Unraveling the essential role of CysK in CDI toxin activation.
ABSTRACT: Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a widespread mechanism of bacterial competition. CDI(+) bacteria deliver the toxic C-terminal region of contact-dependent inhibition A proteins (CdiA-CT) into neighboring target bacteria and produce CDI immunity proteins (CdiI) to protect against self-inhibition. The CdiA-CT(EC536) deployed by uropathogenic Escherichia coli 536 (EC536) is a bacterial toxin 28 (Ntox28) domain that only exhibits ribonuclease activity when bound to the cysteine biosynthetic enzyme O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A (CysK). Here, we present crystal structures of the CysK/CdiA-CT(EC536) binary complex and the neutralized ternary complex of CysK/CdiA-CT/CdiI(EC536) CdiA-CT(EC536) inserts its C-terminal Gly-Tyr-Gly-Ile peptide tail into the active-site cleft of CysK to anchor the interaction. Remarkably, E. coli serine O-acetyltransferase uses a similar Gly-Asp-Gly-Ile motif to form the "cysteine synthase" complex with CysK. The cysteine synthase complex is found throughout bacteria, protozoa, and plants, indicating that CdiA-CT(EC536) exploits a highly conserved protein-protein interaction to promote its toxicity. CysK significantly increases CdiA-CT(EC536) thermostability and is required for toxin interaction with tRNA substrates. These observations suggest that CysK stabilizes the toxin fold, thereby organizing the nuclease active site for substrate recognition and catalysis. By contrast, Ntox28 domains from Gram-positive bacteria lack C-terminal Gly-Tyr-Gly-Ile motifs, suggesting that they do not interact with CysK. We show that the Ntox28 domain from Ruminococcus lactaris is significantly more thermostable than CdiA-CT(EC536), and its intrinsic tRNA-binding properties support CysK-independent nuclease activity. The striking differences between related Ntox28 domains suggest that CDI toxins may be under evolutionary pressure to maintain low global stability.
Project description:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiA/CdiB family of two-partner secretion proteins. CDI(+) cells bind to susceptible target bacteria and deliver a toxic effector domain derived from the carboxyl terminus of CdiA (CdiA-CT). More than 60 distinct CdiA-CT sequence types have been identified, and all CDI toxins characterized thus far display RNase, DNase, or pore-forming activities. CDI systems also encode CdiI immunity proteins, which specifically bind and inactivate cognate CdiA-CT toxins to prevent autoinhibition. CDI activity appears to be limited to target cells of the same species, suggesting that these systems play a role in competition between closely related bacteria. Recent work on the CDI system from uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC 536) has revealed that its CdiA-CT toxin binds tightly to a cysteine biosynthetic enzyme (CysK) in the cytoplasm of target cells. The unanticipated complexity in the UPEC CDI pathway raises the possibility that these systems perform other functions in addition to growth inhibition. Finally, we propose that the phenomenon of CDI is more widespread than previously appreciated. Rhs (rearrangement hotspot) systems encode toxin-immunity pairs, some of which share significant sequence identity with CdiA-CT/CdiI proteins. A number of recent observations suggest that Rhs proteins mediate a distinct form of CDI.
Project description:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a wide-spread mechanism of inter-bacterial competition. CDI+ bacteria deliver CdiA-CT toxins into neighboring bacteria and produce specific immunity proteins that protect against self-intoxication. The CdiA-CT toxin from uropathogenic Escherichia coli 536 is a latent tRNase that is only active when bound to the cysteine biosynthetic enzyme CysK. Remarkably, the CysK:CdiA-CT binding interaction mimics the 'cysteine synthase' complex of CysK:CysE. The C-terminal tails of CysE and CdiA-CT each insert into the CysK active-site cleft to anchor the respective complexes. The dissociation constant for CysK:CdiA-CT (K d ~ 11?nM) is comparable to that of the E. coli cysteine synthase complex (K d ~ 6?nM), and both complexes bind through a two-step mechanism with a slow isomerization phase after the initial encounter. However, the second-order rate constant for CysK:CdiA-CT binding is two orders of magnitude slower than that of the cysteine synthase complex, suggesting that CysE should outcompete the toxin for CysK occupancy. However, we find that CdiA-CT can effectively displace CysE from pre-formed cysteine synthase complexes, enabling toxin activation even in the presence of excess competing CysE. This adventitious binding, coupled with the very slow rate of CysK:CdiA-CT dissociation, ensures robust nuclease activity in target bacteria.
Project description:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiB/CdiA family of two-partner secretion proteins. CdiA effector proteins are exported onto the surface of CDI(+) inhibitor cells, where they interact with susceptible bacteria and deliver effectors/toxins derived from their C-terminal regions (CdiA-CT). CDI(+) cells also produce an immunity protein that binds the CdiA-CT and blocks its activity to prevent autoinhibition. Here, we show that the CdiA-CT from uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain 536 (UPEC536) is a latent tRNase that requires activation by the biosynthetic enzyme CysK (O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A). UPEC536 CdiA-CT exhibits no nuclease activity in vitro, but cleaves within transfer RNA (tRNA) anti-codon loops when purified CysK is added. CysK and CdiA-CT form a stable complex, and their binding interaction appears to mimic that of the CysK/CysE cysteine synthase complex. CdiA-CT activation is also required for growth inhibition. Synthesis of CdiA-CT in E. coli cysK(+) cells arrests cell growth, whereas the growth of ?cysK mutants is unaffected by the toxin. Moreover, E. coli ?cysK cells are completely resistant to inhibitor cells expressing UPEC536 CdiA, indicating that CysK is required to activate the tRNase during CDI. Thus, CysK acts as a permissive factor for CDI, providing a potential mechanism to modulate growth inhibition in target cells.
Project description:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a widespread mechanism of inter-bacterial competition. CDI(+) bacteria deploy large CdiA effector proteins, which carry variable C-terminal toxin domains (CdiA-CT). CDI(+) cells also produce CdiI immunity proteins that specifically neutralize cognate CdiA-CT toxins to prevent auto-inhibition. Here, we present the crystal structure of the CdiA-CT/CdiI(E479) toxin/immunity protein complex from Burkholderia pseudomallei isolate E479. The CdiA-CT(E479) tRNase domain contains a core ?/?-fold that is characteristic of PD(D/E)XK superfamily nucleases. Unexpectedly, the closest structural homolog of CdiA-CT(E479) is another CDI toxin domain from B. pseudomallei 1026b. Although unrelated in sequence, the two B. pseudomallei nuclease domains share similar folds and active-site architectures. By contrast, the CdiI(E479) and CdiI(1026b) immunity proteins share no significant sequence or structural homology. CdiA-CT(E479) and CdiA-CT(1026b) are both tRNases; however, each nuclease cleaves tRNA at a distinct position. We used a molecular docking approach to model each toxin bound to tRNA substrate. The resulting models fit into electron density envelopes generated by small-angle x-ray scattering analysis of catalytically inactive toxin domains bound stably to tRNA. CdiA-CT(E479) is the third CDI toxin found to have structural homology to the PD(D/E)XK superfamily. We propose that CDI systems exploit the inherent sequence variability and active-site plasticity of PD(D/E)XK nucleases to generate toxin diversity. These findings raise the possibility that many other uncharacterized CDI toxins may belong to the PD(D/E)XK superfamily.
Project description:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is an important mechanism of intercellular competition between neighboring Gram-negative bacteria. CDI systems encode large surface-exposed CdiA effector proteins that carry a variety of C-terminal toxin domains (CdiA-CTs). All CDI(+) bacteria also produce CdiI immunity proteins that specifically bind to the cognate CdiA-CT and neutralize its toxin activity to prevent auto-inhibition. Here, the X-ray crystal structure of a CdiI immunity protein from Neisseria meningitidis MC58 is presented at 1.45 Å resolution. The CdiI protein has structural homology to the Whirly family of RNA-binding proteins, but appears to lack the characteristic nucleic acid-binding motif of this family. Sequence homology suggests that the cognate CdiA-CT is related to the eukaryotic EndoU family of RNA-processing enzymes. A homology model is presented of the CdiA-CT based on the structure of the XendoU nuclease from Xenopus laevis. Molecular-docking simulations predict that the CdiA-CT toxin active site is occluded upon binding to the CdiI immunity protein. Together, these observations suggest that the immunity protein neutralizes toxin activity by preventing access to RNA substrates.
Project description:Bacteria have developed several strategies to communicate and compete with one another in complex environments. One important mechanism of inter-bacterial competition is contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI), in which Gram-negative bacteria use CdiB/CdiA two-partner secretion proteins to suppress the growth of neighboring target cells. CdiB is an Omp85 outer-membrane protein that exports and assembles CdiA exoproteins onto the inhibitor cell surface. CdiA binds to receptors on susceptible bacteria and subsequently delivers its C-terminal toxin domain (CdiA-CT) into the target cell. CDI systems also encode CdiI immunity proteins, which specifically bind to the CdiA-CT and neutralize its toxin activity, thereby protecting CDI(+) cells from auto-inhibition. Remarkably, CdiA-CT sequences are highly variable between bacteria, as are the corresponding CdiI immunity proteins. Variations in CDI toxin/immunity proteins suggest that these systems function in bacterial self/non-self recognition and thereby play an important role in microbial communities. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the biochemistry, structural biology and physiology of CDI.
Project description:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a widespread mechanism of inter-bacterial competition mediated by the CdiB/CdiA family of two-partner secretion proteins. CdiA effectors carry diverse C-terminal toxin domains (CdiA-CT), which are delivered into neighboring target cells to inhibit growth. CDI(+) bacteria also produce CdiI immunity proteins that bind specifically to cognate CdiA-CT toxins and protect the cell from auto-inhibition. Here, we compare the structures of homologous CdiA-CT/CdiI complexes from Escherichia coli EC869 and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis YPIII to explore the evolution of CDI toxin/immunity protein interactions. Both complexes share an unusual ?-augmentation interaction, in which the toxin domain extends a ?-hairpin into the immunity protein to complete a six-stranded anti-parallel sheet. However, the specific contacts differ substantially between the two complexes. The EC869 ?-hairpin interacts mainly through direct H-bond and ion-pair interactions, whereas the YPIII ?-hairpin pocket contains more hydrophobic contacts and a network of bridging water molecules. In accord with these differences, we find that each CdiI protein only protects target bacteria from its cognate CdiA-CT toxin. The compact ?-hairpin binding pocket within the immunity protein represents a tractable system for the rationale design of small molecules to block CdiA-CT/CdiI complex formation. We synthesized a macrocyclic peptide mimic of the ?-hairpin from EC869 toxin and solved its structure in complex with cognate immunity protein. These latter studies suggest that small molecules could potentially be used to disrupt CDI toxin/immunity complexes.
Project description:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiA/CdiB family of two-partner secretion proteins. Each CdiA protein exhibits a distinct growth inhibition activity, which resides in the polymorphic C-terminal region (CdiA-CT). CDI(+) cells also express unique CdiI immunity proteins that specifically block the activity of cognate CdiA-CT, thereby protecting the cell from autoinhibition. Here we show that many CDI systems contain multiple cdiA gene fragments that encode CdiA-CT sequences. These "orphan" cdiA-CT genes are almost always associated with downstream cdiI genes to form cdiA-CT/cdiI modules. Comparative genome analyses suggest that cdiA-CT/cdiI modules are mobile and exchanged between the CDI systems of different bacteria. In many instances, orphan cdiA-CT/cdiI modules are fused to full-length cdiA genes in other bacterial species. Examination of cdiA-CT/cdiI modules from Escherichia coli EC93, E. coli EC869, and Dickeya dadantii 3937 confirmed that these genes encode functional toxin/immunity pairs. Moreover, the orphan module from EC93 was functional in cell-mediated CDI when fused to the N-terminal portion of the EC93 CdiA protein. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that the genetic organization of CDI systems shares features with rhs (rearrangement hotspot) loci. Rhs proteins also contain polymorphic C-terminal regions (Rhs-CTs), some of which share significant sequence identity with CdiA-CTs. All rhs genes are followed by small ORFs representing possible rhsI immunity genes, and several Rhs systems encode orphan rhs-CT/rhsI modules. Analysis of rhs-CT/rhsI modules from D. dadantii 3937 demonstrated that Rhs-CTs have growth inhibitory activity, which is specifically blocked by cognate RhsI immunity proteins. Together, these results suggest that Rhs plays a role in intercellular competition and that orphan gene modules expand the diversity of toxic activities deployed by both CDI and Rhs systems.
Project description:Burkholderia pseudomallei is a category B pathogen and the causative agent of melioidosis--a serious infectious disease that is typically acquired directly from environmental reservoirs. Nearly all B.?pseudomallei strains sequenced to date (> 85 isolates) contain gene clusters that are related to the contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems of ?-proteobacteria. CDI systems from Escherichia coli and Dickeya dadantii play significant roles in bacterial competition, suggesting these systems may also contribute to the competitive fitness of B.?pseudomallei. Here, we identify 10 distinct CDI systems in B.?pseudomallei based on polymorphisms within the cdiA-CT/cdiI coding regions, which are predicted to encode CdiA-CT/CdiI toxin/immunity protein pairs. Biochemical analysis of three B.?pseudomallei CdiA-CTs revealed that each protein possesses a distinct tRNase activity capable of inhibiting cell growth. These toxin activities are blocked by cognate CdiI immunity proteins, which specifically bind the CdiA-CT and protect cells from growth inhibition. Using Burkholderia thailandensis E264 as a model, we show that a CDI system from B.?pseudomallei 1026b mediates CDI and is capable of delivering CdiA-CT toxins derived from other B.?pseudomallei strains. These results demonstrate that Burkholderia species contain functional CDI systems, which may confer a competitive advantage to these bacteria.
Project description:Bacteria have developed mechanisms to communicate and compete with one another in diverse environments. A new form of intercellular communication, contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI), was discovered recently in Escherichia coli. CDI is mediated by the CdiB/CdiA two-partner secretion (TPS) system. CdiB facilitates secretion of the CdiA 'exoprotein' onto the cell surface. An additional small immunity protein (CdiI) protects CDI(+) cells from autoinhibition. The mechanisms by which CDI blocks cell growth and by which CdiI counteracts this growth arrest are unknown. Moreover, the existence of CDI activity in other bacteria has not been explored. Here we show that the CDI growth inhibitory activity resides within the carboxy-terminal region of CdiA (CdiA-CT), and that CdiI binds and inactivates cognate CdiA-CT, but not heterologous CdiA-CT. Bioinformatic and experimental analyses show that multiple bacterial species encode functional CDI systems with high sequence variability in the CdiA-CT and CdiI coding regions. CdiA-CT heterogeneity implies that a range of toxic activities are used during CDI. Indeed, CdiA-CTs from uropathogenic E.?coli and the plant pathogen Dickeya dadantii have different nuclease activities, each providing a distinct mechanism of growth inhibition. Finally, we show that bacteria lacking the CdiA-CT and CdiI coding regions are unable to compete with isogenic wild-type CDI(+) cells both in laboratory media and on a eukaryotic host. Taken together, these results suggest that CDI systems constitute an intricate immunity network with an important function in bacterial competition.