A FRET-based DNA biosensor tracks OmpR-dependent acidification of Salmonella during macrophage infection.
ABSTRACT: In bacteria, one paradigm for signal transduction is the two-component regulatory system, consisting of a sensor kinase (usually a membrane protein) and a response regulator (usually a DNA binding protein). The EnvZ/OmpR two-component system responds to osmotic stress and regulates expression of outer membrane proteins. In Salmonella, EnvZ/OmpR also controls expression of another two-component system SsrA/B, which is located on Salmonella Pathogenicity Island (SPI) 2. SPI-2 encodes a type III secretion system, which functions as a nanomachine to inject bacterial effector proteins into eukaryotic cells. During the intracellular phase of infection, Salmonella switches from assembling type III secretion system structural components to secreting effectors into the macrophage cytoplasm, enabling Salmonella to replicate in the phagocytic vacuole. Major questions remain regarding how bacteria survive the acidified vacuole and how acidification affects bacterial secretion. We previously reported that EnvZ sensed cytoplasmic signals rather than extracellular ones, as intracellular osmolytes altered the dynamics of a 17-amino-acid region flanking the phosphorylated histidine. We reasoned that the Salmonella cytoplasm might acidify in the macrophage vacuole to activate OmpR-dependent transcription of SPI-2 genes. To address these questions, we employed a DNA-based FRET biosensor ("I-switch") to measure bacterial cytoplasmic pH and immunofluorescence to monitor effector secretion during infection. Surprisingly, we observed a rapid drop in bacterial cytoplasmic pH upon phagocytosis that was not predicted by current models. Cytoplasmic acidification was completely dependent on the OmpR response regulator, but did not require known OmpR-regulated genes such as ompC, ompF, or ssaC (SPI-2). Microarray analysis highlighted the cadC/BA operon, and additional experiments confirmed that it was repressed by OmpR. Acidification was blocked in the ompR null background in a Cad-dependent manner. Acid-dependent activation of OmpR stimulated type III secretion; blocking acidification resulted in a neutralized cytoplasm that was defective for SPI-2 secretion. Based upon these findings, we propose that Salmonella infection involves an acid-dependent secretion process in which the translocon SseB moves away from the bacterial cell surface as it associates with the vacuolar membrane, driving the secretion of SPI-2 effectors such as SseJ. New steps in the SPI-2 secretion process are proposed.
Project description:After <i>Salmonella</i> is phagocytosed, it resides in an acidic vacuole. Its cytoplasm acidifies to pH 5.6; acidification activates pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2). SPI-2 encodes a type three secretion system whose effectors modify the vacuole, driving endosomal tubulation. Using super-resolution imaging in single bacterial cells, we show that low pH induces expression of the SPI-2 SsrA/B signaling system. Single particle tracking, atomic force microscopy, and single molecule unzipping assays identified pH-dependent stimulation of DNA binding by SsrB. A so-called phosphomimetic form (D56E) was unable to bind to DNA in live cells. Acid-dependent DNA binding was not intrinsic to regulators, as PhoP and OmpR binding was not pH-sensitive. The low level of SPI-2 injectisomes observed in single cells is not due to fluctuating SsrB levels. This work highlights the surprising role that acid pH plays in virulence and intracellular lifestyles of <i>Salmonella</i>; modifying acid survival pathways represents a target for inhibiting <i>Salmonella</i>.
Project description:Salmonella enterica is an important intracellular bacterial pathogen of humans and animals. It replicates within host-cell vacuoles by delivering virulence (effector) proteins through a vacuolar membrane pore made by the Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2) type III secretion system (T3SS). T3SS assembly follows vacuole acidification, but when bacteria are grown at low pH, effector secretion is negligible. We found that effector secretion was activated at low pH from mutant strains lacking a complex of SPI-2-encoded proteins SsaM, SpiC, and SsaL. Exposure of wild-type bacteria to pH 7.2 after growth at pH 5.0 caused dissociation and degradation of SsaM/SpiC/SsaL complexes and effector secretion. In infected cells, loss of the pH 7.2 signal through acidification of host-cell cytosol prevented complex degradation and effector translocation. Thus, intravacuolar Salmonella senses host cytosolic pH, resulting in the degradation of regulatory complex proteins and effector translocation.
Project description:In bacterial pathogenesis, virulence gene regulation is controlled by two-component regulatory systems. In Escherichia coli, the EnvZ/OmpR two-component system is best understood as regulating expression of outer membrane proteins, but in Salmonella enterica, OmpR activates transcription of the SsrA/B two-component system located on Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2). The response regulator SsrB controls expression of a type III secretory system in which effectors modify the vacuolar membrane and prevent its degradation via the endocytic pathway. Vacuolar modification enables Salmonella to survive and replicate in the macrophage phagosome and disseminate to the liver and spleen to cause systemic infection. The signals that activate EnvZ and SsrA are unknown but are related to the acidic pH encountered in the vacuole. Our previous work established that SsrB binds to regions of DNA that are AT-rich, with poor sequence conservation. Although SsrB is a major virulence regulator in Salmonella, very little is known regarding how it binds DNA and activates transcription. In the present work, we solved the structure of the C-terminal DNA binding domain of SsrB (SsrB(C)) by NMR and analyzed the effect of amino acid substitutions on function. We identified residues in the DNA recognition helix (Lys(179), Met(186)) and the dimerization interface (Val(197), Leu(201)) that are important for SsrB transcriptional activation and DNA binding. An essential cysteine residue in the N-terminal receiver domain was also identified (Cys(45)), and the effect of Cys(203) on dimerization was evaluated. Our results suggest that although disulfide bond formation is not required for dimerization, dimerization occurs upon DNA binding and is required for subsequent activation of transcription. Disruption of the dimer interface by a C203E substitution reduces SsrB activity. Modification of Cys(203) or Cys(45) may be an important mode of SsrB inactivation inside the host.
Project description:A method based on the Competitive Index was used to identify Salmonella typhimurium virulence gene interactions during systemic infections of mice. Analysis of mixed infections involving single and double mutant strains showed that OmpR, the type III secretion system of Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2) and SifA [required for the formation in epithelial cells of lysosomal glycoprotein (lgp)-containing structures, termed Sifs] are all involved in the same virulence function. sifA gene expression was induced after Salmonella entry into host cells and was dependent on the SPI-2 regulator ssrA. A sifA(-) mutant strain had a replication defect in macrophages, similar to that of SPI-2 and ompR(-) mutant strains. Whereas wild-type and SPI-2 mutant strains reside in vacuoles that progressively acquire lgps and the vacuolar ATPase, the majority of sifA(-) bacteria lost their vacuolar membrane and were released into the host cell cytosol. We propose that the wild-type strain, through the action of SPI-2 effectors (including SpiC), diverts the Salmonella-containing vacuole from the endocytic pathway, and subsequent recruitment and maintenance of vacuolar ATPase/lgp-containing membranes that enclose replicating bacteria is mediated by translocation of SifA.
Project description:Salmonella enterica uses effector proteins delivered by type III secretion systems (TTSS) to colonize eukaryotic cells. Recent in vivo studies have shown that intracellular bacteria activate the TTSS encoded by Salmonella pathogenicity island-2 (SPI-2) to restrain growth inside phagocytes. Growth attenuation is also observed in vivo in bacteria colonizing nonphagocytic stromal cells of the intestinal lamina propria and in cultured fibroblasts. SPI-2 is required for survival of nongrowing bacteria persisting inside fibroblasts, but its induction mode and the effectors involved remain unknown. Here, we show that nongrowing dormant intracellular bacteria use the two-component system OmpR-EnvZ to induce SPI-2 expression and the PhoP-PhoQ system to regulate the time at which induction takes place, 2 h postentry. Dormant bacteria were shown to discriminate the usage of SPI-2 effectors. Among the effectors tested, SseF, SseG, and SseJ were required for survival, while others, such as SifA and SifB, were not. SifA and SifB dispensability correlated with the inability of intracellular bacteria to secrete these effectors even when overexpressed. Conversely, SseJ overproduction resulted in augmented secretion and exacerbated bacterial growth. Dormant bacteria produced other effectors, such as PipB and PipB2, that, unlike what was reported for epithelial cells, did not to traffic outside the phagosomal compartment. Therefore, permissiveness for secreting only a subset of SPI-2 effectors may be instrumental for dormancy. We propose that the S. enterica serovar Typhimurium nonproliferative intracellular lifestyle is sustained by selection of SPI-2 effectors that are produced in tightly defined amounts and delivered to phagosome-confined locations.
Project description:DNA topology has fundamental control over the ability of transcription factors to access their target DNA sites at gene promoters. However, the influence of DNA topology on protein-DNA and protein-protein interactions is poorly understood. For example, relaxation of DNA supercoiling strongly induces the well-studied pathogenicity gene ssrA (also called spiR) in Salmonella enterica, but neither the mechanism nor the proteins involved are known. We have found that relaxation of DNA supercoiling induces expression of the Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI)-2 regulator ssrA as well as the SPI-1 regulator hilC through a mechanism that requires the two-component regulator OmpR-EnvZ. Additionally, the ompR promoter is autoregulated in the same fashion. Conversely, the SPI-1 regulator hilD is induced by DNA relaxation but is repressed by OmpR. Relaxation of DNA supercoiling caused an increase in OmpR binding to DNA and a concomitant decrease in binding by the nucleoid-associated protein FIS. The reciprocal occupancy of DNA by OmpR and FIS was not due to antagonism between these transcription factors, but was instead a more intrinsic response to altered DNA topology. Surprisingly, DNA relaxation had no detectable effect on the binding of the global repressor H-NS. These results reveal the underlying molecular mechanism that primes SPI genes for rapid induction at the onset of host invasion. Additionally, our results reveal novel features of the archetypal two-component regulator OmpR. OmpR binding to relaxed DNA appears to generate a locally supercoiled state, which may assist promoter activation by relocating supercoiling stress-induced destabilization of DNA strands. Much has been made of the mechanisms that have evolved to regulate horizontally-acquired genes such as SPIs, but parallels among the ssrA, hilC, and ompR promoters illustrate that a fundamental form of regulation based on DNA topology coordinates the expression of these genes regardless of their origins.
Project description:Cell stress and infection promote the formation of ubiquitinated aggregates in both non-immune and immune cells. These structures are recognised by the autophagy receptor p62/sequestosome 1 and are substrates for selective autophagy. The intracellular growth of Salmonella enterica occurs in a membranous compartment, the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV), and is dependent on effectors translocated to the host cytoplasm by the Salmonella pathogenicity island-2 (SPI-2) encoded type III secretion system (T3SS). Here, we show that bacterial replication is accompanied by the formation of ubiquitinated structures in infected cells. Analysis of bacterial strains carrying mutations in genes encoding SPI-2 T3SS effectors revealed that in epithelial cells, formation of these ubiquitinated structures is dependent on SPI-2 T3SS effector translocation, but is counteracted by the SPI-2 T3SS deubiquitinase SseL. In macrophages, both SPI-2 T3SS-dependent aggregates and aggresome-like induced structures (ALIS) are deubiquitinated by SseL. In the absence of SseL activity, ubiquitinated structures are recognized by the autophagy receptor p62, which recruits LC3 and targets them for autophagic degradation. We found that SseL activity lowers autophagic flux and favours intracellular Salmonella replication. Our data therefore show that there is a host selective autophagy response to intracellular Salmonella infection, which is counteracted by the deubiquitinase SseL.
Project description:Analysis of suppressors that alleviate the acute envelope stress phenotype of a DeltabamB DeltadegP strain of Escherichia coli identified a novel protein MzrA and pleiotropic envZ mutations. Genetic evidence shows that overexpression of MzrA--formerly known as YqjB and EcfM--modulates the activity of EnvZ/OmpR similarly to pleiotropic EnvZ mutants and alter porin expression. However, porin expression in strains devoid of MzrA or overexpressing it is still sensitive to medium osmolarity, pH and procaine, all of which modulate EnvZ/OmpR activities. Thus, MzrA appears to alter the output of the EnvZ/OmpR system but not its ability to receive and respond to various environmental signals. Localization and topology experiments indicate that MzrA is a type II membrane protein, with its N-terminus exposed in the cytoplasm and C-terminus in the periplasm. Bacterial two-hybrid experiments determined that MzrA specifically interacts with EnvZ but not with OmpR or the related membrane sensor kinase, CpxA. This and additional genetic and biochemical evidence suggest that the interaction of MzrA with EnvZ would either enhance EnvZ's kinase activity or reduce its phosphatase activity, thus elevating the steady state levels of OmpR approximately P. Furthermore, our data show that MzrA links the two-component envelope stress response regulators, CpxA/CpxR and EnvZ/OmpR.
Project description:Salmonella enterica serovars cause severe diseases in humans, such as gastroenteritis and typhoid fever. The development of systemic disease is dependent on a type III secretion system (T3SS) encoded by Salmonella pathogenicity island-2 (SPI-2). Translocation of effector proteins across the Salmonella-containing vacuole, via the SPI-2 T3SS, enables bacterial replication within host cells, including macrophages. Here, we investigated the contribution of these effectors to intramacrophage replication of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium using Fluorescence Dilution, a dual-fluorescence tool which allows direct measurement of bacterial replication. Of 32 strains, each carrying single mutations in genes encoding effectors, 10 (lacking sifA, sseJ, sopD2, sseG, sseF, srfH, sseL, spvD, cigR, or steD) were attenuated in replication in mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages. The replication profiles of strains combining deletions in effector genes were also investigated: a strain lacking the genes sseG, sopD2, and srfH showed an increased replication defect compared to single-mutation strains and was very similar to SPI-2 T3SS-deficient bacteria with respect to its replication defect. This strain was substantially attenuated in virulence in vivo and yet retained intracellular vacuole integrity and a functional SPI-2 T3SS. Moreover, this strain was capable of SPI-2 T3SS-mediated delivery of a model antigen for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-dependent T-cell activation. This work establishes a basis for the use of a poly-effector mutant strain as an attenuated vaccine carrier for delivery of heterologous antigens directly into the cytoplasm of host cells.Live attenuated strains of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi have generated much interest in the search for improved vaccines against typhoid fever and as vaccine vectors for the delivery of heterologous antigens. A promising vaccine candidate is the ?aroC ?ssaV S. Typhi strain, which owes its attenuation mainly to lack of a type III secretion system (SPI-2 T3SS). The SPI-2 T3SS is important for bacterial proliferation inside macrophages, but not all of the effectors involved in this process have been identified. Here, we show that 10 effectors of the related strain S. Typhimurium contribute to intracellular replication in macrophages. Moreover, we establish that a poly-effector mutant strain of S. Typhimurium can have a severe replication defect and maintain a functional SPI-2 T3SS, which can be exploited for delivery of heterologous antigens.
Project description:Salmonella must express and deploy a type III secretion system located in Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2) in order to survive in host phagocytic vacuoles and to cause systemic infection in mouse models of typhoid fever. A genome-wide approach to screening for Salmonella genes that are transcriptionally co-regulated in vitro with SPI-2 genes was used to identify bacterial loci that might function in a mouse model of systemic disease. Strains with mutations in three SPI-2 co-expressed genes were constructed and tested for their ability to cause disease in mice. We found that virK, a homologue of a Shigella virulence determinant, and rcsC, a sensor kinase, are important at late stages of infection. A second Salmonella gene that has VirK homology, somA, is also important for systemic infection in mice. We have shown that expression of both virK and somA requires the transcription factor PhoP, whereas rcsC does not. Additionally, rcsC expression does not require the transcription factor OmpR, but expression of one of the known targets of RcsC, the yojN rcsB putative operon, does require OmpR. virK, somA and rcsC are expressed in tissue culture macrophages and confer Salmonella resistance to the cationic peptide polymyxin B. We conclude that virK, somA and rcsC are important for late stages of Salmonella enteric fever, and that they probably contribute to the remodelling of the bacterial outer membrane in response to the host environment.