The Sialidase NanS Enhances Non-TcsL Mediated Cytotoxicity of Clostridium sordellii.
ABSTRACT: The clostridia produce an arsenal of toxins to facilitate their survival within the host environment. TcsL is one of two major toxins produced by Clostridium sordellii, a human and animal pathogen, and is essential for disease pathogenesis of this bacterium. C. sordellii produces many other toxins, but the role that they play in disease is not known, although previous work has suggested that the sialidase enzyme NanS may be involved in the characteristic leukemoid reaction that occurs during severe disease. In this study we investigated the role of NanS in C. sordellii disease pathogenesis. We constructed a nanS mutant and showed that NanS is the only sialidase produced from C. sordellii strain ATCC9714 since sialidase activity could not be detected from the nanS mutant. Complementation with the wild-type gene restored sialidase production to the nanS mutant strain. Cytotoxicity assays using sialidase-enriched culture supernatants applied to gut (Caco2), vaginal (VK2), and cervical cell lines (End1/E6E7 and Ect1/E6E7) showed that NanS was not cytotoxic to these cells. However, the cytotoxic capacity of a toxin-enriched supernatant to the vaginal and cervical cell lines was substantially enhanced in the presence of NanS. TcsL was not the mediator of the observed cytotoxicity since supernatants harvested from a TcsL-deficient strain displayed similar cytotoxicity levels to TcsL-containing supernatants. This study suggests that NanS works synergistically with an unknown toxin or toxins to exacerbate C. sordellii-mediated tissue damage in the host.
Project description:Toxigenic Clostridium sordellii causes uncommon but highly lethal infections in humans and animals. Recently, an increased incidence of C. sordellii infections has been reported in women undergoing obstetric interventions. Pathogenic strains of C. sordellii produce numerous virulence factors, including sordellilysin, phospholipase, neuraminidase, and two large clostridial glucosylating toxins, TcsL and TcsH. Recent studies have demonstrated that TcsL toxin is an essential virulence factor for the pathogenicity of C. sordellii. In this study, we identified and characterized TcsR as the toxin gene (tcsL) regulator in C. sordellii. High-throughput sequencing of two C. sordellii strains revealed that tcsR lies within a genomic region that encodes TcsL, TcsH, and TcsE, a putative holin. By using ClosTron technology, we inactivated the tcsR gene in strain ATCC 9714. Toxin production and tcsL transcription were decreased in the tcsR mutant strain. However, the complemented tcsR mutant produced large amounts of toxins, similar to the parental strain. Expression of the Clostridium difficile toxin gene regulator tcdR also restored toxin production to the C. sordellii tcsR mutant, showing that these sigma factors are functionally interchangeable.
Project description:Pathogenic clostridial species secrete potent toxins that induce severe host tissue damage. Paeniclostridium sordellii lethal toxin (TcsL) causes an almost invariably lethal toxic shock syndrome associated with gynecological infections. TcsL is 87% similar to C. difficile TcdB, which enters host cells via Frizzled receptors in colon epithelium. However, P. sordellii infections target vascular endothelium, suggesting that TcsL exploits another receptor. Here, using CRISPR/Cas9 screening, we establish semaphorins SEMA6A and SEMA6B as TcsL receptors. We demonstrate that recombinant SEMA6A can protect mice from TcsL-induced edema. A 3.3 Å cryo-EM structure shows that TcsL binds SEMA6A with the same region that in TcdB binds structurally unrelated Frizzled. Remarkably, 15 mutations in this evolutionarily divergent surface are sufficient to switch binding specificity of TcsL to that of TcdB. Our findings establish semaphorins as physiologically relevant receptors for TcsL and reveal the molecular basis for the difference in tissue targeting and disease pathogenesis between highly related toxins.
Project description:Clostridium sordellii infections cause gangrene and edema in humans and gastrointestinal infections in livestock. One of the principle virulence factors is TcsL, a large protein toxin which glucosylates host GTPases to cause cytopathic and cytotoxic effects. TcsL has two enzymatic domains, an N-terminal glucosyltransferase domain (GTD) and an autoprocessing domain responsible for release of the GTD within the cell. The GTD can then use its N-terminal membrane localization domain (MLD) for orientation on membranes and modification of GTPases. This study describes the use of conditionally immortalized murine pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells as a model for the study of TcsL functional activities. Point mutations that disrupt the glucosyltransferase, autoprocessing, or membrane localization activities were introduced into a recombinant version of TcsL, and the activities of these mutants were compared to those of wild-type toxin. We observed that all mutants are defective or impaired in cytotoxicity but differ in their modification of Rac1 and Ras. The data suggest a model where differences in GTPase localization dictate cellular responses to intoxication and highlight the importance of autoprocessing in the function of TcsL. IMPORTANCE Clostridium sordellii is a bacterium that can infect humans and cause serious disease and death. The principle virulence factor associated with clinical symptoms is a large protein toxin known as lethal toxin. The mechanism of lethal-toxin intoxication is assumed to be similar to that of the homologous toxins from C. difficile, but very few studies have been done in the context of endothelial cells, a relevant target in C. sordellii infections. This study was designed to test the role of the lethal-toxin enzymatic activities and membrane localization in endothelial cell toxicity and host substrate modification.
Project description:The sialic acids (N-acylneuraminates) are a group of nine-carbon keto-sugars existing mainly as terminal residues on animal glycoprotein and glycolipid carbohydrate chains. Bacterial commensals and pathogens exploit host sialic acids for nutrition, adhesion, or antirecognition, where N-acetyl- or N-glycolylneuraminic acids are the two predominant chemical forms of sialic acids. Each form may be modified by acetyl esters at carbon position 4, 7, 8, or 9 and by a variety of less-common modifications. Modified sialic acids produce challenges for colonizing bacteria, because the chemical alterations to N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) confer increased resistance to sialidase and aldolase activities essential for the catabolism of host sialic acids. Bacteria with O-acetyl sialate esterase(s) utilize acetylated sialic acids for growth, thereby gaining a presumed metabolic advantage over competitors lacking this activity. Here, we demonstrate the esterase activity of Escherichia coli NanS after purifying it as a C-terminal HaloTag fusion. Using a similar approach, we show that E. coli strain O157:H7 Stx prophage or prophage remnants invariably include paralogs of nanS often located downstream of the Shiga-like toxin genes. These paralogs may include sequences encoding N- or C-terminal domains of unknown function where the NanS domains can act as sialate O-acetyl esterases, as shown by complementation of an E. coli strain K-12 nanS mutant and the unimpaired growth of an E. coli O157 nanS mutant on O-acetylated sialic acid. We further demonstrate that nanS homologs in Streptococcus spp. also encode active esterase, demonstrating an unexpected diversity of bacterial sialate O-acetyl esterase.The sialic acids are a family of over 40 naturally occurring 9-carbon keto-sugars that function in a variety of host-bacterium interactions. These sugars occur primarily as terminal carbohydrate residues on host glycoproteins and glycolipids. Available evidence indicates that diverse bacterial species use host sialic acids for adhesion or as sources of carbon and nitrogen. Our results show that the catabolism of the diacetylated form of host sialic acid requires a specialized esterase, NanS. Our results further show that nanS homologs exist in bacteria other than Escherichia coli, as well as part of toxigenic E. coli prophage. The unexpected diversity of these enzymes suggests new avenues for investigating host-bacterium interactions. Therefore, these original results extend our previous studies of nanS to include mucosal pathogens, prophage, and prophage remnants. This expansion of the nanS superfamily suggests important, although as-yet-unknown, functions in host-microbe interactions.
Project description:Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 strain EDL933 encodes the single chromosomal 9-O-acetylesterase NanS, and several copies of prophage-encoded 9-O-acetylesterases (NanS-p). These enzymes have recently been shown to cleave 5-N-acetyl-9-O-acetyl neuraminic acid (Neu5,9Ac2) to yield de-O-acetylated Neu5Ac, the latter of which may serve as a carbon and/or nitrogen source. In the current study, we investigated the NanS- and NanS-p-mediated digestion of synthetic O-acetylated neuraminic acids and bovine submaxillary glands mucin (BSM)-derived O-acetylneuraminic acids by high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) and nano electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (nanoESI MS). Initial HPTLC analyses showed the expected activity of NanS and NanS-p variants for Neu5,9Ac2. However, all tested enzymes were unable to de-O-acetylate 5-N-acetyl-4-O-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5,4?Ac2) in our test system. The nanoESI MS analysis of neuraminic acids after treatment of BSM with NanS-p gave evidence that NanS-p variants of EHEC O157:H7 strain EDL933 cleave off O-acetyl groups from mono-, di-, and tri-O-acetylated Neu5Ac and N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), regardless of the carbon positions C7, C8 or C9 of the acetate esters. This enzyme activity leads to neuraminidase-accessible Neu5Ac and Neu5Gc on mucin glycans. Moreover, we could demonstrate by HPTLC analyses that recombinant Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron sialidase (BTSA-His) was able to cleave Neu5Ac and Neu5,9Ac2 from BSM and that the combination of BTSA-His with both NanS-His and NanS-p-His derivatives enhanced the release of de-O-acetylated core Neu5Ac and Neu5Gc from mammalian mucin O-glycans. Growth experiments with EHEC wildtype strain EDL933, its nanS and nanS/nanS-p1a-p7 mutant and exogenous BTSA-His in BSM demonstrated that the presence of BTSA-His enhanced growth of EDL933 and the nanS deletion mutant but not the nanS/nanS-p1a-p7 mutant. Thus, we hypothesize that the expression of sialic acid O-acetylesterases with a broad specificity could be an advantage in competition with the gut microbiota for nutrients and facilitate EHEC colonization in the human large intestine.
Project description:The exotoxin TcsL is a major virulence factor in Paeniclostridium (Clostridium) sordellii and responsible for the high lethality rate associated with P. sordellii infection. Here, we present a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9-mediated screen using a human lung carcinoma cell line and identify semaphorin (SEMA) 6A and 6B as receptors for TcsL. Disrupting SEMA6A/6B expression in several distinct human cell lines and primary human endothelial cells results in reduced TcsL sensitivity, while SEMA6A/6B over-expression increases their sensitivity. TcsL recognizes the extracellular domain (ECD) of SEMA6A/6B via a region homologous to the receptor-binding site in Clostridioides difficile toxin B (TcdB), which binds the human receptor Frizzled. Exchanging the receptor-binding interfaces between TcsL and TcdB switches their receptor-binding specificity. Finally, administration of SEMA6A-ECD proteins protects human cells from TcsL toxicity and reduces TcsL-induced damage to lung tissues and the lethality rate in mice. These findings establish SEMA6A and 6B as pathophysiologically relevant receptors for TcsL.
Project description:A major virulence factor in Clostridium sordellii-mediated infection is the toxin TcsL, which is encoded within a region of the genome called the pathogenicity locus (PaLoc). C. sordellii isolates carry the PaLoc on the pCS1 family of plasmids, of which there are four characterized members. Here, we determined the potential mobility of pCS1 plasmids and characterized a fifth unique pCS1 member. Using a derivative of the pCS1-1 plasmid from strain ATCC 9714 which had been marked with the ermB erythromycin resistance gene, conjugative transfer into a recipient C. sordellii isolate, R28058, was demonstrated. Bioinformatic analysis of pCS1-1 identified a novel conjugation gene cluster defined as the C. sordellii transfer (cst) locus. Interruption of genes within the cst locus resulted in loss of pCS1-1 transfer, which was restored upon complementation in trans These studies provided clear evidence that genes within the cst locus are essential for the conjugative transfer of pCS1-1. The cst locus is present on all pCS1 subtypes, and homologous loci were identified on toxin-encoding plasmids from Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium botulinum and also carried within genomes of Clostridium difficile isolates, indicating that it is a widespread clostridial conjugation locus. The results of this study have broad implications for the dissemination of toxin genes and, potentially, antibiotic resistance genes among members of a diverse range of clostridial pathogens, providing these microorganisms with a survival advantage within the infected host.IMPORTANCEC. sordellii is a bacterial pathogen that causes severe infections in humans and animals, with high mortality rates. While the pathogenesis of C. sordellii infections is not well understood, it is known that the toxin TcsL is an important virulence factor. Here, we have shown the ability of a plasmid carrying the tcsL gene to undergo conjugative transfer between distantly related strains of C. sordellii, which has far-reaching implications for the ability of C. sordellii to acquire the capacity to cause disease. Plasmids that carry tcsL encode a previously uncharacterized conjugation locus, and individual genes within this locus were shown to be required for conjugative transfer. Furthermore, homologues on toxin plasmids from other clostridial species were identified, indicating that this region represents a novel clostridial conjugation locus. The results of this study have broad implications for the dissemination of virulence genes among members of a diverse range of clostridial pathogens.
Project description:Clostridium sordellii lethal toxin (TcsL) is a powerful virulence factor responsible for severe toxic shock in man and animals. TcsL belongs to the large clostridial glucosylating toxin (LCGT) family which inactivates small GTPases by glucosylation with uridine-diphosphate (UDP)-glucose as a cofactor. Notably, TcsL modifies Rac and Ras GTPases, leading to drastic alteration of the actin cytoskeleton and cell viability. TcsL enters cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis and delivers the N-terminal glucosylating domain (TcsL-cat) into the cytosol. TcsL-cat was found to preferentially bind to phosphatidylserine (PS)-containing membranes and to increase the glucosylation of Rac anchored to the lipid membrane. We have previously reported that the N-terminal four helical bundle structure (1-93 domain) recognizes a broad range of lipids, but that TcsL-cat specifically binds to PS and phosphatidic acid. Here, we show using mutagenesis that the PS binding site is localized on the tip of the four-helix bundle which is rich in positively-charged amino acids. Residues Y14, V15, F17, and R18 on loop 1, between helices 1 and 2, in coordination with R68 from loop 3, between helices 3 and 4, form a pocket which accommodates L-serine. The functional PS-binding site is required for TcsL-cat binding to the plasma membrane and subsequent cytotoxicity. TcsL-cat binding to PS facilitates a high enzymatic activity towards membrane-anchored Ras by about three orders of magnitude as compared to Ras in solution. The PS-binding site is conserved in LCGTs, which likely retain a common mechanism of binding to the membrane for their full activity towards membrane-bound GTPases.
Project description:Clostridium difficile toxin A (TcdA) and toxin B (TcdB) are the causative agent of the C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) and its severe form, the pseudomembranous colitis (PMC). TcdB from the C. difficile strain VPI10463 mono-glucosylates (thereby inactivates) the small GTPases Rho, Rac, and Cdc42, while Toxin B from the variant C. difficile strain serotype F 1470 (TcdBF) specifically mono-glucosylates Rac but not Rho(A/B/C). TcdBF is related to lethal toxin from C. sordellii (TcsL) that glucosylates Rac1 but not Rho(A/B/C). In this study, the effects of Rho-inactivating toxins on the concentrations of cellular F-actin were investigated using the rhodamine-phalloidin-based F-actin ELISA. TcdB induces F-actin depolymerization comparable to the RhoA-inactivating exoenzyme C3 from C. limosum (C3-lim). In contrast, the Rac-glucosylating toxins TcdBF and TcsL did not cause F-actin depolymerization. These observations led to the conclusion that F-actin depolymerization depends on the toxin's capability of glucosylating RhoA. Furthermore, the integrity of focal adhesions (FAs) was analyzed using paxillin and p21-activated kinase (PAK) as FA marker proteins. Paxillin dephosphorylation was observed upon treatment of cells with TcdB, TcdBF, or C3-lim. In conclusion, the Rho-inactivating toxins induce loss of cell shape by either F-actin depolymerization (upon RhoA inactivation) or the disassembly of FAs (upon Rac1 inactivation).
Project description:Clostridium sordellii can cause severe infections in animals and humans, the latter associated with trauma, toxic shock and often-fatal gynaecological infections. Strains can produce two large clostridial cytotoxins (LCCs), TcsL and TcsH, related to those produced by Clostridium difficile, Clostridium novyi and Clostridium perfringens, but the genetic basis of toxin production remains uncharacterised.Phylogenetic analysis of the genome sequences of 44 strains isolated from human and animal infections in the UK, US and Australia placed the species into four clades. Although all strains originated from animal or clinical disease, only 5 strains contained LCC genes: 4 strains contain tcsL alone and one strain contains tcsL and tcsH. Four toxin-positive strains were found within one clade. Where present, tcsL and tcsH were localised in a pathogenicity locus, similar to but distinct from that present in C. difficile. In contrast to C. difficile, where the LCCs are chromosomally localised, the C. sordellii tcsL and tcsH genes are localised on plasmids. Our data suggest gain and loss of entire toxigenic plasmids in addition to horizontal transfer of the pathogenicity locus. A high quality, annotated sequence of ATCC9714 reveals many putative virulence factors including neuraminidase, phospholipase C and the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin sordellilysin that are highly conserved between all strains studied.Genome analysis of C. sordellii reveals that the LCCs, the major virulence factors, are localised on plasmids. Many strains do not contain the LCC genes; it is probable that in several of these cases the plasmid has been lost upon laboratory subculture. Our data are consistent with LCCs being the primary virulence factors in the majority of infections, but LCC-negative strains may precipitate certain categories of infection. A high quality genome sequence reveals putative virulence factors whose role in virulence can be investigated.