Autoinduction Specificities of the Lantibiotics Subtilin and Nisin.
ABSTRACT: The biosynthesis of the lantibiotics subtilin and nisin is regulated by autoinduction via two-component systems. Although subtilin is structurally closely related to nisin and contains the same lanthionine ring structure, both lantibiotics specifically autoinduce their biosynthesis. Subtilin and also the subtilin-like lantibiotics entianin and ericin autoinduce the two-component system SpaRK of Bacillus subtilis, whereas the biosynthesis of nisin is autoinduced via the two-component system NisRK of Lactococcus lactis. Autoinduction is highly specific for the respective lantibiotic and therefore of major importance for the functional expression of genetically engineered subtilin-like lantibiotics. To identify the structural features required for subtilin autoinduction, subtilin-nisin hybrids and specific point mutations of amino acid position 1 were generated. For subtilin autoinduction, the N-terminal tryptophan is the most important for full SpaK activation. The failure of subtilin to autoinduce the histidine kinase NisK mainly depends on the N-terminal tryptophan, as its single exchange to the aliphatic amino acid residues isoleucine, leucine, and valine provided NisK autoinduction. In addition, the production of subtilin variants which did not autoinduce their own biosynthesis could be rescued upon heterologous coexpression in B. subtilis DSM15029 by the autoinducing subtilin-like lantibiotic entianin.
Project description:Autoinduction via two-component systems is a widespread regulatory mechanism that senses environmental and metabolic changes. Although the lantibiotics nisin and subtilin are closely related and share the same lanthionine ring structure, they autoinduce their biosynthesis in a highly specific manner. Subtilin activates only the two-component system SpaRK of <i>Bacillus subtilis</i>, whereas nisin activates solely the two-component system NisRK of <i>Lactococcus lactis</i> To identify components that determine the specificity of subtilin autoinduction, several variants of the respective lantibiotics were analyzed for their autoinductive capacities. Here, we show that amino acid position 20 is crucial for SpaK activation, as an engineered nisin molecule with phenylalanine at position 20 (nisin N20F) was able to activate SpaK in a specific manner. In combination with the N-terminal tryptophan of subtilin (nisin I1W/N20F), SpaK autoinduction reached almost the level of subtilin-mediated autoinduction. Furthermore, the overall structure of subtilin is also important for its association with the histidine kinase. The destruction of the second lanthionine ring (subtilin C11A, ring B), as well as mutations that interfere with the flexibility of the hinge region located between lanthionine rings C and D (subtilin L21P/Q22P), abolished SpaK autoinduction. Although the C-terminal part of subtilin is needed for efficient SpaK autoinduction, the destruction of lanthionine rings D and E had no measurable impact. Based on these findings, a model for the interaction of subtilin with histidine kinase SpaK was established.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Although two-component systems are important regulatory systems that sense environmental changes, very little information on the molecular mechanism of sensing or the interaction of the sensor with its respective kinase is available. The strong specificity of linear lantibiotics such as subtilin and nisin for their respective kinases provides an excellent model system to unravel the structural needs of these lantibiotics for activating histidine kinases in a specific manner. More than that, the biosyntheses of lantibiotics are autoinduced via two-component systems. Therefore, an understanding of their interactions with histidine kinases is needed for the biosynthesis of newly engineered peptide antibiotics. Using a <i>Bacillus subtilis</i>-based reporter system, we were able to identify the molecular constraints that are necessary for specific SpaK activation and to provide SpaK specificity to nisin with just two point mutations.
Project description:Lantibiotics, such as nisin and subtilin, are lanthionine-containing peptides that exhibit antimicrobial as well as pheromone-like autoinducing activity. Autoinduction is specific for each lantibiotic, and reporter systems for nisin and subtilin autoinduction are available. In this report, we used the previously reported subtilin autoinduction bioassay in combination with mass spectrometric analyses to identify the novel subtilin-like lantibiotic entianin from Bacillus subtilis subsp. spizizenii DSM 15029(T). Linearization of entianin using Raney nickel-catalyzed reductive cleavage enabled, for the first time, the use of tandem mass spectrometry for the fast and efficient determination of an entire lantibiotic primary structure, including posttranslational modifications. The amino acid sequence determined was verified by DNA sequencing of the etnS structural gene, which confirmed that entianin differs from subtilin at 3 amino acid positions. In contrast to B. subtilis ATCC 6633, which produces only small amounts of unsuccinylated subtilin, B. subtilis DSM 15029(T) secretes considerable amounts of unsuccinylated entianin. Entianin was very active against several Gram-positive pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis. The growth-inhibiting activity of succinylated entianin (S-entianin) was much lower than that of unsuccinylated entianin: a 40-fold higher concentration was required for inhibition. For succinylated subtilin (S-subtilin), a concentration 100-fold higher than that of unsuccinylated entianin was required to inhibit the growth of a B. subtilis test strain. This finding was in accordance with a strongly reduced sensing of cellular envelope stress provided by S-entianin relative to that of entianin. Remarkably, S-entianin and S-subtilin showed considerable autoinduction activity, clearly demonstrating that autoinduction and antibiotic activity underlie different molecular mechanisms.
Project description:Subtilin and the closely related entianin are class I lantibiotics produced by different subspecies of Bacillus subtilis. Both molecules are ribosomally synthesized peptide antibiotics with unusual ring structures. Subtilin-like lantibiotics develop strong antibiotic activities against various Gram-positive organisms with an efficiency similar to that of nisin from Lactococcus lactis. In contrast to nisin, subtilin-like lantibiotics partially undergo an additional posttranslational modification, where the N-terminal tryptophan residue becomes succinylated, resulting in drastically reduced antibiotic activities. A highly sensitive high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-based quantification method enabled us to determine entianin and succinylated entianin (S-entianin) concentrations in the supernatant during growth. We show that entianin synthesis and the degree of succinylation drastically change with culture conditions. In particular, increasing glucose concentrations resulted in higher entianin amounts and lower proportions of S-entianin in Landy-based media. In contrast, no succinylation was observed in medium A with 10% glucose. Interestingly, glucose retarded the expression of entianin biosynthesis genes. Furthermore, deletion of the transition state regulator AbrB resulted in a 6-fold increased entianin production in medium A with 10% glucose. This shows that entianin biosynthesis in B. subtilis is strongly influenced by glucose, in addition to its regulation by the transition state regulator AbrB. Our results suggest that the mechanism underlying the succinylation of subtilin-like lantibiotics is enzymatically catalyzed and occurs in the extracellular space or at the cellular membrane.
Project description:The lantibiotic nisin is produced by several strains of Lactococcus lactis. The complete gene cluster for nisin biosynthesis in L. lactis 6F3 comprises 15 kb of DNA. As described previously, the structural gene nisA is followed by the genes nisB, nisT, nisC, nisI, nisP, nisR, and nisK. Further analysis revealed three additional open reading frames, nisF, nisE, and nisG, adjacent to nisK. Approximately 1 kb downstream of the nisG gene, three open reading frames in the opposite orientation have been identified. One of the reading frames, sacR, belongs to the sucrose operon, indicating that all genes belonging to the nisin gene cluster of L. lactis 6F3 have now been identified. Proteins NisF and NisE show strong homology to members of the family of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, and nisG encodes a hydrophobic protein which might act similarly to the immunity proteins described for several colicins. Gene disruption mutants carrying mutations in the genes nisF, nisE, and nisG were still able to produce nisin. However, in comparison with the wild-type strain, these mutants were more sensitive to nisin. This indicates that besides nisI the newly identified genes are also involved in immunity to nisin. The NisF-NisE ABC transporter is homologous to an ABC transporter of Bacillus subtilis and the MbcF-MbcE transporter of Escherichia coli, which are involved in immunity to subtilin and microcin B17, respectively.
Project description:Many Gram-positive bacteria produce lantibiotics, genetically encoded and posttranslationally modified peptide antibiotics, which inhibit the growth of other Gram-positive bacteria. To protect themselves against their own lantibiotics these bacteria express a variety of immunity proteins including the LanI lipoproteins. The structural and mechanistic basis for LanI-mediated lantibiotic immunity is not yet understood. Lactococcus lactis produces the lantibiotic nisin, which is widely used as a food preservative. Its LanI protein NisI provides immunity against nisin but not against structurally very similar lantibiotics from other species such as subtilin from Bacillus subtilis. To understand the structural basis for LanI-mediated immunity and their specificity we investigated the structure of NisI. We found that NisI is a two-domain protein. Surprisingly, each of the two NisI domains has the same structure as the LanI protein from B. subtilis, SpaI, despite the lack of significant sequence homology. The two NisI domains and SpaI differ strongly in their surface properties and function. Additionally, SpaI-mediated lantibiotic immunity depends on the presence of a basic unstructured N-terminal region that tethers SpaI to the membrane. Such a region is absent from NisI. Instead, the N-terminal domain of NisI interacts with membranes but not with nisin. In contrast, the C-terminal domain specifically binds nisin and modulates the membrane affinity of the N-terminal domain. Thus, our results reveal an unexpected structural relationship between NisI and SpaI and shed light on the structural basis for LanI mediated lantibiotic immunity.
Project description:In Bacillus subtilis, the extracytoplasmic function (ECF) ? factors ?(M) , ?(W) and ?(X) all contribute to resistance against lantibiotics. Nisin, a model lantibiotic, has a dual mode of action: it inhibits cell wall synthesis by binding lipid II, and this complex also forms pores in the cytoplasmic membrane. These activities can be separated in a nisin hinge-region variant (N20P M21P) that binds lipid II, but no longer permeabilizes membranes. The major contribution of ?(M) to nisin resistance is expression of ltaSa, encoding a stress-activated lipoteichoic acid synthase, and ?(X) functions primarily by activation of the dlt operon controlling d-alanylation of teichoic acids. Together, ?(M) and ?(X) regulate cell envelope structure to decrease access of nisin to its lipid II target. In contrast, ?(W) is principally involved in protection against membrane permeabilization as it provides little protection against the nisin hinge region variant. ?(W) contributes to nisin resistance by regulation of a signal peptide peptidase (SppA), phage shock proteins (PspA and YvlC, a PspC homologue) and tellurite resistance related proteins (YceGHI). These defensive mechanisms are also effective against other lantibiotics such as mersacidin, gallidermin and subtilin and comprise an important subset of the intrinsic antibiotic resistome of B.?subtilis.
Project description:Histidine kinase (HK) NisK is well known to sense lantibiotic nisin for regulating the biosynthesis of nisin. NisK possesses two trans-membrane segments and a large extracellular region and nisin contains 34 amino acids with five lanthionine rings. Unlike most peptide sensing HK with multi trans-membrane segments, NisK is a representative of a group of rarely reported HK that sense peptide as ligand. To reveal how NisK senses nisin molecule to regulate nisin biosynthesis, we constructed a reporter Lactococcus lactis strain with nisRK constitutively expressed and a reporter gene lacZ expressed under the control of promoter P nisA . We showed that the extracellular region of NisK was involved in recognizing nisin. Conserved residues in this group of HK were found in the extracellular region of NisK and mutagenesis of these residues in the reporter strain revealed that several hydrophobic residues including two aromatic residues are crucial for NisK sensing nisin and regulating nisin biosynthesis. Substitutions of hydrophobic regions in NisK extracellular domain showed that the first strand that was rich of hydrophobic amino acids was involved in regulating nisin biosynthesis. A negatively charged residue in the first ?strand also contributed to nisin biosynthesis. Protein binding analyses demonstrated that nisin could not interact with key NisK mutants, indicating these site in the extracellular region of NisK was involved in recognizing nisin.
Project description:The biosynthesis of the lantibiotic subtilin is autoinduced in a quorum-sensing mechanism via histidine kinase SpaK. Subtilin-like lantibiotics, such as entianin, ericin S, and subtilin, specifically activated SpaK in a comparable manner, whereas the structurally similar nisin did not provide the signal for SpaK activation at nontoxic concentrations. Surprisingly, nevertheless, nisin if applied together with entianin partly quenched SpaK activation. The N-terminal entianin1-20 fragment (comprising N-terminal amino acids 1 to 20) was sufficient for SpaK activation, although higher concentrations were needed. The N-terminal nisin1-20 fragment also interfered with entianin-mediated activation of SpaK and, remarkably, at extremely high concentrations also activated SpaK. Our data show that the N-terminal entianin1-20 fragment is sufficient for SpaK activation. However, if present, the C-terminal part of the molecule further strongly enhances the activation, possibly by its interference with the cellular membrane. As shown by using lipid II-interfering substances and a lipid II-deficient mutant strain, lipid II is not needed for the sensing mechanism.
Project description:Efficient bacterial cell factories are important for the screening and characterization of potent antimicrobial peptides such as lantibiotics. Although lantibiotic production systems have been established in Lactococcus lactis and Escherichia coli, the industrial workhorse Bacillus subtilis has been left relatively unexplored as a lantibiotic production host. Therefore, we tested different B. subtilis strains for their ability to produce lantibiotic peptides by using the subtilin modification and transport enzymes derived from the natural subtilin producer B. subtilis ATCC 6633. Our study shows that although B. subtilis ATCC 6633 and 168 are able to produce various processed lantibiotic peptides, an evident advantage of using either the 8-fold protease-deficient strain WB800 or the genome-minimized B. subtilis 168 strain PG10 is the lack of extracellular serine protease activity. Consequently, leader processing of lantibiotic precursor peptides is circumvented and thus potential toxicity toward the production host is prevented. Furthermore, PG10 provides a clean secondary metabolic background and therefore appears to be the most promising B. subtilis lantibiotic production host. We demonstrate the production of various lantibiotic precursor peptides by PG10 and show different options for their in vitro activation. Our study thus provides a convenient B. subtilis-based lantibiotic production system, which facilitates the search for novel antimicrobial peptides.
Project description:Apilactobacillus kunkeei FF30-6 isolated from healthy honey bees synthesizes the bacteriocin, which exhibits antimicrobial activity against Melissococcus plutonius. The bacteriocin, kunkecin A, was purified through three-step chromatography, and mass spectrometry revealed that its relative molecular mass was 4218.3. Edman degradation of purified kunkecin A showed only the N-terminal residue, isoleucine. Hence, alkaline alkylation made the subsequent amino acid residues accessible to Edman degradation, and 30 cycles were sequenced with 11 unidentified residues. Whole genome sequencing of A. kunkeei FF30-6, followed by Sanger sequencing, revealed that the genes encoding the proteins involved in lantibiotic biosynthesis were within the plasmid, pKUNFF30-6. Most of the identified proteins exhibited significant sequence similarities to the biosynthetic proteins of nisin A and its variants, such as subtilin. However, the kunkecin A gene cluster lacked the genes corresponding to nisI, nisR, and nisK of the nisin A biosynthetic gene cluster. A comparison of the gene products of kukA and nisA (kunkecin A and nisin A structural genes, respectively) suggested that they had similar post-translational modifications. Furthermore, the structure of kunkecin A was proposed based on a comparison of the observed and calculated relative molecular masses of kunkecin A. The structural analysis revealed that kunkecin A and nisin A had a similar mono-sulfide linkage pattern. Purified kunkecin A exhibited a narrow antibacterial spectrum, but high antibacterial activity against M. plutonius. Kunkecin A is the first bacteriocin to be characterized in fructophilic lactic acid bacteria and is the first nisin-type lantibiotic found in the family Lactobacillaceae.