Mode of action and resistance studies unveil new roles for tropodithietic acid as an anticancer agent and the ?-glutamyl cycle as a proton sink.
ABSTRACT: While we have come to appreciate the architectural complexity of microbially synthesized secondary metabolites, far less attention has been paid to linking their structural features with possible modes of action. This is certainly the case with tropodithietic acid (TDA), a broad-spectrum antibiotic generated by marine bacteria that engage in dynamic symbioses with microscopic algae. TDA promotes algal health by killing unwanted marine pathogens; however, its mode of action (MoA) and significance for the survival of an algal-bacterial miniecosystem remains unknown. Using cytological profiling, we herein determine the MoA of TDA and surprisingly find that it acts by a mechanism similar to polyether antibiotics, which are structurally highly divergent. We show that like polyether drugs, TDA collapses the proton motive force by a proton antiport mechanism, in which extracellular protons are exchanged for cytoplasmic cations. The ?-carboxy-tropone substructure is ideal for this purpose as the proton can be carried on the carboxyl group, whereas the basicity of the tropylium ion facilitates cation export. Based on similarities to polyether anticancer agents we have further examined TDA's cytotoxicity and find it to exhibit potent, broad-spectrum anticancer activities. These results highlight the power of MoA-profiling technologies in repurposing old drugs for new targets. In addition, we identify an operon that confers TDA resistance to the producing marine bacteria. Bioinformatic and biochemical analyses of these genes lead to a previously unknown metabolic link between TDA/acid resistance and the ?-glutamyl cycle. The implications of this resistance mechanism in the context of the algal-bacterial symbiosis are discussed.
Project description:Tropodithietic acid (TDA) is a structurally unique sulfur-containing antibiotic from the Roseobacter clade bacterium Phaeobacter inhibens DSM 17395 and a few other related species. We have synthesised several structural analogues of TDA and used them in bioactivity tests against Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio anguillarum for a structure-activity relationship (SAR) study, revealing that the sulfur-free analogue of TDA, tropone-2-carboxylic acid, has an antibiotic activity that is even stronger than the bioactivity of the natural product. The synthesis of this compound and of several analogues is presented and the bioactivity of the synthetic compounds is discussed.
Project description:Phaeobacter inhibens DSM 17395, a model organism for marine Roseobacter group, was studied for its response to its own antimicrobial compound tropodithietic acid (TDA). TDA biosynthesis is encoded on the largest extrachromosomal element of P. inhibens, the 262 kb plasmid, whose curation leads to an increased growth and biomass yield. In this study, the plasmid-cured strain was compared to the wild-type strain and to transposon mutants lacking single genes of the TDA biosynthesis. The data show that the growth inhibition of the wild-type strain can be mainly attributed to the TDA produced by P. inhibens itself. Oxygen uptake rates remained constant in all strains but the growth rate dropped in the wild-type which supports the recently proposed mode of TDA action. Metabolome analysis showed no metabolic alterations that could be attributed directly to TDA. Taken together, the growth of P. inhibens is limited by its own antibacterial compound due to a partial destruction of the proton gradient which leads to a higher energetic demand. The universal presence of TDA biosynthesis in genome-sequenced isolates of the genus Phaeobacter shows that there must be a high benefit of TDA for P. inhibens in its ecological niche despite the drawback on its metabolism.
Project description:The search for new antimicrobial compounds has gained added momentum in recent years, paralleled by the exponential rise in resistance to most known classes of current antibiotics. While modifications of existing drugs have brought some limited clinical success, there remains a critical need for new classes of antimicrobial compound to which key clinical pathogens will be naive. This has provided the context and impetus to marine biodiscovery programmes that seek to isolate and characterize new activities from the aquatic ecosystem. One new antibiotic to emerge from these initiatives is the antibacterial compound tropodithietic acid (TDA). The aim of this study was to provide insight into the bioactivity of and the factors governing the production of TDA in marine Pseudovibrio isolates from a collection of marine sponges. The TDA produced by these Pseudovibrio isolates exhibited potent antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of clinical pathogens, while TDA tolerance was frequent in non-TDA producing marine isolates. Comparative genomics analysis suggested a high degree of conservation among the tda biosynthetic clusters while expression studies revealed coordinated regulation of TDA synthesis upon transition from log to stationary phase growth, which was not induced by TDA itself or by the presence of the C10-acyl homoserine lactone quorum sensing signal molecule.
Project description:Minimizing the use of antibiotics in the food production chain is essential for limiting the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. One alternative intervention strategy is the use of probiotic bacteria, and bacteria of the marine Roseobacter clade are capable of antagonizing fish-pathogenic vibrios in fish larvae and live feed cultures for fish larvae. The antibacterial compound tropodithietic acid (TDA), an antiporter that disrupts the proton motive force, is key in the antibacterial activity of several roseobacters. Introducing probiotics on a larger scale requires understanding of any potential side effects of long-term exposure of the pathogen to the probionts or any compounds they produce. Here we exposed the fish pathogen Vibrio anguillarum to TDA for several hundred generations in an adaptive evolution experiment. No tolerance or resistance arose during the 90 days of exposure, and whole-genome sequencing of TDA-exposed lineages and clones revealed few mutational changes, compared to lineages grown without TDA. Amino acid-changing mutations were found in two to six different genes per clone; however, no mutations appeared unique to the TDA-exposed lineages or clones. None of the virulence genes of V. anguillarum was affected, and infectivity assays using fish cell lines indicated that the TDA-exposed lineages and clones were less invasive than the wild-type strain. Thus, long-term TDA exposure does not appear to result in TDA resistance and the physiology of V. anguillarum appears unaffected, supporting the application of TDA-producing roseobacters as probiotics in aquaculture.It is important to limit the use of antibiotics in our food production, to reduce the risk of bacteria developing antibiotic resistance. We showed previously that marine bacteria of the Roseobacter clade can prevent or reduce bacterial diseases in fish larvae, acting as probiotics. Roseobacters produce the antimicrobial compound tropodithietic acid (TDA), and we were concerned regarding whether long-term exposure to this compound could induce resistance or affect the disease-causing ability of the fish pathogen. Therefore, we exposed the fish pathogen Vibrio anguillarum to increasing TDA concentrations over 3 months. We did not see the development of any resistance to TDA, and subsequent infection assays revealed that none of the TDA-exposed clones had increased virulence toward fish cells. Hence, this study supports the use of roseobacters as a non-risk-based disease control measure in aquaculture.
Project description:The marine bacterium Phaeobacter inhibens produces tropodithietic acid (TDA), a broad-spectrum antibiotic and anticancer agent. TDA allows P. inhibens to antagonize other bacteria, including several pathogens, and eukaryotes. Since recently antibiotics are also discussed to function as intermicrobial signals. Here we show that ~10% of the genes of P. inhibens are strongly influenced by N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) mediated quorum sensing (QS), switching the bacterium’s life style from attached to free-living. In an AHL negative mutant of P. inhibens subinhibitory concentrations of TDA caused the same regulatory effect as the AHL. This demonstrates that bacteria can produce antibiotic compounds not only as weapons, but also to substitute their endogenous AHL molecule in QS. The dual function of TDA probably supports the QS system to accelerate regulatory processes and points to a so far neglected role of antibiotics at subinhibitory concentrations in the environment and in microbial interactions. Comparison of whole transcriptomes of wildytype, quorum sensing mutants (pgaI and pgaR) and pgaI grown supplemented with subinhibitory concentration of the antibiotic TDA. RNA isolated in the late exponential growth phase. 4 biological replicates investigated for each strain.
Project description:Tropodithietic acid (TDA) is an antibacterial compound produced by some Phaeobacter and Ruegeria spp. of the Roseobacter clade. TDA production is studied in marine broth or agar since antibacterial activity in other media is not observed. The purpose of this study was to determine how TDA production is influenced by substrate components. High concentrations of ferric citrate, as present in marine broth, or other iron sources were required for production of antibacterially active TDA. However, when supernatants of noninhibitory, low-iron cultures of Phaeobacter inhibens were acidified, antibacterial activity was detected in a bioassay. The absence of TDA in nonacidified cultures and the presence of TDA in acidified cultures were verified by liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. A noninhibitory TDA analog (pre-TDA) was produced by P. inhibens, Ruegeria mobilis F1926, and Phaeobacter sp. strain 27-4 under low-iron concentrations and was instantaneously converted to TDA when pH was lowered. Production of TDA in the presence of Fe(3+) coincides with formation of a dark brown substance, which could be precipitated by acid addition. From this brown pigment TDA could be liberated slowly with aqueous ammonia, and both direct-infusion mass spectrometry and elemental analysis indicated a [Fe(III)(TDA)2]x complex. The pigment could also be produced by precipitation of pure TDA with FeCl3. Our results raise questions about how biologically active TDA is produced in natural marine settings where iron is typically limited and whether the affinity of TDA to iron points to a physiological or ecological function of TDA other than as an antibacterial compound.
Project description:The interactions between marine prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms are crucial to many biological and biogeochemical processes in the oceans. Often the interactions are mutualistic, as in the symbiosis between phytoplankton, e.g., the dinoflagellate Pfiesteria piscicida and Silicibacter sp. TM1040, a member of the Roseobacter taxonomic lineage. It is hypothesized that an important component of this symbiosis is bacterial production of tropodithietic acid (TDA), a biologically active tropolone compound whose synthesis requires the expression of tdaABCDEF (tdaA-F), as well as six additional genes (cysI, malY, paaIJK, and tdaH). The factors controlling tda gene expression are not known, although growth in laboratory standing liquid cultures drastically increases TDA levels. In this report, we measured the transcription of tda genes to gain a greater understanding of the factors controlling their expression. While the expression of tdaAB was constitutive, tdaCDE and tdaF mRNA increased significantly (3.7- and 17.4-fold, respectively) when cells were grown in standing liquid broth compared to their levels with shaking liquid culturing. No transcription of tdaC was detected when a tdaCp::lacZ transcriptional fusion was placed in 11 of the 12 Tda(-) mutant backgrounds, with cysI being the sole exception. The expression of tdaC could be restored to 9 of the remaining 11 Tda(-) mutants-tdaA and tdaH failed to respond-by placing wild-type (Tda(+)) strains in close proximity or by supplying exogenous TDA to the mutant, suggesting that TDA induces tda gene expression. These results indicate that TDA acts as an autoinducer of its own synthesis and suggest that roseobacters may use TDA as a quorum signal.
Project description:The antibacterial compound tropodithietic acid (TDA) is produced by bacteria of the marine Roseobacter clade and is thought to explain the fish probiotic properties of some roseobacters. The aim of the present study was to determine the antibacterial spectrum of TDA and the likelihood of development of TDA resistance. A bacterial extract containing 95% TDA was effective against a range of human-pathogenic bacteria, including both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. TDA was bactericidal against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1344 and Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 12493 and killed both growing and nongrowing cells. Several experimental approaches were used to select mutants resistant to TDA or subpopulations of strains with enhanced tolerance to TDA. No approach (single exposures to TDA extract administered via different methods, screening of a transposon library for resistant mutants, or prolonged exposure to incremental concentrations of TDA) resulted in resistant or tolerant strains. After more than 300 generations exposed to sub-MIC and MIC concentrations of a TDA-containing extract, strains tolerant to 2× the MIC of TDA for wild-type strains were selected, but the tolerance disappeared after one passage in medium without TDA extract. S. Typhimurium mutants with nonfunctional efflux pump and porin genes had the same TDA susceptibility as wild-type strains, suggesting that efflux pumps and porins are not involved in innate tolerance to TDA. TDA is a promising broad-spectrum antimicrobial in part due to the fact that enhanced tolerance is difficult to gain and that the TDA-tolerant phenotype appears to confer only low-level resistance and is very unstable.
Project description:The production of N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) is widely distributed within the marine Roseobacter clade, and it was proposed that AHL-mediated quorum sensing (QS) is one of the most common cell-to-cell communication mechanisms in roseobacters. The traits regulated by AHL-mediated QS are yet not known for members of the Roseobacter clade, but production of the antibiotic tropodithietic acid (TDA) was supposed to be controlled by AHL-mediated QS in Phaeobacter spp. We describe here for the first time the functional role of luxR and luxI homologous genes of an organism of the Roseobacter clade, i.e., pgaR and pgaI in Phaeobacter gallaeciensis. Our results demonstrate that the AHL synthase gene pgaI is responsible for production of N-3-hydroxydecanoylhomoserine lactone (3OHC(10)-HSL). Insertion mutants of pgaI and pgaR are both deficient in TDA biosynthesis and the formation of a yellow-brown pigment when grown in liquid marine broth medium. This indicates that in P. gallaeciensis the production of both secondary metabolites is controlled by AHL-mediated QS. Quantitative real-time PCR showed that the transcription level of tdaA, which encodes an essential transcriptional regulator for TDA biosynthesis, decreased 28- and 51-fold in pgaI and pgaR genetic backgrounds, respectively. These results suggest that both the response regulator PgaR and the 3OHC(10)-HSL produced by PgaI induce expression of tdaA, which in turn positively regulates expression of the tda genes. Moreover, we confirmed that TDA can also act as autoinducer in P. gallaeciensis, as previously described for Silicibacter sp. strain TM1040, but only in the presence of the response regulator PgaR.
Project description:Silicibacter sp. TM1040, a member of the marine Roseobacter clade, produces the antibiotic and quorum signaling molecule tropodithietic acid (TDA), encoded by tdaABCDEF. Here, we showed that an LysR-type transcriptional regulator, TdaA, is a positive regulator of tdaCDE gene expression and binds to the tdaC promoter region.