Improved pattern for genome-based screening identifies novel cell wall-attached proteins in gram-positive bacteria.
ABSTRACT: With a large number of sequenced microbial genomes available, tools for identifying groups or classes of proteins have become increasingly important. Here we present an improved pattern for the identification of cell wall-attached proteins (CWPs), a group of proteins with diverse and important functions in gram-positive bacteria. This tripartite pattern is based on analysis of 65 previously described cell wall-attached proteins and takes into account the three principal requirements for cell wall sorting; a sortase target region (LPXTGX), a membrane-spanning region, and a charged stop-transfer tail. In five different genomes of gram-positive bacteria, the tripartite pattern identified a total of 35 putative CWPs, 19 of which were novel. The specificity and sensitivity of the tripartite pattern are higher than those of the classical pattern, which is based solely on the sortase target region. Several putative CWPs with atypical sortase target regions were identified. In the complete genome of the important human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes, the tripartite pattern identified 14 putative CWPs. Seven of the putative S. pyogenes proteins were novel, and two of these were a 5' nucleotidase and a pullulanase. This study represents the first whole-genome screening for CWPs, and we conclude that the tripartite pattern is highly suitable for this purpose. Identification of CWPs using this pattern offers important possibilities in the study of the pathogenesis and physiology of gram-positive bacteria.
Project description:Sortase is a newly discovered transpeptidase that covalently links LPXTGX-containing surface proteins to the gram-positive bacterial cell wall. In this study, the sortase gene (srtA) was isolated from Streptococcus mutans NG8 by PCR. The gene encoded a 246-amino-acid protein, including a 40-amino-acid signal peptide. The srtA gene was insertionally inactivated by a tetracycline resistance cassette. P1, a major surface protein adhesin previously shown to anchor to the peptidoglycan by the LPXTGX motif, was secreted into the culture medium by the srtA mutant. In contrast, the wild-type P1 remained cell wall associated. Complementation of the mutant with srtA restored the P1 surface expression phenotype. P1 produced by the mutant, but not that produced by the wild type and the srtA-complemented mutant, was recognized by an antibody raised against the hydrophobic domain and charged tail C terminal to the LPXTGX motif. These results suggest that the failure to anchor P1 to the cell wall is due to the lack of cleavage of P1 at the LPXTGX motif. The srtA mutant was markedly less hydrophobic than the wild type and the complemented mutant. The srtA mutant failed to aggregate in the presence of saliva or salivary agglutinin and adhered poorly to saliva- or salivary agglutinin-coated hydroxylapatite. In rats, the srtA mutant colonized the teeth poorly when sucrose was absent. When sucrose was present, the srtA mutant colonized the teeth but less effectively and induced significantly less caries (P < 0.05) than the wild-type strain. In conclusion, the sortase enzyme in S. mutans is responsible for anchoring P1 to the cell surface and plays a role in modulating the surface properties and cariogenicity of S. mutans.
Project description:Sortases are a family of Gram-positive bacterial transpeptidases that anchor secreted proteins to bacterial cell surfaces. These include many proteins that play critical roles in the virulence of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens such that sortases are attractive targets for development of novel antimicrobial agents. All Gram-positive pathogens express a "housekeeping" sortase that recognizes the majority of secreted proteins containing an LPXTG wall-sorting motif and covalently attaches these to bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan. Many Gram-positive pathogens also express additional sortases that link a small number of proteins, often with variant wall-sorting motifs, to either other surface proteins or peptidoglycan. To better understand the mechanisms of catalysis and substrate recognition by the housekeeping sortase produced by the important human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes, the crystal structure of this protein has been solved and its transpeptidase activity established in vitro. The structure reveals a novel arrangement of key catalytic residues in the active site of a sortase, the first that is consistent with kinetic analysis. The structure also provides a complete description of residue positions surrounding the active site, overcoming the limitation of localized disorder in previous structures of sortase A-type proteins. Modification of the active site Cys through oxidation to its sulfenic acid form or by an alkylating reagent supports a role for a reactive thiol/thiolate in the catalytic mechanism. These new insights into sortase structure and function could have important consequences for inhibitor design.
Project description:Cell wall peptidoglycan-anchored surface proteins are essential virulence factors in many gram-positive bacteria. The attachment of these proteins to the peptidoglycan is achieved through a transpeptidation reaction, whereby sortase cleaves a conserved C-terminal LPXTG motif and covalently attaches the protein to the peptidoglycan precursor lipid II. It is unclear how the sorting reaction is regulated spatially and what part sortase localization plays in determining the distribution of surface proteins. This is mainly the result of inadequate immunofluorescence techniques required to resolve these issues in certain bacterial pathogens. Here we describe the utilization of the phage lysin PlyC to permeabilize the cell wall of Streptococcus pyogenes to antibodies, thereby allowing the localization of sortase A using deconvolution immunofluorescence microscopy. We find that sortase localizes within distinct membranal foci, the majority of which are associated with the division septum and colocalize with areas of active M protein anchoring. Sortase distribution to the new septum begins at a very early stage, culminates during septation, and decays after division is completed. This implies that the sorting reaction is a dynamic, highly regulated process, intimately associated with cell division. The ability to study cytoplasmic and membrane antigens using deconvolution immunofluorescence microscopy will facilitate further study of cellular processes in S. pyogenes.
Project description:Surface proteins of gram-positive bacteria often play a role in adherence of the bacteria to host tissue and are frequently required for virulence. A specific subgroup of extracellular proteins contains the cell wall-sorting motif LPxTG, which is the target for cleavage and covalent coupling to the peptidoglycan by enzymes called sortases. A comprehensive set of putative sortase substrates was identified by in silico analysis of 199 completely sequenced prokaryote genomes. A combination of detection methods was used, including secondary structure prediction, pattern recognition, sequence homology, and genome context information. With the hframe algorithm, putative substrates were identified that could not be detected by other methods due to errors in open reading frame calling, frameshifts, or sequencing errors. In total, 732 putative sortase substrates encoded in 49 prokaryote genomes were identified. We found striking species-specific variation for the LPxTG motif. A hidden Markov model (HMM) based on putative sortase substrates was created, which was subsequently used for the automatic detection of sortase substrates in recently completed genomes. A database was constructed, LPxTG-DB (http://bamics3.cmbi.kun.nl/sortase_substrates), containing for each genome a list of putative sortase substrates, sequence information of these substrates, the organism-specific HMMs based on the consensus sequence of the sortase recognition motif, and a graphic representation of this consensus.
Project description:Understanding the role surface proteins play in the interaction of group A streptococci with epithelial cells is an important step toward the development of new strategies to fight infections. Fibronectin-binding proteins in streptococci and staphylococci have been described as important mediators for adherence to eukaryotic cells. In the present study we describe a new Streptococcus pyogenes fibronectin-binding protein (PFBP). The gene encoding the PFBP protein (pfbp) was identified from an M12 strain genomic library. It encodes a protein of 127.4 kDa which contains the LPXTGX motif characteristic of cell wall-associated proteins in gram-positive organisms and is among the largest surface molecules described for group A streptococci. The pfbp gene is transcribed during cell growth and was present in several class I and II streptococcal strains tested. The deduced amino acid sequence of PFBP exhibits a variable N-terminal region and a conserved C-terminal region when compared to most fibronectin-binding proteins identified from other gram-positive bacteria. The N-terminal region presents a stretch of 105 amino acids with no homology with N-terminal regions of previously described fibronectin-binding molecules, while the C-terminal region contains three repeat domains that share significant similarity with the repeat regions of fibronectin-binding proteins from S. pyogenes, S. dysgalactiae, and S. equisimilis. The PFBP repeated region, when expressed on the surface of S. gordonii, a commensal organism, binds to soluble and immobilized fibronectin. This study also shows that, in addition to pfbp, a second gene homologous with that of protein F1 (which also codes for a fibronectin-binding protein) is transcribed during cell growth in the same S. pyogenes strain.
Project description:The cell wall is an important subcellular component of dinoflagellate cells with regard to various aspects of cell surface-associated ecophysiology, but the full range of cell wall proteins (CWPs) and their functions remain to be elucidated. This study identified and characterized CWPs of a toxic dinoflagellate, Alexandrium catenella, using a combination of 2D fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) and MALDI TOF-TOF mass spectrometry approaches. Using sequential extraction and temperature shock methods, sequentially extracted CWPs and protoplast proteins, respectively, were separated from A. catenella. From the comparison between sequentially extracted CWPs labeled with Cy3 and protoplast proteins labeled with Cy5, 120 CWPs were confidently identified in the 2D DIGE gel. These proteins gave positive identification of protein orthologues in the protein database using de novo sequence analysis and homology-based search. The majority of the prominent CWPs identified were hypothetical or putative proteins with unknown function or no annotation, while cell wall modification enzymes, cell wall structural proteins, transporter/binding proteins, and signaling and defense proteins were tentatively identified in agreement with the expected role of the extracellular matrix in cell physiology. This work represents the first attempt to investigate dinoflagellate CWPs and provides a potential tool for future comprehensive characterization of dinoflagellate CWPs and elucidation of their physiological functions.
Project description:Cell wall anchored virulence factors are critical for infection and colonization of the host by Gram-positive bacteria. Such proteins have an N-terminal leader sequence and a C-terminal sorting signal, composed of an LPXTG motif, a hydrophobic stretch, and a few positively charged amino acids. The sorting signal halts translocation across the membrane, allowing sortase to cleave the LPXTG motif, leading to surface anchoring. Deletion of sortase prevents the anchoring of virulence factors to the wall; the effects on bacterial physiology however, have not been thoroughly characterized. Here we show that deletion of Streptococcus pyogenes sortase A leads to accumulation of sorting intermediates, particularly at the septum, altering cellular morphology and physiology, and compromising membrane integrity. Such cells are highly sensitive to cathelicidin, and are rapidly killed in blood and plasma. These phenomena are not a loss-of-function effect caused by the absence of anchored surface proteins, but specifically result from the accumulation of sorting intermediates. Reduction in the level of sorting intermediates leads to a return of the sortase mutant to normal morphology, while expression of M protein with an altered LPXTG motif in wild type cells leads to toxicity in the host environment, similar to that observed in the sortase mutant. These unanticipated effects suggest that inhibition of sortase by small-molecule inhibitors could similarly lead to the rapid elimination of pathogens from an infected host, making such inhibitors much better anti-bacterial agents than previously believed.
Project description:The interaction of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus [GAS]) with its human host requires several surface proteins. In this study, we isolated mutations in a gene required for the surface localization of protein F by transposon mutagenesis of the M6 strain JRS4. This gene (srtA) encodes a protein homologous to Staphylococcus aureus sortase, which covalently links proteins containing an LPXTG motif to the cell wall. The GAS srtA mutant was defective in anchoring the LPXTG-containing proteins M6, protein F, ScpA, and GRAB to the cell surface. This phenotype was complemented when a wild-type srtA gene was provided in trans. The surface localization of T6, however, was unaffected by the srtA mutation. The M1 genome sequence contains a second open reading frame with a motif characteristic of sortase proteins. Inactivation of this gene (designated srtB) in strain JRS4 affected the surface localization of T6 but not M6, protein F, ScpA, or GRAB. This phenotype was complemented by srtB in trans. An srtA probe hybridized with DNA from all GAS strains tested (M types 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 18, 22, and 50 and nontypeable strain 64/14) and from streptococcal groups C and G, while srtB hybridized with DNA from only a few GAS strains. We conclude that srtA and srtB encode sortase enzymes required for anchoring different subsets of proteins to the cell wall. It seems likely that the multiple sortase homologs in the genomes of other gram-positive bacteria have a similar substrate-specific role.
Project description:The human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes produces diverse pili depending on the serotype. We investigated the assembly mechanism of FCT type 1 pili in a serotype M6 strain. The pili were found to be assembled from two precursor proteins, the backbone protein T6 and ancillary protein FctX, and anchored to the cell wall in a manner that requires both a housekeeping sortase enzyme (SrtA) and pilus-associated sortase enzyme (SrtB). SrtB is primarily required for efficient formation of the T6 and FctX complex and subsequent polymerization of T6, whereas proper anchoring of the pili to the cell wall is mainly mediated by SrtA. Because motifs essential for polymerization of pilus backbone proteins in other Gram-positive bacteria are not present in T6, we sought to identify the functional residues involved in this process. Our results showed that T6 encompasses the novel VAKS pilin motif conserved in streptococcal T6 homologues and that the lysine residue (Lys-175) within the motif and cell wall sorting signal of T6 are prerequisites for isopeptide linkage of T6 molecules. Because Lys-175 and the cell wall sorting signal of FctX are indispensable for substantial incorporation of FctX into the T6 pilus shaft, FctX is suggested to be located at the pilus tip, which was also implied by immunogold electron microscopy findings. Thus, the elaborate assembly of FCT type 1 pili is potentially organized by sortase-mediated cross-linking between sorting signals and the amino group of Lys-175 positioned in the VAKS motif of T6, thereby displaying T6 and FctX in a temporospatial manner.
Project description:Streptococcus pyogenes (Lancefield group A Streptococcus [GAS]) is a ?-hemolytic human-selective pathogen that is responsible for a large number of morbid and mortal infections in humans. For efficient infection, GAS requires different types of surface proteins that provide various mechanisms for evading human innate immune responses, thus enhancing pathogenicity of the bacteria. Many such virulence-promoting proteins, including the major surface signature M protein, are translocated after biosynthesis through the cytoplasmic membrane and temporarily tethered to this membrane via a type 1 transmembrane domain (TMD) positioned near the COOH terminus. In these proteins, a sorting signal, LPXTG, is positioned immediately upstream of the TMD, which is cleaved by the membrane-associated transpeptidase, sortase A (SrtA), leading to the covalent anchoring of these proteins to newly emerging l-Ala-l-Ala cross-bridges of the growing peptidoglycan cell wall. Herein, we show that inactivation of the srtA gene in a skin-tropic pattern D GAS strain (AP53) results in retention of the M protein in the cell membrane. However, while the isogenic AP53 ?srtA strain is attenuated in overall pathogenic properties due to effects on the integrity of the cell membrane, our data show that the M protein nonetheless can extend from the cytoplasmic membrane through the cell wall and then to the surface of the bacteria and thereby retain its important properties of productively binding and activating fluid-phase host plasminogen (hPg). The studies presented herein demonstrate an underappreciated additional mechanism of cell surface display of bacterial virulence proteins via their retention in the cell membrane and extension to the GAS surface.IMPORTANCE Group A Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) is a human-specific pathogen that produces many surface factors, including its signature M protein, that contribute to its pathogenicity. M proteins undergo specific membrane localization and anchoring to the cell wall via the transpeptidase sortase A. Herein, we explored the role of sortase A function on M protein localization, architecture, and function, employing, a skin-tropic GAS isolate, AP53, which expresses a human plasminogen (hPg)-binding M (PAM) Protein. We showed that PAM anchored in the cell membrane, due to the targeted inactivation of sortase A, was nonetheless exposed on the cell surface and functionally interacted with host hPg. We demonstrate that M proteins, and possibly other sortase A-processed proteins that are retained in the cell membrane, can still function to initiate pathogenic processes by this underappreciated mechanism.