Resuscitation-Promoting Factors Are Required for Mycobacterium smegmatis Biofilm Formation.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:Dormancy is a common strategy adopted by bacterial cells as a means of surviving adverse environmental conditions. For Streptomyces bacteria, this involves developing chains of dormant exospores that extend away from the colony surface. Both spore formation and subsequent spore germination are tightly controlled processes, and while significant progress has been made in understanding the underlying regulatory and enzymatic bases for these, there are still significant gaps in our understanding. One class of proteins with a potential role in spore-associated processes are the so-called resuscitation-promoting factors, or Rpfs, which in other actinobacteria are needed to restore active growth to dormant cell populations. The model species Streptomyces coelicolor encodes five Rpf proteins (RpfA to RfpE), and here we show that these proteins have overlapping functions during growth. Collectively, the S. coelicolor Rpfs promote spore germination and are critical for growth under nutrient-limiting conditions. Previous studies have revealed structural similarities between the Rpf domain and lysozyme, and our in vitro biochemical assays revealed various levels of peptidoglycan cleavage capabilities for each of these five Streptomyces enzymes. Peptidoglycan remodeling by enzymes such as these must be stringently governed so as to retain the structural integrity of the cell wall. Our results suggest that one of the Rpfs, RpfB, is subject to a unique mode of enzymatic autoregulation, mediated by a domain of previously unknown function (DUF348) located within the N terminus of the protein; removal of this domain led to significantly enhanced peptidoglycan cleavage.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Interferon-? release assays (IGRA) with Resuscitation promoting factor (Rpf) proteins enhanced tuberculosis (TB) screening and diagnosis in adults but have not been evaluated in children. Children often develop paucibacillary TB and their immune response differs from that of adults, which together affect TB disease diagnostics and immunodiagnostics. We assessed the ability of Rpf to identify infection among household TB-exposed children in The Gambia and investigated their ability to discriminate Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) infection from active TB disease in children. METHODS:Detailed clinical investigations were done on 93 household TB-exposed Gambian children and a tuberculin skin test (TST) was administered to asymptomatic children. Venous blood was collected for overnight stimulation with ESAT-6/CFP-10-fusion protein (EC), purified protein derivative and RpfA, B, C, D and E. Interferon gamma (IFN-?) production was measured by ELISA in supernatants and corrected for the background level. Infection status was defined by IGRA with EC and TB disease by mycobacterial confirmation and/or clinical diagnosis. We compared IFN-? levels between infected and uninfected children and between infected and TB diseased children using a binomial logistic regression model while correcting for age and sex. A Receiver Operating Characteristics analysis was done to find the best cut-off for IFN-? level and calculate sensitivity and specificity. RESULTS:Interferon gamma production was significantly higher in infected (IGRA+, n?=?45) than in uninfected (IGRA-, n?=?20) children after stimulation with RpfA, B, C, and D (P?=?0.03; 0.007; 0.03 and 0.003, respectively). Using RpfB and D-specific IFN-? cut-offs (33.9?pg/mL and 67.0?pg/mL), infection was classified with a sensitivity-specificity combination of 73-92% and 77-72% respectively, which was similar to and better than 65-75% for TST. Moreover, IFN-? production was higher in infected than in TB diseased children (n?=?28, 5 bacteriologically confirmed, 23 clinically diagnosed), following RpfB and D stimulation (P?=?0.02 and 0.03, respectively). CONCLUSION:RpfB and RpfD show promising results for childhood MTBC infection screening, and both performed similar to and better than the TST in our study population. Additionally, both antigens appear to discriminate between infection and disease in children and thus warrant further investigation as screening and diagnostic antigens for childhood TB.
Project description:Bacterial cell growth and division require coordinated cell wall hydrolysis and synthesis, allowing for the removal and expansion of cell wall material. Without proper coordination, unchecked hydrolysis can result in cell lysis. How these opposing activities are simultaneously regulated is poorly understood. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the resuscitation-promoting factor B (RpfB), a lytic transglycosylase, interacts and synergizes with Rpf-interacting protein A (RipA), an endopeptidase, to hydrolyze peptidoglycan. However, it remains unclear what governs this synergy and how it is coordinated with cell wall synthesis. Here we identify the bifunctional peptidoglycan-synthesizing enzyme, penicillin binding protein 1 (PBP1), as a RipA-interacting protein. PBP1, like RipA, localizes both at the poles and septa of dividing cells. Depletion of the ponA1 gene, encoding PBP1 in M. smegmatis, results in a severe growth defect and abnormally shaped cells, indicating that PBP1 is necessary for viability and cell wall stability. Finally, PBP1 inhibits the synergistic hydrolysis of peptidoglycan by the RipA-RpfB complex in vitro. These data reveal a post-translational mechanism for regulating cell wall hydrolysis and synthesis through protein-protein interactions between enzymes with antagonistic functions.
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:Functional variation of Rpf, a growth factor found exclusively in Actinobacteria, is differentiated by its source and amino acid sequences. Only purified Rpf proteins from three species have been studied so far. To seek new Rpfs for use in future studies to understand their role in Actinobacteria, the objective of this study was to identify rpf gene homologs in Tomitella biformata AHU 1821(T), a novel Actinobacteria isolated from permafrost ice wedge. Amplification using degenerate primers targeting the essential Rpf domain led to the discovery of a new rpf gene in T. biformata. Gene structure and the deduced Rpf domain amino acid sequence indicated that this rpf gene was not identical to previously studied Rpf. Phylogenetic analysis placed T. biformata Rpf in a monophyletic branch in the RpfB subfamily. The deduced amino acid sequence was 44.9% identical to RpfB in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the closest functionally tested Rpf. The gene was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli; the recombinant Rpf protein (rRpf) promoted the growth of dividing cells and resuscitated non-dividing cells of T. biformata. Compared to other studies, this Rpf was required at higher concentrations to promote its growth and to resuscitate itself from a non-dividing state. The resuscitation function was likely due to the highly conserved Rpf domain. This study provides evidence that a genetically unique but functional Rpf can be found in novel members of Actinobacteria and can lead to a better understanding of bacterial cytokines in this phylum.
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.
Project description:The success of Mycobacterium tuberculosis relies on the ability to switch between active growth and non-replicating persistence, associated with latent TB infection. Resuscitation promoting factors (Rpfs) are essential for the transition between these states. Rpf expression is tightly regulated as these enzymes are able to degrade the cell wall, and hence potentially lethal to the bacterium itself. We have identified a regulatory element in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of rpfB. We demonstrate that this element is a transcriptionally regulated RNA switch/riboswitch candidate, which appears to be restricted to pathogenic mycobacteria, suggesting a role in virulence. We have used translation start site mapping to re-annotate the RpfB start codon and identified and validated a ribosome binding site that is likely to be targeted by an rpfB antisense RNA. Finally, we show that rpfB is co-transcribed with ksgA and ispE downstream. ksgA encodes a universally conserved methyltransferase involved in ribosome maturation and ispE encodes an essential kinase involved in cell wall synthesis. This arrangement implies co-regulation of resuscitation, cell wall synthesis and ribosome maturation via the RNA switch.
Project description: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.