Activation of an anti-bacterial toxin by the biosynthetic enzyme CysK: mechanism of binding, interaction specificity and competition with cysteine synthase.
ABSTRACT: 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: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 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: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:CysK (O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase) is a pyridoxal-5' phosphate-dependent enzyme which catalyzes the second step of the de novo cysteine biosynthesis pathway by converting O-acetyl serine (OAS) into l-cysteine in the presence of sulfide. The first step of the cysteine biosynthesis involves formation of OAS from serine and acetyl CoA by CysE (serine acetyltransferase). Apart from role of CysK in cysteine biosynthesis, recent studies have revealed various additional roles of this enzyme in bacterial physiology. Other than the suggested regulatory role in cysteine production, other activities of CysK include involvement of CysK-in contact-dependent toxin activation in Gram-negative pathogens, as a transcriptional regulator of CymR by stabilizing the CymR-DNA interactions, in biofilm formation by providing cysteine and via another mechanism not yet understood, in ofloxacin and tellurite resistance as well as in cysteine desulfurization. Some of these activities involve binding of CysK to another cellular partner, where the complex is regulated by the availability of OAS and/or sulfide (H2S). The aim of this study is to present an overview of current knowledge of multiple functions performed by CysK and identifying structural features involved in alternate functions. Due to possible role in disease, promoting or inhibiting a "moonlighting" function of CysK could be a target for developing novel therapeutic interventions.
Project description:O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A (CysK) is the pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the final reaction of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria. CysK was initially identified in a complex with serine acetyltransferase (CysE), which catalyzes the penultimate reaction in the synthetic pathway. This "cysteine synthase" complex is stabilized by insertion of the CysE C-terminus into the active-site of CysK. Remarkably, the CysK/CysE binding interaction is conserved in most bacterial and plant systems. For the past 40years, CysK was thought to function exclusively in cysteine biosynthesis, but recent studies have revealed a repertoire of additional "moonlighting" activities for this enzyme. CysK and its paralogs influence transcription in both Gram-positive bacteria and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. CysK also activates an antibacterial nuclease toxin produced by uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Intriguingly, each moonlighting activity requires a binding partner that invariably mimics the C-terminus of CysE to interact with the CysK active site. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cofactor-dependent proteins: evolution, chemical diversity and bio-applications.
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:In bacteria and plants, serine acetyltransferase (CysE) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A sulfhydrylase (CysK) collaborate to synthesize l-Cys from l-Ser. CysE and CysK bind one another with high affinity to form the cysteine synthase complex (CSC). We demonstrate that bacterial CysE is activated when bound to CysK. CysE activation results from the release of substrate inhibition, with the Ki for l-Ser increasing from 4 mm for free CysE to 16 mm for the CSC. Feedback inhibition of CysE by l-Cys is also relieved in the bacterial CSC. These findings suggest that the CysE active site is allosterically altered by CysK to alleviate substrate and feedback inhibition in the context of the CSC.
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:The formation of multienzymatic complexes allows for the fine tuning of many aspects of enzymatic functions, such as efficiency, localization, stability, and moonlighting. Here, we investigated, in solution, the structure of bacterial cysteine synthase (CS) complex. CS is formed by serine acetyltransferase (CysE) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase isozyme A (CysK), the enzymes that catalyze the last two steps of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria. CysK and CysE have been proposed as potential targets for antibiotics, since cysteine and related metabolites are intimately linked to protection of bacterial cells against redox damage and to antibiotic resistance. We applied a combined approach of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) spectroscopy and protein painting to obtain a model for the solution structure of CS. Protein painting allowed the identification of protein-protein interaction hotspots that were then used as constrains to model the CS quaternary assembly inside the SAXS envelope. We demonstrate that the active site entrance of CysK is involved in complex formation, as suggested by site-directed mutagenesis and functional studies. Furthermore, complex formation involves a conformational change in one CysK subunit that is likely transmitted through the dimer interface to the other subunit, with a regulatory effect. Finally, SAXS data indicate that only one active site of CysK is involved in direct interaction with CysE and unambiguously unveil the quaternary arrangement of CS.
Project description:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiB/CdiA family of two-partner secretion proteins. CDI systems deploy a variety of distinct toxins, which are contained within the polymorphic C-terminal region (CdiA-CT) of CdiA proteins. Several CdiA-CTs are nucleases, suggesting that the toxins are transported into the target cell cytoplasm to interact with their substrates. To analyze CdiA transfer to target bacteria, we used the CDI system of uropathogenic Escherichia coli 536 (UPEC536) as a model. Antibodies recognizing the amino- and carboxyl-termini of CdiA(UPEC536) were used to visualize transfer of CdiA from CDI(UPEC536+) inhibitor cells to target cells using fluorescence microscopy. The results indicate that the entire CdiA(UPEC536) protein is deposited onto the surface of target bacteria. CdiA(UPEC536) transfer to bamA101 mutants is reduced, consistent with low expression of the CDI receptor BamA on these cells. Notably, our results indicate that the C-terminal CdiA-CT toxin region of CdiA(UPEC536) is translocated into target cells, but the N-terminal region remains at the cell surface based on protease sensitivity. These results suggest that the CdiA-CT toxin domain is cleaved from CdiA(UPEC536) prior to translocation. Delivery of a heterologous Dickeya dadantii CdiA-CT toxin, which has DNase activity, was also visualized. Following incubation with CDI(+) inhibitor cells targets became anucleate, showing that the D.dadantii CdiA-CT was delivered intracellularly. Together, these results demonstrate that diverse CDI toxins are efficiently translocated across target cell envelopes.