Loss of Serine-Type D-Ala-D-Ala Carboxypeptidase DacA Enhances Prodigiosin Production in Serratia marcescens.
ABSTRACT: Serratia marcescens, a gram-negative bacterium, found in a wide range of ecological niches can produce several high-value products, including prodigiosin, althiomycin, and serratamolide. Among them, prodigiosin has attracted attention due to its immunosuppressive, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. However, the regulatory mechanisms behind prodigiosin synthesis in Serratia marcescens remains limited. Here, a transposon mutant library was constructed to identify the genes related to prodigiosin synthesis, and BVG90_02415 gene encoding a peptidoglycan synthesizing enzyme D-Ala-D-Ala carboxypeptidase DacA was found to negatively regulates prodigiosin synthesis. Quantitative measurements revealed that disruption of dacA increased prodigiosin production 1.46-fold that of the wild-type strain JNB5-1 in fermentation medium. By comparing differences in cell growth, pigA gene expression level, cell morphology, membrane permeability, and intracellular prodigiosin concentration between wild-type strain JNB5-1 and dacA mutant SK4-72, results revealed that the mechanism for hyper-producing of prodigiosin by the dacA mutant was probably that dacA disruption enhanced prodigiosin leakage, which in turn alleviated feedback inhibition of prodigiosin and increased expression of pig gene cluster. Collectively, this work provides a novel insight into regulatory mechanisms of prodigiosin synthesis and uncovers new roles of DacA protein in regulating cell growth, cell morphology, and membrane permeability in Serratia marcescens. Finally, this study offers a new strategy for improving production of high-value compounds in Serratia marcescens.
Project description:Swarming motility and hemolysis are virulence-associated determinants for a wide array of pathogenic bacteria. The broad host-range opportunistic pathogen Serratia marcescens produces serratamolide, a small cyclic amino-lipid, that promotes swarming motility and hemolysis. Serratamolide is negatively regulated by the transcription factors HexS and CRP. Positive regulators of serratamolide production are unknown. Similar to serratamolide, the antibiotic pigment, prodigiosin, is regulated by temperature, growth phase, HexS, and CRP. Because of this co-regulation, we tested the hypothesis that a homolog of the PigP transcription factor of the atypical Serratia species ATCC 39006, which positively regulates prodigiosin biosynthesis, is also a positive regulator of serratamolide production in S. marcescens. Mutation of pigP in clinical, environmental, and laboratory strains of S. marcescens conferred pleiotropic phenotypes including the loss of swarming motility, hemolysis, and severely reduced prodigiosin and serratamolide synthesis. Transcriptional analysis and electrophoretic mobility shift assays place PigP in a regulatory pathway with upstream regulators CRP and HexS. The data from this study identifies a positive regulator of serratamolide production, describes novel roles for the PigP transcription factor, shows for the first time that PigP directly regulates the pigment biosynthetic operon, and identifies upstream regulators of pigP. This study suggests that PigP is important for the ability of S. marcescens to compete in the environment.
Project description:Prodigiosin, a secondary metabolite produced by Serratia marcescens, has attracted attention due to its immunosuppressive, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. However, information on the regulatory mechanism behind prodigiosin biosynthesis in S. marcescens remains limited. In this work, a prodigiosin-hyperproducing strain with the BVG90_22495 gene disrupted (ZK66) was selected from a collection of Tn5G transposon insertion mutants. Using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis, ?-galactosidase assays, transcriptomics analysis, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs), the LysR-type regulator MetR encoded by the BVG90_22495 gene was found to affect prodigiosin synthesis, and this correlated with MetR directly binding to the promoter region of the prodigiosin-synthesis positive regulator PigP and hence negatively regulated the expression of the prodigiosin-associated pig operon. More analyses revealed that MetR regulated some other important cellular processes, including methionine biosynthesis, cell motility, H2O2 tolerance, heat tolerance, exopolysaccharide synthesis, and biofilm formation in S. marcescens Although MetR protein is highly conserved in many bacteria, we report here on the LysR-type regulator MetR exhibiting novel roles in negatively regulating prodigiosin synthesis and positively regulating heat tolerance, exopolysaccharide synthesis, and biofilm formation.IMPORTANCE Serratia marcescens, a Gram-negative bacterium, is found in a wide range of ecological niches and can produce several secondary metabolites, including prodigiosin, althiomycin, and serratamolide. Among them, prodigiosin shows diverse functions as an immunosuppressant, antimicrobial, and anticancer agent. However, the regulatory mechanisms behind prodigiosin synthesis in S. marcescens are not completely understood. Here, we adapted a transposon mutant library to identify the genes related to prodigiosin synthesis, and the BVG90_22495 gene encoding the LysR-type regulator MetR was found to negatively regulate prodigiosin synthesis. The molecular mechanism of the metR mutant hyperproducing prodigiosin was investigated. Additionally, we provided evidence supporting new roles for MetR in regulating methionine biosynthesis, cell motility, heat tolerance, H2O2 tolerance, and exopolysaccharide synthesis in S. marcescens Collectively, this work provides novel insight into regulatory mechanisms of prodigiosin synthesis and uncovers novel roles for the highly conserved MetR protein in regulating prodigiosin synthesis, heat tolerance, exopolysaccharide (EPS) synthesis, and biofilm formation.
Project description:Serratia marcescens generates secondary metabolites and secreted enzymes, and it causes hospital infections and community-acquired ocular infections. Previous studies identified cyclic AMP (cAMP) receptor protein (CRP) as an indirect inhibitor of antimicrobial secondary metabolites. Here, we identified a putative two-component regulator that suppressed crp mutant phenotypes. Evidence supports that the putative response regulator eepR was directly transcriptionally inhibited by cAMP-CRP. EepR and the putative sensor kinase EepS were necessary for the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, including prodigiosin- and serratamolide-dependent phenotypes, swarming motility, and hemolysis. Recombinant EepR bound to the prodigiosin and serratamolide promoters in vitro. Together, these data introduce a novel regulator of secondary metabolites that directly connects the broadly conserved metabolism regulator CRP with biosynthetic genes that may contribute to competition with other microbes.This study identifies a new transcription factor that is directly controlled by a broadly conserved transcription factor, CRP. CRP is well studied in its role to help bacteria respond to the amount of nutrients in their environment. The new transcription factor EepR is essential for the bacterium Serratia marcescens to produce two biologically active compounds, prodigiosin and serratamolide. These two compounds are antimicrobial and may allow S. marcescens to compete for limited nutrients with other microorganisms. Results from this study tie together the CRP environmental nutrient sensor with a new regulator of antimicrobial compounds. Beyond microbial ecology, prodigiosin and serratamolide have therapeutic potential; therefore, understanding their regulation is important for both applied and basic science.
Project description:<i>Serratia marcescens</i> is a bacterial species widely found in the environment, which very efficiently colonizes mosquitoes. In this study, we isolated a red-pigmented <i>S. marcescens</i> strain from our mosquito colony (called <i>S. marcescens</i> VA). This red pigmentation is caused by the production of prodigiosin, a molecule with antibacterial properties. To investigate the role of prodigiosin on mosquito-<i>S. marcescens</i> interactions, we produced two white mutants of <i>S. marcescens</i> VA by random mutagenesis. Whole genome sequencing and chemical analyses suggest that one mutant has a nonsense mutation in the gene encoding prodigiosin synthase, while the other one is deficient in the production of several types of secondary metabolites including prodigiosin and serratamolide. We used our mutants to investigate how <i>S. marcescens</i> secondary metabolites affect the mosquito and its microbiota. Our <i>in vitro</i> tests indicated that <i>S. marcescens</i> VA inhibits the growth of several mosquito microbiota isolates using a combination of prodigiosin and other secondary metabolites, corroborating published data. This strain requires secondary metabolites other than prodigiosin for its proteolytic and hemolytic activities. In the mosquito, we observed that <i>S. marcescens</i> VA is highly virulent to larvae in a prodigiosin-dependent manner, while its virulence on adults is lower and largely depends on other metabolites.
Project description:Prodigiosin is an important secondary metabolite produced by Serratia marcescens. It can help strains resist stresses from other microorganisms and environmental factors to achieve self-preservation. Prodigiosin is also a promising secondary metabolite due to its pharmacological characteristics. However, pigmentless S. marcescens mutants always emerge after prolonged starvation, which might be a way for the bacteria to adapt to starvation conditions, but it could be a major problem in the industrial application of S. marcescens. To identify the molecular mechanisms of loss of prodigiosin production, two mutants were isolated after 16 days of prolonged incubation of wild-type (WT) S. marcescens 1912768R; one mutant (named 1912768WR) exhibited reduced production of prodigiosin, and a second mutant (named 1912768W) was totally defective. Comparative genomic analysis revealed that the two mutants had either mutations or deletions in rpoS. Knockout of rpoS in S. marcescens 1912768R had pleiotropic effects. Complementation of rpoS in the ?rpoS mutant further confirmed that RpoS was a positive regulator of prodigiosin production and that its regulatory role in prodigiosin biosynthesis was opposite that in Serratia sp. ATCC 39006, which had a different type of pig cluster; further, rpoS from Serratia sp. ATCC 39006 and other strains complemented the prodigiosin defect of the ?rpoS mutant, suggesting that the pig promoters are more important than the genes in the regulation of prodigiosin production. Deletion of rpoS strongly impaired the resistance of S. marcescens to stresses but increased membrane permeability for nutritional competence; competition assays in rich and minimum media showed that the ?rpoS mutant outcompeted its isogenic WT strain. All these data support the idea that RpoS is pleiotropic and that the loss of prodigiosin biosynthesis in S. marcescens 1912768R during prolonged incubation is due to a mutation in rpoS, which appears to be a self-preservation and nutritional competence (SPANC) trade-off.
Project description:Prodigiosin possesses antibacterial activities, but as a highly hydrophobic compound, it raised the question about how Serratia marcescens introduce this compound to other microbes. Here, we demonstrate that the production of prodigiosin by newly isolated S. marcescens RH10 correlates with its antibacterial activity against a multidrug-resistant strain of S. aureus, with this pathogen's viability decreasing 6-log over 24 h. While S. marcescens RH10 does secrete membrane vesicles that carry prodigiosin, this antibiotic was not active in this form, with 5 mg/L prodigiosin leading to only a 1.22-fold reduction in the S. aureus viability while the same quantity of purified prodigiosin led to a 2800-fold reduction. Contact assays, however, showed increased activity, with a 3-log loss in the S. aureus viabilities in only 6 h as long as <i>de novo</i> production of prodigiosin occurred. The role of prodigiosin was confirmed further by generating an isogenic Δ<i>pigA</i> mutant in S. marcescens RH10, based on the draft genome sequence reported here, to inhibit the synthesis of prodigiosin. In all experiments performed, this mutant was unable to kill S. aureus. Finally, the possibility that the type VI secretion system present in S. marcescens may also be important was also explored as it is known to be used by this strain to kill other microbes. The results here, however, found no obvious activity against S. aureus. In conclusion, the results presented here show prodigiosin requires both cell-to-cell contact and <i>de novo</i> synthesis for it to be effective as an antibiotic for its native host. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> The antibacterial activities of prodigiosin are well-established but, as a hydrophobic molecule, the mechanisms used to introduce it to susceptible microbes has never been studied. We found here, in contrast to violacein, another hydrophobic antibiotic that can be transferred using membrane vesicles (MVs), prodigiosin is also carried from Serratia marcescens in MVs released but its resulting activities were severely mitigated compared to the freely added compound, suggesting it is more tightly bound to the MVs than violacein. This led us to hypothesize that cell-to-cell contact is needed, which we demonstrate here. As well, we show <i>de novo</i> synthesis of prodigiosin is needed for it to be effective. As violacein- and prodigiosin-producing bacterial strains are both beneficial to amphibians, where they help protect the skin against pathogens, the findings presented here provide an important ecological perspective as they show the mechanisms used differ according to the antibacterial produced.
Project description:The bacterium Serratia marcescens is a common contaminant of contact lens cases and lenses. Serratamolide is one of the secreted hemolytic/cytotoxic factors which contribute to the virulence of this opportunistic pathogen (PMID 22615766). A newly identified transcription factor (eepR) is essential for serratamolide production (PMID 25897029). In the present study, we used immortalized human corneal-limbal epithelial (HCLE) cells (PMID 12766048) as targets for the secreted products of either wild-type (WT) S. marcescens or an isogenic eepR mutant. Microarray data showed that at sub - cytotoxic levels, the secretome of WT bacteria stimulated a > 2-fold response in 712 unique characterized genes. Analysis showed that immune/inflammatory response pathways are significantly enriched in these genes. The scaled response of eepR, ((eepR - control)/(WT â?? control)), was < 0.5 for 418 of these 712 genes (59%). Pathway analysis of these 2-fold attenuated genes confirmed that they too represented immune/inflammatory responses. These data demonstrate that the serratamolide-deficient eepR mutant evokes a much weaker immune/inflammatory response from a clinically relevant cellular target than does the wild-type bacterium. A common batch of HCLE cells was used. Independent preparations of Serratia marcescens secretomes were made for each experiment.
Project description:Ethanol extract of cell mass of Serratia marcescens strain N4-5, when applied as a treatment to cucumber seed, has been shown to provide control of the oomycete soil-borne plant pathogen Pythium ultimum equivalent to that provided by a seed-treatment chemical pesticide in some soils. Two dominant compounds in this extract, prodigiosin and the serratamolide serrawetin W1, were identified based on mass and collision induced dissociation mass fragmentation spectra. An additional four compounds with M+H<sup>+</sup> masses (487, 541, 543, and 571) consistent with serratamolides reported in the literature were also detected. Several other compounds with M+H<sup>+</sup> masses of 488, 536, 684, 834, 906, and 908 m/z were detected in this ethanol extract inconsistently over multiple liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS-MS) runs. A purified preparation of prodigiosin provided control of damping-off of cucumber caused by P. ultimum when applied as a seed treatment while ethanol extract of cell mass of strain Tn246, a transposon-mutant-derivative of strain N4-5, did not. Strain Tn246 contained a mini-Tn5 Km insertion in a prodigiosin biosynthetic gene and was deficient in production of prodigiosin. All other compounds detected in N4-5 extract were detected in the Tn246 extract. This is the first report demonstrating that prodigiosin can control a plant disease. Other compounds in ethanol extract of strain N4-5 may contribute to disease control.
Project description:An integrated approach that combines reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC), electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, untargeted ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS<sup>E</sup>) and molecular networking (using the Global Natural Products Social molecular network platform) was used to elucidate the metabolic profiles and chemical structures of the secondary metabolites produced by pigmented (P1) and non-pigmented (NP1) <i>Serratia marcescens</i> (<i>S. marcescens</i>) strains. Tandem mass spectrometry-based molecular networking guided the structural elucidation of 18 compounds for the P1 strain (including 6 serratamolides, 10 glucosamine derivatives, prodigiosin and serratiochelin A) and 15 compounds for the NP1 strain (including 8 serratamolides, 6 glucosamine derivatives and serratiochelin A) using the MS<sup>E</sup> fragmentation profiles. The serratamolide homologues were comprised of a peptide moiety of two L-serine residues (cyclic or open-ring) linked to two fatty acid chains (lengths of C<sub>10</sub>, C<sub>12</sub>, or C<sub>12:1</sub>). Moreover, the putative structure of a novel open-ring serratamolide homologue was described. The glucosamine derivative homologues (i.e., <i>N</i>-butylglucosamine ester derivatives) consisted of four residues, including glucose/hexose, valine, a fatty acid chain (lengths of C<sub>13</sub> - C<sub>17</sub> and varying from saturated to unsaturated) and butyric acid. The putative structures of seven novel glucosamine derivative homologues and one glucosamine derivative congener (containing an oxo-hexanoic acid residue instead of a butyric acid residue) were described. Moreover, seven fractions collected during RP-HPLC, with major molecular ions corresponding to prodigiosin, serratamolides (A, B, and C), and glucosamine derivatives (A, C, and E), displayed antimicrobial activity against a clinical <i>Enterococcus faecalis</i> S1 strain using the disc diffusion assay. The minimum inhibitory and bactericidal concentration assays however, revealed that prodigiosin exhibited the greatest antimicrobial potency, followed by glucosamine derivative A and then the serratamolides (A, B, and C). These results provide crucial insight into the secondary metabolic profiles of pigmented and non-pigmented <i>S. marcescens</i> strains and confirms that <i>S. marcescens</i> strains are a promising natural source of novel antimicrobial metabolites.
Project description:Serratia marcescens is a Gram-negative bacterium with both environmental and host-associated strains. Pigmentation is reportedly inversely correlated with infection frequency, and prodigiosin is one of Serratia pigments that has medical and industrial applications. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of prodigiosin-hyperproducing Serratia marcescens strain N2, isolated from Cairo, Egypt. The sequence is assembled into 142 contigs, with a combined size of 5,570,793 bp. The assembled genome carries typical S. marcescens genes, with potential prodigiosin-biosynthesizing genes detected.