness in various infected compartments (blood and ocular fluids) and compared them to genes required for growth in rich medium. This resulted in the identification of 426 genes that were important for S. aureus fitness during growth in infection models, including 71 genes that could be considered essential for survival specifically during infection. These findings highlight novel as well as previously known genes encoding virulence traits and metabolic pathways important for S. aureus proliferation at sites of infection, which may represent new therapeutic targets.Staphylococcus aureus continues to be a leading cause of antibiotic-resistant community and nosocomial infection. With the bacterium's acquisition of resistance to methicillin and, more recently, vancomycin, the need for the development of new drugs with novel targets is urgent. Applying a highly saturated Tn-seq mutant library to analyze fitness and growth requirements in a murine abscess and in various infection-relevant fluids, we identified S. aureus traits that enable it to survive and proliferate during infection. This identifies potential new targeting opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics.
Project description:Streptococcus mutans, one of the primary causative agents of dental caries in humans, ferments dietary sugars in the mouth to produce organic acids. These acids lower local pH values, resulting in demineralization of the tooth enamel, leading to caries. To survive acidic environments, Strep. mutans employs several adaptive mechanisms, including a shift from saturated to unsaturated fatty acids in membrane phospholipids. PlsX is an acyl-ACP?:?phosphate transacylase that links the fatty acid synthase II (FASII) pathway to the phospholipid synthesis pathway, and is therefore central to the movement of unsaturated fatty acids into the membrane. Recently, we discovered that plsX is not essential in Strep. mutans. A plsX deletion mutant was not a fatty acid or phospholipid auxotroph. Gas chromatography of fatty acid methyl esters indicated that membrane fatty acid chain length in the plsX deletion strain differed from those detected in the parent strain, UA159. The deletion strain displayed a fatty acid shift similar to WT, but had a higher percentage of unsaturated fatty acids at low pH. The deletion strain survived significantly longer than the parent strain when cultures were subjected to an acid challenge of pH?2.5.The ?plsX strain also exhibited elevated F-ATPase activity at pH?5.2, compared with the parent. These results indicate that the loss of plsX affects both the fatty acid synthesis pathway and the acid-adaptive response of Strep. mutans.
Project description:Rhodobacter sphaeroides is one of the best-studied alphaproteobacteria from biochemical, genetic, and genomic perspectives. To gain a better systems-level understanding of this organism, we generated a large transposon mutant library and used transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) to identify genes that are essential under several growth conditions. Using newly developed Tn-seq analysis software (TSAS), we identified 493 genes as essential for aerobic growth on a rich medium. We then used the mutant library to identify conditionally essential genes under two laboratory growth conditions, identifying 85 additional genes required for aerobic growth in a minimal medium and 31 additional genes required for photosynthetic growth. In all instances, our analyses confirmed essentiality for many known genes and identified genes not previously considered to be essential. We used the resulting Tn-seq data to refine and improve a genome-scale metabolic network model (GEM) for R. sphaeroides. Together, we demonstrate how genetic, genomic, and computational approaches can be combined to obtain a systems-level understanding of the genetic framework underlying metabolic diversity in bacterial species. IMPORTANCE Knowledge about the role of genes under a particular growth condition is required for a holistic understanding of a bacterial cell and has implications for health, agriculture, and biotechnology. We developed the Tn-seq analysis software (TSAS) package to provide a flexible and statistically rigorous workflow for the high-throughput analysis of insertion mutant libraries, advanced the knowledge of gene essentiality in R. sphaeroides, and illustrated how Tn-seq data can be used to more accurately identify genes that play important roles in metabolism and other processes that are essential for cellular survival.
Project description:Biological pathways are structured in complex networks of interacting genes. Solving the architecture of such networks may provide valuable information, such as how microorganisms cause disease. Here we present a method (Tn-seq) for accurately determining quantitative genetic interactions on a genome-wide scale in microorganisms. Tn-seq is based on the assembly of a saturated Mariner transposon insertion library. After library selection, changes in frequency of each insertion mutant are determined by sequencing the flanking regions en masse. These changes are used to calculate each mutant's fitness. Using this approach, we determined fitness for each gene of Streptococcus pneumoniae, a causative agent of pneumonia and meningitis. A genome-wide screen for genetic interactions of five query genes identified both alleviating and aggravating interactions that could be divided into seven distinct categories. Owing to the wide activity of the Mariner transposon, Tn-seq has the potential to contribute to the exploration of complex pathways across many different species.
Project description:Salmonella is an intracellular pathogen infecting a wide range of hosts and can survive in macrophages. An essential mechanism used by macrophages to eradicate Salmonella is production of reactive oxygen species. Here, we used proteogenomics to determine the candidate genes and proteins that have a role in resistance of S. Typhimurium to H2O2. For Tn-seq, a saturated Tn5 insertion library was grown in vitro under either 2.5 (H2O2L) or 3.5?mM H2O2 (H2O2H). We identified two sets of overlapping genes required for resistance of S. Typhimurium to H2O2L and H2O2H, and the results were validated via phenotypic evaluation of 50 selected mutants. The enriched pathways for H2O2 resistance included DNA repair, aromatic amino acid biosynthesis (aroBK), Fe-S cluster biosynthesis, iron homeostasis and a putative iron transporter system (ybbKLM), and H2O2 scavenging enzymes. Proteomics revealed that the majority of essential proteins, including ribosomal proteins, were downregulated upon exposure to H2O2. On the contrary, a subset of conditionally essential proteins identified by Tn-seq were analyzed by targeted proteomics, and 70% of them were upregulated by H2O2. The identified genes will deepen our understanding on S. Typhimurium survival mechanisms in macrophages, and can be exploited to develop new antimicrobial drugs.