Specificity and Application of the Lantibiotic Protease NisP.
ABSTRACT: Lantibiotics are ribosomally produced and posttranslationally modified peptides containing several lanthionine residues. They exhibit substantial antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including relevant pathogens. The production of the model lantibiotic nisin minimally requires the expression of the modification and export machinery. The last step during nisin maturation is the cleavage of the leader peptide. This liberates the active compound and is catalyzed by the cell wall-anchored protease NisP. Here, we report the production and purification of a soluble variant of NisP. This has enabled us to study its specificity and test its suitability for biotechnological applications. The ability of soluble NisP to cleave leaders from various substrates was tested with two sets of nisin variants. The first set was designed to investigate the influence of amino acid variations in the leader peptide or variations around the cleavage site. The second set was designed to study the influence of the lanthionine ring topology on the proteolytic efficiency. We show that the substrate promiscuity is higher than has previously been suggested. Our results demonstrate the importance of the arginine residue at the end of the leader peptide and the importance of lanthionine rings in the substrate for specific cleavage. Collectively, these data indicate that NisP is a suitable protease for the activation of diverse heterologously expressed lantibiotics, which is required to release active antimicrobial compounds.
Project description:Lantibiotics are a growing class of antimicrobial peptides, which possess antimicrobial activity against mainly Gram-positive bacteria including the highly resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or vancomycin-resistant enterococci. In the last decades numerous lantibiotics were discovered in natural habitats or designed with bioengineering tools. In this study, we present an insight in the antimicrobial potential of the natural occurring lantibiotic nisin H from Streptococcus hyointestinalis as well as the variant nisin H F1I. We determined the yield of the heterologously expressed peptide and quantified the cleavage efficiency employing the nisin protease NisP. Furthermore, we analyzed the effect on the modification via mass spectrometry analysis. With standardized growth inhibition assays we benchmarked the activity of pure nisin H and the variant nisin H F1I, and their influence on the activity of the nisin immunity proteins NisI and NisFEG from Lactococcus lactis and the nisin resistance proteins SaNSR and SaNsrFP from Streptococcus agalactiae COH1. We further checked the antibacterial activity against clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis via microdilution method. In summary, nisin H and the nisin H F1I variant possessed better antimicrobial potency than the natural nisin A.
Project description:Lantibiotics are potent antimicrobial peptides. Nisin is the most prominent member and contains five crucial lanthionine rings. Some clinically relevant bacteria express membrane-associated resistance proteins that proteolytically inactivate nisin. However, substrate recognition and specificity of these proteins is unknown. Here, we report the first three-dimensional structure of a nisin resistance protein from Streptococcus agalactiae (SaNSR) at 2.2 Å resolution. It contains an N-terminal helical bundle, and protease cap and core domains. The latter harbors the highly conserved TASSAEM region, which lies in a hydrophobic tunnel formed by all domains. By integrative modeling, mutagenesis studies, and genetic engineering of nisin variants, a model of the SaNSR/nisin complex is generated, revealing that SaNSR recognizes the last C-terminally located lanthionine ring of nisin. This determines the substrate specificity of SaNSR and ensures the exact coordination of the nisin cleavage site at the TASSAEM region.
Project description:Biosynthesis of the lantibiotic peptide nisin by Lactococcus lactis NIZO R5 relies on the presence of the conjugative transposon Tn5276 in the chromosome. A 12-kb DNA fragment of Tn5276 including the nisA gene and about 10 kb of downstream DNA was cloned in L. lactis, resulting in the production of an extracellular nisin precursor peptide. This peptide reacted with antibodies against either nisin A or the synthetic leader peptide, suggesting that it consisted of a fully modified nisin with the nisin leader sequence still attached to it. This structure was confirmed by N-terminal sequencing and 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance analysis of the purified peptide. Deletion studies showed that the nisR gene is essential for the production of this intermediate. The deduced amino acid sequence of the nisR gene product indicated that the protein belongs to the family of two-component regulators. The deduced amino acid sequence of NisP, the putative product of the gene upstream of nisR, showed an N-terminal signal sequence, a catalytic domain with a high degree of similarity to those of subtilisin-like serine proteases, and a putative C-terminal membrane anchor. Cell extracts of Escherichia coli overexpressing nisP were able to cleave the nisin precursor peptide, producing active, mature nisin. A similar activation was obtained with whole cells but not with membrane-free extracts of L. lactis strains carrying Tn5276 in which the nisA gene had been inactivated. The results indicate that the penultimate step in nisin biosynthesis is secretion of precursor nisin without cleavage of the leader peptide, whereas the last step is the cleavage of the leader peptide sequence from the fully maturated nisin peptide.
Project description:Nisin A is a pentacyclic peptide antibiotic produced by Lactococcus lactis. The leader peptide of prenisin keeps nisin inactive and has a role in inducing NisB- and NisC-catalyzed modifications of the propeptide and NisT-mediated export. The highly specific NisP cleaves off the leader peptide from fully modified and exported prenisin. We present here a detailed mutagenesis analysis of the nisin leader peptide. For alternative cleavage, we successfully introduced a putative NisP autocleavage site and sites for thrombin, enterokinase, Glu-C, and factor Xa in the C-terminal part of the leader peptide. Replacing residue F-18 with Trp or Thr strongly reduced production. On the other hand, D-19A, F-18H, F-18M, L-16D, L-16K, and L-16A enhanced production. Substitutions within and outside the FNLD box enhanced or reduced the transport efficiency. None of the above substitutions nor even an internal 6His tag from positions -13 to -8 had any effect on the capacity of the leader peptide to induce NisB and NisC modifications. Therefore, these data demonstrate a large mutational freedom. However, simultaneous replacement of the FNLD amino acids by four alanines strongly reduced export and even led to a complete loss of the capacity to induce modifications. Reducing the leader peptide to MSTKDFNLDLR led to 3- or 4-fold dehydration. Taken together, the FNLD box is crucial for inducing posttranslational modifications.
Project description:Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide natural products that contain thioether cross-links formed by lanthionine and methyllanthionine residues. They exert potent antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria. We herein report production of analogues of two lantibiotics, lacticin 481 and nisin, that contain nonproteinogenic amino acids using two different strategies involving amber stop codon suppression technology. These methods complement recent alternative approaches to incorporate nonproteinogenic amino acids into lantibiotics.
Project description:Nisin is a lanthionine-containing antimicrobial peptide produced by Lactococcus lactis. Its (methyl)lanthionines are introduced by two posttranslational enzymatic steps involving the dehydratase NisB, which dehydrates serine and threonine residues, and the cyclase NisC, which couples these dehydrated residues to cysteines, yielding thioether-bridged amino acids called lanthionines. The prenisin is subsequently exported by the ABC transporter NisT and extracellularly processed by the peptidase NisP. L. lactis expressing the nisBTC genes can modify and secrete a wide range of nonlantibiotic peptides. Here we demonstrate that in the absence of NisT and NisC, the Sec pathway of L. lactis can be exploited for the secretion of dehydrated variants of therapeutic peptides. Furthermore, posttranslational modifications by NisB and NisC still occur even when the nisin leader is preceded by a Sec signal peptide or a Tat signal peptide 27 or 44 amino acids long, respectively. However, transport of fully modified prenisin via the Sec pathway is impaired. The extent of NisB-mediated dehydration could be improved by raising the intracellular concentration NisB or by modulating the export efficiency through altering the signal sequence. These data demonstrate that besides the traditional lantibiotic transporter NisT, the Sec pathway with an established broad substrate range can be utilized for the improved export of lantibiotic enzyme-modified (poly)peptides.
Project description:Lipid II is an essential precursor for bacterial cell wall biosynthesis and thereby an important target for various antibiotics. Several lanthionine-containing peptide antibiotics target lipid II with lanthionine-stabilized lipid II binding motifs. Here, we used the biosynthesis system of the lantibiotic nisin to synthesize a two-lipid II binding motifs-containing lantibiotic, termed TL19, which contains the N-terminal lipid II binding motif of nisin and the distinct C-terminal lipid II binding motif of one peptide of the two-component haloduracin (i.e., HalA1). Further characterization demonstrated that (i) TL19 exerts 64-fold stronger antimicrobial activity against Enterococcus faecium than nisin(1-22), which has only one lipid II binding site, and (ii) both the N- and C-terminal domains are essential for the potent antimicrobial activity of TL19, as evidenced by mutagenesis of each single and the double domains. These results show the feasibility of a new approach to synthesize potent lantibiotics with two different lipid II binding motifs to treat specific antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
Project description:Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptides secreted by mainly Gram-positive bacteria. Class 1 lantibiotics mature via two modification steps introduced by a modification LanBC complex. For the lantibiotic nisin, the dehydratase NisB catalyzes the dehydration of serine and threonine residues in the so-called core peptide. Second, five (methyl)-lanthionine rings are introduced in a regio- and stereospecific manner by the cyclase NisC. Here, we characterized the assembly of the NisBC complex in vitro, which is only formed in the presence of the substrate. The complex is composed of a NisB dimer, a monomer of NisC and one prenisin molecule. Interestingly, the presence of the last lanthionine ring prevented complex formation. This stoichiometry was verified by small-angle X-ray scattering measurements, which revealed the first structural glimpse of a LanBC complex in solution.
Project description:Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized and posttranslationally modified antimicrobial compounds containing lanthionine and methyl-lanthionine residues. Nisin, one of the most extensively studied and used lantibiotics, has been shown to display very potent activity against Gram-positive bacteria, and stable resistance is rarely observed. By binding to lipid II and forming pores in the membrane, nisin can cause the efflux of cellular constituents and inhibit cell wall biosynthesis. However, the activity of nisin against Gram-negative bacteria is much lower than that against Gram-positive bacteria, mainly because lipid II is located at the inner membrane, and the rather impermeable outer membrane in Gram-negative bacteria prevents nisin from reaching lipid II. Thus, if the outer membrane-traversing efficiency of nisin could be increased, the activity against Gram-negative bacteria could, in principle, be enhanced. In this work, several relatively short peptides with activity against Gram-negative bacteria were selected from literature data to be fused as tails to the C terminus of either full or truncated nisin species. Among these, we found that one of three tails (tail 2 [T2; DKYLPRPRPV], T6 [NGVQPKY], and T8 [KIAKVALKAL]) attached to a part of nisin displayed improved activity against Gram-negative microorganisms. Next, we rationally designed and reengineered the most promising fusion peptides. Several mutants whose activity significantly outperformed that of nisin against Gram-negative pathogens were obtained. The activity of the tail 16 mutant 2 (T16m2) construct against several important Gram-negative pathogens (i.e., Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter aerogenes) was increased 4- to 12-fold compared to that of nisin. This study indicates that the rational design of nisin can selectively and significantly improve its outer membrane-permeating capacity as well as its activity against Gram-negative pathogens.IMPORTANCE Lantibiotics are antimicrobial peptides that are highly active against Gram-positive bacteria but that have relatively poor activity against most Gram-negative bacteria. Here, we modified the model lantibiotic nisin by fusing parts of it to antimicrobial peptides with known activity against Gram-negative bacteria. The appropriate selection of peptidic moieties that could be attached to (parts of) nisin could lead to a significant increase in its inhibitory activity against Gram-negative bacteria. Using this strategy, hybrids that outperformed nisin by displaying 4- to 12-fold higher levels of activity against relevant Gram-negative bacterial species were produced. This study shows the power of modified peptide engineering to alter target specificity in a desired direction.
Project description:Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized (methyl)lanthionine containing peptides which can efficiently inhibit the growth of Gram-positive bacteria. As lantibiotics kill bacteria efficiently and resistance to them is difficult to be obtained, they have the potential to be used in many applications, e.g., in pharmaceutical industry or food industry. Nisin can inhibit the growth of Gram-positive bacteria by binding to lipid II and by making pores in their membrane. The C-terminal part of nisin is known to play an important role during translocation over the membrane and forming pore complexes. However, as the thickness of bacterial membranes varies between different species and environmental conditions, this property could have an influence on the pore forming activity of nisin. To investigate this, the so-called "hinge region" of nisin (residues NMK) was engineered to vary from one to six amino acid residues and specific activity against different indicators was compared. Antimicrobial activity in liquid culture assays showed that wild type nisin is most active, while truncation of the hinge region dramatically reduced the activity of the peptide. However, one or two amino acids extensions showed only slightly reduced activity against most indicator strains. Notably, some variants (+2, +1, -1, -2) exhibited higher antimicrobial activity than nisin in agar well diffusion assays against Lactococcus lactis MG1363, Listeria monocytogenes, Enterococcus faecalis VE14089, Bacillus sporothermodurans IC4 and Bacillus cereus 4153 at certain temperatures.