Vibrio vulnificus RtxA1 cytotoxin targets filamin A to regulate PAK1- and MAPK-dependent cytoskeleton reorganization and cell death.
ABSTRACT: Cytoskeletal rearrangement and acute cytotoxicity occur in Vibrio vulnificus-infected host cells. RtxA1 toxin, a multifunctional autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX), is essential for the pathogenesis of V. vulnificus and the programmed necrotic cell death. In this study, HeLa cells expressing RtxA1 amino acids 1491-1971 fused to GFP were observed to be rounded. Through yeast two-hybrid screening and subsequent immunoprecipitation validation assays, we confirmed the specific binding of a RtxA11491-1971 fragment with host-cell filamin A, an actin cross-linking scaffold protein. Downregulation of filamin A expression decreased the cytotoxicity of RtxA1 toward host cells. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of JNK and p38 MAPKs was induced by the RtxA1-filamin A interaction during the toxin-mediated cell death. However, the phosphorylation of these MAPKs was not observed during the RtxA1 intoxication of filamin A-deficient M2 cells. In addition, the depletion of pak1, which appeared to be activated by the RtxA1-filamin A interaction, inhibited RtxA1-induced phosphorylation of JNK and p38, and the cells treated with a pak1 inhibitor exhibited decreased RtxA1-mediated cytoskeletal rearrangement and cytotoxicity. Thus, the binding of filamin A by the RtxA11491-1971 domain appears to be a requisite to pak1-mediated MAPK activation, which contributes to the cytoskeletal reorganization and host cell death.
Project description:The expression of virulence genes in bacteria is known to be regulated by various environmental and host factors. Vibrio vulnificus, an estuarine bacterium, experiences a dramatic environmental change during its infection process. We reported that V. vulnificus RtxA1 toxin caused acute cell death only when close contact to host cells was allowed. A sigma factor RpoS is a very important regulator for the maximal survival of pathogens under stress conditions. Here, we studied the role of RpoS in V. vulnificus cytotoxicity and mouse lethality. The growth of rpoS mutant strain was comparable to that of wild-type in heart infusion (HI) media and DMEM with HeLa cell lysate. An rpoS mutation resulted in decreased cytotoxicity, which was restored by in trans complementation. Interestingly, host contact increased the expression and secretion of V. vulnificus RtxA1 toxin, which was decreased and delayed by the rpoS mutation. Transcription of the cytotoxic gene rtxA1 and its transporter rtxB1 was significantly increased after host factor contact, whereas the activity was decreased by the rpoS mutation. In contrast, the rpoS mutation showed no effect on the transcriptional activity of a cytolytic heamolysin gene (vvhA). Additionally, the LD50 of the rpoS mutant was 15-fold higher than that of the wild-type in specific pathogen-free CD-1 female mice. Taken together, these results show that RpoS regulates the expression of V. vulnificus RtxA1 toxin and its transporter upon host contact.
Project description:Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in pathogens is the result of indiscriminate use of antibiotics and consequent metabolic/genetic modulation to evolve survival strategies and clonal-selection in AMR strains. As an alternative to antibiotic treatment, antivirulence strategies are being developed, not only to combat bacterial pathogenesis, but also to avoid emerging antibiotic resistance. Vibrio vulnificus is a foodborne pathogen that causes gastroenteritis, necrotizing wound infections, and sepsis with a high rate of mortality. Here, we developed an inhibitor-screening reporter platform to target HlyU, a master transcriptional regulator of virulence factors in V. vulnificus by assessing rtxA1 transcription under its control. The inhibitor-screening platform includes wild type and ?hlyU mutant strains of V. vulnificus harboring the reporter construct P rtxA1::luxCDABE for desired luminescence signal detection and control background luminescence, respectively. Using the inhibitor-screening platform, we identified a small molecule, fursultiamine hydrochloride (FTH), that inhibits the transcription of the highly invasive repeat-in-toxin (rtxA1) and hemolysin (vvhA) along with other HlyU regulated virulence genes. FTH has no cytotoxic effects on either host cells or pathogen at the tested concentrations. FTH rescues host cells from the necrotic cell-death induced by RtxA1 and decreases the hemolytic activity under in vitro conditions. The most important point is that FTH treatment does not induce the antivirulence resistance. Current study validated the antivirulence strategy targeting the HlyU virulence transcription factor and toxin-network of V. vulnificus and demonstrated that FTH, exhibits a potential to inhibit the pathogenesis of deadly, opportunistic human pathogen, V. vulnificus without inducing AMR.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus is an opportunistic human pathogen that preferentially infects compromised iron-overloaded patients, causing a fatal primary septicemia with very rapid progress, resulting in a high mortality rate. In this study we determined that the HlyU protein, a virulence factor in V. vulnificus CMCP6, up-regulates the expression of VV20479, a homologue of the Vibrio cholerae RTX (repeats in toxin) toxin gene that we named rtxA1. This gene is part of an operon together with two other open reading frames, VV20481 and VV20480, that encode two predicted proteins, a peptide chain release factor 1 and a hemolysin acyltransferase, respectively. A mutation in rtxA1 not only contributes to the loss of cytotoxic activity but also results in a decrease in virulence, whereas a deletion of VV20481 and VV20480 causes a slight decrease in virulence but with no effect in cytotoxicity. Activation of the expression of the rtxA1 operon by HlyU occurs at the transcription initiation level by binding of the HlyU protein to a region upstream of this operon.
Project description:Cytotoxicity is an important virulence determinant in the pathogenesis of Vibrio vulnificus, and two cytotoxins, RTX (encoded by rtxA1) and cytolysin/hemolysin (encoded by vvhA), have been identified in this organism. We showed that the quorum-sensing regulator LuxO controlled the cytotoxicity of this organism: a ?luxO mutant exhibited low cytotoxicity, whereas a constitutively activated luxO mutant, luxO(D47E), remained highly cytotoxic. The cytotoxicity of the ?luxO mutant was restored when smcR, a Vibrio harveyi luxR homologue repressed by luxO, was further deleted. SmcR then was shown to repress the expression of both rtxA1 and vvhA. A DNA library of V. vulnificus was screened in Escherichia coli for clones that upregulated vvhA in the presence of SmcR, and hlyU, which has been shown to positively regulate rtxA1 and vvhA, was identified. We demonstrated that SmcR repressed the expression of hlyU and bound to a region upstream of hlyU in V. vulnificus. The deletion of hlyU resulted in the loss of cytotoxicity and reduced cytolysin/hemolysin production in the ?smcR mutant. The ?smcR ?hlyU mutant regained cytotoxicity and cytolysin/hemolysin activity when hns, which has been shown to repress the transcription of rtxA1 and interfere with hlyU, was further removed. Collectively, our data suggest that SmcR mediates the regulation of cytotoxicity by quorum-sensing signaling in V. vulnificus by repressing hlyU, an activator of rtxA1 and vvhA.
Project description:The objective of this study was to analyze multifunctional autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxin domain organization within the aquatic species Vibrio vulnificus as well as to study the evolution of the rtxA1 gene. The species is subdivided into three biotypes that differ in host range and geographical distribution. We have found three different types (I, II, and III) of V. vulnificus MARTX (MARTX(Vv)) toxins with common domains (an autocatalytic cysteine protease domain [CPD], an ?/?-hydrolase domain, and a domain resembling that of the LifA protein of Escherichia coli O127:H6 E2348/69 [Efa/LifA]) and specific domains (a Rho-GTPase inactivation domain [RID], a domain of unknown function [DUF], a domain resembling that of the rtxA protein of Photorhabdus asymbiotica [rtxA(PA)], and an actin cross-linking domain [ACD]). Biotype 1 isolates harbor MARTX(Vv) toxin types I and II, biotype 2 isolates carry MARTX(Vv) toxin type III, and biotype 3 isolates have MARTX(Vv) toxin type II. The analyzed biotype 2 isolates harbor two identical copies of rtxA1, one chromosomal and the other plasmidic. The evolutionary history of the gene demonstrates that MARTX(Vv) toxins are mosaics, comprising pieces with different evolutionary histories, some of which have been acquired by intra- or interspecific horizontal gene transfer. Finally, we have found evidence that the evolutionary history of the rtxA1 gene for biotype 2 differs totally from the gene history of biotypes 1 and 3.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus is a food-borne bacterial pathogen associated with 1% of all food-related deaths, predominantly because of consumption of contaminated seafood. The ability of V. vulnificus to cause disease is linked to the production of a large cytotoxin called the "multifunctional-autoprocessing RTX" (MARTX(Vv)) toxin, a factor shown here to be an important virulence factor by the intragastric route of infection in mice. In this study, we examined genetic variation of the rtxA1 gene that encodes MARTX(Vv) in 40 V. vulnificus Biotype 1 strains and found four distinct variants of rtxA1 that encode toxins with different arrangements of effector domains. We provide evidence that these variants arose by recombination either with rtxA genes carried on plasmids or with the rtxA gene of Vibrio anguillarum. Contrary to expected results, the most common rtxA1 gene variant in clinical-type V. vulnificus encodes a toxin with reduced potency and is distinct from the toxin produced by strains isolated from market oysters. These results indicate that an important virulence factor of V. vulnificus is undergoing significant genetic rearrangement and may be subject to selection for reduced virulence in the environment. This finding would imply further that in the future on-going genetic variation of the MARTX(Vv) toxins could result in the emergence of novel strains with altered virulence in humans.
Project description:Vibrio vulnificus causes rapidly progressing septicemia with an extremely high mortality rate (?50%), even with aggressive antibiotic treatment. The bacteria secrete multifunctional autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) toxins, which are involved in the pathogenesis of Gram-negative Vibrio species. Recently, we reported that immunization with the C-terminal region of V. vulnificus RtxA1/MARTXVv, RtxA1-C, elicits a protective immune response against V. vulnificus through a poorly defined mechanism. In this study, we generated a panel of new monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against V. vulnificus RtxA1-C and investigated their protective efficacies and mechanisms in a mouse model of infection. Prophylactic administration of seven MAbs strongly protected mice against lethal V. vulnificus infection (more than 90% survival). Moreover, three of these MAbs (21RA, 24RA, and 47RA) demonstrated marked efficacy as postexposure therapy. Notably, 21RA was therapeutically effective against lethal V. vulnificus infection by a variety of routes. Using Fab fragments and a neutropenic mouse model, we showed that 21RA and 24RA mediate protection from V. vulnificus infection through an Fc-independent and/or neutrophil-independent pathway. In contrast, 47RA-mediated protection was dependent on its Fc region and was reduced to 50% in neutropenic mice compared with 21RA-mediated and 24RA-mediated protection. Bacteriological study indicated that 21RA appears to enhance the clearance of V. vulnificus from the blood. Overall, these studies suggest that humoral immunity controls V. vulnificus infection through at least two different mechanisms. Furthermore, our panel of MAbs could provide attractive candidates for the further development of immunoprophylaxis/therapeutics and other therapies against V. vulnificus that target the MARTX toxin.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>The in vivo efficacy of a cefotaxime-ciprofloxacin combination against Vibrio vulnificus and the effects on rtxA1 expression of commonly used antibiotics are unknown.<h4>Methods</h4>In vitro time-kill studies were performed to evaluate synergism. Female BALB/c mice were injected subcutaneously with 1×10(7) or 1×10(8) cfu of V. vulnificus. Antibiotic therapy was initiated at 2 h after inoculation in the following four therapy groups: cefotaxime; ciprofloxacin; cefotaxime-plus-ciprofloxacin; and cefotaxime-plus-minocycline. The cytotoxicity of V. vulnificus for HeLa cells was measured using the lactate dehydrogenase assay; rtxA1 transcription was measured in a transcriptional reporter strain using a ?-galactosidase assay.<h4>Results</h4>In vitro time-kill assays exhibited synergism between cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin. In the animal experiments, the 96-h survival rate for the cefotaxime-plus-ciprofloxacin group (85%; 17/20) was significantly higher than that of the cefotaxime-plus-minocycline (35%; 7/20) and cefotaxime alone (0%; 0/20) groups (P<0.05 for both). Bacterial counts in the liver and spleen were significantly lower in the cefotaxime-plus-ciprofloxacin group 24 and 48 h after treatment, relative to the other groups. At sub-inhibitory concentrations, ciprofloxacin inhibited more effectively rtxA1 transcription and mammalian cell cytotoxicity than either minocycline or cefotaxime (P<0.05 for both).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Ciprofloxacin is more effective at reducing rtxA1 transcription and subsequent cytotoxicity than either minocycline or cefotaxime, and the combination of ciprofloxacin and cefotaxime was more effective in clearing V. vulnificus in vivo than previously used regimens. These data suggest that the combination of ciprofloxacin and cefotaxime is an effective option for the treatment of V. vulnificus sepsis in humans.
Project description:The virulence gene rtxA1, encoding the repeat-in-toxin protein, plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of Vibrio vulnificus infections. Expression of this gene is controlled by the HlyU regulator by direct contact of the DNA upstream of the rtxA1 toxin operon acting as a derepressor of the H-NS protein. The crystal structure suggests that HlyU forms a homodimer in vitro. However, knowledge of the biological implications of these findings in vivo is limited. In this work, we endeavored to dissect, using genetic and biochemical approaches, the domains of this protein that are essential for homodimer formation and the interaction of HlyU with the target DNA. We identified that residues L18, N22, R25, S54, Q55, L57, W59, R61, K70, and Y77 are essential for the HlyU protein binding to the DNA and that amino acids L17 and L91 are important for HlyU dimerization. We also determined that HlyU homodimer formation is an essential requirement for binding to the upstream region of the rtxA1 operon and is the key feature in relieving the H-NS repression of rtxA1 transcription.
Project description:T helper type 17 (Th17) cells are a subset of pro-inflammatory T helper cells that mediate host defense and pathological inflammation. We have previously reported that host dendritic cells (DCs) infected with Vibrio vulnificus induce Th17 responses through the production of several pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-1? and IL-6. V. vulnificus produces RTX toxin (RtxA), an important virulence factor that determines successful pathophysiology. In this study, we investigated the involvement of RtxA from V. vulnificus in Th17 cell induction through the activation and maturation of DCs. The increased expression of the DC surface marker CD40 caused by V. vulnificus wild-type infection was reduced by rtxA gene mutation in V. vulnificus. The mRNA and protein levels of Th17 polarization-related cytokines also decreased in V. vulnificus rtxA mutant-infected DCs. In addition, the co-culture of Th cells and DCs infected with rtxA mutant V. vulnificus resulted in reduction in DC-mediated Th17 responses. Th17 cell responses in the small intestinal lamina propria decreased in mice inoculated with V. vulnificus rtxA mutant as compared to those inoculated with the wild-type strain. These decreases in DC maturation, Th17-polarizing cytokine secretion, and Th17 responses attributed to rtxA mutation were restored following infection with the rtxA revertant strain. Furthermore, the mutation in the hlyU gene encoding the activator of rtxA1 gene reproduced the results observed with rtxA mutation. Taken together, V. vulnificus, by means of RtxA, induces inflammatory Th17 responses, which may be associated with adaptive responses of the host against V. vulnificus infection.