In Silico Discovery and In Vitro Validation of Catechol-Containing Sulfonohydrazide Compounds as Potent Inhibitors of the Diguanylate Cyclase PleD.
ABSTRACT: Biofilm formation is responsible for increased antibiotic tolerance in pathogenic bacteria. Cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) is a widely used second-messenger signal that plays a key role in bacterial biofilm formation. c-di-GMP is synthesized by diguanylate cyclases (DGCs), a conserved class of enzymes absent in mammals and hence considered attractive molecular targets for the development of antibiofilm agents. Here, the results of a virtual screening approach aimed at identifying small-molecule inhibitors of the DGC PleD from Caulobacter crescentus are described. A three-dimensional (3D) pharmacophore model, derived from the mode of binding of GTP to the active site of PleD, was exploited to screen the ZINC database of compounds. Seven virtual hits were tested in vitro for their ability to inhibit the activity of purified PleD by using circular dichroism spectroscopy. Two drug-like molecules with a catechol moiety and a sulfonohydrazide scaffold were shown to competitively inhibit PleD at the low-micromolar range (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50] of ?11 ?M). Their predicted binding mode highlighted key structural features presumably responsible for the efficient inhibition of PleD by both hits. These molecules represent the most potent in vitro inhibitors of PleD identified so far and could therefore result in useful leads for the development of novel classes of antimicrobials able to hamper biofilm formation.Biofilm-mediated infections are difficult to eradicate, posing a threatening health issue worldwide. The capability of bacteria to form biofilms is almost universally stimulated by the second messenger c-di-GMP. This evidence has boosted research in the last decade for the development of new antibiofilm strategies interfering with c-di-GMP metabolism. Here, two potent inhibitors of c-di-GMP synthesis have been identified in silico and characterized in vitro by using the well-characterized DGC enzyme PleD from C. crescentus as a structural template and molecular target. Given that the protein residues implied as crucial for enzyme inhibition are found to be highly conserved among DGCs, the outcome of this study could pave the way for the future development of broad-spectrum antibiofilm compounds.
Project description:Cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) is a broadly conserved, intracellular second-messenger molecule that regulates biofilm formation by many bacteria. The synthesis of c-di-GMP is catalyzed by diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) containing the GGDEF domain, while its degradation is achieved through the phosphodiesterase activities of EAL and HD-GYP domains. c-di-GMP controls biofilm formation by Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1 by promoting the cell surface localization of a large adhesive protein, LapA. LapA localization is regulated posttranslationally by a c-di-GMP effector system consisting of LapD and LapG, which senses cytoplasmic c-di-GMP and modifies the LapA protein in the outer membrane. Despite the apparent requirement for c-di-GMP for biofilm formation by P. fluorescens Pf0-1, no DGCs from this strain have been characterized to date. In this study, we undertook a systematic mutagenesis of 30 predicted DGCs and found that mutations in just 4 cause reductions in biofilm formation by P. fluorescens Pf0-1 under the conditions tested. These DGCs were characterized genetically and biochemically to corroborate the hypothesis that they function to produce c-di-GMP in vivo. The effects of DGC gene mutations on phenotypes associated with biofilm formation were analyzed. One DGC preferentially affects LapA localization, another DGC mainly controls swimming motility, while a third DGC affects both LapA and motility. Our data support the conclusion that different c-di-GMP-regulated outputs can be specifically controlled by distinct DGCs.
Project description:In many bacteria, cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP), synthesized by diguanylate cyclase (DGC), serves as a second messenger involved in the regulation of biofilm formation. Although studies have suggested that c-di-GMP also regulates the formation of electrochemically active biofilms (EABFs) by <i>Shewanella oneidensis</i> MR-1, DGCs involved in this process remained to be identified. Here, we report that the SO_1646 gene, hereafter named <i>dgcS</i>, is upregulated under medium flow conditions in electrochemical flow cells (EFCs), and its product (DgcS) functions as a major DGC in MR-1. <i>In vitro</i> assays demonstrated that purified DgcS catalyzed the synthesis of c-di-GMP from GTP. Comparisons of intracellular c-di-GMP levels in the wild-type strain and a <i>dgcS</i> deletion mutant (Δ<i>dgcS</i> mutant) showed that production of c-di-GMP was markedly reduced in the Δ<i>dgcS</i> mutant when cells were grown in batch cultures and on electrodes in EFCs. Cultivation of the Δ<i>dgcS</i> mutant in EFCs also revealed that the loss of DgcS resulted in impaired biofilm formation and decreased current generation. These findings demonstrate that MR-1 uses DgcS to synthesize c-di-GMP under medium flow conditions, thereby activating biofilm formation on electrodes.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) have attracted wide attention owing to their utility in sustainable biotechnology processes, such as microbial fuel cells and electrofermentation systems. In BESs, electrochemically active bacteria (EAB) form biofilms on electrode surfaces, thereby serving as effective catalysts for the interconversion between chemical and electric energy. It is therefore important to understand mechanisms for the formation of biofilm by EAB grown on electrodes. Here, we show that a model EAB, <i>S. oneidensis</i> MR-1, expresses DgcS as a major DGC, thereby activating the formation of biofilms on electrodes via c-di-GMP-dependent signal transduction cascades. The findings presented herein provide the molecular basis for improving electrochemical interactions between EAB and electrodes in BESs. The results also offer molecular insights into how <i>Shewanella</i> regulates biofilm formation on solid surfaces in the natural environment.
Project description:Intracellular concentration of cyclic diguanylate monophosphate (c-di-GMP), a second messenger molecule, is regulated in bacteria by diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) (synthesizing c-di-GMP) and phosphodiesterases (PDEs) (degrading c-di-GMP). c-di-GMP concentration ([c-di-GMP]) affects motility and sessility in a reciprocal fashion; high [c-di-GMP] typically inhibits motility and promotes sessility. A c-di-GMP sensor domain, PilZ, also regulates motility and sessility. Uropathogenic Escherichia coli regulates these processes during infection; motility is necessary for ascending the urinary tract, while sessility is essential for colonization of anatomical sites. Here, we constructed and screened 32 mutants containing deletions of genes encoding each PDE (n = 11), DGC (n = 13), PilZ (n = 2), and both PDE and DGC (n = 6) domains for defects in motility, biofilm formation, and adherence for the prototypical pyelonephritis isolate E. coli CFT073. Three of 32 mutations affected motility, all of which were in genes encoding enzymatically inactive PDEs. Four PDEs, eight DGCs, four PDE/DGCs, and one PilZ regulated biofilm formation in a medium-specific manner. Adherence to bladder epithelial cells was regulated by [c-di-GMP]. Four PDEs, one DGC, and three PDE/DGCs repress adherence and four DGCs and one PDE/DGC stimulate adherence. Thus, specific effectors of [c-di-GMP] and catalytically inactive DGCs and PDEs regulate adherence and motility in uropathogenic E. coli. IMPORTANCE Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) contains several genes annotated as encoding enzymes that increase or decrease the abundance of the second messenger molecule, c-di-GMP. While this class of enzymes has been studied in an E. coli K-12 lab strain, these proteins have not been comprehensively examined in UPEC. UPEC utilizes both swimming motility and adherence to colonize and ascend the urinary tract; both of these processes are hypothesized to be regulated by the concentration of c-di-GMP. Here, for the first time, in a uropathogenic strain, E. coli CFT073, we have characterized mutants lacking each protein and demonstrated that the uropathogen has diverged from E. coli K-12 to utilize these enzymes to regulate adherence and motility by distinct mechanisms.
Project description:c-di-GMP riboswitches are structured RNAs located in the 5'-untranslated regions (5'-UTRs) of mRNAs that regulate expression of downstream genes in response to changing concentrations of the second messenger c-di-GMP. We discovered three complete c-di-GMP riboswitches (Bc3, Bc4 and Bc5 RNA) with similar structures, which are arranged in tandem to constitute a triple-tandem (Bc3-5 RNA) riboswitch in the 5'-UTR of the cspABCDE mRNA in Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. chinensis CT-43. Our results showed that this natural triple-tandem riboswitch controlled the expression of the reporter gene more stringently and digitally than the double-tandem or single riboswitch. A sandwich-like dual-fluorescence reporter was further constructed by fusing the Bc3-5 RNA gene between the two fluorescence protein genes amcyan and turborfp. This reporter strain was found to exhibit detectable fluorescence color changes under bright field in response to intracellular c-di-GMP level altered by induced expression of diguanylate cyclase (DGC) PleD. Using this system, two putative membrane-bound DGCs from B. thuringiensis and Xanthomonas oryzae were verified to be functional by replacing pleD with the corresponding DGC genes. This report represented the first native triple-tandem riboswitch that was applied to serve as a riboswitch-based dual-fluorescence reporter for the efficient and convenient verification of putative DGC activity in vivo.
Project description:Many bacteria contain large cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) signaling networks made of diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) and phosphodiesterases that can direct cellular activities sensitive to c-di-GMP levels. While DGCs synthesize c-di-GMP, many DGCs also contain an autoinhibitory site (I-site) that binds c-di-GMP to halt excess production of this small molecule, thus controlling the amount of c-di-GMP available to bind to target proteins in the cell. Many DGCs studied to date have also been found to signal for a specific c-di-GMP-related process, and although recent studies have suggested that physical interaction between DGCs and target proteins may provide this signaling fidelity, the importance of the I-site has not yet been incorporated into this model. Our results from Pseudomonas fluorescens indicate that mutation of residues at the I-site of a DGC disrupts the interaction with its target receptor. By creating various substitutions to a DGC's I-site, we show that signaling between a DGC (GcbC) and its target protein (LapD) is a combined function of the I-site-dependent protein-protein interaction and the level of c-di-GMP production. The dual role of the I-site in modulating DGC activity as well as participating in protein-protein interactions suggests caution in interpreting the function of the I-site as only a means to negatively regulate a cyclase. These results implicate the I-site as an important positive and negative regulatory element of DGCs that may contribute to signaling specificity.Some bacteria contain several dozen diguanylate cyclases (DGCs), nearly all of which signal to specific receptors using the same small molecule, c-di-GMP. Signaling specificity in these networks may be partially driven by physical interactions between DGCs and their receptors, in addition to the autoinhibitory site of DGCs preventing the overproduction of c-di-GMP. In this study, we show that disruption of the autoinhibitory site of a DGC in Pseudomonas fluorescens can result in the loss of interactions with its target receptor and reduced biofilm formation, despite increased production of c-di-GMP. Our findings implicate the autoinhibitory site as both an important feature for signaling specificity through the regulation of c-di-GMP production and a necessary element for the physical interaction between a diguanylate cyclase and its receptor.
Project description:Cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) is a second messenger molecule that regulates the transition between sessile and motile lifestyles in bacteria. Bacteria often encode multiple diguanylate cyclase (DGC) and phosphodiesterase (PDE) enzymes that produce and degrade c-di-GMP, respectively. Because of multiple inputs into the c-di-GMP-signaling network, it is unclear whether this system functions via high or low specificity. High-specificity signaling is characterized by individual DGCs or PDEs that are specifically associated with downstream c-di-GMP-mediated responses. In contrast, low-specificity signaling is characterized by DGCs or PDEs that modulate a general signal pool, which, in turn, controls a global c-di-GMP-mediated response. To determine whether c-di-GMP functions via high or low specificity in Vibrio cholerae, we correlated the in vivo c-di-GMP concentration generated by seven DGCs, each expressed at eight different levels, to the c-di-GMP-mediated induction of biofilm formation and transcription. There was no correlation between total intracellular c-di-GMP levels and biofilm formation or gene expression when considering all states. However, individual DGCs showed a significant correlation between c-di-GMP production and c-di-GMP-mediated responses. Moreover, the rate of phenotypic change versus c-di-GMP concentration was significantly different between DGCs, suggesting that bacteria can optimize phenotypic output to c-di-GMP levels via expression or activation of specific DGCs. Our results conclusively demonstrate that c-di-GMP does not function via a simple, low-specificity signaling pathway in V. cholerae.
Project description:Yersinia pestis forms a biofilm in the foregut of its flea vector that promotes transmission by flea bite. As in many bacteria, biofilm formation in Y. pestis is controlled by intracellular levels of the bacterial second messenger c-di-GMP. Two Y. pestis diguanylate cyclase (DGC) enzymes, encoded by hmsT and y3730, and one phosphodiesterase (PDE), encoded by hmsP, have been shown to control biofilm production in vitro via their opposing c-di-GMP synthesis and degradation activities, respectively. In this study, we provide further evidence that hmsT, hmsP, and y3730 are the only three genes involved in c-di-GMP metabolism in Y. pestis and evaluated the two DGCs for their comparative roles in biofilm formation in vitro and in the flea vector. As with HmsT, the DGC activity of Y3730 depended on a catalytic GGDEF domain, but the relative contribution of the two enzymes to the biofilm phenotype was influenced strongly by the environmental niche. Deletion of y3730 had a very minor effect on in vitro biofilm formation, but resulted in greatly reduced biofilm formation in the flea. In contrast, the predominant effect of hmsT was on in vitro biofilm formation. DGC activity was also required for the Hms-independent autoaggregation phenotype of Y. pestis, but was not required for virulence in a mouse model of bubonic plague. Our results confirm that only one PDE (HmsP) and two DGCs (HmsT and Y3730) control c-di-GMP levels in Y. pestis, indicate that hmsT and y3730 are regulated post-transcriptionally to differentially control biofilm formation in vitro and in the flea vector, and identify a second c-di-GMP-regulated phenotype in Y. pestis.
Project description:The bacterial intracellular second messenger, cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP), regulates biofilm formation for many bacteria. The binding of c-di-GMP by the inner membrane protein LapD controls biofilm formation, and the LapD receptor is central to a complex network of c-di-GMP-mediated biofilm formation. In this study, we examine how c-di-GMP signaling specificity by a diguanylate cyclase (DGC), GcbC, is achieved via interactions with the LapD receptor and by small ligand sensing via GcbC's calcium channel chemotaxis (CACHE) domain. We provide evidence that biofilm formation is stimulated by the environmentally relevant organic acid citrate (and a related compound, isocitrate) in a GcbC-dependent manner through enhanced GcbC-LapD interaction, which results in increased LapA localization to the cell surface. Furthermore, GcbC shows little ability to synthesize c-di-GMP in isolation. However, when LapD is present, GcbC activity is significantly enhanced (~8-fold), indicating that engaging the LapD receptor stimulates the activity of this DGC; citrate-enhanced GcbC-LapD interaction further stimulates c-di-GMP synthesis. We propose that the I-site of GcbC serves two roles beyond allosteric control of this enzyme: promoting GcbC-LapD interaction and stabilizing the active conformation of GcbC in the GcbC-LapD complex. Finally, given that LapD can interact with a dozen different DGCs of Pseudomonas fluorescens, many of which have ligand-binding domains, the ligand-mediated enhanced signaling via LapD-GcbC interaction described here is likely a conserved mechanism of signaling in this network. Consistent with this idea, we identify a second example of ligand-mediated enhancement of DGC-LapD interaction that promotes biofilm formation.IMPORTANCE In many bacteria, dozens of enzymes produce the dinucleotide signal c-di-GMP; however, it is unclear how undesired cross talk is mitigated in the context of this soluble signal and how c-di-GMP signaling is regulated by environmental inputs. We demonstrate that GcbC, a DGC, shows little ability to synthesize c-di-GMP in the absence of its cognate receptor LapD; GcbC-LapD interaction enhances c-di-GMP synthesis by GcbC, likely mediated by the I-site of GcbC. We further show evidence for a ligand-mediated mechanism of signaling specificity via increased physical interaction of a DGC with its cognate receptor. We envision a scenario wherein a "cloud" of weakly active DGCs can increase their activity by specific interaction with their receptor in response to appropriate environmental signals, concomitantly boosting c-di-GMP production, ligand-specific signaling, and biofilm formation.
Project description:C-di-GMP-which is produced by diguanylate cyclases (DGC) and degraded by specific phosphodiesterases (PDEs)-is a ubiquitous second messenger in bacterial biofilm formation. In Escherichia coli, several DGCs (YegE, YdaM) and PDEs (YhjH, YciR) and the MerR-like transcription factor MlrA regulate the transcription of csgD, which encodes a biofilm regulator essential for producing amyloid curli fibres of the biofilm matrix. Here, we demonstrate that this system operates as a signalling cascade, in which c-di-GMP controlled by the DGC/PDE pair YegE/YhjH (module I) regulates the activity of the YdaM/YciR pair (module II). Via multiple direct interactions, the two module II proteins form a signalling complex with MlrA. YciR acts as a connector between modules I and II and functions as a trigger enzyme: its direct inhibition of the DGC YdaM is relieved when it binds and degrades c-di-GMP generated by module I. As a consequence, YdaM then generates c-di-GMP and-by direct and specific interaction-activates MlrA to stimulate csgD transcription. Trigger enzymes may represent a general principle in local c-di-GMP signalling.
Project description:The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is responsible for systemic infections in immunocompromised individuals and chronic respiratory disease in patients with cystic fibrosis. Cyclic nucleotides are known to play a variety of roles in the regulation of virulence-related factors in pathogenic bacteria. A set of P. aeruginosa genes, encoding proteins that contain putative domains characteristic of diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) and phosphodiesterases (PDEs) that are responsible for the maintenance of cellular levels of the second messenger bis-(3'-5')-cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP) was identified in the annotated genomes of P. aeruginosa strains PAO1 and PA14. Although the majority of these genes are components of the P. aeruginosa core genome, several are located on presumptive horizontally acquired genomic islands. A comprehensive analysis of P. aeruginosa genes encoding the enzymes of c-di-GMP metabolism (DGC- and PDE-encoding genes) was carried out to analyze the function of c-di-GMP in two disease-related phenomena, cytotoxicity and biofilm formation. Analysis of the phenotypes of DGC and PDE mutants and overexpressing clones revealed that certain virulence-associated traits are controlled by multiple DGCs and PDEs through alterations in c-di-GMP levels. A set of mutants in selected DGC- and PDE-encoding genes exhibited attenuated virulence in a mouse infection model. Given that insertions in different DGC and PDE genes result in distinct phenotypes, it seems likely that the formation or degradation of c-di-GMP by these enzymes is in highly localized and intimately linked to particular targets of c-di-GMP action.