A genomic update on clostridial phylogeny: Gram-negative spore formers and other misplaced clostridia.
ABSTRACT: The class Clostridia in the phylum Firmicutes (formerly low-G+C Gram-positive bacteria) includes diverse bacteria of medical, environmental and biotechnological importance. The Selenomonas-Megasphaera-Sporomusa branch, which unifies members of the Firmicutes with Gram-negative-type cell envelopes, was recently moved from Clostridia to a separate class Negativicutes. However, draft genome sequences of the spore-forming members of the Negativicutes revealed typically clostridial sets of sporulation genes. To address this and other questions in clostridial phylogeny, we have compared a phylogenetic tree for a concatenated set of 50 widespread ribosomal proteins with the trees for beta subunits of the RNA polymerase (RpoB) and DNA gyrase (GyrB) and with the 16S rRNA-based phylogeny. The results obtained by these methods showed remarkable consistency, suggesting that they reflect the true evolutionary history of these bacteria. These data put the Selenomonas-Megasphaera-Sporomusa group back within the Clostridia. They also support placement of Clostridium difficile and its close relatives within the family Peptostreptococcaceae; we suggest resolving the long-standing naming conundrum by renaming it Peptoclostridium difficile. These data also indicate the existence of a group of cellulolytic clostridia that belong to the family Ruminococcaceae. As a tentative solution to resolve the current taxonomical problems, we propose assigning 78 validly described Clostridium species that clearly fall outside the family Clostridiaceae to six new genera: Peptoclostridium, Lachnoclostridium, Ruminiclostridium, Erysipelatoclostridium, Gottschalkia and Tyzzerella. This work reaffirms that 16S rRNA and ribosomal protein sequences are better indicators of evolutionary proximity than phenotypic traits, even such key ones as the structure of the cell envelope and Gram-staining pattern.
Project description:Three classes of low-G+C Gram-positive bacteria (Firmicutes), Bacilli, Clostridia and Negativicutes, include numerous members that are capable of producing heat-resistant endospores. Spore-forming firmicutes include many environmentally important organisms, such as insect pathogens and cellulose-degrading industrial strains, as well as human pathogens responsible for such diseases as anthrax, botulism, gas gangrene and tetanus. In the best-studied model organism Bacillus subtilis, sporulation involves over 500 genes, many of which are conserved among other bacilli and clostridia. This work aimed to define the genomic requirements for sporulation through an analysis of the presence of sporulation genes in various firmicutes, including those with smaller genomes than B. subtilis. Cultivable spore-formers were found to have genomes larger than 2300 kb and encompass over 2150 protein-coding genes of which 60 are orthologues of genes that are apparently essential for sporulation in B. subtilis. Clostridial spore-formers lack, among others, spoIIB, sda, spoVID and safA genes and have non-orthologous displacements of spoIIQ and spoIVFA, suggesting substantial differences between bacilli and clostridia in the engulfment and spore coat formation steps. Many B. subtilis sporulation genes, particularly those encoding small acid-soluble spore proteins and spore coat proteins, were found only in the family Bacillaceae, or even in a subset of Bacillus spp. Phylogenetic profiles of sporulation genes, compiled in this work, confirm the presence of a common sporulation gene core, but also illuminate the diversity of the sporulation processes within various lineages. These profiles should help further experimental studies of uncharacterized widespread sporulation genes, which would ultimately allow delineation of the minimal set(s) of sporulation-specific genes in Bacilli and Clostridia.
Project description:Acidaminococcus intestini belongs to the family Acidaminococcaceae, order Selenomonadales, class Negativicutes, phylum Firmicutes. Negativicutes show the double-membrane system of Gram-negative bacteria, although their chromosomal backbone is closely related to that of Gram-positive bacteria of the phylum Firmicutes. The complete genome of a clinical A. intestini strain is here presented.
Project description:Formation of heat-resistant endospores is a specific property of the members of the phylum Firmicutes (low-G+C Gram-positive bacteria). It is found in representatives of four different classes of Firmicutes, Bacilli, Clostridia, Erysipelotrichia, and Negativicutes, which all encode similar sets of core sporulation proteins. Each of these classes also includes non-spore-forming organisms that sometimes belong to the same genus or even species as their spore-forming relatives. This chapter reviews the diversity of the members of phylum Firmicutes, its current taxonomy, and the status of genome-sequencing projects for various subgroups within the phylum. It also discusses the evolution of the Firmicutes from their apparently spore-forming common ancestor and the independent loss of sporulation genes in several different lineages (staphylococci, streptococci, listeria, lactobacilli, ruminococci) in the course of their adaptation to the saprophytic lifestyle in a nutrient-rich environment. It argues that the systematics of Firmicutes is a rapidly developing area of research that benefits from the evolutionary approaches to the ever-increasing amount of genomic and phenotypic data and allows arranging these data into a common framework.
Project description:Biofilms are community structures of bacteria enmeshed in a self-produced matrix of exopolysaccharides. The biofilm matrix serves numerous roles, including resilience and persistence, making biofilms a subject of research interest among persistent clinical pathogens of global health importance. Our current understanding of the underlying biochemical pathways responsible for biosynthesis of these exopolysaccharides is largely limited to Gram-negative bacteria. Clostridia are a class of Gram-positive, anaerobic and spore-forming bacteria and include the important human pathogens Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum and Clostridioides difficile, among numerous others. Several species of Clostridia have been reported to produce a biofilm matrix that contains an acetylated glucan linked to a series of hypothetical genes. Here, we propose a model for the function of these hypothetical genes, which, using homology modelling, we show plausibly encode a synthase complex responsible for polymerization, modification and export of an O-acetylated cellulose exopolysaccharide. Specifically, the cellulose synthase is homologous to that of the known exopolysaccharide synthases in Gram-negative bacteria. The remaining proteins represent a mosaic of evolutionary lineages that differ from the described Gram-negative cellulose exopolysaccharide synthases, but their predicted functions satisfy all criteria required for a functional cellulose synthase operon. Accordingly, we named these hypothetical genes ccsZABHI, for the Clostridial cellulose synthase (Ccs), in keeping with naming conventions for exopolysaccharide synthase subunits and to distinguish it from the Gram-negative Bcs locus with which it shares only a single one-to-one ortholog. To test our model and assess the identity of the exopolysaccharide, we subcloned the putative glycoside hydrolase encoded by ccsZ and solved the X-ray crystal structure of both apo- and product-bound CcsZ, which belongs to glycoside hydrolase family 5 (GH-5). Although not homologous to the Gram-negative cellulose synthase, which instead encodes the structurally distinct BcsZ belonging to GH-8, we show CcsZ displays specificity for cellulosic materials. This specificity of the synthase-associated glycosyl hydrolase validates our proposal that these hypothetical genes are responsible for biosynthesis of a cellulose exopolysaccharide. The data we present here allowed us to propose a model for Clostridial cellulose synthesis and serves as an entry point to an understanding of cellulose biofilm formation among class Clostridia.
Project description:Clostridium difficile is a Gram positive, anaerobic bacterium that can form highly resistant endospores. The bacterium is the causative agent of C. difficile infection (CDI), for which the symptoms can range from a mild diarrhea to potentially fatal pseudomembranous colitis and toxic megacolon. Endospore formation in Firmicutes, including C. difficile, is governed by the key regulator for sporulation, Spo0A. In Bacillus subtilis, this transcription factor is also directly or indirectly involved in various other cellular processes. Here, we report that C. difficile Spo0A shows a high degree of similarity to the well characterized B. subtilis protein and recognizes a similar binding sequence. We find that the laboratory strain C. difficile 630?erm contains an 18bp-duplication near the DNA-binding domain compared to its ancestral strain 630. In vitro binding assays using purified C-terminal DNA binding domain of the C. difficile Spo0A protein demonstrate direct binding to DNA upstream of spo0A and sigH, early sporulation genes and several other putative targets. In vitro binding assays suggest that the gene encoding the major clostridial toxin TcdB may be a direct target of Spo0A, but supernatant derived from a spo0A negative strain was no less toxic towards Vero cells than that obtained from a wild type strain, in contrast to previous reports. These results identify for the first time direct (putative) targets of the Spo0A protein in C. difficile and make a positive effect of Spo0A on production of the large clostridial toxins unlikely.
Project description:Spores are the major infectious particle of the Gram-positive nosocomial pathogen Clostridioides difficile (formerly Clostridium difficile), but the molecular details of how this organism forms these metabolically dormant cells remain poorly characterized. The composition of the spore coat in C. difficile differs markedly from that defined in the well-studied organism Bacillus subtilis, with only 25% of the ∼70 spore coat proteins being conserved between the two organisms and with only 2 of 9 coat assembly (morphogenetic) proteins defined in B. subtilis having homologs in C. difficile We previously identified SipL as a clostridium-specific coat protein essential for functional spore formation. Heterologous expression analyses in Escherichia coli revealed that SipL directly interacts with C. difficile SpoIVA, a coat-morphogenetic protein conserved in all spore-forming organisms, through SipL's C-terminal LysM domain. In this study, we show that SpoIVA-SipL binding is essential for C. difficile spore formation and identify specific residues within the LysM domain that stabilize this interaction. Fluorescence microscopy analyses indicate that binding of SipL's LysM domain to SpoIVA is required for SipL to localize to the forespore while SpoIVA requires SipL to promote encasement of SpoIVA around the forespore. Since we also show that clostridial LysM domains are functionally interchangeable at least in C. difficile, the basic mechanism for SipL-dependent assembly of clostridial spore coats may be conserved.IMPORTANCE The metabolically dormant spore form of the major nosocomial pathogen Clostridioides difficile is its major infectious particle. However, the mechanisms controlling the formation of this resistant cell type are not well understood, particularly with respect to its outermost layer, the spore coat. We previously identified two spore-morphogenetic proteins in C. difficile: SpoIVA, which is conserved in all spore-forming organisms, and SipL, which is conserved only in the clostridia. Both SpoIVA and SipL are essential for heat-resistant spore formation and directly interact through SipL's C-terminal LysM domain. In this study, we demonstrate that the LysM domain is critical for SipL and SpoIVA function, likely by helping recruit SipL to the forespore during spore morphogenesis. We further identified residues within the LysM domain that are important for binding SpoIVA and, thus, functional spore formation. These findings provide important insight into the molecular mechanisms controlling the assembly of infectious C. difficile spores.
Project description:Here, we report the complete genome sequences of two Megasphaera elsdenii strains, ATCC 25940 and NCIMB 702410. M. elsdenii is an anaerobic bacterium capable of producing butanoate and hexanoate and is a member of the Negativicutes.
Project description:The Gram-positive, spore-forming pathogen Clostridium difficile is the leading definable cause of healthcare-associated diarrhea worldwide. C. difficile infections are difficult to treat because of their frequent recurrence, which can cause life-threatening complications such as pseudomembranous colitis. The spores of C. difficile are responsible for these high rates of recurrence, since they are the major transmissive form of the organism and resistant to antibiotics and many disinfectants. Despite the importance of spores to the pathogenesis of C. difficile, little is known about their composition or formation. Based on studies in Bacillus subtilis and other Clostridium spp., the sigma factors ?(F), ?(E), ?(G), and ?(K) are predicted to control the transcription of genes required for sporulation, although their specific functions vary depending on the organism. In order to determine the roles of ?(F), ?(E), ?(G), and ?(K) in regulating C. difficile sporulation, we generated loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding these sporulation sigma factors and performed RNA-Sequencing to identify specific sigma factor-dependent genes. This analysis identified 224 genes whose expression was collectively activated by sporulation sigma factors: 183 were ?(F)-dependent, 169 were ?(E)-dependent, 34 were ?(G)-dependent, and 31 were ?(K)-dependent. In contrast with B. subtilis, C. difficile ?(E) was dispensable for ?(G) activation, ?(G) was dispensable for ?(K) activation, and ?(F) was required for post-translationally activating ?(G). Collectively, these results provide the first genome-wide transcriptional analysis of genes induced by specific sporulation sigma factors in the Clostridia and highlight that diverse mechanisms regulate sporulation sigma factor activity in the Firmicutes.
Project description:Large glycosylating toxins are major virulence factors of various species of pathogenic Clostridia. Prototypes are Clostridium difficile toxins A and B, which cause antibiotics-associated diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis. The current model of the toxins' action suggests that receptor binding is mediated by a C-terminal domain of combined repetitive oligopeptides (CROP). This model is challenged by the glycosylating Clostridium perfringens large cytotoxin (TpeL toxin) that is devoid of the CROP domain but still intoxicates cells. Using a haploid genetic screen, we identified LDL receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) as a host cell receptor for the TpeL toxin. LRP1-deficient cells are not able to take up TpeL and are not intoxicated. Expression of cluster IV of LRP1 is sufficient to rescue toxin uptake in these cells. By plasmon resonance spectroscopy, a KD value of 23 nM was determined for binding of TpeL to LRP1 cluster IV. The C terminus of TpeL (residues 1335-1779) represents the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the toxin. RBD-like regions are conserved in all other clostridial glycosylating toxins preceding their CROP domain. CROP-deficient C. difficile toxin B is toxic to cells, depending on the RBD-like region (residues 1349-1811) but does not interact with LRP1. Our data indicate the presence of a second, CROP-independent receptor-binding domain in clostridial glycosylating toxins and suggest a two-receptor model for the cellular uptake of clostridial glycosylating toxins.
Project description:Veillonella parvula is a biofilm-forming commensal found in the lungs, vagina, mouth, and gastro-intestinal tract of humans, yet it may develop into an opportunistic pathogen. Furthermore, the presence of Veillonella has been associated with the development of a healthy immune system in infants. Veillonella belongs to the Negativicutes, a diverse clade of bacteria that represent an evolutionary enigma: they phylogenetically belong to Gram-positive (monoderm) Firmicutes yet maintain an outer membrane (OM) with lipopolysaccharide similar to classic Gram-negative (diderm) bacteria. The OMs of Negativicutes have unique characteristics including the replacement of Braun's lipoprotein by OmpM for tethering the OM to the peptidoglycan. Through phylogenomic analysis, we have recently provided bioinformatic annotation of the Negativicutes diderm cell envelope. We showed that it is a unique type of envelope that was present in the ancestor of present-day Firmicutes and lost multiple times independently in this phylum, giving rise to the monoderm architecture; however, little experimental data is presently available for any Negativicutes cell envelope. Here, we performed the first experimental proteomic characterization of the cell envelope of a diderm Firmicute, producing an OM proteome of V. parvula. We initially conducted a thorough bioinformatics analysis of all 1,844 predicted proteins from V. parvula DSM 2008's genome using 12 different localization prediction programs. These results were complemented by protein extraction with surface exposed (SE) protein tags and by subcellular fractionation, both of which were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. The merging of proteomics and bioinformatics results allowed identification of 78 OM proteins. These include a number of receptors for TonB-dependent transport, the main component of the BAM system for OM protein biogenesis (BamA), the Lpt system component LptD, which is responsible for insertion of LPS into the OM, and several copies of the major OmpM protein. The annotation of V. parvula's OM proteome markedly extends previous inferences on the nature of the cell envelope of Negativicutes, including the experimental evidence of a BAM/TAM system for OM protein biogenesis and of a complete Lpt system for LPS transport to the OM. It also provides important information on the role of OM components in the lifestyle of Veillonella, such as a possible gene cluster for O-antigen synthesis and a large number of adhesins. Finally, many OM hypothetical proteins were identified, which are priority targets for further characterization.