The response of Streptococcus pneumoniae to antibiotic stress on the transcriptome of a competence negative strain
ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to identify the rapid (RR) and adaptative (AR) response of S. pneumoniae to aztreonam and clavulanic acid stress on transcriptional level Streptococcus pneumoniae is able to acquire antibiotic resistance by activation of competence and subsequent DNA uptake. Several antibiotics induce competence by disrupting protein-quality control or perturbing DNA replication. Here, we demonstrate that aztreonam (AZT) and clavulanic acid (CLA) also promote competence. We show that AZT and CLA induce cell chain formation by targeting the D,D-carboxypeptidase PBP3. In support of the hypothesis that chain forming promotes competence, we demonstrate that an autolysin mutant (𝞓lytB) is hypercompetent. As competence is initiated by the binding of a small extracellular peptide (CSP) to a membrane-anchored receptor (ComD), we wondered if chain formation alters CSP diffusion and thereby sensing by ComD. Indeed, the presence of AZT or CLA affects competence synchronization. Artificially reducing CSP diffusion by increasing culture medium viscosity also triggers competence. Together, our data show that AZT and CLA effectively switch CSP-based quorum sensing to autocrine-like signalling, as CSP is now retained to chained cells and no longer shared in a common pool. Overall design: The different conditions were compared to each other. With or withour the short (rapid response) or long (adaptative response) presence of the compounds. The slide configuration also contained 6 replicate spots for each gene.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae can acquire antibiotic resistance by activation of competence and subsequent DNA uptake. Here, we demonstrate that aztreonam (ATM) and clavulanic acid (CLA) promote competence. We show that both compounds induce cell chain formation by targeting the d,d-carboxypeptidase PBP3. In support of the hypothesis that chain formation promotes competence, we demonstrate that an autolysin mutant (?lytB) is hypercompetent. Since competence is initiated by the binding of a small extracellular peptide (CSP) to a membrane-anchored receptor (ComD), we wondered whether chain formation alters CSP diffusion kinetics. Indeed, ATM or CLA presence affects competence synchronization by shifting from global to local quorum sensing, as CSP is primarily retained to chained cells, rather than shared in a common pool. Importantly, autocrine-like signaling prolongs the time window in which the population is able to take up DNA. Together, these insights demonstrate the versatility of quorum sensing and highlight the importance of an accurate antibiotic prescription.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae becomes competent for genetic transformation when exposed to an autoinducer peptide known as competence-stimulating peptide (CSP). This peptide was originally described as a quorum-sensing signal, enabling individual cells to regulate competence in response to population density. However, recent studies suggest that CSP may instead serve as a probe for sensing environmental cues, such as antibiotic stress or environmental diffusion. Here, we show that competence induction can be simultaneously influenced by cell density, external pH, antibiotic-induced stress, and cell history. Our experimental data is explained by a mathematical model where the environment and cell history modify the rate at which cells produce or sense CSP. Taken together, model and experiments indicate that autoinducer concentration can function as an indicator of cell density across environmental conditions, while also incorporating information on environmental factors or cell history, allowing cells to integrate cues such as antibiotic stress into their quorum-sensing response. This unifying perspective may apply to other debated quorum-sensing systems.Peptide CSP regulates natural competence in pneumococci and has been proposed as a quorum-sensing signal or a probe for sensing environmental cues. Here, the authors show that CSP levels can indeed act as an indicator of cell density and also incorporate information on environmental factors or cell history.
Project description:Bacteria have evolved various inducible genetic programs to face many types of stress that challenge their growth and survival. Competence is one such program. It enables genetic transformation, a major horizontal gene transfer process. Competence development in liquid cultures of Streptococcus pneumoniae is synchronized within the whole cell population. This collective behavior is known to depend on an exported signaling Competence Stimulating Peptide (CSP), whose action generates a positive feedback loop. However, it is unclear how this CSP-dependent population switch is coordinated. By monitoring spontaneous competence development in real time during growth of four distinct pneumococcal lineages, we have found that competence shift in the population relies on a self-activated cell fraction that arises via a growth time-dependent mechanism. We demonstrate that CSP remains bound to cells during this event, and conclude that the rate of competence development corresponds to the propagation of competence by contact between activated and quiescent cells. We validated this two-step cell-contact sensing mechanism by measuring competence development during co-cultivation of strains with altered capacity to produce or respond to CSP. Finally, we found that the membrane protein ComD retains the CSP, limiting its free diffusion in the medium. We propose that competence initiator cells originate stochastically in response to stress, to form a distinct subpopulation that then transmits the CSP by cell-cell contact.
Project description:Natural transformation in Streptococcus pneumoniae is regulated by a quorum-sensing system that acts through accumulation and sensing of a peptide pheromone (competence-stimulating peptide [CSP]) to control many competence-specific genes acting in DNA uptake, processing, and integration. The period of competence induced by CSP lasts only 15 min (quarter-height peak width). The recently identified regulator ComX is required for the CSP-dependent expression of many competence-specific genes that share an unusual consensus sequence (TACGAATA) at their promoter regions. To test the hypothesis that this regulator acts as a transient alternative sigma factor, ComX was purified from an Escherichia coli overexpression strain and core RNA polymerase was purified from a comX-deficient S. pneumoniae strain. The reconstituted ComX-polymerase holoenzyme produced transcripts for the competence-specific genes ssbB, cinA, cglA, celA, and dalA and was inhibited by anti-ComX antibody, but not by anti-sigma(70) antibody. Western blotting using antibodies specific for ComX, sigma(70), and poly-His revealed a transient presence of ComX for a period of 15 to 20 min after CSP treatment, while RNA polymerase remained at a constant level and sigma(A) remained between 60 and 125% of its normal level. ComX reached a molar ratio to RNA polymerase of at least 1.5. We conclude that ComX is unstable and acts as a competence-specific sigma factor.
Project description:Quorum sensing (QS) is a cell-cell communication mechanism that enables bacteria to assess their population density and alter their behavior upon reaching high cell number. Many bacterial pathogens utilize QS to initiate an attack on their host, thus QS has attracted significant attention as a potential antivirulence alternative to traditional antibiotics. Streptococcus pneumoniae, a notorious human pathogen responsible for a variety of acute and chronic infections, utilizes the competence regulon and its associated signaling peptide, the competence stimulating peptide (CSP), to acquire antibiotic resistance and establish an infection. In this work, we sought to define the binding pockets within the ComD1 receptor used for binding the hydrophobic side-chain residues in CSP1 through the introduction of highly-conservative point mutations within the peptide. Optimization of these binding interactions could lead to the development of highly potent CSP-based QS modulators while the inclusion of non-natural amino acids within the CSP sequence would confer resistance to protease degradation, a requirement for drug candidates.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important pathogen that utilizes quorum sensing (QS) to regulate genetic transformation, virulence, and biofilm formation. The competence-stimulating peptide (CSP) is a 17-amino acid signal peptide that is used by S. pneumoniae to trigger QS. S. pneumoniae strains can be divided into two main specificity groups based on the CSP signal they produce (CSP1 or CSP2) and their compatible receptors (ComD1 or ComD2, respectively). Modulation of QS in S. pneumoniae can be achieved by targeting the CSP:ComD interaction using synthetic CSP analogues. However, to rationally design CSP-based QS modulators with enhanced activities, an in-depth understanding of the structural features that are required for receptor binding is needed. Herein, we report a comprehensive in-solution three-dimensional structural characterization of eight CSP1 and CSP2 analogues with varied biological activities using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Analysis of these structures revealed two distinct hydrophobic patches required for effective ComD1 and ComD2 binding.
Project description:Competence for genetic transformation in Streptococcus pneumoniae is coordinated by the competence-stimulating peptide (CSP), which induces a sudden and transient appearance of competence during exponential growth in vitro. Models of this quorum-sensing mechanism have proposed sequential expression of several regulatory genes followed by induction of target genes encoding DNA-processing-pathway proteins. Although many genes required for transformation are known to be expressed only in response to CSP, the relative timing of their expression has not been established. Overlapping expression patterns for the genes cinA and comD (G. Alloing, B. Martin, C. Granadel, and J. P. Claverys, Mol. Microbiol. 29:75-83, 1998) suggest that at least two distinct regulatory mechanisms may underlie the competence cycle. DNA microarrays were used to estimate mRNA levels for all known competence operons during induction of competence by CSP. The known competence regulatory operons, comAB, comCDE, and comX, exhibited a low or zero initial (uninduced) signal, strongly increased expression during the period between 5 and 12 min after CSP addition, and a decrease nearly to original values by 15 min after initiation of exposure to CSP. The remaining competence genes displayed a similar expression pattern, but with an additional delay of approximately 5 min. In a mutant defective in ComX, which may act as an alternate sigma factor to allow expression of the target competence genes, the same regulatory genes were induced, but the other competence genes were not. Finally, examination of the expression of 60 candidate sites not previously associated with competence identified eight additional loci that could be induced by CSP.
Project description:Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus, a member of the group D streptococci, is normally found in the bovine rumen and human gut. It is an opportunistic pathogen that was recently determined to be a bacterial driver of colorectal cancer, in addition to causing other diseases, such as infective endocarditis, bacteremia, neonatal meningitis, and septicemia. As an emerging pathogen, not much is known about this bacterium, its virulence mechanisms, or its virulence regulatory pathways. Previous studies suggest that S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus uses a ComRS pathway, one of many Streptococcus quorum-sensing circuitries, for competence. However, thus far, the ubiquitous ComABCDE pathway has not been studied, nor has its regulatory role in S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus We therefore sought to study the S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus ComABCDE quorum-sensing pathway and have identified its peptide pheromone, which is termed the competence-stimulating peptide (CSP). We further determined that this peptide regulates the production of bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances (BLISs), a phenotype that has been linked with the ComABCDE pathway in both Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus mutans Our data show that S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus TX20005 produces a 21-mer CSP signal, which differs from CSP signals of other Streptococcus species in that its active form begins three residues after the double-glycine leader signal of the ComC precursor peptide. Additionally, our data suggest that this peptide might not be related to competence induction, as opposed to CSP signaling peptides in other Streptococcus species. This study provides the first evidence that S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus utilizes quorum sensing to eliminate competitors, presenting a potential pathway to target this emerging human pathogen.IMPORTANCEStreptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus is an emerging human pathogen known as a causative agent of infective endocarditis, and recently, of colorectal cancer. In this work, we revealed a functional quorum-sensing circuitry in S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus, including the identification of the central signaling peptide pheromone, competence-stimulating peptide (CSP), and the regulatory role of this circuitry in the production of bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances (BLISs). This work uncovered a mechanism by which this bacterium outcompetes other bacterial species and thus provides a potential tool to study this opportunistic pathogen.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae is a highly recombinogenic human pathogen that utilizes the competence stimulating peptide (CSP)-based quorum sensing (QS) circuitry to acquire antibiotic resistance genes from the environment and initiate its attack on the human host. Modulation of QS in this bacterium, either inhibition or activation, can therefore be used to attenuate S. pneumoniae infectivity and slow down pneumococcal resistance development. In this study, we set to determine the molecular mechanism that drives CSP:receptor binding and identify CSP-based QS modulators with distinct activity profiles. To this end, we conducted systematic replacement of the amino acid residues in the two major CSP signals (CSP1 and CSP2) and assessed the ability of the mutated analogs to modulate QS against both cognate and noncognate ComD receptors. We then evaluated the overall 3D structures of these analogs using circular dichroism (CD) to correlate between the structure and function of these peptides. Our CD analysis revealed a strong correlation between ?-helicity and bioactivity for both specificity groups (CSP1 and CSP2). Furthermore, we identified the first pan-group QS activator and the most potent group-II QS inhibitor to date. These chemical probes can be used to study the role of QS in S. pneumoniae and as scaffolds for the design of QS-based anti-infective therapeutics against S. pneumoniae infections.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a naturally competent organism that causes diseases such as pneumonia, otitis media, and bacteremia. The essential bacterial second messenger cyclic di-AMP (c-di-AMP) is an emerging player in the stress responses of many pathogens. In S. pneumoniae, c-di-AMP is produced by a diadenylate cyclase, CdaA, and cleaved by phosphodiesterases Pde1 and Pde2. c-di-AMP binds a transporter of K+ (Trk) family protein, CabP, which subsequently halts K+ uptake via the transporter TrkH. Recently, it was reported that Pde1 and Pde2 are essential for pneumococcal virulence in mouse models of disease. To elucidate c-di-AMP-mediated transcription that may lead to changes in pathogenesis, we compared the transcriptomes of wild-type (WT) and ?pde1 ?pde2 strains by transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis. Notably, we found that many competence-associated genes are significantly upregulated in the ?pde1 ?pde2 strain compared to the WT. These genes play a role in DNA uptake, recombination, and autolysis. Competence is induced by a quorum-sensing mechanism initiated by the secreted factor competence-stimulating peptide (CSP). Surprisingly, the ?pde1 ?pde2 strain exhibited reduced transformation efficiency compared to WT bacteria, which was c-di-AMP dependent. Transformation efficiency was also directly related to the [K+] in the medium, suggesting a link between c-di-AMP function and the pneumococcal competence state. We found that a strain that possesses a V76G variation in CdaA produced less c-di-AMP and was highly susceptible to CSP. Deletion of cabP and trkH restored the growth of these bacteria in medium with CSP. Overall, our study demonstrates a novel role for c-di-AMP in the competence program of S. pneumoniae IMPORTANCE Genetic competence in bacteria leads to horizontal gene transfer, which can ultimately affect antibiotic resistance, adaptation to stress conditions, and virulence. While the mechanisms of pneumococcal competence signaling cascades have been well characterized, the molecular mechanism behind competence regulation is not fully understood. The bacterial second messenger c-di-AMP has previously been shown to play a role in bacterial physiology and pathogenesis. In this study, we provide compelling evidence for the interplay between c-di-AMP and the pneumococcal competence state. These findings not only attribute a new biological function to this dinucleotide as a regulator of competence, transformation, and survival under stress conditions in pneumococci but also provide new insights into how pneumococcal competence is modulated.