RpoS controls the expression and the transport of the AlgE1-7 epimerases in Azotobacter vinelandii.
ABSTRACT: Azotobacter vinelandii produces differentiated cells, called cysts, surrounded by two alginate layers, which are necessary for their desiccation resistance. This alginate contains variable proportions of guluronate residues, resulting from the activity of seven extracytoplasmic epimerases, AlgE1-7. These enzymes are exported by a system secretion encoded by the eexDEF operon; mutants lacking the AlgE1-7 epimerases, the EexDEF or the RpoS sigma factor produce alginate, but are unable to form desiccation resistant cysts. Herein, we found that RpoS was required for full transcription of the algE1-7 and eexDEF genes. We found that the AlgE1-7 protein levels were diminished in the rpoS mutant strain. In addition, the alginate produced in the absence of RpoS was more viscous in the presence of proteases, a phenotype similar to that of the eexD mutant. Primer extension analysis located two promoters for the eexDEF operon, one of them was RpoS-dependent. Thus, during encysting conditions, RpoS coordinates the expression of both the AlgE1-7 epimerases and the EexDEF protein complex responsible for their transport.
Project description:Alginate is a linear copolymer of beta-d-mannuronic acid and its C-5-epimer, alpha-l-guluronic acid. During biosynthesis, the polymer is first made as mannuronan, and various fractions of the monomers are then epimerized to guluronic acid by mannuronan C-5-epimerases. The Azotobacter vinelandii genome encodes a family of seven extracellular such epimerases (AlgE1 to AlgE7) which display motifs characteristic for proteins secreted via a type I pathway. Putative ATPase-binding cassette regions from the genome draft sequence of the A. vinelandii OP strain and experimentally verified type I transporters from other species were compared. This analysis led to the identification of one putative A. vinelandii type I system (eexDEF). The corresponding genes were individually disrupted in A. vinelandii strain E, and Western blot analysis using polyclonal antibodies against all AlgE epimerases showed that these proteins were present in wild-type culture supernatants but absent from the eex mutant supernatants. Consistent with this, the wild-type strain and the eex mutants produced alginate with about 20% guluronic acid and almost pure mannuronan (< or =2% guluronic acid), respectively. The A. vinelandii wild type is able to enter a particular desiccation-tolerant resting stage designated cyst. At this stage, the cells are surrounded by a rigid coat in which alginate is a major constituent. Such a coat was formed by wild-type cells in a particular growth medium but was missing in the eex mutants. These mutants were also found to be unable to survive desiccation. The reason for this is probably that continuous stretches of guluronic acid residues are needed for alginate gel formation to take place.
Project description:Alginate is a linear copolymer composed of 1?4 linked ?-d-mannuronic acid (M) and its epimer ?-l-guluronic acid (G). The polysaccharide is first produced as homopolymeric mannuronan and subsequently, at the polymer level, C-5 epimerases convert M residues to G residues. The bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii encodes a family of seven secreted and calcium ion-dependent mannuronan C-5 epimerases (AlgE1-AlgE7). These epimerases consist of two types of structural modules: the A-modules, which contain the catalytic site, and the R-modules, which influence activity through substrate and calcium binding. In this study, we rationally designed new hybrid mannuronan C-5 epimerases constituting the A-module from AlgE6 and the R-module from AlgE4. This led to a better understanding of the molecular mechanism determining differences in MG- and GG-block-forming properties of the enzymes. A long loop with either tyrosine or phenylalanine extruding from the ?-helix of the enzyme proved essential in defining the final alginate block structure, probably by affecting substrate binding. Normal mode analysis of the A-module from AlgE6 supports the results.
Project description:The bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii produces a family of seven secreted and calcium-dependent mannuronan C-5 epimerases (AlgE1-7). These epimerases are responsible for the epimerization of ?-D-mannuronic acid (M) to ?-L-guluronic acid (G) in alginate polymers. The epimerases display a modular structure composed of one or two catalytic A-modules and from one to seven R-modules having an activating effect on the A-module. In this study, we have determined the NMR structure of the three individual R-modules from AlgE6 (AR1R2R3) and the overall structure of both AlgE4 (AR) and AlgE6 using small angle x-ray scattering. Furthermore, the alginate binding ability of the R-modules of AlgE4 and AlgE6 has been studied with NMR and isothermal titration calorimetry. The AlgE6 R-modules fold into an elongated parallel ?-roll with a shallow, positively charged groove across the module. Small angle x-ray scattering analyses of AlgE4 and AlgE6 show an overall elongated shape with some degree of flexibility between the modules for both enzymes. Titration of the R-modules with defined alginate oligomers shows strong interaction between AlgE4R and both oligo-M and MG, whereas no interaction was detected between these oligomers and the individual R-modules from AlgE6. A combination of all three R-modules from AlgE6 shows weak interaction with long M-oligomers. Exchanging the R-modules between AlgE4 and AlgE6 resulted in a novel epimerase called AlgE64 with increased G-block forming ability compared with AlgE6.
Project description:AlgE1, AlgE5 and AlgE6 are members of a family of mannuronan C-5 epimerases encoded by the bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii, and are active in the biosynthesis of alginate, where they catalyse the post-polymerization conversion of beta-D-mannuronic acid (M) residues into alpha-L-guluronic acid residues (G). All enzymes show preference for introducing G-residues neighbouring a pre-existing G. They also have the capacity to convert single M residues flanked by G, thus 'condensing' G-blocks to form almost homopolymeric guluronan. Analysis of the length and distribution of G-blocks based on specific enzyme degradation combined with size-exclusion chromatography, electrospray ionization MS, HPAEC-PAD (high-performance anion-exchange chromatography and pulsed amperometric detection), MALDI (matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization)-MS and NMR revealed large differences in block length and distribution generated by AlgE1 and AlgE6, probably reflecting their different degree of processivity. When acting on polyMG as substrates, AlgE1 initially forms only long homopolymeric G-blocks >50, while AlgE6 gives shorter blocks with a broader block size distribution. Analyses of the AlgE1 and AlgE6 subsite specificities by the same methodology showed that a mannuronan octamer and heptamer respectively were the minimum substrate chain lengths needed to accommodate enzyme activities. The fourth M residue from the non-reducing end is epimerized first by both enzymes. When acting on MG-oligomers, AlgE1 needed a decamer while AlgE6 an octamer to accommodate activity. By performing FIA (flow injection analysis)-MS on the lyase digests of epimerized and standard MG-oligomers, the M residue in position 5 from the non-reducing end was preferentially attacked by both enzymes, creating an MGMGGG-sequence (underlined and boldface indicate the epimerized residue).
Project description:Azotobacter vinelandii is a soil bacterium that undergoes a differentiation process that forms cysts resistant to desiccation. During encystment, a family of alkylresorcinols lipids (ARs) are synthesized and become part of the membrane and are also components of the outer layer covering the cyst, where they play a structural role. The synthesis of ARs in A. vinelandii has been shown to occur by the activity of enzymes encoded in the arsABCD operon. The expression of this operon is activated by ArpR, a LysR-type transcriptional regulator whose transcription occurs during encystment and is dependent on the alternative sigma factor RpoS. In this study, we show that the two component response regulator GacA, the small RNA RsmZ1 and the translational repressor protein RsmA, implicated in the control of the synthesis of other cysts components (i.e., alginate and poly-ß-hydroxybutyrate), are also controlling alkylresorcinol synthesis. This control affects the expression of arsABCD and is exerted through the regulation of arpR expression. We show that RsmA negatively regulates arpR expression by binding its mRNA, repressing its translation. GacA in turn, positively regulates arpR expression through the activation of transcription of RsmZ1, that binds RsmA, counteracting its repressor activity. This regulatory cascade is independent of RpoS. We also show evidence suggesting that GacA exerts an additional regulation on arsABCD expression through an ArpR independent route.
Project description:Alginate is a viscous extracellular polymer produced by mucoid strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that cause chronic pulmonary infections in patients with cystic fibrosis. Alginate is polymerized from GDP-mannuronate to a linear polymer of beta-1-4-linked residues of D-mannuronate and its C5-epimer, L-guluronate. We previously identified a gene called algG in the alginate biosynthetic operon that is required for incorporation of L-guluronate residues into alginate. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the product of algG is a C5-epimerase that directly converts D-mannuronate to L-guluronate. The DNA sequence of algG was determined, and an open reading frame encoding a protein (AlgG) of approximately 60 kDa was identified. The inferred amino terminus of AlgG protein contained a putative signal sequence of 35 amino acids. Expression of algG in Escherichia coli demonstrated both 60-kDa pre-AlgG and 55-kDa mature AlgG proteins, the latter of which was localized to the periplasm. An N-terminal analysis of AlgG showed that the signal sequence was removed in the mature form. Pulse-chase experiments in both E. coli and P. aeruginosa provided evidence for conversion of the 60- to the 55-kDa size in vivo. Expression of algG from a plasmid inan algG (i.e., polymannuronate-producing) mutant of P. aeruginosa restored production of an alginate containing L-guluronate residues. The observation that AlgG is apparently processed and exported from the cytoplasm suggested that it may act as a polymer-level mannuronan C5-epimerase. An in vitro assay for mannuronan C5 epimerization was developed wherein extracts of E. coli expressing high levels of AlgG were incubated with polymannuronate. Epimerization of D-mannuronate to L-guluronate residues in the polymer was detected enzymatically, using a L-guluronate-specific alginate lyase of Klebsiella aerogenes. Epimerization was also detected in the in vitro reaction between recombinant AlgG and poly-D-mannuronate, using high-performance anion-exchange chromatography. The epimerization reaction was detected only when acetyl groups were removed from the poly-D-mannuronate substrate, suggesting that AlgG epimerization activity in vivo may be sensitive to acetylation of the D-mannuronan residues. These results demonstrate that AlgG has polymer-level mannuronan C5-epimerase activity.
Project description:The cloning and expression of a family of five modular-type mannuronan C-5-epimerase genes from Azotobacter vinelandii (algE1 to -5) has previously been reported. The corresponding proteins catalyze the Ca2+-dependent polymer-level epimerization of beta-D-mannuronic acid to alpha-L-guluronic acid (G) in the commercially important polysaccharide alginate. Here we report the identification of three additional structurally similar genes, designated algE6, algE7, and algY. All three genes were sequenced and expressed in Escherichia coli. AlgE6 introduced contiguous stretches of G residues into its substrate (G blocks), while AlgE7 acted as both an epimerase and a lyase. The epimerase activity of AlgE7 leads to formation of alginates with both single G residues and G blocks. AlgY did not display epimerase activity, but a hybrid gene in which the 5'-terminal part was exchanged with the corresponding region in algE4 expressed an active epimerase. Southern blot analysis of genomic A. vinelandii DNA, using the 5' part of algE2 as a probe, indicated that all hybridization signals originated from algE1 to -5 or the three new genes reported here.
Project description:Cell walls of brown algae are complex supramolecular assemblies containing various original, sulfated, and carboxylated polysaccharides. Among these, the major marine polysaccharide component, alginate, represents an important biomass that is successfully turned over by the heterotrophic marine bacteria. In the marine flavobacterium Zobellia galactanivorans, the catabolism and uptake of alginate are encoded by operon structures that resemble the typical Bacteroidetes polysaccharide utilization locus. The genome of Z. galactanivorans contains seven putative alginate lyase genes, five of which are localized within two clusters comprising additional carbohydrate-related genes. This study reports on the detailed biochemical and structural characterization of two of these. We demonstrate here that AlyA1PL7 is an endolytic guluronate lyase, and AlyA5 cleaves unsaturated units, ?-L-guluronate or ?-D-manuronate residues, at the nonreducing end of oligo-alginates in an exolytic fashion. Despite a common jelly roll-fold, these striking differences of the mode of action are explained by a distinct active site topology, an open cleft in AlyA1(PL7), whereas AlyA5 displays a pocket topology due to the presence of additional loops partially obstructing the catalytic groove. Finally, in contrast to PL7 alginate lyases from terrestrial bacteria, both enzymes proceed according to a calcium-dependent mechanism suggesting an exquisite adaptation to their natural substrate in the context of brown algal cell walls.
Project description:Mucoid strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa overproduce alginate, a linear exopolysaccharide Of D-mannuronate and variable amounts of L-guluronate. The mannuronate residues undergo modification by C-5 epimerization to form the L-guluronates and by the addition of acetyl groups at the 0-2 and 0-3 positions. Through genetic analysis, we previously identified algF, located upstream of algA in the 18-kb alginate biosynthetic operon, as a gene required for alginate acetylation. Here, we show the sequence of a 3.7-kb fragment containing the open reading frames termed algI, algJ, and algF. An algI::Tn5O1 mutant, which was defective in algIJFA because of the polar nature of the transposon insertion, produced alginate when algA was provided in trans. This indicated that the algIJF gene products were not required for polymer biosynthesis. To examine the potential role of these genes in alginate modification, mutants were constructed by gene replacement in which each gene (algI, algJ, or algF) was replaced by a polar gentamicin resistance cassette. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy showed that polymers produced by strains deficient in algIJF still contained a mixture of D-mannuronate and L-guluronate, indicating that C-5 epimerization was not affected. Alginate acetylation was evaluated by a colorimetric assay and Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, and this analysis showed that strains deficient in algIJF produced nonacetylated alginate. Plasmids that supplied the downstream gene products affected by the polar mutations were introduced into each mutant. The strain defective only in algF expression produced an alginate that was not acetylated, confirming previous results. Strains missing only algJ or algI also produced nonacetylated alginates. Providing the respective missing gene (algI, algJ, or algF) in trans restored alginate acetylation. Mutants defective in algI or algJ, obtained by chemical and transposon mutagenesis, were also defective in their ability to acetylate alginate. Therefore, algI and algJ represent newly identified genes that, in addition to algF, are required for alginate acetylation.
Project description:The rapid advance in genome sequencing presents substantial challenges for protein functional assignment, with half or more of new protein sequences inferred from these genomes having uncertain assignments. The assignment of enzyme function in functionally diverse superfamilies represents a particular challenge, which we address through a combination of computational predictions, enzymology, and structural biology. Here we describe the results of a focused investigation of a group of enzymes in the enolase superfamily that are involved in epimerizing dipeptides. The first members of this group to be functionally characterized were Ala-Glu epimerases in Eschericiha coli and Bacillus subtilis, based on the operon context and enzymological studies; these enzymes are presumed to be involved in peptidoglycan recycling. We have subsequently studied more than 65 related enzymes by computational methods, including homology modeling and metabolite docking, which suggested that many would have divergent specificities;, i.e., they are likely to have different (unknown) biological roles. In addition to the Ala-Phe epimerase specificity reported previously, we describe the prediction and experimental verification of: (i) a new group of presumed Ala-Glu epimerases; (ii) several enzymes with specificity for hydrophobic dipeptides, including one from Cytophaga hutchinsonii that epimerizes D-Ala-D-Ala; and (iii) a small group of enzymes that epimerize cationic dipeptides. Crystal structures for certain of these enzymes further elucidate the structural basis of the specificities. The results highlight the potential of computational methods to guide experimental characterization of enzymes in an automated, large-scale fashion.