The Staphylococcus aureus Extracellular Adherence Protein Eap Is a DNA Binding Protein Capable of Blocking Neutrophil Extracellular Trap Formation.
ABSTRACT: The extracellular adherence protein (Eap) of Staphylococcus aureus is a secreted protein known to exert a number of adhesive and immunomodulatory properties. Here we describe the intrinsic DNA binding activity of this multifunctional secretory factor. By using atomic force microscopy, we provide evidence that Eap can bind and aggregate DNA. While the origin of the DNA substrate (e.g., eukaryotic, bacterial, phage, and artificial DNA) seems to not be of major importance, the DNA structure (e.g., linear or circular) plays a critical role with respect to the ability of Eap to bind and condense DNA. Further functional assays corroborated the nature of Eap as a DNA binding protein, since Eap suppressed the formation of "neutrophil extracellular traps" (NETs), composed of DNA-histone scaffolds, which are thought to function as a neutrophil-mediated extracellular trapping mechanism. The DNA binding and aggregation activity of Eap may thereby protect S. aureus against a specific anti-microbial defense reaction from the host.
Project description:Extracellular adherence protein Eap secreted from Staphylococcus aureus was previously found to enhance the adherence of S. aureus to eukaryotic cells. This enhancement effect is due to the ability of Eap to rebind to S. aureus and to bind to eukaryotic cells and several plasma and matrix proteins. In this study we defined one potential binding target for Eap on the surface of S. aureus, a surface-located neutral phosphatase. This phosphatase lacks an LPXTG region, but around 80% is retained on the cell surface. The soluble phosphatase can form a complex with Eap at a nonrandom molar ratio, and phosphatase activity is retained. The phosphatase can also bind to fibronectin. The cell surface-located portion presumably contributes to adherence of S. aureus to fibronectin.
Project description:The cell surface-associated extracellular adherence protein (Eap) mediates adherence of Staphylococcus aureus to host extracellular matrix components and inhibits inflammation, wound healing, and angiogenesis. A well-characterized collection of S. aureus and non-S. aureus staphylococcal isolates (n = 813) was tested for the presence of the Eap-encoding gene (eap) by PCR to investigate the use of the eap gene as a specific diagnostic tool for identification of S. aureus. Whereas all 597 S. aureus isolates were eap positive, this gene was not detectable in 216 non-S. aureus staphylococcal isolates comprising 47 different species and subspecies of coagulase-negative staphylococci and non-S. aureus coagulase-positive or coagulase-variable staphylococci. Furthermore, non-S. aureus isolates did not express Eap homologs, as verified on the transcriptional and protein levels. Based on these data, the sensitivity and specificity of the newly developed PCR targeting the eap gene were both 100%. Thus, the unique occurrence of Eap in S. aureus offers a promising tool particularly suitable for molecular diagnostics of this pathogen.
Project description:The extracellular adherence protein (Eap) of Staphylococcus aureus participates in a wide range of protein-protein interactions that facilitate the initiation and dissemination of Staphylococcal disease. In this report, we describe the use of a multidisciplinary approach to characterize the solution structure of full-length Eap. In contrast to previous reports suggesting that a six-domain isoform of Eap undergoes multimerization, sedimentation equilibrium analytical ultracentrifugation data revealed that a four-domain isoform of Eap is a monomer in solution. In vitro proteolysis and solution small angle X-ray scattering studies both indicate that Eap adopts an extended conformation in solution, where the linkers connecting sequential EAP modules are solvent exposed. Construction of a low-resolution model of full-length Eap using a combination of ab initio deconvolution of the SAXS data and rigid body modeling of the EAP domain crystal structure suggests that full-length Eap may present several unique concave surfaces capable of participating in ligand binding. These results also raise the possibility that such surfaces may be held together by additional interactions between adjacent EAP modules. This hypothesis is supported by a comparative Raman spectroscopic analysis of full-length Eap and a stoichiometric solution of the individual EAP modules, which indicates the presence of additional secondary structure and a greater extent of hydrogen/deuterium exchange protection in full-length Eap. Our results provide the first insight into the solution structure of full-length Eap and an experimental basis for interpreting the EAP domain crystal structures within the context of the full-length molecule. They also lay a foundation for future studies into the structural and molecular bases of Eap-mediated protein-protein interactions with its many ligands.
Project description:Neutrophils contain high levels of chymotrypsin-like serine proteases (NSPs) within their azurophilic granules that have a multitude of functions within the immune system. In response, the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus has evolved three potent inhibitors (Eap, EapH1, and EapH2) that protect the bacterium as well as several of its secreted virulence factors from the degradative action of NSPs. We previously showed that these so-called EAP domain proteins represent a novel class of NSP inhibitors characterized by a non-covalent inhibitory mechanism and a distinct target specificity profile. Based upon high levels of structural homology amongst the EAP proteins and the NSPs, as well as supporting biochemical data, we predicted that the inhibited complex would be similar for all EAP/NSP pairs. However, we present here evidence that EapH1 and EapH2 bind the canonical NSP, Neutrophil Elastase (NE), in distinct orientations. We discovered that alteration of EapH1 residues at the EapH1/NE interface caused a dramatic loss of affinity and inhibition of NE, while mutation of equivalent positions in EapH2 had no effect on NE binding or inhibition. Surprisingly, mutation of residues in an altogether different region of EapH2 severely impacted both the NE binding and inhibitory properties of EapH2. Even though EapH1 and EapH2 bind and inhibit NE and a second NSP, Cathepsin G, equally well, neither of these proteins interacts with the structurally related, but non-proteolytic granule protein, azurocidin. These studies expand our understanding of EAP/NSP interactions and suggest that members of this immune evasion protein family are capable of diverse target recognition modes.
Project description:To initiate invasive infection, Staphylococcus aureus must adhere to host substrates, such as the extracellular matrix or eukaryotic cells, by virtue of different surface proteins (adhesins). Recently, we identified a 60-kDa cell-secreted extracellular adherence protein (Eap) of S. aureus strain Newman with broad-spectrum binding characteristics (M. Palma, A. Haggar, and J. I. Flock, J. Bacteriol. 181:2840-2845, 1999), and we have molecularly confirmed Eap to be an analogue of the previously identified major histocompatibility complex class II analog protein (Map) (M. Hussain, K. Becker, C. von Eiff, G. Peter, and M. Herrmann, Clin. Diagn. Lab. Immunol. 8:1281-1286, 2001). Previous analyses of the Eap/Map function performed with purified protein did not allow dissection of its precise role in the complex situation of the staphylococcal whole cell presenting several secreted and wall-bound adhesins. Therefore, the role of Eap was investigated by constructing a stable eap::ermB deletion in strain Newman and by complementation of the mutant. Patterns of extracted cell surface proteins analyzed both by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and by Western ligand assays with various adhesive matrix molecules clearly confirmed the absence of Eap in the mutant. However, binding and adhesion tests using whole staphylococcal cells demonstrated that both the parent and mutant strains bound equally well to fibronectin- and fibrinogen-coated surfaces, possibly due to their recognition by other staphylococcal adhesins. Furthermore, Eap mediated staphylococcal agglutination of both wild-type and mutant cells. In contrast, the mutant adhered to a significantly lesser extent to cultured fibroblasts (P < 0.001) than did the wild type, while adherence was restorable upon complementation. Furthermore, adherence to both epithelial cells (P < 0.05) and fibroblasts (not significant) could be blocked with antibodies against Eap, whereas preimmune serum was not active. In conclusion, Eap may contribute to pathogenicity by promoting adhesion of whole staphylococcal cells to complex eukaryotic substrates.
Project description:Map and Eap are secreted Staphylococcus aureus proteins that interact with various extracellular matrix molecules. PCR analysis using map primers yielded positive reactions in 97.9% of S. aureus isolates but not in Staphylococcus epidermidis isolates. Cloning and sequencing of the conferring genes revealed a high degree of overall homology combined with size variability of the gene product due to various repeat numbers and early translation termination in a poly(A) region. Thus, Map and Eap may provide a potential novel tool for S. aureus identification and typing.
Project description:Chronic and fatal infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus are sometimes associated with biofilm formation. Secreted proteins and cell wall-anchored proteins (CWAPs) are important for the development of polysaccharide-independent biofilms, but functional relationships between these proteins are unclear. In the present study, we report the roles of the extracellular adherence protein Eap and the surface CWAP SasG in S. aureus MR23, a clinical methicillin-resistant isolate that forms a robust protein-dependent biofilm and accumulates a large amount of Eap in the extracellular matrix. Double deletion of eap and sasG, but not single eap or sasG deletion, reduced the biomass of the formed biofilm. Mutational analysis demonstrated that cell wall anchorage is essential for the role of SasG in biofilm formation. Confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that MR23 formed a rugged and thick biofilm; deletion of both eap and sasG reduced biofilm ruggedness and thickness. Although sasG deletion did not affect either of these features, eap deletion reduced the ruggedness but not the thickness of the biofilm. This indicated that Eap contributes to the rough irregular surface structure of the MR23 biofilm and that both Eap and SasG play roles in biofilm thickness. The level of pathogenicity of the Δeap ΔsasG strain in a silkworm larval infection model was significantly lower (P < 0.05) than those of the wild type and single-deletion mutants. Collectively, these findings highlight the redundant and distinct roles of a secreted protein and a CWAP in biofilm formation and pathogenicity of S. aureus and may inform new strategies to control staphylococcal biofilm infections.
Project description:Neutrophils are indispensable for clearing infections with the prominent human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Here, we report that S. aureus secretes a family of proteins that potently inhibits the activity of neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs): neutrophil elastase (NE), proteinase 3, and cathepsin G. The NSPs, but not related serine proteases, are specifically blocked by the extracellular adherence protein (Eap) and the functionally orphan Eap homologs EapH1 and EapH2, with inhibitory-constant values in the low-nanomolar range. Eap proteins are together essential for NSP inhibition by S. aureus in vitro and promote staphylococcal infection in vivo. The crystal structure of the EapH1/NE complex showed that Eap molecules constitute a unique class of noncovalent protease inhibitors that occlude the catalytic cleft of NSPs. These findings increase our insights into the complex pathogenesis of S. aureus infections and create opportunities to design novel treatment strategies for inflammatory conditions related to excessive NSP activity.
Project description:The pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus actively evades many aspects of human innate immunity by expressing a series of small inhibitory proteins. A number of these proteins inhibit the complement system, which labels bacteria for phagocytosis and generates inflammatory chemoattractants. Although the majority of staphylococcal complement inhibitors act on the alternative pathway to block the amplification loop, only a few proteins act on the initial recognition cascades that constitute the classical pathway (CP) and lectin pathway (LP). We screened a collection of recombinant, secreted staphylococcal proteins to determine whether S. aureus produces other molecules that inhibit the CP and/or LP. Using this approach, we identified the extracellular adherence protein (Eap) as a potent, specific inhibitor of both the CP and LP. We found that Eap blocked CP/LP-dependent activation of C3, but not C4, and that Eap likewise inhibited deposition of C3b on the surface of S. aureus cells. In turn, this significantly diminished the extent of S. aureus opsonophagocytosis and killing by neutrophils. This combination of functional properties suggested that Eap acts specifically at the level of the CP/LP C3 convertase (C4b2a). Indeed, we demonstrated a direct, nanomolar-affinity interaction of Eap with C4b. Eap binding to C4b inhibited binding of both full-length C2 and its C2b fragment, which indicated that Eap disrupts formation of the CP/LP C3 proconvertase (C4b2). As a whole, our results demonstrate that S. aureus inhibits two initiation routes of complement by expression of the Eap protein, and thereby define a novel mechanism of immune evasion.
Project description:The extracellular adherence protein (Eap) plays a crucial role in pathogenesis and survival of Staphylococcus aureus by inhibiting the classical and lectin pathways of complement. We have previously shown that Eap binds with nanomolar affinity to complement C4b and disrupts the initial interaction between C4b and C2, thereby inhibiting formation of the classical and lectin pathway C3 pro-convertase. Although an underlying mechanism has been identified, the structural basis for Eap binding to C4b is poorly understood. Here, we show that Eap domains 3 and 4 each contain a low-affinity, but saturable binding site for C4b. Taking advantage of the high lysine content of Eap, we used a zero-length crosslinking approach to map the Eap binding site to both the ?'- and ?-chains of C4b. We also probed the C4b/Eap interface through a chemical footprinting approach involving lysine modification, proteolytic digestion, and mass spectrometry. This identified seven lysines in Eap that undergo changes in solvent exposure upon C4b binding. We found that simultaneous mutation of these lysines to either alanine or glutamate diminished C4b binding and complement inhibition by Eap. Together, our results provide insight into Eap recognition of C4b, and suggest that the repeating domains that comprise Eap are capable of multiple ligand-binding modes.