Biofilm mode of growth of Streptococcus intermedius favored by a competence-stimulating signaling peptide.
ABSTRACT: Gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria use quorum sensing to coordinate population behavior. In several streptococci, quorum sensing mediated by competence-stimulating peptides (CSP) is associated with development of competence for transformation. We show here that a synthetic CSP favored the biofilm mode of growth of Streptococcus intermedius without affecting the rate of culture growth.
Project description:Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus, a member of the group D streptococci, is normally found in the bovine rumen and human gut. It is an opportunistic pathogen that was recently determined to be a bacterial driver of colorectal cancer, in addition to causing other diseases, such as infective endocarditis, bacteremia, neonatal meningitis, and septicemia. As an emerging pathogen, not much is known about this bacterium, its virulence mechanisms, or its virulence regulatory pathways. Previous studies suggest that S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus uses a ComRS pathway, one of many Streptococcus quorum-sensing circuitries, for competence. However, thus far, the ubiquitous ComABCDE pathway has not been studied, nor has its regulatory role in S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus We therefore sought to study the S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus ComABCDE quorum-sensing pathway and have identified its peptide pheromone, which is termed the competence-stimulating peptide (CSP). We further determined that this peptide regulates the production of bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances (BLISs), a phenotype that has been linked with the ComABCDE pathway in both Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus mutans Our data show that S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus TX20005 produces a 21-mer CSP signal, which differs from CSP signals of other Streptococcus species in that its active form begins three residues after the double-glycine leader signal of the ComC precursor peptide. Additionally, our data suggest that this peptide might not be related to competence induction, as opposed to CSP signaling peptides in other Streptococcus species. This study provides the first evidence that S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus utilizes quorum sensing to eliminate competitors, presenting a potential pathway to target this emerging human pathogen.IMPORTANCEStreptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus is an emerging human pathogen known as a causative agent of infective endocarditis, and recently, of colorectal cancer. In this work, we revealed a functional quorum-sensing circuitry in S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus, including the identification of the central signaling peptide pheromone, competence-stimulating peptide (CSP), and the regulatory role of this circuitry in the production of bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances (BLISs). This work uncovered a mechanism by which this bacterium outcompetes other bacterial species and thus provides a potential tool to study this opportunistic pathogen.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae becomes competent for genetic transformation when exposed to an autoinducer peptide known as competence-stimulating peptide (CSP). This peptide was originally described as a quorum-sensing signal, enabling individual cells to regulate competence in response to population density. However, recent studies suggest that CSP may instead serve as a probe for sensing environmental cues, such as antibiotic stress or environmental diffusion. Here, we show that competence induction can be simultaneously influenced by cell density, external pH, antibiotic-induced stress, and cell history. Our experimental data is explained by a mathematical model where the environment and cell history modify the rate at which cells produce or sense CSP. Taken together, model and experiments indicate that autoinducer concentration can function as an indicator of cell density across environmental conditions, while also incorporating information on environmental factors or cell history, allowing cells to integrate cues such as antibiotic stress into their quorum-sensing response. This unifying perspective may apply to other debated quorum-sensing systems.Peptide CSP regulates natural competence in pneumococci and has been proposed as a quorum-sensing signal or a probe for sensing environmental cues. Here, the authors show that CSP levels can indeed act as an indicator of cell density and also incorporate information on environmental factors or cell history.
Project description:Many species of streptococci secrete and use a competence-stimulating peptide (CSP) to initiate quorum sensing for induction of genetic competence, bacteriocin production, and other activities. These signaling molecules are small, unmodified peptides that induce powerful strain-specific activity at nano-molar concentrations. This feature has provided an excellent opportunity to explore their structure-function relationships. However, CSP variants have also been identified in many species, and each specifically activates its cognate receptor. How such minor changes dramatically affect the specificity of these peptides remains unclear. Structure-activity analysis of these peptides may provide clues for understanding the specificity of signaling peptide-receptor interactions. Here, we use the Streptococcus mutans CSP as an example to describe methods of analyzing its structure-activity relationship. The methods described here may provide a platform for studying quorum-sensing signaling peptides of other naturally transformable streptococci.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae can acquire antibiotic resistance by activation of competence and subsequent DNA uptake. Here, we demonstrate that aztreonam (ATM) and clavulanic acid (CLA) promote competence. We show that both compounds induce cell chain formation by targeting the d,d-carboxypeptidase PBP3. In support of the hypothesis that chain formation promotes competence, we demonstrate that an autolysin mutant (?lytB) is hypercompetent. Since competence is initiated by the binding of a small extracellular peptide (CSP) to a membrane-anchored receptor (ComD), we wondered whether chain formation alters CSP diffusion kinetics. Indeed, ATM or CLA presence affects competence synchronization by shifting from global to local quorum sensing, as CSP is primarily retained to chained cells, rather than shared in a common pool. Importantly, autocrine-like signaling prolongs the time window in which the population is able to take up DNA. Together, these insights demonstrate the versatility of quorum sensing and highlight the importance of an accurate antibiotic prescription.
Project description:Streptococcus mutans ( S. mutans) is a Gram-positive human pathogen that is one of the major contributors to dental caries, a condition with an economic cost of over $100 billion per year in the United States. S. mutans secretes a 21-amino-acid peptide termed the competence stimulating peptide (21-CSP) to assess its population density in a process termed quorum sensing (QS) and to initiate a variety of phenotypes such as biofilm formation and bacteriocin production. 21-CSP is processed by a membrane bound protease SepM into active 18-CSP, which then binds to the ComD receptor. This study seeks to determine the molecular mechanism that ties 21-CSP:SepM recognition and 18-CSP:ComD receptor binding and to identify QS modulators with distinct activity profiles. To this end, we conducted systematic replacement of the amino acid residues in both 21-CSP and 18-CSP and assessed the ability of the mutated analogs to modulate QS. We identified residues that are important to SepM recognition and ComD receptor binding. Our results shed light on the S. mutans competence QS pathway at the molecular level. Moreover, our structural insights of the CSP signal can be used to design QS-based anti-infective therapeutics against S. mutans.
Project description:A number of gram-negative bacteria regulate gene expression in a cell density-dependent manner by quorum sensing via N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs). Gluconacetobacter intermedius NCI1051, a gram-negative acetic acid bacterium, produces three different AHLs, N-decanoyl-l-homoserine lactone, N-dodecanoyl-L-homoserine lactone, and an N-dodecanoyl-L-homoserine lactone with a single unsaturated bond in its acyl chain, as determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Two genes encoding an AHL synthase and a cognate regulator were cloned from strain NCI1051 and designated ginI and ginR, respectively. Disruption of ginI or ginR abolished AHL production, indicating that NCI1051 contains a single set of quorum-sensing genes. Transcriptional analysis showed that ginI is activated by GinR, which is consistent with the finding that there is an inverted repeat whose nucleotide sequence is similar to the sequence bound by members of the LuxR family at position -45 with respect to the transcriptional start site of ginI. A single gene, designated ginA, located just downstream of ginI is transcribed by read-through from the GinR-inducible ginI promoter. A ginA mutant, as well as the ginI and ginR mutants, grew more rapidly in medium containing 2% (vol/vol) ethanol and accumulated acetic acid at a higher rate with a greater final yield than parental strain NCI1051. In addition, these mutants produced larger amounts of gluconic acid than the parental strain. These data demonstrate that the GinI/GinR quorum-sensing system in G. intermedius controls the expression of ginA, which in turn represses oxidative fermentation, including acetic acid and gluconic acid fermentation.
Project description:The aim of this study is to identify the rapid (RR) and adaptative (AR) response of S. pneumoniae to aztreonam and clavulanic acid stress on transcriptional level Streptococcus pneumoniae is able to acquire antibiotic resistance by activation of competence and subsequent DNA uptake. Several antibiotics induce competence by disrupting protein-quality control or perturbing DNA replication. Here, we demonstrate that aztreonam (AZT) and clavulanic acid (CLA) also promote competence. We show that AZT and CLA induce cell chain formation by targeting the D,D-carboxypeptidase PBP3. In support of the hypothesis that chain forming promotes competence, we demonstrate that an autolysin mutant (𝞓lytB) is hypercompetent. As competence is initiated by the binding of a small extracellular peptide (CSP) to a membrane-anchored receptor (ComD), we wondered if chain formation alters CSP diffusion and thereby sensing by ComD. Indeed, the presence of AZT or CLA affects competence synchronization. Artificially reducing CSP diffusion by increasing culture medium viscosity also triggers competence. Together, our data show that AZT and CLA effectively switch CSP-based quorum sensing to autocrine-like signalling, as CSP is now retained to chained cells and no longer shared in a common pool. Overall design: The different conditions were compared to each other. With or withour the short (rapid response) or long (adaptative response) presence of the compounds. The slide configuration also contained 6 replicate spots for each gene.
Project description:Competence for genetic transformation in Streptococcus pneumoniae is coordinated by the competence-stimulating peptide (CSP), which induces a sudden and transient appearance of competence during exponential growth in vitro. Models of this quorum-sensing mechanism have proposed sequential expression of several regulatory genes followed by induction of target genes encoding DNA-processing-pathway proteins. Although many genes required for transformation are known to be expressed only in response to CSP, the relative timing of their expression has not been established. Overlapping expression patterns for the genes cinA and comD (G. Alloing, B. Martin, C. Granadel, and J. P. Claverys, Mol. Microbiol. 29:75-83, 1998) suggest that at least two distinct regulatory mechanisms may underlie the competence cycle. DNA microarrays were used to estimate mRNA levels for all known competence operons during induction of competence by CSP. The known competence regulatory operons, comAB, comCDE, and comX, exhibited a low or zero initial (uninduced) signal, strongly increased expression during the period between 5 and 12 min after CSP addition, and a decrease nearly to original values by 15 min after initiation of exposure to CSP. The remaining competence genes displayed a similar expression pattern, but with an additional delay of approximately 5 min. In a mutant defective in ComX, which may act as an alternate sigma factor to allow expression of the target competence genes, the same regulatory genes were induced, but the other competence genes were not. Finally, examination of the expression of 60 candidate sites not previously associated with competence identified eight additional loci that could be induced by CSP.
Project description:Streptococcus mutans, a causative agent of dental caries, relies on multiple quorum-sensing (QS) pathways that coordinate the expression of factors needed for colonization in the oral cavity. S. mutans uses small peptides as QS signaling molecules that typically are secreted into the outside milieu. Competence-stimulating peptide (CSP) is one such QS signaling molecule that functions through the ComDE two-component signal transduction pathway. CSP is secreted through NlmTE, a dedicated ABC transporter that cleaves off the N-terminal leader peptide to generate a mature peptide that is 21 residues long (CSP-21). We recently identified a surface-localized protease, SepM, which further cleaves the CSP-21 peptide at the C-terminal end and removes the last 3 residues to generate CSP-18. CSP-18 is the active QS molecule that interacts with the ComD sensor kinase to activate the QS pathway. In this study, we show that SepM specifically cleaves CSP-21 between the Ala18 and Leu19 residues. We also show that SepM recognizes only Ala at position 18 and Leu at position 19, although some CSP-18 variants with a substitution at position 18 can function equally as well as the QS peptide. Furthermore, we demonstrate that SepM homologs from other streptococci are capable of processing CSP-21 to generate functional CSP-18.SepM is a membrane-associated streptococcal protease that processes competence-stimulating peptide (CSP) to generate an active quorum-sensing molecule in S. mutans. SepM belongs to the S16 family of serine proteases, and in this study, we found that SepM behaves as an endopeptidase. SepM displays strict substrate specificity and cleaves the peptide bond between the Ala and Leu residues. This is the first report of an endopeptidase that specifically cleaves these two residues.
Project description:Natural transformation in Streptococcus pneumoniae is regulated by a quorum-sensing system that acts through accumulation and sensing of a peptide pheromone (competence-stimulating peptide [CSP]) to control many competence-specific genes acting in DNA uptake, processing, and integration. The period of competence induced by CSP lasts only 15 min (quarter-height peak width). The recently identified regulator ComX is required for the CSP-dependent expression of many competence-specific genes that share an unusual consensus sequence (TACGAATA) at their promoter regions. To test the hypothesis that this regulator acts as a transient alternative sigma factor, ComX was purified from an Escherichia coli overexpression strain and core RNA polymerase was purified from a comX-deficient S. pneumoniae strain. The reconstituted ComX-polymerase holoenzyme produced transcripts for the competence-specific genes ssbB, cinA, cglA, celA, and dalA and was inhibited by anti-ComX antibody, but not by anti-sigma(70) antibody. Western blotting using antibodies specific for ComX, sigma(70), and poly-His revealed a transient presence of ComX for a period of 15 to 20 min after CSP treatment, while RNA polymerase remained at a constant level and sigma(A) remained between 60 and 125% of its normal level. ComX reached a molar ratio to RNA polymerase of at least 1.5. We conclude that ComX is unstable and acts as a competence-specific sigma factor.