Characterising resuscitation promoting factor fluorescent-fusions in mycobacteria.
ABSTRACT: Resuscitation promoting factor proteins (Rpfs) are peptidoglycan glycosidases capable of resuscitating dormant mycobacteria, and have been found to play a role in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. However, the specific roles and localisation of each of the 5 Rpfs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis remain mostly unknown. In this work our aim was to construct fluorescent fusions of M. tuberculosis Rpf proteins as tools to investigate their function.We found that Rpf-fusions to the fluorescent protein mCherry are functional and able to promote cell growth under different conditions. However, fusions to Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (EGFP) were non-functional in the assays used and none were secreted into the extracellular medium, which suggests Rpfs may be secreted via the Sec pathway. No specific cellular localization was observed for either set of fusions using time-lapse video microscopy.We present the validation and testing of five M. tuberculosis Rpfs fused to mCherry, which are functional in resuscitation assays, but do not show any specific cellular localisation under the conditions tested. Our results suggest that Rpfs are likely to be secreted via the Sec pathway. We propose that such mCherry fusions will be useful tools for the further study of Rpf localisation, individual expression, and function.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Resuscitation promoting factors (RPF) are secreted proteins involved in reactivation of dormant actinobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. They have been considered as prospective targets for the development of new anti-tuberculosis drugs preventing reactivation of dormant tubercle bacilli, generally associated with latent tuberculosis. However, no inhibitors of Rpf activity have been reported so far. The goal of this study was to find low molecular weight compounds inhibiting the enzymatic and biological activities of Rpfs. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we describe a novel class of 2-nitrophenylthiocyanates (NPT) compounds that inhibit muralytic activity of Rpfs with IC(50) 1-7 microg/ml. Fluorescence studies revealed interaction of active NPTs with the internal regions of the Rpf molecule. Candidate inhibitors of Rpf enzymatic activity showed a bacteriostatic effect on growth of Micrococcus luteus (in which Rpf is essential for growth protein) at concentrations close to IC(50). The candidate compounds suppressed resuscitation of dormant ("non-culturable") cells of M. smegmatis at 1 microg/ml or delayed resuscitation of dormant M. tuberculosis obtained in laboratory conditions at 10 microg/ml. However, they did not inhibit growth of active mycobacteria under these concentrations. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: NPT are the first example of low molecular weight compounds that inhibit the enzymatic and biological activities of Rpf proteins.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), is an extraordinarily successful pathogen of humankind. It has been estimated that up to one-third of the world's population is infected with M. tuberculosis, and this population is an important reservoir for disease reactivation. Resuscitation promoting factor (Rpf) is a secretory protein, which was first reported in Micrococcus luteus. There are five functionally redundant Rpf-like proteins found in M. tuberculosis. Rpf promotes the resuscitation of dormant bacilli to yield normal, viable colony forming bacteria. All Rpfs share a conserved domain of about 70 amino acids and possess a lysozyme-like activity. The structural studies of the conserved domain suggest that Rpfs could be considered as a c-type lysozyme and lytic transglycosylases. Recently a novel class of nitrophenylthiocyanates (NPT) inhibitors of the muralytic activity of Rpf were reported which opens a new approach in the study of cell-wall hydrolyzing enzymes. This review describes molecular and structural studies conducted on Rpf proteins, their role in the resuscitation of dormant bacteria, in the reactivation of latent infection and identification of low molecular weight inhibitors of resuscitation promoting factors.
Project description:<h4>Rationale</h4>Resuscitation-promoting factors (Rpfs) are a family of secreted proteins produced by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) that stimulate mycobacterial growth. Although mouse infection studies show that they support bacterial survival and disease reactivation, it is currently unknown whether Rpfs influence human infection. We hypothesized that tuberculous sputum might include a population of Rpf-dependent Mtb cells.<h4>Objectives</h4>To determine whether Rpf-dependent Mtb cells are present in human sputum and explore the impact of chemotherapy on this population.<h4>Methods</h4>In tuberculous sputum samples we compared the number of cells detected by conventional agar colony-forming assay with that determined by limiting dilution, most-probable number assay in the presence or absence of Rpf preparations.<h4>Measurements and main results</h4>In 20 of 25 prechemotherapy samples from separate patients, 80-99.99% of the cells demonstrated by cultivation could be detected only with Rpf stimulation. Mtb cells with this phenotype were not generated on specimen storage or by inoculating sputum samples with a selection of clinical isolates; moreover, Rpf dependency was lost after primary isolation. During chemotherapy, the proportion of Rpf-dependent cells was found to increase relative to the surviving colony-forming population.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Smear-positive sputum samples are dominated by a population of Mtb cells that can be grown only in the presence of Rpfs. These intriguing proteins are therefore relevant to human infection. The Rpf-dependent population is invisible to conventional culture and is progressively enhanced in relative terms during chemotherapy, indicating a form of phenotypic resistance that may be significant for both chemotherapy and transmission.
Project description:Tuberculosis (TB) remains a leading killer among infectious diseases of humans worldwide. Delayed diagnosis is a crucial problem in global TB control programs. Bacteriological methods currently used to diagnose TB in endemic countries take up to 8 weeks, which poses a significant delay in starting antibiotic therapy. The presence of a heterogeneous population of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, is among the reasons for delayed diagnosis by bacteriological methods. Previously, it has been shown that mycobacterial resuscitation-promoting factors (RPFs), a family of proteins secreted by actively growing bacteria into the media, are capable of activating the growth of dormant bacteria, thus enhancing the detection of bacilli in the sputum of confirmed TB cases. However, the variability in bacterial resuscitation by RPF in the sputum of suspected pulmonary TB cases that showed differential smear and/or culture positivity during diagnosis has not been fully explored. Here, we report the presence of non-replicating bacteria in the sputum of suspected TB cases that show differential growth response to RPF treatment. Using crude and recombinant RPF treatment, we show improved sensitivity and reduced time to detect bacilli in the sputum samples of smear-positive/culture-negative or smear-negative/culture-negative cases. We also report the phenotypic heterogeneity in the RPF responsiveness among Mtb strains using an in vitro dormancy model. Our findings have implications for improving the bacteriological diagnostic modalities currently used to diagnose TB in endemic countries.
Project description:Resuscitation promoting factor (Rpf) proteins, which hydrolyze the sugar chains in cell-wall peptidoglycan (PG), play key roles in prokaryotic cell elongation, division, and escape from dormancy to vegetative growth. Like other bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) expresses multiple Rpfs, none of which is individually essential. This redundancy has left unclear the distinct functions of the different Rpfs. To explore the distinguishing characteristics of the five Mtb Rpfs, we determined the crystal structure of the RpfE catalytic domain. The protein adopts the characteristic Rpf fold, but the catalytic cleft is narrower compared to Mtb RpfB. Also in contrast to RpfB, in which the substrate-binding surfaces are negatively charged, the corresponding RpfE catalytic pocket and predicted peptide-binding sites are more positively charged at neutral pH. The complete reversal of the electrostatic potential of the substrate-binding site suggests that the different Rpfs function optimally at different pHs or most efficiently hydrolyze different micro-domains of PG. These studies provide insights into the molecular determinants of the evolution of functional specialization in Rpfs.
Project description:The Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine is the only tuberculosis (TB) vaccine available, yet it provides limited protection against pulmonary TB in adults and fails to protect against TB reactivation. We hypothesized that immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis "resuscitation-promoting factors" (Rpfs), which are small bacterial proteins that promote proliferation of dormant mycobacteria, may be relevant in the human immune response to M. tuberculosis. In previous unpublished work, we found that Rpfs Rv0867c and Rv2389c induced gamma interferon (IFN-?) production in the blood of TB patients' healthy household contacts in several different African populations. Here we examine these two dominant Rpf antigens in more detail and define the nature of the responding T-cell subsets. Multiparameter cytokine profiling showed that Rv2389c and, to a lesser extent, Rv0867c were recognized by mycobacterium-responsive healthy Dutch individuals; peptide-scanning revealed several epitopes, including a single immunodominant epitope in Rv2389c. Rv0867c and, to a lesser extent, Rv2389c Rpf-specific T-cell responses were maintained for decades in long-term M. tuberculosis nonprogressors. Prominent Rv0867c-specific double- and single-cytokine-producing CD8(+) T-cell subset responses were found, including a large population of CD8(+) effector memory and effector T-cell subsets. We conclude that M. tuberculosis Rpf antigens are important targets in the human immune response to M. tuberculosis and represent interesting TB vaccine candidate antigens.
Project description:Resuscitation-promoting factors (Rpfs) have previously been shown to act as growth-stimulatory molecules via their lysozyme-like activity on peptidoglycan in the bacterial cell wall. In this study, we investigated the ability of Mycobacterium smegmatis strains lacking rpf genes to form biofilms and tested their susceptibilities to cell wall-targeting agents. M. smegmatis contains four distinct rpf homologues, namely, MSMEG_5700 (rpfA), MSMEG_5439 (rpfB), MSMEG_4640 (rpfE2), and MSMEG_4643 (rpfE). During axenic growth of the wild-type strain, all four mRNA transcripts were expressed to various degrees, but the expression of MSMEG_4643 was significantly greater during exponential growth. Similarly, all rpf mRNA transcripts could be detected in biofilms grown for 7, 14, and 28 days, with MSMEG_4643 expressed at the highest abundance after 7 days. In-frame unmarked deletion mutants (single and combinatorial) were generated and displayed altered colony morphologies and the inability to form typical biofilms. Moreover, any strain lacking rpfA and rpfB simultaneously exhibited increased susceptibility to rifampin, vancomycin, and SDS. Exogenous Rpf supplementation in the form of culture filtrate failed to restore biofilm formation. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis of peptidoglycan (PG) suggested a reduction in 4-3 cross-linked PG in the ?rpfABEE2 mutant strain. In addition, the level of PG-repeat units terminating in 1,6-anhydroMurNAc appeared to be significantly reduced in the quadruple rpf mutant. Collectively, our data have shown that Rpfs play an important role in biofilm formation, possibly through alterations in PG cross-linking and the production of signaling molecules.IMPORTANCE The cell wall of pathogenic mycobacteria is composed of peptidoglycan, arabinogalactan, mycolic acids, and an outer capsule. This inherent complexity renders it resistant to many antibiotics. Consequently, its biosynthesis and remodeling during growth directly impact viability. Resuscitation-promoting factors (Rpfs), enzymes with lytic transglycosylase activity, have been associated with the revival of dormant cells and subsequent resumption of vegetative growth. Mycobacterium smegmatis, a soil saprophyte and close relative of the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, encodes four distinct Rpfs. Herein, we assessed the relationship between Rpfs and biofilm formation, which is used as a model to study drug tolerance and bacterial signaling in mycobacteria. We demonstrated that progressive deletion of rpf genes hampered the development of biofilms and reduced drug tolerance. These effects were accompanied by a reduction in muropeptide production and altered peptidoglycan cross-linking. Collectively, these observations point to an important role for Rpfs in mycobacterial communication and drug tolerance.
Project description:Resuscitation promoting factors (Rpfs) are the proteins involved in the process of reactivation of the dormant cells of mycobacteria. Recently a new class of nitrophenylthiocyanates (NPTs), capable of inhibiting the biological and enzymatic activities of Rpfs has been discovered. In the current study the inhibitory properties of the compounds containing both nitro and thiocyanate groups alongside with the compounds with the modified number and different spatial location of the substituents are compared.New benzoylphenyl thiocyanates alongside with nitrophenylthiocyanates were tested in the enzymatic assay of bacterial peptidoglycan hydrolysis as well as against strains of several actinobacteria (Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis) on in-lab developed models of resuscitation of the dormant forms.Introduction of the additional nitro and thiocyanate groups to the benzophenone scaffold did not influence the inhibitory activity of the compounds. Removal of the nitro groups analogously did not impair the functional properties of the molecules. Among the tested compounds two molecules without nitro group: 3-benzoylphenyl thiocyanate and 4-benzoylphenyl thiocyanate demonstrated the maximum activity in both enzymatic assay (inhibition of the Rpf-mediated peptidoglycan hydrolysis) and in the resuscitation assay of the dormant M. tuberculosis cells.The current study demonstrates dispensability of the nitro group in the NPT's structure for inhibition of the enzymatic and biological activities of the Rpf protein molecules. These findings provide new prospects in anti-TB drug discovery especially in finding of molecular scaffolds effective for the latent infection treatment.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis contains five resuscitation-promoting factor (Rpf)-like proteins, RpfA-E, that are implicated in resuscitation of this organism from dormancy via a mechanism involving hydrolysis of the peptidoglycan by Rpfs and partnering proteins. In this study, the rpfA-E genes were shown to be collectively dispensable for growth of M. tuberculosis in broth culture. The defect in resuscitation of multiple mutants from a 'non-culturable' state induced by starvation under anoxia was reversed by genetic complementation or addition of culture filtrate from wild-type organisms confirming that the phenotype was associated with rpf-like gene loss and that the 'non-culturable' cells of the mutant strains were viable. Other phenotypes uncovered by sequential deletion mutagenesis revealed a functional differentiation within this protein family. The quintuple mutant and its parent that retained only rpfD displayed delayed colony formation and hypersensitivity to detergent, effects not observed for mutants retaining only rpfE or rpfB. Furthermore, mutants retaining rpfD or rpfE were highly attenuated for growth in mice with the latter persisting better than the former in late-stage infection. In conjunction, these results are indicative of a hierarchy in terms of function and/or potency with the Rpf family, with RpfB and RpfE ranking above RpfD.
Project description:The first structure of the catalytic domain of RpfC (Rv1884), one of the resuscitation-promoting factors (RPFs) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is reported. The structure was solved using molecular replacement once the space group had been correctly identified as twinned P21 rather than the apparent C2221 by searching for anomalous scattering sites in P1. The structure displays a very high degree of structural conservation with the previously published structures of the catalytic domains of RpfB (Rv1009) and RpfE (Rv2450). This structural conservation highlights the importance of the versatile domain composition of the RPF family.