Stringent Response Factors PPX1 and PPK2 Play an Important Role in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Metabolism, Biofilm Formation, and Sensitivity to Isoniazid In Vivo.
ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains a global health threat largely due to the lengthy duration of curative antibiotic treatment, contributing to medical nonadherence and the emergence of drug resistance. This prolonged therapy is likely due to the presence of M. tuberculosis persisters, which exhibit antibiotic tolerance. Inorganic polyphosphate [poly(P)] is a key regulatory molecule in the M. tuberculosis stringent response mediating antibiotic tolerance. The polyphosphate kinase PPK1 is responsible for poly(P) synthesis in M. tuberculosis, while the exopolyphosphatases PPX1 and PPX2 and the GTP synthase PPK2 are responsible for poly(P) hydrolysis. In the present study, we show by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry that poly(P)-accumulating M. tuberculosis mutant strains deficient in ppx1 or ppk2 had significantly lower intracellular levels of glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) and 1-deoxy-xylulose-5-phosphate. Real-time PCR revealed decreased expression of genes in the G3P synthesis pathway in each mutant. The ppx1-deficient mutant also showed a significant accumulation of metabolites in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, as well as altered arginine and NADH metabolism. Each poly(P)-accumulating strain showed defective biofilm formation, while deficiency of ppk2 was associated with increased sensitivity to plumbagin and meropenem and deficiency of ppx1 led to enhanced susceptibility to clofazimine. A DNA vaccine expressing ppx1 and ppk2, together with two other members of the M. tuberculosis stringent response, M. tuberculosis rel and sigE, did not show protective activity against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis, but vaccine-induced immunity enhanced the killing activity of isoniazid in a murine model of chronic tuberculosis. In summary, poly(P)-regulating factors of the M. tuberculosis stringent response play an important role in M. tuberculosis metabolism, biofilm formation, and antibiotic sensitivity in vivo.
Project description:Stringent response pathways involving inorganic polyphosphate (PolyP) play an essential role in bacterial stress adaptation and virulence. The intracellular levels of PolyP are modulated by the activities of polyphosphate kinase-1 (PPK1), polyphosphate kinase-2 (PPK2), and exopolyphosphatases (PPXs). The genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis encodes two functional PPXs, and simultaneous deletion of ppx1 and ppx2 results in a defect in biofilm formation. We demonstrate here that these PPXs cumulatively contribute to the ability of M. tuberculosis to survive in nutrient-limiting, low-oxygen growth conditions and also in macrophages. Characterization of single (?ppx2) and double knockout (dkppx) strains of M. tuberculosis indicated that PPX-mediated PolyP degradation is essential for establishing bacterial infection in guinea pigs. RNA-Seq-based transcriptional profiling revealed that relative to the parental strain, the expression levels of DosR regulon-regulated dormancy genes were significantly reduced in the dkppx mutant strain. In concordance, we also provide evidence that PolyP inhibits the autophosphorylation activities associated with DosT and DosS sensor kinases. The results in this study uncover that enzymes involved in PolyP homeostasis play a critical role in M. tuberculosis physiology and virulence and are attractive targets for developing more effective therapeutic interventions.
Project description:The inorganic polyphosphate (poly-P) is a key regulator of stress responses and virulence in many bacterial pathogens including Campylobacter jejuni. The role of exopolyphosphatases/guanosine pentaphosphate (pppGpp) phosphohydrolases (PPX/GPPA) in poly-P homeostasis and C. jejuni pathobiology remains unexplored. Here, we analyzed deletion mutants (?ppx1, ?ppx2) and the double knockout mutant (dkppx), all ?ppx mutants exhibited increased capacity to accumulate poly-P; however only ?ppx1 and dkppx mutants showed decreased accumulation of ppGpp, an alarmone molecule that regulates stringent response in bacteria, suggesting potential dual role for PPX1/GPPA. Nutrient survival defect of ?ppx mutants was rescued by the supplementation of specific amino acids implying that survival defect may be associated with decreased ppGpp and/ or increased poly-P in ?ppx mutants. The ppk1 and spoT were upregulated in both ?ppx1 and ?ppx2 suggesting a compensatory role for SpoT and Ppk1 in poly-P and ppGpp homeostasis. The lack of ppx genes resulted in defects in motility, biofilm formation, nutrient stress survival, invasion and intracellular survival indicating that maintaining a certain level of poly-P is critical for ppx genes in C. jejuni pathophysiology. Both ppx1 and ppx2 mutants were resistant to human complement-mediated killing; however, the dkppx mutant was sensitive. The serum susceptibility did not occur in the presence of MgCl 2 and EGTA suggesting an involvement of the classical or lectin pathway of complement mediated killing. Interestingly, the chicken serum did not have any effect on the ?ppx mutants' survival. The observed serum susceptibility was not related to C. jejuni surface capsule and lipooligosaccharide structures. Our study underscores the importance of PPX/GPPA proteins in poly-P and ppGpp homeostasis, two critical molecules that modulate environmental stress responses and virulence in C. jejuni.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis can persist for decades in the human host. Stringent response pathways involving inorganic polyphosphate [poly(P)], which is synthesized and hydrolyzed by polyphosphate kinase (PPK) and exopolyphosphatase (PPX), respectively, are believed to play a key regulatory role in bacterial persistence. We show here that M. tuberculosis poly(P) accumulation is temporally linked to bacillary growth restriction. We also identify M. tuberculosis Rv1026 as a novel exopolyphosphatase with hydrolytic activity against long-chain poly(P). Using a tetracycline-inducible expression system to knock down expression of Rv1026 (ppx2), we found that M. tuberculosis poly(P) accumulation leads to slowed growth and reduced susceptibility to isoniazid, increased resistance to heat and acid pH, and enhanced intracellular survival during macrophage infection. By transmission electron microscopy, the ppx2 knockdown strain exhibited increased cell wall thickness, which was associated with reduced cell wall permeability to hydrophilic drugs rather than induction of drug efflux pumps or altered biofilm formation relative to the empty vector control. Transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis revealed a metabolic downshift of the ppx2 knockdown characterized by reduced transcription and translation and a downshift of glycerol-3-phosphate levels. In summary, poly(P) plays an important role in M. tuberculosis growth restriction and metabolic downshift and contributes to antibiotic tolerance through altered cell wall permeability.The stringent response, involving the regulatory molecules inorganic polyphosphate [poly(P)] and (p)ppGpp, is believed to mediate Mycobacterium tuberculosis persistence. In this study, we identified a novel enzyme (Rv1026, PPX2) responsible for hydrolyzing long-chain poly(P). A genetically engineered M. tuberculosis strain deficient in the ppx2 gene showed increased poly(P) levels, which were associated with early bacterial growth arrest and reduced susceptibility to the first-line drug isoniazid, as well as increased bacterial survival during exposure to stress conditions and within macrophages. Relative to the control strain, the mutant showed increased thickness of the cell wall and reduced drug permeability. Global gene expression and metabolite analysis revealed reduced expression of the transcriptional and translational machinery and a shift in carbon source utilization. In summary, regulation of the poly(P) balance is critical for persister formation in M. tuberculosis.
Project description:The Mycobacterium tuberculosis gene Rv3232c/MT3329 (ppk2) encodes a class II polyphosphate kinase, which hydrolyzes inorganic polyphosphate (poly P) to synthesize GTP. We assessed the role of ppk2 in M. tuberculosis poly P regulation, antibiotic tolerance, and virulence. A ppk2-deficient mutant (ppk2::Tn) and its isogenic wild-type (WT) and complemented (Comp) strains were studied. For each strain, the intrabacillary poly P content, MIC of isoniazid, and growth kinetics during infection of J774 macrophages were determined. Multiplex immunobead assays were used to evaluate cytokines elaborated during macrophage infection. The requirement of ppk2 for M. tuberculosis virulence was assessed in the murine model. The ppk2::Tn mutant was found to have significantly increased poly P content and a 4-fold increase in the MIC of isoniazid relative to the WT and Comp strains. The ppk2::Tn mutant showed reduced survival at day 7 in activated and naive J774 macrophages relative to the WT. Naive ppk2::Tn mutant-infected macrophages showed increased expression of interleukin 2 (IL-2), IL-9, IL-10, IL-12p70, and gamma interferon (IFN-?) relative to WT-infected macrophages. The ppk2::Tn mutant exhibited significantly lower lung CFU during acute murine infection compared to the control groups. ppk2 is required for control of intrabacillary poly P levels and optimal M. tuberculosis growth and survival in macrophages and mouse lungs. IMPORTANCE Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), is a highly successful human pathogen because it has developed mechanisms to multiply and survive in the lungs by circumventing the immune system. Identification of virulence factors responsible for M. tuberculosis growth and persistence in host tissues may assist in the development of novel strategies to treat TB. In this study, we found that the mycobacterial enzyme polyphosphate kinase 2 (PPK2) is required for controlling intracellular levels of important regulatory molecules and for maintaining susceptibility to the first-line anti-TB drug isoniazid. In addition, PPK2 was found to be required for M. tuberculosis growth in the lungs of mice, at least in part by suppressing the expression of certain key cytokines and chemokines by inactivated lung macrophages.
Project description:Microorganisms can influence inorganic phosphate (Pi) in pore waters, and thus the saturation state of phosphatic minerals, by accumulating and hydrolyzing intracellular polyphosphate (poly-P). Here we used comparative metatranscriptomics to explore microbial poly-P utilization in marine sediments. Sulfidic marine sediments from methane seeps near Barbados and from the Santa Barbara Basin (SBB) oxygen minimum zone were incubated under oxic and anoxic sulfidic conditions. Pi was sequestered under oxic conditions and liberated under anoxic conditions. Transcripts homologous to poly-P kinase type 2 (ppk2) were 6-22 × more abundant in metatranscriptomes from the anoxic incubations, suggesting that reversible poly-P degradation by Ppk2 may be an important metabolic response to anoxia by marine microorganisms. Overall, diverse taxa differentially expressed homologues of genes for poly-P degradation (ppk2 and exopolyphosphatase) under different incubation conditions. Sulfur-oxidizing microorganisms appeared to preferentially express genes for poly-P degradation under anoxic conditions, which may impact phosphorus cycling in a wide range of oxygen-depleted marine settings.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP), a polymer of tens or hundreds of phosphate residues linked by ATP-like bonds, is found in all organisms and performs a wide variety of functions. PolyP is synthesized in bacterial cells by the actions of polyphosphate kinases (PPK1 and PPK2) and degraded by an exopolyphosphatase (PPX). Bacterial cells with polyP deficiencies are impaired in many structural and important cellular functions such as motility, quorum sensing, biofilm formation and virulence. Knockout mutants of the ppk1 gene have been the most frequent strategy employed to generate polyP deficient cells. RESULTS: As an alternative method to construct polyP-deficient bacteria we developed constitutive and regulated broad-host-range vectors for depleting the cellular polyP content. This was achieved by the overexpression of yeast exopolyphosphatase (PPX1). Using this approach in a polyphosphate accumulating bacteria (Pseudomonas sp. B4), we were able to eliminate most of the cellular polyP (>95%). Furthermore, the effect of overexpression of PPX1 resembled the functional defects found in motility and biofilm formation in a ppk1 mutant from Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. The plasmids constructed were also successfully replicated in other bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Burkholderia and Salmonella. CONCLUSION: To deplete polyP contents in bacteria broad-host-range expression vectors can be used as an alternative and more efficient method compared with the deletion of ppk genes. It is of great importance to understand why polyP deficiency affects vital cellular processes in bacteria. The construction reported in this work will be of great relevance to study the role of polyP in microorganisms with non-sequenced genomes or those in which orthologs to ppk genes have not been identified.
Project description:Inorganic polyphosphate (poly-P), guanosine pentaphosphate (pppGpp) and guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp) are ubiquitous in bacteria. These molecules play a variety of important physiological roles associated with stress resistance, persistence, and virulence. In the bacterial pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the identities of the proteins responsible for the metabolism of polyphosphate and (p)ppGpp remain to be fully established. M. tuberculosis encodes two PPX-GppA homologues, Rv0496 (MTB-PPX1) and Rv1026, which share significant sequence similarity with bacterial exopolyphosphatase (PPX) and guanosine pentaphosphate 5'-phosphohydrolase (GPP) proteins. Here we delineate the respective biochemical activities of the Rv0496 and Rv1026 proteins and benchmark these against the activities of the PPX and GPP proteins from Escherichia coli. We demonstrate that Rv0496 functions as an exopolyphosphatase, showing a distinct preference for relatively short-chain poly-P substrates. In contrast, Rv1026 has no detectable exopolyphosphatase activities. Analogous to the E. coli PPX and GPP enzymes, the exopolyphosphatase activities of Rv0496 are inhibited by pppGpp and, to a lesser extent, by ppGpp alarmones, which are produced during the bacterial stringent response. However, neither Rv0496 nor Rv1026 have the ability to hydrolyze pppGpp to ppGpp; a reaction catalyzed by E. coli PPX and GPP. Both the Rv0496 and Rv1026 proteins have modest ATPase and to a lesser extent ADPase activities. pppGpp alarmones inhibit the ATPase activities of Rv1026 and, to a lesser extent, the ATPase activities of Rv0496. We conclude that PPX-GppA family proteins may not possess all the catalytic activities implied by their name and may play distinct biochemical roles involved in polyphosphate and (p)ppGpp metabolic pathways.
Project description:The stringent response, involving the regulatory molecules inorganic polyphosphate (poly P) and (p)ppGpp, is believed to mediate Mycobacterium tuberculosis persistence. In this study, we identified a novel exopolyphosphatase responsible for poly P hydrolysis. Using two different poly P-accumulating M. tuberculosis recombinant strains, we found that increased poly P content drives the organisms into early growth arrest, and contributes to tolerance to the cell wall-active agent isoniazid, increased resistance to stress conditions, and improved survival in macrophages. Transcriptomic and metabolomics analysis revealed metabolic downshift manifested by reduced expression of the transcriptional and translational machinery, and shift from utilization of glucose as a carbon source. In summary, regulation of the poly P balance is critical for persister formation in M. tuberculosis. The transcriptome of poly P accumulation strains, Rv1026 knock-down and ppk1 knock-in were compared to empty vector strains by RNA-seq.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Inorganic polyphosphate (poly P) plays an important role in stress tolerance and virulence in many bacteria. PPK1 is the principal enzyme involved in poly P synthesis, while PPK2 uses poly P to generate GTP, a signaling molecule that serves as an alternative energy source and a precursor for various physiological processes. Campylobacter jejuni, an important cause of foodborne gastroenteritis in humans, possesses homologs of both ppk1 and ppk2. ppk1 has been previously shown to impact the pathobiology of C. jejuni. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we demonstrate for the first time that the deletion of ppk2 in C. jejuni resulted in a significant decrease in poly P-dependent GTP synthesis, while displaying an increased intracellular ATP:GTP ratio. The Deltappk2 mutant exhibited a significant survival defect under osmotic, nutrient, aerobic, and antimicrobial stresses and displayed an enhanced ability to form static biofilms. However, the Deltappk2 mutant was not defective in poly P and ppGpp synthesis suggesting that PPK2-mediated stress tolerance is not ppGpp-mediated. Importantly, the Deltappk2 mutant was significantly attenuated in invasion and intracellular survival within human intestinal epithelial cells as well as in chicken colonization. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, we have highlighted the role of PPK2 as a novel pathogenicity determinant that is critical for C. jejuni survival, adaptation, and persistence in the host environments. PPK2 is absent in humans and animals; therefore, can serve as a novel target for therapeutic intervention of C. jejuni infections.
Project description:The metabolism of polyphosphate is important for the virulence of a wide range of pathogenic bacteria and the enzymes of polyphosphate metabolism have been proposed as an anti-bacterial target. In the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis, the product of the gene FTT1564 has been identified as a polyphosphate kinase from the polyphosphate kinase 2 (PPK2) family. The isogenic deletion mutant was defective for intracellular growth in macrophages and was attenuated in mice, indicating an important role for polyphosphate in the virulence of Francisella. Herein, we report the biochemical and structural characterization of F. tularensis polyphosphate kinase (FtPPK2) with a view to characterizing the enzyme as a novel target for inhibitors. Using an HPLC-based activity assay, the substrate specificity of FtPPK2 was found to include purine but not pyrimidine nts. The activity was also measured using (31)P-NMR. FtPPK2 has been crystallized and the structure determined to 2.23 Å (1 Å=0.1 nm) resolution. The structure consists of a six-stranded parallel β-sheet surrounded by 12 α-helices, with a high degree of similarity to other members of the PPK2 family and the thymidylate kinase superfamily. Residues proposed to be important for substrate binding and catalysis have been identified in the structure, including a lid-loop and the conserved Walker A and B motifs. The ΔFTT1564 strain showed significantly increased sensitivity to a range of antibiotics in a manner independent of the mode of action of the antibiotic. This combination of biochemical, structural and microbiological data provide a sound foundation for future studies targeting the development of PPK2 small molecule inhibitors.