Comparative Genomics Reveals the Regulatory Complexity of Bifidobacterial Arabinose and Arabino-Oligosaccharide Utilization.
ABSTRACT: Members of the genus Bifidobacterium are common inhabitants of the human gastrointestinal tract. Previously it was shown that arabino-oligosaccharides (AOS) might act as prebiotics and stimulate the bifidobacterial growth in the gut. However, despite the rapid accumulation of genomic data, the precise mechanisms by which these sugars are utilized and associated transcription control still remain unclear. In the current study, we used a comparative genomic approach to reconstruct arabinose and AOS utilization pathways in over 40 bacterial species belonging to the Bifidobacteriaceae family. The results indicate that the gene repertoire involved in the catabolism of these sugars is highly diverse, and even phylogenetically close species may differ in their utilization capabilities. Using bioinformatics analysis we identified potential DNA-binding motifs and reconstructed putative regulons for the arabinose and AOS utilization genes in the Bifidobacteriaceae genomes. Six LacI-family transcriptional factors (named AbfR, AauR, AauU1, AauU2, BauR1 and BauR2) and a TetR-family regulator (XsaR) presumably act as local repressors for AOS utilization genes encoding various ?- or ?-L-arabinofuranosidases and predicted AOS transporters. The ROK-family regulator AraU and the LacI-family regulator AraQ control adjacent operons encoding putative arabinose transporters and catabolic enzymes, respectively. However, the AraQ regulator is universally present in all Bifidobacterium species including those lacking the arabinose catabolic genes araBDA, suggesting its control of other genes. Comparative genomic analyses of prospective AraQ-binding sites allowed the reconstruction of AraQ regulons and a proposed binary repression/activation mechanism. The conserved core of reconstructed AraQ regulons in bifidobacteria includes araBDA, as well as genes from the central glycolytic and fermentation pathways (pyk, eno, gap, tkt, tal, galM, ldh). The current study expands the range of genes involved in bifidobacterial arabinose/AOS utilization and demonstrates considerable variations in associated metabolic pathways and regulons. Detailed comparative and phylogenetic analyses allowed us to hypothesize how the identified reconstructed regulons evolved in bifidobacteria. Our findings may help to improve carbohydrate catabolic phenotype prediction and metabolic modeling, while it may also facilitate rational development of novel prebiotics.
Project description:Bifidobacteria, which represent common commensals of mammalian gut, are believed to have positive effects on human health. The influence of certain non-digestible carbohydrates (and their use as so-called prebiotics) on growth and metabolic activity of bifidobacteria is of increasing interest; however, mechanisms of transcriptional control of carbohydrate metabolism are poorly understood in these species. We used a comparative genomics approach to reconstruct carbohydrate utilization pathways and transcriptional regulons in 10 Bifidobacterium genomes. Analysis of regulatory gene regions revealed candidate DNA motifs and reconstructed regulons for 268 transcription factors from the LacI, ROK, DeoR, AraC, GntR, and TetR families that form 64 orthologous groups of regulators. Most of the reconstructed regulons are local and control specific catabolic pathways for host- and diet-derived glycans and monosaccharides. Mosaic distributions of many of these local regulators across Bifidobacterium species correlate with distribution of corresponding catabolic pathways. In contrast, the maltose, galactose, sucrose, and fructose regulons, as well as a novel global LacI-family regulator that is predicted to control the central carbohydrate metabolism and arabinose catabolism genes, are universally present in all 10 studied bifidobacteria. A novel group of TetR-family regulators presumably controls the glucoside and galactoside utilization pathways. Paralogs of the ribose repressor RbsR control the pyrimidine nucleoside utilization genes. Multiple paralogs of the maltose regulator MalR co-regulate large sets of genes involved in maltodextrin utilization. The inferred metabolic regulons provide new insights on diverse carbohydrate utilization networks in bifidobacteria that can be employed in metabolic modeling, phenotype prediction and the rational development of novel prebiotics.
Project description:DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs) are essential components of transcriptional regulatory networks in bacteria. LacI-family TFs (LacI-TFs) are broadly distributed among certain lineages of bacteria. The majority of characterized LacI-TFs sense sugar effectors and regulate carbohydrate utilization genes. The comparative genomics approaches enable in silico identification of TF-binding sites and regulon reconstruction. To study the function and evolution of LacI-TFs, we performed genomics-based reconstruction and comparative analysis of their regulons. For over 1300 LacI-TFs from over 270 bacterial genomes, we predicted their cognate DNA-binding motifs and identified target genes. Using the genome context and metabolic subsystem analyses of reconstructed regulons, we tentatively assigned functional roles and predicted candidate effectors for 78 and 67% of the analyzed LacI-TFs, respectively. Nearly 90% of the studied LacI-TFs are local regulators of sugar utilization pathways, whereas the remaining 125 global regulators control large and diverse sets of metabolic genes. The global LacI-TFs include the previously known regulators CcpA in Firmicutes, FruR in Enterobacteria, and PurR in Gammaproteobacteria, as well as the three novel regulators-GluR, GapR, and PckR-that are predicted to control the central carbohydrate metabolism in three lineages of Alphaproteobacteria. Phylogenetic analysis of regulators combined with the reconstructed regulons provides a model of evolutionary diversification of the LacI protein family. The obtained genomic collection of in silico reconstructed LacI-TF regulons in bacteria is available in the RegPrecise database (http://regprecise.lbl.gov). It provides a framework for future structural and functional classification of the LacI protein family and identification of molecular determinants of the DNA and ligand specificity. The inferred regulons can be also used for functional gene annotation and reconstruction of sugar catabolic networks in diverse bacterial lineages.
Project description:The transcription factor AraR controls utilization of L-arabinose in Bacillus subtilis. In this study, we combined a comparative genomic reconstruction of AraR regulons in nine Clostridium species with detailed experimental characterization of AraR-mediated regulation in Clostridium acetobutylicum. Based on the reconstructed AraR regulons, a novel ribulokinase, AraK, present in all analyzed Clostridium species was identified, which was a nonorthologous replacement of previously characterized ribulokinases. The predicted function of the araK gene was confirmed by inactivation of the araK gene in C. acetobutylicum and biochemical assays using purified recombinant AraK. In addition to the genes involved in arabinose utilization and arabinoside degradation, extension of the AraR regulon to the pentose phosphate pathway genes in several Clostridium species was revealed. The predicted AraR-binding sites in the C. acetobutylicum genome and the negative effect of L-arabinose on DNA-regulator complex formation were verified by in vitro binding assays. The predicted AraR-controlled genes in C. acetobutylicum were experimentally validated by testing gene expression patterns in both wild-type and araR-inactivated mutant strains during growth in the absence or presence of L-arabinose.
Project description:Hyperthermophilic bacteria from the Thermotogales lineage can produce hydrogen by fermenting a wide range of carbohydrates. Previous experimental studies identified a large fraction of genes committed to carbohydrate degradation and utilization in the model bacterium Thermotoga maritima. Knowledge of these genes enabled comprehensive reconstruction of biochemical pathways comprising the carbohydrate utilization network. However, transcriptional factors (TFs) and regulatory mechanisms driving this network remained largely unknown. Here, we used an integrated approach based on comparative analysis of genomic and transcriptomic data for the reconstruction of the carbohydrate utilization regulatory networks in 11 Thermotogales genomes. We identified DNA-binding motifs and regulons for 19 orthologous TFs in the Thermotogales. The inferred regulatory network in T. maritima contains 181 genes encoding TFs, sugar catabolic enzymes and ABC-family transporters. In contrast to many previously described bacteria, a transcriptional regulation strategy of Thermotoga does not employ global regulatory factors. The reconstructed regulatory network in T. maritima was validated by gene expression profiling on a panel of mono- and disaccharides and by in vitro DNA-binding assays. The observed upregulation of genes involved in catabolism of pectin, trehalose, cellobiose, arabinose, rhamnose, xylose, glucose, galactose, and ribose showed a strong correlation with the UxaR, TreR, BglR, CelR, AraR, RhaR, XylR, GluR, GalR, and RbsR regulons. Ultimately, this study elucidated the transcriptional regulatory network and mechanisms controlling expression of carbohydrate utilization genes in T. maritima. In addition to improving the functional annotations of associated transporters and catabolic enzymes, this research provides novel insights into the evolution of regulatory networks in Thermotogales.
Project description:We used comparative genomics to reconstruct d-galacturonic and d-glucuronic acid catabolic pathways and associated transcriptional regulons involving the tripartite ATP-independent periplasmic (TRAP) family transporters that bind hexuronates in proteobacteria. The reconstructed catabolic network involves novel transcription factors, catabolic enzymes, and transporters for utilization of both hexuronates and aldarates (d-glucarate and meso-galactarate). The reconstructed regulons for a novel GntR family transcription factor, GguR, include the majority of hexuronate/aldarate utilization genes in 47 species from the Burkholderiaceae, Comamonadaceae, Halomonadaceae, and Pseudomonadaceae families. GudR, GulR, and UdhR are additional local regulators of some hexuronate/aldarate utilization genes in some of the above-mentioned organisms. The predicted DNA binding motifs of GguR and GudR regulators from Ralstonia pickettii and Polaromonas were validated by in vitro binding assays. Genes from the GulR- and GguR-controlled loci were differentially expressed in R. pickettii grown on hexuronates and aldarates. By a combination of bioinformatics and experimental techniques we identified a novel variant of the oxidative pathway for hexuronate utilization, including two previously uncharacterized subfamilies of lactone hydrolases (UxuL and UxuF). The genomic context of respective genes and reconstruction of associated pathways suggest that both enzymes catalyze the conversion of d-galactaro- and d-glucaro-1,5-lactones to the ring-opened aldarates. The activities of the purified recombinant enzymes, UxuL and UxuF, from four proteobacterial species were directly confirmed and kinetically characterized. The inferred novel aldarate-specific transporter from the tripartite tricarboxylate transporter (TTT) family transporter TctC was confirmed to bind d-glucarate in vitro This study expands our knowledge of bacterial carbohydrate catabolic pathways by identifying novel families of catabolic enzymes, transcriptional regulators, and transporters.IMPORTANCE Hexuronate catabolic pathways and their transcriptional networks are highly variable among different bacteria. We identified novel transcriptional regulators that control the hexuronate and aldarate utilization genes in four families of proteobacteria. By regulon reconstruction and genome context analysis we identified several novel components of the common hexuronate/aldarate utilization pathways, including novel uptake transporters and catabolic enzymes. Two novel families of lactonases involved in the oxidative pathway of hexuronate catabolism were characterized. Novel transcriptional regulons were validated via in vitro binding assays and gene expression studies with Polaromonas and Ralstonia species. The reconstructed catabolic pathways are interconnected with each other metabolically and coregulated via the GguR regulons in proteobacteria.
Project description:Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 31831 grew on l-arabinose as the sole carbon source at a specific growth rate that was twice that on d-glucose. The gene cluster responsible for l-arabinose utilization comprised a six-cistron transcriptional unit with a total length of 7.8 kb. Three l-arabinose-catabolizing genes, araA (encoding l-arabinose isomerase), araB (l-ribulokinase), and araD (l-ribulose-5-phosphate 4-epimerase), comprised the araBDA operon, upstream of which three other genes, araR (LacI-type transcriptional regulator), araE (l-arabinose transporter), and galM (putative aldose 1-epimerase), were present in the opposite direction. Inactivation of the araA, araB, or araD gene eliminated growth on l-arabinose, and each of the gene products was functionally homologous to its Escherichia coli counterpart. Moreover, compared to the wild-type strain, an araE disruptant exhibited a >80% decrease in the growth rate at a lower concentration of l-arabinose (3.6 g liter(-1)) but not at a higher concentration of l-arabinose (40 g liter(-1)). The expression of the araBDA operon and the araE gene was l-arabinose inducible and negatively regulated by the transcriptional regulator AraR. Disruption of araR eliminated the repression in the absence of l-arabinose. Expression of the regulon was not repressed by d-glucose, and simultaneous utilization of l-arabinose and d-glucose was observed in aerobically growing wild-type and araR deletion mutant cells. The regulatory mechanism of the l-arabinose regulon is, therefore, distinct from the carbon catabolite repression mechanism in other bacteria.
Project description:Members of the genus Bifidobacterium are commonly found in the gastrointestinal tracts of mammals, including humans, where their growth is presumed to be dependent on various diet- and/or host-derived carbohydrates. To understand transcriptional control of bifidobacterial carbohydrate metabolism, we investigated two genetic carbohydrate utilization clusters dedicated to the metabolism of raffinose-type sugars and melezitose. Transcriptomic and gene inactivation approaches revealed that the raffinose utilization system is positively regulated by an activator protein, designated RafR. The gene cluster associated with melezitose metabolism was shown to be subject to direct negative control by a LacI-type transcriptional regulator, designated MelR1, in addition to apparent indirect negative control by means of a second LacI-type regulator, MelR2. In silico analysis, DNA-protein interaction, and primer extension studies revealed the MelR1 and MelR2 operator sequences, each of which is positioned just upstream of or overlapping the correspondingly regulated promoter sequences. Similar analyses identified the RafR binding operator sequence located upstream of the rafB promoter. This study indicates that transcriptional control of gene clusters involved in carbohydrate metabolism in bifidobacteria is subject to conserved regulatory systems, representing either positive or negative control.
Project description:We used a comparative genomics approach to reconstruct the N-acetyl-d-galactosamine (GalNAc) and galactosamine (GalN) utilization pathways and transcriptional regulons in Proteobacteria. The reconstructed GalNAc/GalN utilization pathways include multiple novel genes with specific functional roles. Most of the pathway variations were attributed to the amino sugar transport, phosphorylation, and deacetylation steps, whereas the downstream catabolic enzymes in the pathway were largely conserved. The predicted GalNAc kinase AgaK, the novel variant of GalNAc-6-phosphate deacetylase AgaA(II) and the GalN-6-phosphate deaminase AgaS from Shewanella sp. ANA-3 were validated in vitro using individual enzymatic assays and reconstitution of the three-step pathway. By using genetic techniques, we confirmed that AgaS but not AgaI functions as the main GalN-6-P deaminase in the GalNAc/GalN utilization pathway in Escherichia coli. Regulons controlled by AgaR repressors were reconstructed by bioinformatics in most proteobacterial genomes encoding GalNAc pathways. Candidate AgaR-binding motifs share a common sequence with consensus CTTTC that was found in multiple copies and arrangements in regulatory regions of aga genes. This study provides comprehensive insights into the common and distinctive features of the GalNAc/GalN catabolism and its regulation in diverse Proteobacteria.
Project description:Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a predominant member of the human gut microbiota, is characterized by its ability to utilize a wide variety of polysaccharides using the extensive saccharolytic machinery that is controlled by an expanded repertoire of transcription factors (TFs). The availability of genomic sequences for multiple Bacteroides species opens an opportunity for their comparative analysis to enable characterization of their metabolic and regulatory networks.A comparative genomics approach was applied for the reconstruction and functional annotation of the carbohydrate utilization regulatory networks in 11 Bacteroides genomes. Bioinformatics analysis of promoter regions revealed putative DNA-binding motifs and regulons for 31 orthologous TFs in the Bacteroides. Among the analyzed TFs there are 4 SusR-like regulators, 16 AraC-like hybrid two-component systems (HTCSs), and 11 regulators from other families. Novel DNA motifs of HTCSs and SusR-like regulators in the Bacteroides have the common structure of direct repeats with a long spacer between two conserved sites.The inferred regulatory network in B. thetaiotaomicron contains 308 genes encoding polysaccharide and sugar catabolic enzymes, carbohydrate-binding and transport systems, and TFs. The analyzed TFs control pathways for utilization of host and dietary glycans to monosaccharides and their further interconversions to intermediates of the central metabolism. The reconstructed regulatory network allowed us to suggest and refine specific functional assignments for sugar catabolic enzymes and transporters, providing a substantial improvement to the existing metabolic models for B. thetaiotaomicron. The obtained collection of reconstructed TF regulons is available in the RegPrecise database (http://regprecise.lbl.gov).
Project description:Organisms regulate gene expression in response to the environment to coordinate metabolic reactions. Clostridium thermocellum expresses enzymes for both lignocellulose solubilization and its fermentation to produce ethanol. One LacI regulator termed GlyR3 in C. thermocellum ATCC 27405 was previously identified as a repressor of neighboring genes with repression relieved by laminaribiose (a ?-1,3 disaccharide). To better understand the three C. thermocellum LacI regulons, deletion mutants were constructed using the genetically tractable DSM1313 strain. DSM1313 lacI genes Clo1313_2023, Clo1313_0089, and Clo1313_0396 encode homologs of GlyR1, GlyR2, and GlyR3 from strain ATCC 27405, respectively. Growth on cellobiose or pretreated switchgrass was unaffected by any of the gene deletions under controlled-pH fermentations. Global gene expression patterns from time course analyses identified glycoside hydrolase genes encoding hemicellulases, including cellulosomal enzymes, that were highly upregulated (5- to 100-fold) in the absence of each LacI regulator, suggesting that these were repressed under wild-type conditions and that relatively few genes were controlled by each regulator under the conditions tested. Clo1313_2022, encoding lichenase enzyme LicB, was derepressed in a ?glyR1 strain. Higher expression of Clo1313_1398, which encodes the Man5A mannanase, was observed in a ?glyR2 strain, and ?-mannobiose was identified as a probable inducer for GlyR2-regulated genes. For the ?glyR3 strain, upregulation of the two genes adjacent to glyR3 in the celC-glyR3-licA operon was consistent with earlier studies. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays have confirmed LacI transcription factor binding to specific regions of gene promoters.IMPORTANCE Understanding C. thermocellum gene regulation is of importance for improved fundamental knowledge of this industrially relevant bacterium. Most LacI transcription factors regulate local genomic regions; however, a small number of those genes encode global regulatory proteins with extensive regulons. This study indicates that there are small specific C. thermocellum LacI regulons. The identification of LacI repressor activity for hemicellulase gene expression is a key result of this work and will add to the small body of existing literature on the area of gene regulation in C. thermocellum.