Markerless mutagenesis in Methanococcus maripaludis demonstrates roles for alanine dehydrogenase, alanine racemase, and alanine permease.
ABSTRACT: Among the archaea, Methanococcus maripaludis has the unusual ability to use L- or D-alanine as a nitrogen source. To understand how this occurs, we tested the roles of three adjacent genes encoding homologs of alanine dehydrogenase, alanine racemase, and alanine permease. To produce mutations in these genes, we devised a method for markerless mutagenesis that builds on previously established genetic tools for M. maripaludis. The technique uses a negative selection strategy that takes advantage of the ability of the M. maripaludis hpt gene encoding hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase to confer sensitivity to the base analog 8-azahypoxanthine. In addition, we developed a negative selection method to stably incorporate constructs into the genome at the site of the upt gene encoding uracil phosphoribosyltransferase. Mutants with in-frame deletion mutations in the genes for alanine dehydrogenase and alanine permease lost the ability to grow on either isomer of alanine, while a mutant with an in-frame deletion mutation in the gene for alanine racemase lost only the ability to grow on D-alanine. The wild-type gene for alanine dehydrogenase, incorporated into the upt site, complemented the alanine dehydrogenase mutation. Hence, the permease is required for the transport of either isomer, the dehydrogenase is specific for the L isomer, and the racemase converts the D isomer to the L isomer. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that all three genes had been acquired by lateral gene transfer from the low-moles-percent G+C gram-positive bacteria.
Project description:The genome sequence of the genetically tractable, mesophilic, hydrogenotrophic methanogen Methanococcus maripaludis contains 1,722 protein-coding genes in a single circular chromosome of 1,661,137 bp. Of the protein-coding genes (open reading frames [ORFs]), 44% were assigned a function, 48% were conserved but had unknown or uncertain functions, and 7.5% (129 ORFs) were unique to M. maripaludis. Of the unique ORFs, 27 were confirmed to encode proteins by the mass spectrometric identification of unique peptides. Genes for most known functions and pathways were identified. For example, a full complement of hydrogenases and methanogenesis enzymes was identified, including eight selenocysteine-containing proteins, with each being paralogous to a cysteine-containing counterpart. At least 59 proteins were predicted to contain iron-sulfur centers, including ferredoxins, polyferredoxins, and subunits of enzymes with various redox functions. Unusual features included the absence of a Cdc6 homolog, implying a variation in replication initiation, and the presence of a bacterial-like RNase HI as well as an RNase HII typical of the Archaea. The presence of alanine dehydrogenase and alanine racemase, which are uniquely present among the Archaea, explained the ability of the organism to use L- and D-alanine as nitrogen sources. Features that contrasted with the related organism Methanocaldococcus jannaschii included the absence of inteins, even though close homologs of most intein-containing proteins were encoded. Although two-thirds of the ORFs had their highest Blastp hits in Methanocaldococcus jannaschii, lateral gene transfer or gene loss has apparently resulted in genes, which are often clustered, with top Blastp hits in more distantly related groups.
Project description:The Lactobacillus plantarum alr gene encoding alanine racemase was cloned by complementation of an Escherichia coli Alr- DadX- double mutant strain. Knockout of the alr gene abolished all measurable alanine racemase activity, and the mutant was shown to be strictly dependent on D-alanine for growth.
Project description:Background:Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) infections caused primarily by S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium particularly in immunocompromised hosts have accounted for a large percentage of fatalities in developed nations. Antibiotics have revolutionized the cure of enteric infections but have also led to the rapid emergence of pathogen resistance. New powerful therapeutics involving metabolic enzymes are expected to be potential targets for combating microbial infections and ensuring effective health management. Therefore, the need for new antimicrobials to fight such health emergencies is paramount. Enteric bacteria successfully evade the gut and colonize their hosts through specialized virulence strategies. An important player, alanine racemase is a key enzyme facilitating bacterial survival. Results:This study aims at understanding the contribution of alanine racemase genes alr, dadX and SEN3897 to Salmonella survival in vitro and in vivo. We have shown SEN3897 to function as a unique alanine racemase in S. Enteritidis which displayed essential alanine racemase activity. Interestingly, the sole presence of this gene in alr dadX double mutant showed a strict dependence on d-alanine supplementation both in vitro and in vivo. However, Alr complementation in d-alanine auxotrophic strain restored the alanine racemase deficiency. The Km and Vmax of SEN3897 was 89.15?±?10.2 mM, 400?±?25.6 µmol/(min mg) for l-alanine and 35?±?6 mM, 132.5?±?11.3 µmol/(min mg) for d-alanine, respectively. In vitro assays for invasion and survival as well as in vivo virulence assays involving SEN3897 mutant showed attenuated phenotypes. Further, this study also showed attenuation of d-alanine auxotrophic strain in vivo for the development of potential targets against Salmonella that can be investigated further. Conclusion:This study identified a third alanine racemase gene unique in S. Enteritidis which had a potential effect on survival and pathogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Our results also confirmed that SEN3897 by itself wasn't able to rescue d-alanine auxotrophy in S. Enteritidis which further contributed to its virulence properties.
Project description:Stable isotope-mass spectrometry (MS)-based metabolomic profiling is a powerful technique for following changes in specific metabolite pool sizes and metabolic flux under various experimental conditions in a test organism or cell type. Here, we use a metabolomics approach to interrogate the mechanism of antibiotic action of d-cycloserine (DCS), a second line antibiotic used in the treatment of multidrug resistant <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i> infections. We use doubly labeled <sup>13</sup>C α-carbon-<sup>2</sup>H l-alanine to allow tracking of both alanine racemase and d-alanine:d-alanine ligase activity in <i>M. tuberculosis</i> challenged with DCS and reveal that d-alanine:d-alanine ligase is more strongly inhibited than alanine racemase at equivalent DCS concentrations. We also shed light on mechanisms surrounding d-Ala-mediated antagonism of DCS growth inhibition and provide evidence for a postantibiotic effect for this drug. Our results illustrate the potential of metabolomics in cellular drug-target engagement studies and consequently have broad implications in future drug development and target validation ventures.
Project description:Klebsiella aerogenes strains with reduced levels of D-amino acid dehydrogenase not only fail to use alanine as a growth substrate but also become sensitive to alanine in minimal media supplemented with glucose and ammonium. The inability of these mutant strains to catabolize the alanine provided in the medium interferes with both pathways of glutamate production. Alanine derepresses the nitrogen regulatory system (Ntr), which in turn represses glutamate dehydrogenase, one pathway of glutamate production. Alanine also inhibits the enzyme glutamine synthetase, the first enzyme in the other pathway of glutamate production. Therefore, in the presence of alanine, strains with mutations in dadA (the gene that codes for a subunit of the dehydrogenase) exhibit a glutamate auxotrophy when ammonium is the sole source of nitrogen. The alanine catabolic operon of Klebsiella aerogenes, dadAB, was cloned, and its DNA sequence was determined. The clone complemented the alanine defects of dadA strains. The operon has a high similarity to the dadAB operon of Salmonella typhimurium and the dadAX operon of Escherichia coli, each of which codes for the smaller subunit of D-amino acid dehydrogenase and the catabolic alanine racemase. Unlike the cases for E. coli and S. typhimurium, the dad operon of K. aerogenes is activated by the Ntr system, mediated in this case by the nitrogen assimilation control protein (NAC). A sequence matching the DNA consensus for NAC-binding sites is located centered at position -44 with respect to the start of transcription. The promoter of this operon also contains consensus binding sites for the catabolite activator protein and the leucine-responsive regulatory protein.
Project description:In an effort to discover new drugs to treat tuberculosis (TB) we chose alanine racemase as the target of our drug discovery efforts. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, alanine racemase plays an essential role in cell wall synthesis as it racemizes L-alanine into D-alanine, a key building block in the biosynthesis of peptidoglycan. Good antimicrobial effects have been achieved by inhibition of this enzyme with suicide substrates, but the clinical utility of this class of inhibitors is limited due to their lack of target specificity and toxicity. Therefore, inhibitors that are not substrate analogs and that act through different mechanisms of enzyme inhibition are necessary for therapeutic development for this drug target.To obtain non-substrate alanine racemase inhibitors, we developed a high-throughput screening platform and screened 53,000 small molecule compounds for enzyme-specific inhibitors. We examined the 'hits' for structural novelty, antimicrobial activity against M. tuberculosis, general cellular cytotoxicity, and mechanism of enzyme inhibition. We identified seventeen novel non-substrate alanine racemase inhibitors that are structurally different than any currently known enzyme inhibitors. Seven of these are active against M. tuberculosis and minimally cytotoxic against mammalian cells.This study highlights the feasibility of obtaining novel alanine racemase inhibitor lead compounds by high-throughput screening for development of new anti-TB agents.
Project description:Streptococcus iniae is a pathogenic and zoonotic bacteria that impacted high mortality to many fish species as well as capable of causing serious disease to humans. Alanine racemase (Alr, EC 220.127.116.11) is a pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP)-containing homodimeric enzyme that catalyzes the racemization of L-alanine and D-alanine. In this study, we purified alanine racemase from S. iniae that was isolated from an infected Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis), as well as determined its biochemical characteristics and inhibitors. The alr gene has an open reading frame (ORF) of 1107 bp, encoding a protein of 369 amino acids, which has a molecular mass of 40 kDa. The enzyme has optimal activity at a temperature of 35°C and a pH of 9.5. It belongs to the PLP-dependent enzymes family and is highly specific to L-alanine. S. iniae Alr (SiAlr) could be inhibited by some metal ions, hydroxylamine and dithiothreitol (DTT). The kinetic parameters K m and V max of the enzyme were 33.11 mM, 2426 units/mg for L-alanine, and 14.36 mM, 963.6 units/mg for D-alanine. Finally, the 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) values and antibiotic activity of two alanine racemase inhibitors (homogentisic acid and hydroquinone), were determined and found to be effective against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria employed in this study.Streptococcus iniae is a pathogenic and zoonotic bacteria that impacted high mortality to many fish species as well as capable of causing serious disease to humans. Alanine racemase (Alr, EC 18.104.22.168) is a pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (PLP)-containing homodimeric enzyme that catalyzes the racemization of L-alanine and D-alanine. In this study, we purified alanine racemase from S. iniae that was isolated from an infected Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis), as well as determined its biochemical characteristics and inhibitors. The alr gene has an open reading frame (ORF) of 1107 bp, encoding a protein of 369 amino acids, which has a molecular mass of 40 kDa. The enzyme has optimal activity at a temperature of 35°C and a pH of 9.5. It belongs to the PLP-dependent enzymes family and is highly specific to L-alanine. S. iniae Alr (SiAlr) could be inhibited by some metal ions, hydroxylamine and dithiothreitol (DTT). The kinetic parameters K m and V max of the enzyme were 33.11 mM, 2426 units/mg for L-alanine, and 14.36 mM, 963.6 units/mg for D-alanine. Finally, the 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) values and antibiotic activity of two alanine racemase inhibitors (homogentisic acid and hydroquinone), were determined and found to be effective against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria employed in this study.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic Gram-negative bacterium which is a common cause of hospital-acquired infections. Numerous antibiotic-resistant strains exist, emphasizing the need for the development of new antimicrobials. Alanine racemase (Alr) is a pyridoxal 5'-phosphate dependent enzyme that is responsible for racemization between enantiomers of alanine. As D-alanine is an essential component of the bacterial cell wall, its inhibition is lethal to prokaryotes, making it an excellent antibiotic drug target. The crystal structure of A. baumannii alanine racemase (AlrAba) from the highly antibiotic-resistant NCTC13302 strain has been solved to 1.9?Å resolution. Comparison of AlrAba with alanine racemases from closely related bacteria demonstrates a conserved overall fold. The substrate entryway and active site of the enzymes were shown to be highly conserved. The structure of AlrAba will provide the template required for future structure-based drug-design studies.
Project description:Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has been targeted by the Oxford Protein Production Facility to validate high-throughput protocols within the Structural Proteomics in Europe project. As part of this work, the structures of an alanine racemase (BA0252) in the presence and absence of the inhibitor (R)-1-aminoethylphosphonic acid (L-Ala-P) have determined by X-ray crystallography to resolutions of 2.1 and 1.47 A, respectively. Difficulties in crystallizing this protein were overcome by the use of reductive methylation. Alanine racemase has attracted much interest as a possible target for anti-anthrax drugs: not only is D-alanine a vital component of the bacterial cell wall, but recent studies also indicate that alanine racemase, which is accessible in the exosporium, plays a key role in inhibition of germination in B. anthracis. These structures confirm the binding mode of L-Ala-P but suggest an unexpected mechanism of inhibition of alanine racemase by this compound and could provide a basis for the design of improved alanine racemase inhibitors with potential as anti-anthrax therapies.
Project description:Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) dependent alanine racemase catalyzes racemization of L-Ala to D-Ala, a key component of the peptidoglycan network in bacterial cell wall. It has been extensively studied as an important antimicrobial drug target due to its restriction in eukaryotes. However, many marketed alanine racemase inhibitors also act on eukaryotic PLP-dependent enzymes and cause side effects. A thermostable alanine racemase (AlrTt) from Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis MB4 contains an evolutionarily non-conserved residue Gln360 in inner layer of the substrate entryway, which is supposed to be a key determinant in substrate specificity. Here we determined the crystal structure of AlrTt in complex with L-Ala at 2.7 Å resolution, and investigated the role of Gln360 by saturation mutagenesis and kinetic analysis. Compared to typical bacterial alanine racemase, presence of Gln360 and conformational changes of active site residues disrupted the hydrogen bonding interactions necessary for proper PLP immobilization, and decreased both the substrate affinity and turnover number of AlrTt. However, it could be complemented by introduction of hydrophobic amino acids at Gln360, through steric blocking and interactions with a hydrophobic patch near active site pocket. These observations explained the low racemase activity of AlrTt, revealed the essential role of Gln360 in substrate selection, and its preference for hydrophobic amino acids especially Tyr in bacterial alanine racemization. Our work will contribute new insights into the alanine racemization mechanism for antimicrobial drug development.