H2S and reactive sulfur signaling at the host-bacterial pathogen interface.
ABSTRACT: Bacterial pathogens that cause invasive disease in the vertebrate host must adapt to host efforts to cripple their viability. Major host insults are reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species as well as cellular stress induced by antibiotics. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is emerging as an important player in cytoprotection against these stressors, which may well be attributed to downstream more oxidized sulfur species termed reactive sulfur species (RSS). In this review, we summarize recent work that suggests that H2S/RSS impacts bacterial survival in infected cells and animals. We discuss the mechanisms of biogenesis and clearance of RSS in the context of a bacterial H2S/RSS homeostasis model and the bacterial transcriptional regulatory proteins that act as "sensors" of cellular RSS that maintain H2S/RSS homeostasis. In addition, we cover fluorescence imaging- and MS-based approaches used to detect and quantify RSS in bacterial cells. Last, we discuss proteome persulfidation (S-sulfuration) as a potential mediator of H2S/RSS signaling in bacteria in the context of the writer-reader-eraser paradigm, and progress toward ascribing regulatory significance to this widespread post-translational modification.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic nosocomial pathogen that is the causative agent of several serious infections in humans, including pneumonia, sepsis, and wound and burn infections. A. baumannii is also capable of forming proteinaceous biofilms on both abiotic and epithelial cell surfaces. Here, we investigate the response of A. baumannii toward sodium sulfide (Na2S), known to be associated with some biofilms at oxic/anoxic interfaces. The addition of exogenous inorganic sulfide reveals that A. baumannii encodes two persulfide-sensing transcriptional regulators, a primary ?54-dependent transcriptional activator (FisR), and a secondary system controlled by the persulfide-sensing biofilm growth-associated repressor (BigR), which is only induced by sulfide in a fisR deletion strain. FisR activates an operon encoding a sulfide oxidation/detoxification system similar to that characterized previously in Staphylococcus aureus, while BigR regulates a secondary persulfide dioxygenase (PDO2) as part of yeeE-yedE-pdo2 sulfur detoxification operon, found previously in Serratia spp. Global S-sulfuration (persulfidation) mapping of the soluble proteome reveals 513 persulfidation targets well beyond FisR-regulated genes and includes five transcriptional regulators, most notably the master biofilm regulator BfmR and a poorly characterized catabolite regulatory protein (Crp). Both BfmR and Crp are well known to impact biofilm formation in A. baumannii and other organisms, respectively, suggesting that persulfidation of these regulators may control their activities. The implications of these findings on bacterial sulfide homeostasis, persulfide signaling, and biofilm formation are discussed.IMPORTANCE Although hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has long been known as a respiratory poison, recent reports in numerous bacterial pathogens reveal that H2S and more downstream oxidized forms of sulfur collectedly termed reactive sulfur species (RSS) function as antioxidants to combat host efforts to clear the infection. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of the transcriptional and proteomic response of A. baumannii to exogenous sulfide as a model for how this important human pathogen manages sulfide/RSS homeostasis. We show that A. baumannii is unique in that it encodes two independent persulfide sensing and detoxification pathways that govern the speciation of bioactive sulfur in cells. The secondary persulfide sensor, BigR, impacts the expression of biofilm-associated genes; in addition, we identify two other transcriptional regulators known or projected to regulate biofilm formation, BfmR and Crp, as highly persulfidated in sulfide-exposed cells. These findings significantly strengthen the connection between sulfide homeostasis and biofilm formation in an important human pathogen.
Project description:Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is thought to signal through protein S-sulfuration (persulfidation; S-sulfhydration) in both mammalian systems and bacteria. We previously profiled proteome S-sulfuration in Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and identified two thioredoxin-like proteins, designated TrxP and TrxQ, that were capable of reducing protein persulfides as a potential regulatory mechanism. In this study, we further characterize TrxP, TrxQ and the canonical thioredoxin, TrxA, by identifying candidate protein substrates in S. aureus cells using a mechanism-based profiling assay where we trap mixed disulfides that exist between the attacking cysteine of a FLAG-tagged Trx and a persulfidated cysteine on the candidate substrate protein in cells. Largely non-overlapping sets of four, 32 and three candidate cellular substrates were detected for TrxA, TrxP, and TrxQ, respectively, many of which were previously identified as global proteome S-sulfuration targets including for example, pyruvate kinase, PykA. Both TrxA (k cat = 0.13 s-1) and TrxP (k cat = 0.088 s-1) are capable of reducing protein persulfides on PykA, a model substrate detected as a candidate substrate of TrxP; in contrast, TrxQ shows lower activity (k cat = 0.015 s-1). This work reveals that protein S-sulfuration, central to H2S and reactive sulfur species (RSS) signaling, may impact cellular activities and appears to be regulated in S. aureus largely by TrxP under conditions of sulfide stress.
Project description:Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), produced by the desulfuration of cysteine or homocysteine, functions as a signaling molecule in an array of physiological processes including regulation of vascular tone, the cellular stress response, apoptosis, and inflammation.The low steady-state levels of H2S in mammalian cells have been recently shown to reflect a balance between its synthesis and its clearance. The subversion of enzymes in the cytoplasmic trans-sulfuration pathway for producing H2S from cysteine and/or homocysteine versus producing cysteine from homocysteine, presents an interesting regulatory problem.It is not known under what conditions the enzymes operate in the canonical trans-sulfuration pathway and how their specificity is switched to catalyze the alternative H2S-producing reactions. Similarly, it is not known if and whether the mitochondrial enzymes, which oxidize sulfide and persulfide (or sulfane sulfur), are regulated to increase or decrease H2S or sulfane-sulfur pools.In this review, we focus on the enzymology of H2S homeostasis and discuss H2S-based signaling via persulfidation and thionitrous acid.
Project description:Reactive sulfur species (RSS) function as strong antioxidants and are involved in various biological responses in animals and bacteria. Few studies; however, have examined RSS in plants. In the present study, we clarified that RSS are involved in root nodule symbiosis in the model legume Lotus japonicus. Polysulfides, a type of RSS, were detected in the roots by using a sulfane sulfur-specific fluorescent probe, SSP4. Supplying the sulfane sulfur donor Na2S3 to the roots increased the amounts of both polysulfides and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the roots and simultaneously decreased the amounts of nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). RSS were also detected in infection threads in the root hairs and in infected cells of nodules. Supplying the sulfane sulfur donor significantly increased the numbers of infection threads and nodules. When nodules were immersed in the sulfane sulfur donor, their nitrogenase activity was significantly reduced, without significant changes in the amounts of NO, ROS, and H2S. These results suggest that polysulfides interact with signal molecules such as NO, ROS, and H2S in root nodule symbiosis in L. japonicus. SSP4 and Na2S3 are useful tools for study of RSS in plants.
Project description:Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenously produced gas that is toxic at high concentrations. It is eliminated by a dedicated mitochondrial sulfide oxidation pathway, which connects to the electron transfer chain at the level of complex III. Direct reduction of cytochrome c (Cyt C) by H2S has been reported previously but not characterized. In this study, we demonstrate that reduction of ferric Cyt C by H2S exhibits hysteretic behavior, which suggests the involvement of reactive sulfur species in the reduction process and is consistent with a reaction stoichiometry of 1.5 mol of Cyt C reduced/mol of H2S oxidized. H2S increases O2 consumption by human cells (HT29 and HepG2) treated with the complex III inhibitor antimycin A, which is consistent with the entry of sulfide-derived electrons at the level of complex IV. Cyt C-dependent H2S oxidation stimulated protein persulfidation in vitro, while silencing of Cyt C expression decreased mitochondrial protein persulfidation in a cell culture. Cyt C released during apoptosis was correlated with persulfidation of procaspase 9 and with loss of its activity. These results reveal a potential role for the electron transfer chain in general, and Cyt C in particular, for potentiating sulfide-based signaling.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a commensal human pathogen and a major cause of nosocomial infections. As gaseous signaling molecules, endogenous hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and nitric oxide (NO·) protect S. aureus from antibiotic stress synergistically, which we propose involves the intermediacy of nitroxyl (HNO). Here, we examine the effect of exogenous sulfide and HNO on the transcriptome and the formation of low-molecular-weight (LMW) thiol persulfides of bacillithiol, cysteine, and coenzyme A as representative of reactive sulfur species (RSS) in wild-type and ?cstR strains of S. aureus. CstR is a per- and polysulfide sensor that controls the expression of a sulfide oxidation and detoxification system. As anticipated, exogenous sulfide induces the cst operon but also indirectly represses much of the CymR regulon which controls cysteine metabolism. A zinc limitation response is also observed, linking sulfide homeostasis to zinc bioavailability. Cellular RSS levels impact the expression of a number of virulence factors, including the exotoxins, particularly apparent in the ?cstR strain. HNO, like sulfide, induces the cst operon as well as other genes regulated by exogenous sulfide, a finding that is traced to a direct reaction of CstR with HNO and to an endogenous perturbation in cellular RSS, possibly originating from disassembly of Fe-S clusters. More broadly, HNO induces a transcriptomic response to Fe overload, Cu toxicity, and reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species and shares similarity with the sigB regulon. This work reveals an H2S/NO· interplay in S. aureus that impacts transition metal homeostasis and virulence gene expression. IMPORTANCE Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a toxic molecule and a recently described gasotransmitter in vertebrates whose function in bacteria is not well understood. In this work, we describe the transcriptomic response of the major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus to quantified changes in levels of cellular organic reactive sulfur species, which are effector molecules involved in H2S signaling. We show that nitroxyl (HNO), a recently described signaling intermediate proposed to originate from the interplay of H2S and nitric oxide, also induces changes in cellular sulfur speciation and transition metal homeostasis, thus linking sulfide homeostasis to an adaptive response to antimicrobial reactive nitrogen species.
Project description:Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is thought to protect bacteria from oxidative stress, but a comprehensive understanding of its function in bacteria is largely unexplored. In this study, we show that the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) harbors significant effector molecules of H2S signaling, reactive sulfur species (RSS), as low molecular weight persulfides of bacillithiol, coenzyme A, and cysteine, and significant inorganic polysulfide species. We find that proteome S-sulfhydration, a post-translational modification (PTM) in H2S signaling, is widespread in S. aureus. RSS levels modulate the expression of secreted virulence factors and the cytotoxicity of the secretome, consistent with an S-sulfhydration-dependent inhibition of DNA binding by MgrA, a global virulence regulator. Two previously uncharacterized thioredoxin-like proteins, denoted TrxP and TrxQ, are S-sulfhydrated in sulfide-stressed cells and are capable of reducing protein hydrodisulfides, suggesting that this PTM is potentially regulatory in S. aureus. In conclusion, our results reveal that S. aureus harbors a pool of proteome- and metabolite-derived RSS capable of impacting protein activities and gene regulation and that H2S signaling can be sensed by global regulators to affect the expression of virulence factors.
Project description:CstR is a persulfide-sensing member of the functionally diverse copper-sensitive operon repressor (CsoR) superfamily. While CstR regulates the bacterial response to hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and more oxidized reactive sulfur species (RSS) in Gram-positive pathogens, other dithiol-containing CsoR proteins respond to host derived Cu(I) toxicity, sometimes in the same bacterial cytoplasm, but without regulatory crosstalk in cells. It is not clear what prevents this crosstalk, nor the extent to which RSS sensors exhibit specificity over other oxidants. Here, we report a sequence similarity network (SSN) analysis of the entire CsoR superfamily, which together with the first crystallographic structure of a CstR and comprehensive mass spectrometry-based kinetic profiling experiments, reveal new insights into the molecular basis of RSS specificity in CstRs. We find that the more N-terminal cysteine is the attacking Cys in CstR and is far more nucleophilic than in a CsoR. Moreover, our CstR crystal structure is markedly asymmetric and chemical reactivity experiments reveal the functional impact of this asymmetry. Substitution of the Asn wedge between the resolving and the attacking thiol with Ala significantly decreases asymmetry in the crystal structure and markedly impacts the distribution of species, despite adopting the same global structure as the parent repressor. Companion NMR, SAXS and molecular dynamics simulations reveal that the structural and functional asymmetry can be traced to fast internal dynamics of the tetramer. Furthermore, this asymmetry is preserved in all CstRs and with all oxidants tested, giving rise to markedly distinct distributions of crosslinked products. Our exploration of the sequence, structural, and kinetic features that determine oxidant-specificity suggest that the product distribution upon RSS exposure is determined by internal flexibility.
Project description:The chemical species involved in H2S signaling remain elusive despite the profound and pleiotropic physiological effects elicited by this molecule. The dominant candidate mechanism for sulfide signaling is persulfidation of target proteins. However, the relatively poor reactivity of H2S toward oxidized thiols, such as disulfides, the low concentration of disulfides in the reducing milieu of the cell and the low steady-state concentration of H2S raise questions about the plausibility of persulfide formation via reaction between an oxidized thiol and a sulfide anion or a reduced thiol and oxidized hydrogen disulfide. In contrast, sulfide oxidation pathways, considered to be primarily mechanisms for disposing of excess sulfide, generate a series of reactive sulfur species, including persulfides, polysulfides and thiosulfate, that could modify target proteins. We posit that sulfide oxidation pathways mediate sulfide signaling and that sulfurtransferases ensure target specificity.
Project description:Life on Earth emerged in a hydrogen sulfide (H2S)-rich environment eons ago and with it protein persulfidation mediated by H2S evolved as a signaling mechanism. Protein persulfidation (S-sulfhydration) is a post-translational modification of reactive cysteine residues, which modulate protein structure and/or function. Persulfides are difficult to label and study due to their reactivity and similarity with cysteine. Here, we report a facile strategy for chemoselective persulfide bioconjugation using dimedone-based probes, to achieve highly selective, rapid, and robust persulfide labeling in biological samples with broad utility. Using this method, we show persulfidation is an evolutionarily conserved modification and waves of persulfidation are employed by cells to resolve sulfenylation and prevent irreversible cysteine overoxidation preserving protein function. We report an age-associated decline in persulfidation that is conserved across evolutionary boundaries. Accordingly, dietary or pharmacological interventions to increase persulfidation associate with increased longevity and improved capacity to cope with stress stimuli.