High-throughput CRISPRi phenotyping identifies new essential genes in Streptococcus pneumoniae.
ABSTRACT: Genome-wide screens have discovered a large set of essential genes in the opportunistic human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae However, the functions of many essential genes are still unknown, hampering vaccine development and drug discovery. Based on results from transposon sequencing (Tn-seq), we refined the list of essential genes in S. pneumoniae serotype 2 strain D39. Next, we created a knockdown library targeting 348 potentially essential genes by CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) and show a growth phenotype for 254 of them (73%). Using high-content microscopy screening, we searched for essential genes of unknown function with clear phenotypes in cell morphology upon CRISPRi-based depletion. We show that SPD_1416 and SPD_1417 (renamed to MurT and GatD, respectively) are essential for peptidoglycan synthesis, and that SPD_1198 and SPD_1197 (renamed to TarP and TarQ, respectively) are responsible for the polymerization of teichoic acid (TA) precursors. This knowledge enabled us to reconstruct the unique pneumococcal TA biosynthetic pathway. CRISPRi was also employed to unravel the role of the essential Clp-proteolytic system in regulation of competence development, and we show that ClpX is the essential ATPase responsible for ClpP-dependent repression of competence. The CRISPRi library provides a valuable tool for characterization of pneumococcal genes and pathways and revealed several promising antibiotic targets.
Project description:Genome-wide screens have discovered a large set of essential genes in the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. However, the function of many essential genes is still unknown, hampering vaccine and drug development programs. Based on results from transposon-sequencing (Tn-Seq), we refined the list of essential genes in S. pneumoniae serotype 2 strain D39. Next, we created a knockdown library targeting all 391 potentially essential genes using CRISPR interference (CRISPRi). Using high-content microscopy screening, we searched for essential genes of unknown function with clear phenotypes in cell morphology upon CRISPRi-based depletion. We identified SPD1416 and SPD1417 (named to MurT and GatD, respectively) as essential peptidoglycan synthesis proteins and we show that SPD1198 and SPD1197 (named to TarP and TarQ, respectively) are responsible for the polymerization of teichoic acid (TA) precursors. This knowledge enabled us to reconstruct the unique pneumococcal TA biosynthetic pathway. Our CRISPRi library provides a valuable tool for characterization of pneumococcal genes and pathways and revealed several promising antibiotic targets. This RNA-Seq dataset is aimed to show that induction of the CRISPRi system very selectively represses its target gene, firefly luciferase, without other observable transcriptional effects. Overall design: Pairwise comparison of control and IPTG-induced cells (RNA-seq), analyzing the effect of CRISPRi activation on the transcriptome of Streptococcus pneumoniae. It was performed with deep sequencing, using an Illumina HiSeq 2000 machine with 51 nt single-end reads. Samples were analysed from duplicate samples. To separate CRISPRi-specific effects from general IPTG-induced effects, we compared the uninduced strains with IPTG-induced strains that either did or did not contain the single-guide RNA.
Project description:The universality of peptidoglycan in bacteria underlies the broad spectrum of many successful antibiotics. However, in our times of widespread resistance, the diversity of peptidoglycan modifications offers a variety of new antibacterials targets. In some Gram-positive species such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, or Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the second residue of the peptidoglycan precursor, D-glutamate, is amidated into iso-D-glutamine by the essential amidotransferase MurT/GatD complex. Here, we present the structure of this complex at 3.0 Å resolution. MurT has central and C-terminal domains similar to Mur ligases with a cysteine-rich insertion, which probably binds zinc, contributing to the interface with GatD. The mechanism of amidation by MurT is likely similar to the condensation catalyzed by Mur ligases. GatD is a glutaminase providing ammonia that is likely channeled to the MurT active site through a cavity network. The structure and assay presented here constitute a knowledge base for future drug development studies.
Project description:Glutamate amidation, a secondary modification of the peptidoglycan, was first identified in Staphylococcus aureus It is catalyzed by the protein products of the murT and gatD genes, which are conserved and colocalized in the genomes of most sequenced Gram-positive bacterial species. The MurT-GatD complex is required for cell viability, full resistance to ?-lactam antibiotics, and resistance to human lysozyme and is recognized as an attractive target for new antimicrobials. Great effort has been invested in the study of this step, culminating recently in three independent reports addressing the structural elucidation of the MurT-GatD complex. In this work, we demonstrate through the use of nonstructural approaches the critical and multiple roles of the C-terminal domain of MurT, annotated as DUF1727, in the MurT-GatD enzymatic complex. This domain provides the physical link between the two enzymatic activities and is essential for the amidation reaction. Copurification of recombinant MurT and GatD proteins and bacterial two-hybrid assays support the observation that the MurT-GatD interaction occurs through this domain. Most importantly, we provide in vivo evidence of the effect of substitutions at specific residues in DUF1727 on cell wall peptidoglycan amidation and on the phenotypes of oxacillin resistance and bacterial growth.
Project description:The peptidoglycan of Staphylococcus aureus is highly amidated. Amidation of α-D-isoglutamic acid in position 2 of the stem peptide plays a decisive role in the polymerization of cell wall building blocks. S. aureus mutants with a reduced degree of amidation are less viable and show increased susceptibility to methicillin, indicating that targeting the amidation reaction could be a useful strategy to combat this pathogen. The enzyme complex that catalyzes the formation of α-D-isoglutamine in the Lipid II stem peptide was identified recently and shown to consist of two subunits, the glutamine amidotransferase-like protein GatD and the Mur ligase homolog MurT. We have solved the crystal structure of the GatD/MurT complex at high resolution, revealing an open, boomerang-shaped conformation in which GatD is docked onto one end of MurT. Putative active site residues cluster at the interface between GatD and MurT and are contributed by both proteins, thus explaining the requirement for the assembled complex to carry out the reaction. Site-directed mutagenesis experiments confirm the validity of the observed interactions. Small-angle X-ray scattering data show that the complex has a similar conformation in solution, although some movement at domain interfaces can occur, allowing the two proteins to approach each other during catalysis. Several other Gram-positive pathogens, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Clostridium perfringens and Mycobacterium tuberculosis have homologous enzyme complexes. Combined with established biochemical assays, the structure of the GatD/MurT complex provides a solid basis for inhibitor screening in S. aureus and other pathogens.
Project description:The peptidoglycan of Staphylococcus aureus is characterized by a high degree of crosslinking and almost completely lacks free carboxyl groups, due to amidation of the D-glutamic acid in the stem peptide. Amidation of peptidoglycan has been proposed to play a decisive role in polymerization of cell wall building blocks, correlating with the crosslinking of neighboring peptidoglycan stem peptides. Mutants with a reduced degree of amidation are less viable and show increased susceptibility to methicillin. We identified the enzymes catalyzing the formation of D-glutamine in position 2 of the stem peptide. We provide biochemical evidence that the reaction is catalyzed by a glutamine amidotransferase-like protein and a Mur ligase homologue, encoded by SA1707 and SA1708, respectively. Both proteins, for which we propose the designation GatD and MurT, are required for amidation and appear to form a physically stable bi-enzyme complex. To investigate the reaction in vitro we purified recombinant GatD and MurT His-tag fusion proteins and their potential substrates, i.e. UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide, as well as the membrane-bound cell wall precursors lipid I, lipid II and lipid II-Gly?. In vitro amidation occurred with all bactoprenol-bound intermediates, suggesting that in vivo lipid II and/or lipid II-Gly? may be substrates for GatD/MurT. Inactivation of the GatD active site abolished lipid II amidation. Both, murT and gatD are organized in an operon and are essential genes of S. aureus. BLAST analysis revealed the presence of homologous transcriptional units in a number of gram-positive pathogens, e.g. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Streptococcus pneumonia and Clostridium perfringens, all known to have a D-iso-glutamine containing PG. A less negatively charged PG reduces susceptibility towards defensins and may play a general role in innate immune signaling.
Project description:Gram-positive bacteria homeostasis and antibiotic resistance mechanisms are dependent on the intricate architecture of the cell wall, where amidated peptidoglycan plays an important role. The amidation reaction is carried out by the bi-enzymatic complex MurT-GatD, for which biochemical and structural information is very scarce. In this work, we report the first crystal structure of the glutamine amidotransferase member of this complex, GatD from Staphylococcus aureus, at 1.85 Å resolution. A glutamine molecule is found close to the active site funnel, hydrogen-bonded to the conserved R128. In vitro functional studies using 1H-NMR spectroscopy showed that S. aureus MurT-GatD complex has glutaminase activity even in the absence of lipid II, the MurT substrate. In addition, we produced R128A, C94A and H189A mutants, which were totally inactive for glutamine deamidation, revealing their essential role in substrate sequestration and catalytic reaction. GatD from S. aureus and other pathogenic bacteria share high identity to enzymes involved in cobalamin biosynthesis, which can be grouped in a new sub-family of glutamine amidotransferases. Given the ubiquitous presence of GatD, these results provide significant insights into the molecular basis of the so far undisclosed amidation mechanism, contributing to the development of alternative therapeutics to fight infections.
Project description:The glutamic acid residues of the peptidoglycan of Staphylococcus aureus and many other bacteria become amidated by an as yet unknown mechanism. In this communication we describe the identification, in the genome of S. aureus strain COL, of two co-transcribed genes, murT and gatD, which are responsible for peptidoglycan amidation. MurT and GatD have sequence similarity to substrate-binding domains in Mur ligases (MurT) and to the catalytic domain in CobB/CobQ-like glutamine amidotransferases (GatD). The amidation of glutamate residues in the stem peptide of S. aureus peptidoglycan takes place in a later step than the cytoplasmic phase--presumably the lipid phase--of the biosynthesis of the S. aureus cell wall precursor. Inhibition of amidation caused reduced growth rate, reduced resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics and increased sensitivity to lysozyme which inhibited culture growth and caused degradation of the peptidoglycan.
Project description:The enzymes responsible for peptidoglycan amidation in Staphylococcus aureus, MurT and GatD, were recently identified and shown to be required for optimal expression of resistance to beta-lactams, bacterial growth, and resistance to lysozyme. In this study, we analyzed the impact of peptidoglycan amidation in representative strains of the most widespread clones of methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The inhibition of the expression of murT-gatD operon resulted in different phenotypes of resistance to beta-lactams and lysozyme according to the different genetic backgrounds. Further, clonal lineages CC1 and CC398 (community-acquired MRSA [CA-MRSA]) showed a stronger dependency on MurT-GatD for resistance to beta-lactams, when compared to the impact of the impairment of the cell wall step catalyzed by MurF. In the remaining backgrounds similar phenotypes of beta-lactam resistance were observed upon the impairment of both cell-wall-related genes. Therefore, for CA-related backgrounds, the predominant beta-lactam resistance mechanism seems to involve genes associated with secondary modifications of peptidoglycan. On the other hand, the lack of glutamic acid amidation had a more substantial impact on lysozyme resistance for cells of CA-MRSA backgrounds, than for hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA). However, no significant differences were found in the resistance level of the respective peptidoglycan structure, suggesting that the lysozyme resistance mechanism involves other factors. Taken together, these results suggested that the different genetic lineages of MRSA were able to develop different molecular strategies to overcome the selective pressures experienced during evolution.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a naturally competent organism that causes diseases such as pneumonia, otitis media, and bacteremia. The essential bacterial second messenger cyclic di-AMP (c-di-AMP) is an emerging player in the stress responses of many pathogens. In S. pneumoniae, c-di-AMP is produced by a diadenylate cyclase, CdaA, and cleaved by phosphodiesterases Pde1 and Pde2. c-di-AMP binds a transporter of K+ (Trk) family protein, CabP, which subsequently halts K+ uptake via the transporter TrkH. Recently, it was reported that Pde1 and Pde2 are essential for pneumococcal virulence in mouse models of disease. To elucidate c-di-AMP-mediated transcription that may lead to changes in pathogenesis, we compared the transcriptomes of wild-type (WT) and ?pde1 ?pde2 strains by transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis. Notably, we found that many competence-associated genes are significantly upregulated in the ?pde1 ?pde2 strain compared to the WT. These genes play a role in DNA uptake, recombination, and autolysis. Competence is induced by a quorum-sensing mechanism initiated by the secreted factor competence-stimulating peptide (CSP). Surprisingly, the ?pde1 ?pde2 strain exhibited reduced transformation efficiency compared to WT bacteria, which was c-di-AMP dependent. Transformation efficiency was also directly related to the [K+] in the medium, suggesting a link between c-di-AMP function and the pneumococcal competence state. We found that a strain that possesses a V76G variation in CdaA produced less c-di-AMP and was highly susceptible to CSP. Deletion of cabP and trkH restored the growth of these bacteria in medium with CSP. Overall, our study demonstrates a novel role for c-di-AMP in the competence program of S. pneumoniae IMPORTANCE Genetic competence in bacteria leads to horizontal gene transfer, which can ultimately affect antibiotic resistance, adaptation to stress conditions, and virulence. While the mechanisms of pneumococcal competence signaling cascades have been well characterized, the molecular mechanism behind competence regulation is not fully understood. The bacterial second messenger c-di-AMP has previously been shown to play a role in bacterial physiology and pathogenesis. In this study, we provide compelling evidence for the interplay between c-di-AMP and the pneumococcal competence state. These findings not only attribute a new biological function to this dinucleotide as a regulator of competence, transformation, and survival under stress conditions in pneumococci but also provide new insights into how pneumococcal competence is modulated.
Project description:The competence regulon of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is crucial for genetic transformation. During competence development, the alternative sigma factor ComX is activated, which in turn, initiates transcription of 80 'late' competence genes. Interestingly, only 16 late genes are essential for genetic transformation. We hypothesized that these late genes that are dispensable for competence are beneficial to pneumococcal fitness during infection. These late genes were systematically deleted, and the resulting mutants were examined for their fitness during mouse models of bacteremia and acute pneumonia. Among these, 14 late genes were important for fitness in mice. Significantly, deletion of some late genes attenuated pneumococcal fitness to the same level in both wild-type and ComX-null genetic backgrounds, suggesting that the constitutive baseline expression of these genes was important for bacterial fitness. In contrast, some mutants were attenuated only in the wild-type genetic background but not in the ComX-null background, suggesting that specific expression of these genes during competence state contributed to pneumococcal fitness. Increased virulence during competence state was partially caused by the induction of allolytic enzymes that enhanced pneumolysin release. These results distinguish the role of basal expression versus competence induction in virulence functions encoded by ComX-regulated late competence genes.