Development of a Sensitive Escherichia coli Bioreporter Without Antibiotic Markers for Detecting Bioavailable Copper in Water Environments.
ABSTRACT: The whole-cell bioreporters based on the cop-operon sensing elements have been proven specifically useful in the assessment of bioavailable copper ions in water environments. In this study, a series of experiments was conducted to further improve the sensitivity and robustness of bioreporters. First, an Escherichia coli ?copA?cueO?cusA mutant with three copper transport genes knocked out was constructed. Then, the copAp::gfpmut2 sensing element was inserted into the chromosome of E. coli ?copA?cueO?cusA by gene knock-in method to obtain the bioreporter strain E. coli WMC-007. In optimized assay conditions, the linear detection range of Cu2+ was 0.025-5 mg/L (0.39-78.68 ?M) after incubating E. coli WMC-007 in Luria-Bertani medium for 5 h. The limit of detection of Cu2+ was 0.0157 mg/L (0.25 ?M). Moreover, fluorescence spectrometry and flow cytometry experiments showed more environmental robustness and lower background fluorescence signal than those of the sensor element based on plasmids. In addition, we found that the expression of GFPmut2 in E. coli WMC-007 was induced by free copper ions, rather than complex-bound copper, in a dose-dependent manner. Particularly, the addition of 40 mM 3-(N-Morpholino)propanesulfonic acid buffer to E. coli WMC-007 culture enabled accurate quantification of bioavailable copper content in aqueous solution samples within a pH range from 0.87 to 12.84. The copper recovery rate was about 95.88-113.40%. These results demonstrate potential applications of E. coli WMC-007 as a bioreporter to monitor copper contamination in acidic mine drainage, industrial wastewater, and drinking water. Since whole-cell bioreporters are relatively inexpensive and easy to operate, the combination of this method with other physicochemical techniques will in turn provide more specific information on the degree of toxicity in water environments.
Project description:The trace element copper serves as cofactor for many enzymes but is toxic at elevated concentrations. In bacteria, the intracellular copper level is maintained by copper efflux systems including the Cue system controlled by the transcription factor CueR. CueR, a member of the MerR family, forms homodimers, and binds monovalent copper ions with high affinity. It activates transcription of the copper tolerance genes copA and cueO via a conserved DNA-distortion mechanism. The mechanism how CueR-induced transcription is turned off is not fully understood. Here, we report that Escherichia coli CueR is prone to proteolysis by the AAA+ proteases Lon, ClpXP, and ClpAP. Using a set of CueR variants, we show that CueR degradation is not altered by mutations affecting copper binding, dimerization or DNA binding of CueR, but requires an accessible C terminus. Except for a twofold stabilization shortly after a copper pulse, proteolysis of CueR is largely copper-independent. Our results suggest that ATP-dependent proteolysis contributes to copper homeostasis in E. coli by turnover of CueR, probably to allow steady monitoring of changes of the intracellular copper level and shut-off of CueR-dependent transcription.
Project description:Copper is one of the most abundant heavy metals present in swine manure. In this study, a laboratory-scale aerobic composting system was amended with Cu at three levels (0, 200, and 2000 mg kg-1, i.e., control, Cu200, and Cu2000 treatments, respectively) to determine its effect on the fate of copper resistance genes [copper resistance genes (CRGs): pcoA, cusA, copA, and tcrB], antibiotic resistance genes [antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs): erm(A) and erm(B)], and intl1. The results showed that the absolute abundances of pcoA, tcrB, erm(A), erm(B), and intl1 were reduced, whereas those of copA and cusA increased after swine manure composting. Redundancy analysis showed that temperature significantly affected the variations in CRGs, ARGs, and intl1. The decreases in CRGs, ARGs, and intI1 were positively correlated with the exchangeable Cu levels. The bacterial community could be grouped according to the composting time under different treatments, where the high concentration of copper had a more persistent effect on the bacterial community. Network analysis determined that the co-occurrence of CRGs, ARGs, and intI1, and the bacterial community were the main contributors to the changes in CRGs, ARG, and intl1. Thus, temperature, copper, and changes in the bacterial community composition had important effects on the variations in CRGs, ARGs, and intl1 during manure composting in the presence of added copper.
Project description:Excess copper is poisonous to all forms of life, and copper overloading is responsible for several human pathologic processes. The primary mechanisms of toxicity are unknown. In this study, mutants of Escherichia coli that lack copper homeostatic systems (copA cueO cus) were used to identify intracellular targets and to test the hypothesis that toxicity involves the action of reactive oxygen species. Low micromolar levels of copper were sufficient to inhibit the growth of both WT and mutant strains. The addition of branched-chain amino acids restored growth, indicating that copper blocks their biosynthesis. Indeed, copper treatment rapidly inactivated isopropylmalate dehydratase, an iron-sulfur cluster enzyme in this pathway. Other enzymes in this iron-sulfur dehydratase family were similarly affected. Inactivation did not require oxygen, in vivo or with purified enzyme. Damage occurred concomitant with the displacement of iron atoms from the solvent-exposed cluster, suggesting that Cu(I) damages these proteins by liganding to the coordinating sulfur atoms. Copper efflux by dedicated export systems, chelation by glutathione, and cluster repair by assembly systems all enhance the resistance of cells to this metal.
Project description:In Escherichia coli, cytoplasmic copper ions are toxic to cells even at the lowest concentrations. As a defense strategy, the cuprous oxidase CueO is secreted into the periplasm to oxidize the more membrane-permeable and toxic Cu(I) before it can enter the cytoplasm. CueO itself is a multicopper oxidase that requires copper for activity. Because it is transported by the twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway, which transports folded proteins, a requirement for cofactor assembly before translocation has been discussed. Here we show that CueO is transported as an apo-protein. Periplasmic CueO was readily activated by the addition of copper ions in vitro or under copper stress conditions in vivo Cytoplasmic CueO did not contain copper, even under copper stress conditions. In vitro Tat transport proved that the cofactor assembly was not required for functional Tat transport of CueO. Due to the post-translocational activation of CueO, this enzyme contributes to copper resistance not only by its cuprous oxidase activity but also by chelation of copper ions before they can enter the cytoplasm. Apo-CueO was indistinguishable from holo-CueO in terms of secondary structural elements. Importantly, the binding of copper to apo-CueO greatly stabilized the protein, indicating a transformation from an open or flexible domain arrangement with accessible copper sites to a closed structure with deeply buried copper ions. CueO is thus the first example for a natural Tat substrate of such incomplete folding state. The Tat system may need to transport flexibly folded proteins in any case when cofactor assembly or quaternary structure formation occurs after transport.
Project description:Due to their ecological relevance, low cost, and easy maintenance, cyanobacteria have been used for bioreporter development. In this study, a battery of cyanobacterial bioreporters has been used to assess the ecotoxicity of four highly used metallic nanoparticles (NPs). The toxicity of these NPs was tested using the bioreporter Nostoc CPB4337 (Anabaena CPB4337). As oxidative stress is a primary toxic mechanism of metallic NPs, cyanobacterial reactive oxygen species (ROS)-detecting bioreporters were used. Metallic NPs release metal ions, which contribute to their toxic effect and the formation of ROS, so a metal-detecting bioreporter was also used to detect the bioavailable metals. The results confirm that ROS production by NPs was due to the NPs per se and not by released free-ions, which in fact were almost undetectable. Although the metal-detecting bioreporter could not detect the dissolved metal ions, it was able to detect the metallic NPs themselves, indicating that this bioreporter may be useful to detect them in the environment. ROS production varied depending on the growth medium or environmental matrices conditions and on the NP type. This work demonstrated the different levels of ROS production by metallic NPs and the importance of nanotoxicology studies in real matrices.
Project description:The multicopper oxidase CueO oxidizes toxic Cu(I) and is required for copper homeostasis in Escherichia coli. Like many proteins involved in copper homeostasis, CueO has a methionine-rich segment that is thought to be critical for copper handling. How such segments function is poorly understood. Here, we report the crystal structure of CueO at 1.1 Å with the 45-residue methionine-rich segment fully resolved, revealing an N-terminal helical segment with methionine residues juxtaposed for Cu(I) ligation and a C-terminal highly mobile segment rich in methionine and histidine residues. We also report structures of CueO with a C500S mutation, which leads to loss of the T1 copper, and CueO with six methionines changed to serine. Soaking C500S CueO crystals with Cu(I), or wild-type CueO crystals with Ag(I), leads to occupancy of three sites, the previously identified substrate-binding site and two new sites along the methionine-rich helix, involving methionines 358, 362, 368, and 376. Mutation of these residues leads to a ?4-fold reduction in k(cat) for Cu(I) oxidation. Ag(I), which often appears with copper in nature, strongly inhibits CueO oxidase activities in vitro and compromises copper tolerance in vivo, particularly in the absence of the complementary copper efflux cus system. Together, these studies demonstrate a role for the methionine-rich insert of CueO in the binding and oxidation of Cu(I) and highlight the interplay among cue and cus systems in copper and silver homeostasis.
Project description:The effect of a cueO mutation on global gene expression in E. coli has been analysed using whole genome oligonucleotide microarrays. A cueO mutant lacks a periplasmic multi-copper oxidase, an enzyme that is believed to be involved in the oxidation of cuprous and ferrous ions as well as phenolic compounds in the periplasm. Deletion renders the cell sensitive to copper and this toxicity is likely associated with increased oxidative stress in a cueO mutant. Triplicate cultures of E. coli MG1655 and the isogenic cueO mutant were grown to mid-exponential phase (OD600 0.8) in M9C supplemented with 2M FeSO4. RNA was extracted using Qiagen RNAprotect and RNeasy Mini Kit. Reference RNA was similarly purified from triplicate cultures of E. coli MG1655 grown on M9C supplemented with 2M FeCl3. RNA concentration and quality was assessed using an Aligent Bioanalyser 2100 NanoLabchip.
Project description:Mercury is a ubiquitous environmental pollutant of dominantly anthropogenic origin. A critical concern for human health is the introduction of mercury to the food chain; therefore, monitoring of mercury levels in agricultural soil is essential. Unfortunately, the total mercury content is not sufficiently informative as mercury can be present in different forms with variable bioavailability. Since 1990, the use of bioreporters has been investigated for assessment of the bioavailability of pollutants; however, real contaminated soils have rarely been used in these studies. In this work, a bioassay with whole-cell bacterial bioreporter Escherichia coli ARL1 was used for estimation of bioavailable concentration of mercury in 11 soil samples. The bioreporter emits bioluminescence in the presence of Hg(II). Four different pretreatments of soil samples prior to the bioassay were tested. Among them, laccase mediated extraction was found to be the most suitable over water extraction, alkaline extraction, and direct use of water-soil suspensions. Nevertheless, effect of the matrix on bioreporter signal was found to be severe and not possible to be completely eliminated by the method of standard addition. In order to elucidate the matrix role, influences of humic acid and selected metal ions present in soil on the bioreporter signal were tested separately in laboratory solutions. Humic acids were found to have a positive effect on the bioreporter growth, but a negative effect on the measured bioluminescence, likely due to shading and Hg binding resulting in decreased bioavailability. Each of the tested metal ions solutions affected the bioluminescence signal differently; cobalt (II) positively, iron (III) negatively, and the effects of iron (II) and nickel (II) were dependent on their concentrations. In conclusion, the information on bioavailable mercury estimated by bioreporter E. coli ARL1 is valuable, but the results must be interpreted with caution. The route to functional bioavailability bioassay remains long.
Project description:Copper is both a required micronutrient and a source of toxicity in most organisms, including Campylobacter jejuni Two proteins expressed in C. jejuni (termed CopA and CueO) have been shown to be a copper transporter and multicopper oxidase, respectively. We have isolated strains with mutations in these genes, and here we report that they were more susceptible to both the addition of copper in the growth media and to induced oxidative stress. Both mutant strains were defective in colonization of an avian host, and copper in the feed exacerbated the colonization deficiency. Overexpression of a cytoplasmic peptide derived from the normally periplasmic copper-binding region of CueO also caused copper intolerance compared to nonexpressing strains or strains expressing the non-copper-binding versions of the peptide. Taken together, the results indicate that copper toxicity in C. jejuni is due to a failure to effectively sequester cytoplasmic copper, resulting in an increase in copper-mediated oxidative damage.IMPORTANCE Copper is a required micronutrient for most aerobic organisms, but it is universally toxic at elevated levels. These organisms use homeostatic mechanisms that allow for cells to acquire enough of the element to sustain metabolic requirements while ensuring that lethal levels cannot build up in the cell. Campylobacter jejuni is an important foodborne pathogen that typically makes its way into the food chain through contaminated poultry. C. jejuni has a metabolic requirement for copper and encodes a copper detoxification system. In the course of studying this system, we have learned that it is important for avian colonization. We have also gained insight into how copper exerts its toxic effects in C. jejuni by promoting oxidative stress.
Project description:Recently, genes for two copper-responsive regulatory systems were identified in the Escherichia coli chromosome. In this report, data are presented that support a hypothesis that the putative multicopper oxidase CueO and the transenvelope transporter CusCFBA are involved in copper tolerance in E. coli.