In Vitro Characterization of the Colibactin-Activating Peptidase ClbP Enables Development of a Fluorogenic Activity Probe.
ABSTRACT: The gut bacterial genotoxin colibactin is linked to the development of colorectal cancer. In the final stages of colibactin's biosynthesis, an inactive precursor (precolibactin) undergoes proteolytic cleavage by ClbP, an unusual inner-membrane-bound periplasmic peptidase, to generate the active genotoxin. This enzyme presents an opportunity to monitor and modulate colibactin biosynthesis, but its active form has not been studied in vitro and limited tools exist to measure its activity. Here, we describe the in vitro biochemical characterization of catalytically active, full-length ClbP. We elucidate its substrate preferences and use this information to develop a fluorogenic activity probe. This tool will enable the discovery of ClbP inhibitors and streamline identification of colibactin-producing bacteria.
Project description:Colibactin represents a structurally undefined class of bacterial genotoxin inducing DNA damage and genomic instability in mammalian cells, thus promoting tumour development and exacerbating lymphopenia in animal models. The colibactin biosynthetic gene cluster (clb) has been known for ten years and it encodes a hybrid nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS)/polyketide synthase (PKS) assembly line. Nevertheless, the final chemical product(s) remain unknown. Previously, we and others reported several colibactin pathway-related metabolites including N-myristoyl-d-asparagine (1) as part of a prodrug precursor that is cleaved from the putative precolibactin to form active colibactin by the peptidase ClbP. Herein, we report two new colibactin pathway-related metabolites (2 and 3) isolated from a clbP mutant of the probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917 strain. Their structures were established by HRMS and NMR. Compound 2 shows an additional 4-aminopenatanoic acid moiety with respect to 1, while 3 is characterized by the presence of an unusual 7-methyl-4-azaspiro[2.4]hept-6-en-5-one residue. Moreover, we propose the biosynthetic pathway towards both intermediates on the basis of extensive gene inactivation and feeding experiments. The identification of 2 and 3 provides further insight into colibactin biosynthesis including the involvement and formation of a rare 1-aminocyclopropanecarboxylic acid unit. Thus, our work establishes additional steps of the pathway forming the bacterial genotoxin colibactin.
Project description:Colibactin is an assumed human gut bacterial genotoxin, whose biosynthesis is linked to the clb genomic island that has a widespread distribution in pathogenic and commensal human enterobacteria. Colibactin-producing gut microbes promote colon tumour formation and enhance the progression of colorectal cancer via cellular senescence and death induced by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs); however, the chemical basis that contributes to the pathogenesis at the molecular level has not been fully characterized. Here, we report the discovery of colibactin-645, a macrocyclic colibactin metabolite that recapitulates the previously assumed genotoxicity and cytotoxicity. Colibactin-645 shows strong DNA DSB activity in vitro and in human cell cultures via a unique copper-mediated oxidative mechanism. We also delineate a complete biosynthetic model for colibactin-645, which highlights a unique fate of the aminomalonate-building monomer in forming the C-terminal 5-hydroxy-4-oxazolecarboxylic acid moiety through the activities of both the polyketide synthase ClbO and the amidase ClbL. This work thus provides a molecular basis for colibactin's DNA DSB activity and facilitates further mechanistic study of colibactin-related colorectal cancer incidence and prevention.
Project description:Certain Escherichia coli strains residing in the human gut produce colibactin, a small-molecule genotoxin implicated in colorectal cancer pathogenesis. However, colibactin's chemical structure and the molecular mechanism underlying its genotoxic effects have remained unknown for more than a decade. Here we combine an untargeted DNA adductomics approach with chemical synthesis to identify and characterize a covalent DNA modification from human cell lines treated with colibactin-producing E. coli Our data establish that colibactin alkylates DNA with an unusual electrophilic cyclopropane. We show that this metabolite is formed in mice colonized by colibactin-producing E. coli and is likely derived from an initially formed, unstable colibactin-DNA adduct. Our findings reveal a potential biomarker for colibactin exposure and provide mechanistic insights into how a gut microbe may contribute to colorectal carcinogenesis.
Project description:Modular polyketide synthases (PKSs) and nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) comprise giant multidomain enzymes responsible for the "assembly line" biosynthesis of many genetically encoded small molecules. Site-directed mutagenesis, protein biochemical, and structural studies have focused on elucidating the catalytic mechanisms of individual multidomain proteins and protein domains within these megasynthases. However, probing their functions at the cellular level typically has invoked the complete deletion (or overexpression) of multidomain-encoding genes or combinations of genes and comparing those mutants with a control pathway. Here we describe a "domain-targeted" metabolomic strategy that combines genome editing with pathway analysis to probe the functions of individual PKS and NRPS catalytic domains at the cellular metabolic level. We apply the approach to the bacterial colibactin pathway, a genotoxic NRPS-PKS hybrid pathway found in certain Escherichia coli. The pathway produces precolibactins, which are converted to colibactins by a dedicated peptidase, ClbP. Domain-targeted metabolomics enabled the characterization of "multidomain signatures", or functional readouts of NRPS-PKS domain contributions to the pathway-dependent metabolome. These multidomain signatures provided experimental support for individual domain contributions to colibactin biosynthesis and delineated the assembly line timing events of colibactin heterocycle formation. The analysis also led to the structural characterization of two reactive precolibactin metabolites. We demonstrate the fate of these reactive intermediates in the presence and absence of ClbP, which dictates the formation of distinct product groups resulting from alternative cyclization cascades. In the presence of the peptidase, the reactive intermediates are converted to a known genotoxic scaffold, providing metabolic support of our mechanistic model for colibactin-induced genotoxicity. Domain-targeted metabolomics could be more widely used to characterize NRPS-PKS pathways with unprecedented genetic and metabolic precision.
Project description:The clb gene cluster encodes the biosynthesis of metabolites known as precolibactins and colibactins. The clb pathway is found in gut commensal Escherichia coli, and clb metabolites are thought to initiate colorectal cancer via DNA crosslinking. Here we report confirmation of the structural assignment of the complex clb product precolibactin 886 via a biomimetic synthetic pathway. We show that an ?-ketoimine linear precursor undergoes spontaneous cyclization to precolibactin 886 on HPLC purification. Studies of this ?-ketoimine and the related ?-dicarbonyl revealed that these compounds are unexpectedly susceptible to nucleophilic cleavage under mildly basic conditions. This cleavage pathway forms other known clb metabolites or biosynthetic intermediates and explains the difficulties in isolating fully mature biosynthetic products. This cleavage also accounts for a recently identified colibactin-adenine adduct. The colibactin peptidase ClbP deacylates synthetic precolibactin 886 to form a non-genotoxic pyridone, which suggests precolibactin 886 lies off the path of the major biosynthetic route.
Project description:Colibactin is a genotoxic hybrid nonribosomal peptide/polyketide secondary metabolite produced by various pathogenic and probiotic bacteria residing in the human gut. The presence of colibactin metabolites has been correlated to colorectal cancer formation in several studies. The specific function of many gene products in the colibactin gene cluster can be predicted. However, the role of ClbQ, a type II editing thioesterase, has not been established. The importance of ClbQ has been demonstrated by genetic deletions that abolish colibactin cytotoxic activity, and recent studies suggest an atypical role in releasing pathway intermediates from the assembly line. Here we report the 2.0 Å crystal structure and biochemical characterization of ClbQ. Our data reveal that ClbQ exhibits greater catalytic efficiency toward acyl-thioester substrates as compared to precolibactin intermediates and does not discriminate among carrier proteins. Cyclized pyridone-containing colibactins, which are off-pathway derivatives, are not viable substrates for ClbQ, while linear precursors are, supporting a role of ClbQ in facilitating the promiscuous off-loading of premature precolibactin metabolites and novel insights into colibactin biosynthesis.
Project description:Escherichia coli strains expressing the K1 capsule are a major cause of sepsis and meningitis in human neonates. The development of these diseases is dependent on the expression of a range of virulence factors, many of which remain uncharacterized. Here, we show that all but 1 of 34 E. coli K1 neonatal isolates carried clbA and clbP, genes contained within the pks pathogenicity island and required for the synthesis of colibactin, a polyketide-peptide genotoxin that causes genomic instability in eukaryotic cells by induction of double-strand breaks in DNA. Inactivation of clbA and clbP in E. coli A192PP, a virulent strain of serotype O18:K1 that colonizes the gastrointestinal tract and translocates to the blood compartment with very high frequency in experimental infection of the neonatal rat, significantly reduced the capacity of A192PP to colonize the gut, engender double-strand breaks in DNA, and cause invasive, lethal disease. Mutation of clbA, which encodes a pleiotropic enzyme also involved in siderophore synthesis, impacted virulence to a greater extent than mutation of clbP, encoding an enzyme specific to colibactin synthesis. Restoration of colibactin gene function by complementation reestablished the fully virulent phenotype. We conclude that colibactin contributes to the capacity of E. coli K1 to colonize the neonatal gastrointestinal tract and to cause invasive disease in the susceptible neonate.
Project description:Members of the human microbiota are increasingly being correlated to human health and disease states, but the majority of the underlying microbial metabolites that regulate host-microbe interactions remain largely unexplored. Select strains of Escherichia coli present in the human colon have been linked to the initiation of inflammation-induced colorectal cancer through an unknown small-molecule-mediated process. The responsible non-ribosomal peptide-polyketide hybrid pathway encodes 'colibactin', which belongs to a largely uncharacterized family of small molecules. Genotoxic small molecules from this pathway that are capable of initiating cancer formation have remained elusive due to their high instability. Guided by metabolomic analyses, here we employ a combination of NMR spectroscopy and bioinformatics-guided isotopic labelling studies to characterize the colibactin warhead, an unprecedented substituted spirobicyclic structure. The warhead crosslinks duplex DNA in vitro, providing direct experimental evidence for colibactin's DNA-damaging activity. The data support unexpected models for both colibactin biosynthesis and its mode of action.
Project description:Various forms of cancer have been linked to the carcinogenic activities of microorganisms(1-3). The virulent gene island polyketide synthase (pks) produces the secondary metabolite colibactin, a genotoxic molecule(s) causing double-stranded DNA breaks(4) and enhanced colorectal cancer development(5,6). Colibactin biosynthesis involves a prodrug resistance strategy where an N-terminal prodrug scaffold (precolibactin) is assembled, transported into the periplasm and cleaved to release the mature product(7-10). Here, we show that ClbM, a multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE) transporter, is a key component involved in colibactin activity and transport. Disruption of clbM attenuated pks+ E. coli-induced DNA damage in vitro and significantly decreased the DNA damage response in gnotobiotic Il10(-/-) mice. Colonization experiments performed in mice or zebrafish animal models indicate that clbM is not implicated in E. coli niche establishment. The X-ray structure of ClbM shows a structural motif common to the recently described MATE family. The 12-transmembrane ClbM is characterized as a cation-coupled antiporter, and residues important to the cation-binding site are identified. Our data identify ClbM as a precolibactin transporter and provide the first structure of a MATE transporter with a defined and specific biological function.
Project description:Despite containing an ?-amino acid, the versatile cofactor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is not a known building block for nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) assembly lines. Here we report an unusual NRPS module from colibactin biosynthesis that uses SAM for amide bond formation and subsequent cyclopropanation. Our findings showcase a new use for SAM and reveal a novel biosynthetic route to a functional group that likely mediates colibactin's genotoxicity.