Publications

79 Publications visible to you, out of a total of 79

Abstract (Expand)

Background The stressosome is a bacterial signalling complex that responds to environmental changes by initiating a protein partner switching cascade, which leads to the release of the alternative sigma factor, sigmaB. Stress perception increases the phosphorylation of the stressosome sensor protein, RsbR, and the scaffold protein, RsbS, by the protein kinase RsbT. Subsequent dissociation of RsbT from the stressosome activates the sigmaB cascade. However, the sequence of physical events that occur in the stressosome during signal transduction is insufficiently understood. Results Here, we use computational modelling to correlate the structure of the stressosome with the efficiency of the phosphorylation reactions that occur upon activation by stress. In our model, the phosphorylation of any stressosome protein is dependent upon its nearest neighbours and their phosphorylation status. We compare different hypotheses about stressosome activation and find that only the model representing the allosteric activation of the kinase RsbT, by phosphorylated RsbR, qualitatively reproduces the experimental data. Conclusions Our simulations and the associated analysis of published data support the following hypotheses: (i) a simple Boolean model is capable of reproducing stressosome dynamics, (ii) different stressors induce identical stressosome activation patterns, and we also confirm that (i) phosphorylated RsbR activates RsbT, and (ii) the main purpose of RsbX is to dephosphorylate RsbS-P.

Authors: , , Jon Marles-Wright, ,

Date Published: 2013

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract

Not specified

Authors: , J. Brill, M. Thuring, G. Wunsche, M. Heun, H. Barzantny, ,

Date Published: 28th Dec 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

The Twin-arginine Translocation (Tat) pathway is known to translocate fully folded proteins across bacterial, archaeal and organellar membranes. To date, the mechanisms involved in processing, proofreading and quality control of Tat substrates have remained largely elusive. Bacillus subtilis is an industrially relevant Gram-positive model bacterium. The Tat pathway in B. subtilis differs from that of other well-studied organisms in that it is composed of two complexes operating in parallel. To obtain a better understanding of this pathway in B. subtilis and to identify Tat-associated proteins, the B. subtilis 'Tat proteome' was investigated by quantitative proteomics. Metabolically labeled proteins from cytoplasmic, membrane and extracellular fractions were analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Changes in the amounts of identified peptides allowed for quantitative comparisons of their abundance in tat mutant strains. The observed differences were suggestive of indirect or direct protein-protein relationships. The rich data set generated was then approached in hypothesis-driving and hypothesis-driven manners. The hypothesis-driving approach led to the identification of a novel delayed biofilm phenotype of certain tat mutant strains, whereas the hypothesis-driven approach identified the membrane protein QcrA as a new Tat substrate of B. subtilis. Thus, our quantitative proteomics analyses have unveiled novel Tat pathway-dependent phenotypes in Bacillus.

Authors: Vivianne J Goosens, Andreas Otto, Corinna Glasner, Carmine G Monteferrante, René van der Ploeg, , Dörte Becher,

Date Published: 22nd Dec 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

DEAD-box RNA helicases play important roles in remodeling RNA molecules and in facilitating a variety of RNA-protein interactions that are key to many essential cellular processes. In spite of the importance of RNA, our knowledge about RNA helicases is only limited. In this study we investigated the role of the four DEAD-box RNA helicases in Gram positive model-organism Bacillus subtilis. A strain deleted of all RNA helicases is able to grow at 37°C but not at lower temperatures. Especially the deletion of cshA, cshB or yfmL lead to cold-sensitive phenotypes. Moreover, these mutant strains exhibit unique defects in ribosome biogenesis suggesting distinct functions for the individual enzymes in this process. Based on protein accumulation, severity of the cold-sensitive phenotype and the interaction with components of the RNA degradosome, CshA is the major RNA helicase of B. subtilis. To unravel the functions of CshA in addition to ribosome biogenesis we conducted microarray analysis and identified the ysbAB and frlBONMD mRNAs as targets that are strongly affected by the deletion of the cshA gene. Our findings suggest that the different helicases make distinct contributions to the physiology of B. subtilis. Ribosome biogenesis and RNA degradation are two of their major tasks in B. subtilis.

Authors: Martin Lehnik-Habrink, Leonie Rempeters, Akos T Kovács, Christoph Wrede, Claudia Baierlein, Heike Krebber, ,

Date Published: 24th Nov 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Glycine betaine is an effective osmoprotectant for Bacillus subtilis. Its import into osmotically stressed cells led to the build-up of large pools, whose size was sensitively determined by the degree of the imposed osmotic stress. The amassing of glycine betaine caused a repression in the formation of an osmostress-adaptive pool of proline, the only osmoprotectant that B. subtilis can synthesize de novo. The ABC transporter OpuA is the main glycine betaine uptake system of B. subtilis. Expression of opuA was up-regulated in response to both sudden and sustained increases in the external osmolarity. Non-ionic osmolytes exerted a stronger inducing effect on transcription than ionic osmolytes, and this was reflected in the development of corresponding OpuA-mediated glycine betaine pools. Primer extension analysis and site-directed mutagenesis pinpointed the osmotically controlled opuA promoter. Deviations from the consensus sequence of SigA-type promoters serve to keep the transcriptional activity of the opuA promoter low in the absence of osmotic stress. Expression of opuA was down regulated in a finely tuned manner in response to increases in the intracellular glycine betaine pool, regardless whether this osmoprotectant was imported or newly synthesized from choline. Such an effect was also exerted by carnitine, an effective osmoprotectant for B. subtilis that is not a substrate for the OpuA transporter. opuA expression was up-regulated in a B. subtilis mutant unable to synthesize proline in response to osmotic stress. Collectively, our data suggest that the intracellular solute pool is a key determinant for the osmotic control of opuA expression.

Authors: , Annette Wensing, Margot Brosius, , ,

Date Published: 24th Nov 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

The Gram-positive soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis uses glucose and malate as the preferred carbon sources. In the presence of either glucose or malate, the expression of genes and operons for the utilization of secondary carbon sources is subject to carbon catabolite repression. While glucose is a preferred substrate in many organisms from bacteria to man, the factors that contribute to the preference for malate have so far remained elusive. In this work, we have studied the contribution of the different malate-metabolizing enzymes in B. subtilis, and we have elucidated their distinct functions. The malate dehydrogenase and the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase are both essential for malate utilization; they introduce malate into gluconeogenesis. The NADPH-generating malic enzyme YtsJ is important to establish the cellular pools of NADPH for anabolic reactions. Finally, the NADH-generating malic enzymes MaeA, MalS, and MleA are involved in keeping the ATP levels high. Together, this unique array of distinct activities makes malate a preferred carbon source for B. subtilis.

Authors: Frederik M Meyer,

Date Published: 10th Nov 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

In Bacillus subtilis and its relatives carbon catabolite control, a mechanism enabling to reach maximal efficiency of carbon and energy sources metabolism, is achieved by the global regulator CcpA (carbon catabolite protein A). CcpA in a complex with HPr-Ser-P (seryl-phosphorylated form of histidine-containing protein, HPr) binds to operator sites called catabolite responsive elements, cre. Depending on the cre box position relative to the promoter, the CcpA/HPr-Ser-P complex can either act as a positive or a negative regulator. The cre boxes are highly degenerate semi-palindromes with a lowly conserved consensus sequence. So far, studies aimed at revealing how CcpA can bind such diverse sites were focused on the analysis of single cre boxes. In this study, a genome-wide analysis of cre sites was performed in order to identify differences in cre sequence and position, which determine their binding affinity.

Authors: , Monika Pabijaniak, Anne de Jong, Robert Dűhring, , ,

Date Published: 17th Aug 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacillus subtilis synthesizes large amounts of the compatible solute proline as a cellular defense against high osmolarity to ensure a physiologically appropriate level of hydration of the cytoplasm and turgor. It also imports proline for this purpose via the osmotically inducible OpuE transport system. Unexpectedly, an opuE mutant was at a strong growth disadvantage in high-salinity minimal media lacking proline. Appreciable amounts of proline were detected in the culture supernatant of the opuE mutant strain, and they rose concomitantly with increases in the external salinity. We found that the intracellular proline pool of severely salinity-stressed cells of the opuE mutant was considerably lower than that of its opuE(+) parent strain. This loss of proline into the medium and the resulting decrease in the intracellular proline content provide a rational explanation for the observed salt-sensitive growth phenotype of cells lacking OpuE. None of the known MscL- and MscS-type mechanosensitive channels of B. subtilis participated in the release of proline under permanently imposed high-salinity growth conditions. The data reported here show that the OpuE transporter not only possesses the previously reported role for the scavenging of exogenously provided proline as an osmoprotectant but also functions as a physiologically highly important recapturing device for proline that is synthesized de novo and subsequently released by salt-stressed B. subtilis cells. The wider implications of our findings for the retention of compatible solutes by osmotically challenged microorganisms and the roles of uptake systems for compatible solutes are considered.

Authors: , Carsten von Blohn, Agnieszka Stanek, Susanne Moses, Helena Barzantny,

Date Published: 8th Jun 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

RNA processing and degradation are key processes in the control of transcript accumulation and thus in the control of gene expression. In Escherichia coli, the underlying mechanisms and components of RNA decay are well characterized. By contrast, Gram-positive bacteria do not possess several important players of E. coli RNA degradation, most notably the essential enzyme RNase E. Recent research on the model Gram-positive organism, Bacillus subtilis, has identified the essential RNases J1 and Y as crucial enzymes in RNA degradation. While RNase J1 is the first bacterial exoribonuclease with 5'-to-3' processivity, RNase Y is the founding member of a novel class of endoribonucleases. Both RNase J1 and RNase Y have a broad impact on the stability of B. subtilis mRNAs; a depletion of either enzyme affects more than 25% of all mRNAs. RNases J1 and Y as well as RNase J2, the polynucleotide phosphorylase PNPase, the RNA helicase CshA and the glycolytic enzymes enolase and phosphofructokinase have been proposed to form a complex, the RNA degradosome of B. subtilis. This review presents a model, based on recent published data, of RNA degradation in B. subtilis. Degradation is initiated by RNase Y-dependent endonucleolytic cleavage, followed by processive exoribonucleolysis of the generated fragments both in 3'-to-5' and in 5'-to-3' directions. The implications of these findings for pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria are also discussed.

Authors: Martin Lehnik-Habrink, , ,

Date Published: 8th May 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

The Bacillus subtilis catabolite control protein A (CcpA) is a global transcriptional regulator which is controlled by interactions with the phosphoproteins HPrSer46P and CrhP and with low molecular weight effectors depending on the availability of preferred carbon sources like glucose. Distinct point mutations in CcpA abolish regulation of some but not all target genes suggesting additional interactions of CcpA. Therefore, in vivo crosslinking and mass spectrometry were applied to identify CcpA complexes active in repression and activation. To compensate for the excess of promoters only repressed by CcpA, this experiment was accomplished with cells with multiple copies of the activated ackA promoter. Among the identified proteins HPr, RNA polymerase (RNAP) subunits and the global regulator CodY were observed. Bacterial two-hybrid assays combining each RNAP subunit with CcpA localized CcpA binding at the α-subunit (RpoA). In vivo crosslinking combined with immunoblot analyses revealed CcpA-RpoA complexes in cultures with or without glucose whereas CcpA-HPr and CcpA-CodY complexes occurred only or predominantly in cultures with glucose. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) analyses confirmed binding of CcpA to the N- (αNTD) and C-terminal domains (αCTD) of RpoA as well as to CodY. Furthermore, interactions of CodY with the αNTD and the αCTD were detected by SPR. The K(D) values of complexes of CcpA or CodY with the αNTD or the αCTD are between 5 and 8μM. CcpA and CodY form a loose complex with a K(D) of 60μM. These data were combined to propose a model for a transcription initiation complex at the ackA promoter.

Authors: Andrea Wünsche, Elke Hammer, , , Andreas Burkovski, ,

Date Published: 20th Apr 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacteria adapt to environmental stimuli by adjusting their transcriptomes in a complex manner, the full potential of which has yet to be established for any individual bacterial species. Here, we report the transcriptomes of Bacillus subtilis exposed to a wide range of environmental and nutritional conditions that the organism might encounter in nature. We comprehensively mapped transcription units (TUs) and grouped 2935 promoters into regulons controlled by various RNA polymerase sigma factors, accounting for ~66% of the observed variance in transcriptional activity. This global classification of promoters and detailed description of TUs revealed that a large proportion of the detected antisense RNAs arose from potentially spurious transcription initiation by alternative sigma factors and from imperfect control of transcription termination.

Authors: Pierre Nicolas, , Etienne Dervyn, Tatiana Rochat, Aurélie Leduc, Nathalie Pigeonneau, Elena Bidnenko, Elodie Marchadier, Mark Hoebeke, Stéphane Aymerich, Dörte Becher, Paola Bisicchia, Eric Botella, Olivier Delumeau, Geoff Doherty, Emma L Denham, Mark J Fogg, Vincent Fromion, Anne Goelzer, Annette Hansen, Elisabeth Härtig, , Georg Homuth, Hanne Jarmer, Matthieu Jules, Edda Klipp, Ludovic Le Chat, François Lecointe, , Wolfram Liebermeister, Anika March, , , David Noone, Susanne Pohl, Bernd Rinn, Frank Rügheimer, , Franck Samson, Marc Schaffer, Benno Schwikowski, , , Thomas Wiegert, Kevin M Devine, Anthony J Wilkinson, , , , Philippe Bessières, Philippe Noirot

Date Published: 3rd Mar 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

In Bacillus subtilis the σB mediated general stress response provides protection against various environmental and energy related stress conditions. To better understand the general stress response, we need to explore the mechanism by which the components interact. Here, we performed experiments in B. subtilis wild type and mutant strains to test and validate a mathematical model of the dynamics of σB activity. In the mutant strain BSA115, σB transcription is inducible by the addition of IPTG and negative control of σB activity by the anti-sigma factor RsbW is absent. In contrast to our expectations of a continuous β-galactosidase activity from a ctc::lacZ fusion, we observed a transient activity in the mutant. To explain this experimental finding, we constructed mathematical models reflecting different hypotheses regarding the regulation of σB and β-galactosidase dynamics. Only the model assuming instability of either ctc::lacZ mRNA or β-galactosidase protein is able to reproduce the experiments in silico. Subsequent Northern blot experiments revealed stable high-level ctc::lacZ mRNA concentrations after the induction of the σB response. Therefore, we conclude that protein instability following σB activation is the most likely explanation for the experimental observations. Our results thus support the idea that B. subtilis increases the cytoplasmic proteolytic degradation to adapt the proteome in face of environmental challenges following activation of the general stress response. The findings also have practical implications for the analysis of stress response dynamics using lacZ reporter gene fusions, a frequently used strategy for the σB response.

Authors: , , , , Georg Homuth, ,

Date Published: 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

The RNA degradosome is a multiprotein macromolecular complex that is involved in the degradation of messenger RNA in bacteria. The composition of this complex has been found to display a high degree of evolutionary divergence, which may reflect the adaptation of species to different environments. Recently, a degradosome-like complex identified in Bacillus subtilis was found to be distinct from those found in proteobacteria, the degradosomes of which are assembled around the unstructured C-terminus of ribonuclease E, a protein not present in B. subtilis. In this report, we have investigated in vitro the binary interactions between degradosome components and have characterized interactions between glycolytic enzymes, RNA-degrading enzymes, and those that appear to link these two cellular processes. The crystal structures of the glycolytic enzymes phosphofructokinase and enolase are presented and discussed in relation to their roles in the mediation of complex protein assemblies. Taken together, these data provide valuable insights into the structure and dynamics of the RNA degradosome, a fascinating and complex macromolecular assembly that links RNA degradation with central carbon metabolism.

Authors: , Lorraine Hewitt, Cecilia Rodrigues, Alexandra S Solovyova, ,

Date Published: 16th Dec 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Common laboratory strains of Bacillus subtilis encode two glutamate dehydrogenases: the enzymatically active protein RocG and the cryptic enzyme GudB that is inactive due to a duplication of three amino acids in its active center. The inactivation of the rocG gene results in poor growth of the bacteria on complex media due to the accumulation of toxic intermediates. Therefore, rocG mutants readily acquire suppressor mutations that decryptify the gudB gene. This decryptification occurs by a precise deletion of one part of the 9-bp direct repeat that causes the amino acid duplication. This mutation occurs at the extremely high frequency of 10(-4). Mutations affecting the integrity of the direct repeat result in a strong reduction of the mutation frequency; however, the actual sequence of the repeat is not essential. The mutation frequency of gudB was not affected by the position of the gene on the chromosome. When the direct repeat was placed in the completely different context of an artificial promoter, the precise deletion of one part of the repeat was also observed, but the mutation frequency was reduced by 3 orders of magnitude. Thus, transcription of the gudB gene seems to be essential for the high frequency of the appearance of the gudB1 mutation. This idea is supported by the finding that the transcription-repair coupling factor Mfd is required for the decryptification of gudB. The Mfd-mediated coupling of transcription to mutagenesis might be a built-in precaution that facilitates the accumulation of mutations preferentially in transcribed genes.

Authors: Katrin Gunka, Stefan Tholen, Jan Gerwig, Christina Herzberg, , Fabian M Commichau

Date Published: 16th Dec 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacillus subtilis possesses carbon-flux regulating histidine protein (Crh), a paralog of the histidine protein (HPr) of the phosphotransferase system (PTS). Like HPr, Crh becomes (de)phosphorylated in vitro at residue Ser46 by the metabolite-controlled HPr kinase/phosphorylase HPrK/P. Depending on its phosphorylation state, Crh exerts regulatory functions in connection with carbohydrate metabolism. So far, knowledge on phosphorylation of Crh in vivo has been limited and derived from indirect evidence. Here, we studied the dynamics of Crh phosphorylation directly by non-denaturing gel electrophoresis followed by Western analysis. The results confirm that HPrK/P is the single kinase catalyzing phosphorylation of Crh in vivo. Accordingly, phosphorylation of Crh is triggered by the carbon source as observed previously for HPr, but with some differences. Phosphorylation of both proteins occurred during exponential growth and disappeared upon exhaustion of the carbon source. During exponential growth, ~80% of the Crh molecules were phosphorylated when cells utilized a preferred carbon source. The reverse distribution, i.e. around 20% of Crh molecules phosphorylated, was obtained upon utilization of less favorable substrates. This clear-cut classification of the substrates into two groups has not previously been observed for HPr(Ser)~P formation. The likely reason for this difference is the additional PTS-dependent phosphorylation of HPr at His15, which limits accumulation of HPr(Ser)~P.

Authors: Jens J Landmann, Susanne Werner, , , Boris Görke

Date Published: 28th Nov 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

In the post-genomic era, most components of a cell are known and they can be quantified by large-scale functional genomics approaches. However, genome annotation is the bottleneck that hampers our understanding of living cells and organisms. Up-to-date functional annotation is of special importance for model organisms that provide a frame of reference for studies with other relevant organisms. We have generated a Wiki-type database for the Gram-positive model bacterium Bacillus subtilis, SubtiWiki (http://subtiwiki.uni-goettingen.de/). This Wiki is centered around the individual genes and gene products of B. subtilis and provides information on each aspect of gene function and expression as well as protein activity and its control. SubtiWiki is accompanied by two companion databases SubtiPathways and SubtInteract that provide graphical representations of B. subtilis metabolism and its regulation and of protein-protein interactions, respectively. The diagrams of both databases are easily navigatable using the popular Google maps API, and they are extensively linked with the SubtiWiki gene pages. Moreover, each gene/gene product was assigned to one or more functional categories and transcription factor regulons. Pages for the specific categories and regulons provide a rapid overview of functionally related genes/proteins. Today, SubtiWiki can be regarded as one of the most complete inventories of knowledge on a living organism in one single resource.

Authors: , Arne G Schmeisky, ,

Date Published: 16th Nov 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Most organisms can choose their preferred carbon source from a mixture of nutrients. This process is called carbon catabolite repression. The Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis uses glucose as the preferred source of carbon and energy. Glucose-mediated catabolite repression is caused by binding of the CcpA transcription factor to the promoter regions of catabolic operons. CcpA binds DNA upon interaction with its cofactors HPr(Ser-P) and Crh(Ser-P). The formation of the cofactors is catalyzed by the metabolite-activated HPr kinase/phosphorylase. Recently, it has been shown that malate is a second preferred carbon source for B. subtilis that also causes catabolite repression. In this work, we addressed the mechanism by which malate causes catabolite repression. Genetic analyses revealed that malate-dependent catabolite repression requires CcpA and its cofactors. Moreover, we demonstrate that HPr(Ser-P) is present in malate-grown cells and that CcpA and HPr interact in vivo in the presence of glucose or malate but not in the absence of a repressing carbon source. The formation of the cofactor HPr(Ser-P) could be attributed to the concentrations of ATP and fructose 1,6-bisphosphate in cells growing with malate. Both metabolites are available at concentrations that are sufficient to stimulate HPr kinase activity. The adaptation of cells to environmental changes requires dynamic metabolic and regulatory adjustments. The repression strength of target promoters was similar to that observed in steady-state growth conditions, although it took somewhat longer to reach the second steady-state of expression when cells were shifted to malate.

Authors: Frederik M Meyer, Matthieu Jules, Felix M P Mehne, Dominique Le Coq, Jens J Landmann, Boris Görke, Stéphane Aymerich,

Date Published: 14th Oct 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Sortases of Gram-positive bacteria catalyze the covalent C-terminal anchoring of proteins to the cell wall. Bacillus subtilis, a well-known host organism for protein production, contains two putative sortases named YhcS and YwpE. The present studies were aimed at investigating the possible sortase function of these proteins in B. subtilis. Proteomics analyses revealed that sortase-mutant cells released elevated levels of the putative sortase substrate YfkN into the culture medium upon phosphate starvation. The results indicate that YfkN required sortase activity of YhcS for retention in the cell wall. To analyze sortase function in more detail, we focused attention on the potential sortase substrate YhcR, which is co-expressed with the sortase YhcS. Our results showed that the sortase recognition and cell-wall-anchoring motif of YhcR is functional when fused to the Bacillus pumilus chitinase ChiS, a readily detectable reporter protein that is normally secreted. The ChiS fusion protein is displayed at the cell wall surface when YhcS is co-expressed. In the absence of YhcS, or when no cell-wall-anchoring motif is fused to ChiS, the ChiS accumulates predominately in the culture medium. Taken together, these novel findings show that B. subtilis has a functional sortase for anchoring proteins to the cell wall.

Authors: Hamidreza Fasehee, Helga Westers, Albert Bolhuis, Haike Antelmann, , Wim J Quax, Agha F Mirlohi, , Gholamreza Ahmadian

Date Published: 31st Aug 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

RNA processing and degradation is initiated by endonucleolytic cleavage of the target RNAs. In many bacteria, this activity is performed by RNase E which is not present in Bacillus subtilis and other Gram-positive bacteria. Recently, the essential endoribonuclease RNase Y has been discovered in B. subtilis. This RNase is involved in the degradation of bulk mRNA suggesting a major role in RNA metabolism. However, only a few targets of RNase Y have been identified so far. In order to assess the global impact of RNase Y, we compared the transcriptomes in response to the expression level of RNase Y. Our results demonstrate that processing by RNase Y results in accumulation of about 550 mRNAs. Some of these targets were substantially stabilized by RNase Y depletion, resulting in half-lives in the range of an hour. Moreover, about 350 mRNAs were less abundant when RNase Y was depleted among them the mRNAs of the operons required for biofilm formation. Interestingly, overexpression of RNase Y was sufficient to induce biofilm formation. The results presented in this work emphasize the importance of RNase Y as the global acting endoribonuclease for B. subtilis.

Authors: Martin Lehnik-Habrink, Marc Schaffer, , Christine Diethmaier, Christina Herzberg,

Date Published: 4th Aug 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

The control of mRNA stability is an important component of regulation in bacteria. Processing and degradation of mRNAs are initiated by an endonucleolytic attack, and the cleavage products are processively degraded by exoribonucleases. In many bacteria, these RNases, as well as RNA helicases and other proteins, are organized in a protein complex called the RNA degradosome. In Escherichia coli, the RNA degradosome is assembled around the essential endoribonuclease E. In Bacillus subtilis, the recently discovered essential endoribonuclease RNase Y is involved in the initiation of RNA degradation. Moreover, RNase Y interacts with other RNases, the RNA helicase CshA, and the glycolytic enzymes enolase and phosphofructokinase in a degradosome-like complex. In this work, we have studied the domain organization of RNase Y and the contribution of the domains to protein-protein interactions. We provide evidence for the physical interaction between RNase Y and the degradosome partners in vivo. We present experimental and bioinformatic data which indicate that the RNase Y contains significant regions of intrinsic disorder and discuss the possible functional implications of this finding. The localization of RNase Y in the membrane is essential both for the viability of B. subtilis and for all interactions that involve RNase Y. The results presented in this study provide novel evidence for the idea that RNase Y is the functional equivalent of RNase E, even though the two enzymes do not share any sequence similarity.

Authors: Martin Lehnik-Habrink, , Fabian M Rothe, Alexandra S Solovyova, Cecilia Rodrigues, Christina Herzberg, Fabian M Commichau, ,

Date Published: 29th Jul 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacillus subtilis is known to accumulate large amounts of the compatible solute proline via de novo synthesis as a stress protectant when it faces high-salinity environments. We elucidated the genetic determinants required for the osmoadaptive proline production from the precursor glutamate. This proline biosynthesis route relies on the proJ-encoded γ-glutamyl kinase, the proA-encoded γ-glutamyl phosphate reductase, and the proH-encoded Δ1-pyrroline-5-caboxylate reductase. Disruption of the proHJ operon abolished osmoadaptive proline production and strongly impaired the ability of B. subtilis to cope with high-osmolarity growth conditions. Disruption of the proA gene also abolished osmoadaptive proline biosynthesis but caused, in contrast to the disruption of proHJ, proline auxotrophy. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that the transcription of the proHJ operon is osmotically inducible, whereas that of the proBA operon is not. Reporter gene fusion studies showed that proHJ expression is rapidly induced upon an osmotic upshift. Increased expression is maintained as long as the osmotic stimulus persists and is sensitively linked to the prevalent osmolarity of the growth medium. Primer extension analysis revealed the osmotically controlled proHJ promoter, a promoter that resembles typical SigA-type promoters of B. subtilis. Deletion analysis of the proHJ promoter region identified a 126-bp DNA segment carrying all sequences required in cis for osmoregulated transcription. Our data disclose the presence of ProA-interlinked anabolic and osmoadaptive proline biosynthetic routes in B. subtilis and demonstrate that the synthesis of the compatible solute proline is a central facet of the cellular defense to high-osmolarity surroundings for this soil bacterium.

Authors: Jeanette Brill, , Monika Bleisteiner,

Date Published: 22nd Jul 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

As a versatile pathogen Staphylococcus aureus can cause various disease patterns, which are influenced by strain specific virulence factor repertoires but also by S. aureus physiological adaptation capacity. Here, we present metabolomic descriptions of S. aureus central metabolic pathways and demonstrate the potential for combined metabolomics- and proteomics-based approaches for the basic research of this important pathogen. This study provides a time-resolved picture of more than 500 proteins and 94 metabolites during the transition from exponential growth to glucose starvation. Under glucose excess, cells exhibited higher levels of proteins involved in glycolysis and protein-synthesis, whereas entry into the stationary phase triggered an increase of enzymes of TCC and gluconeogenesis. These alterations in levels of metabolic enzymes were paralleled by more pronounced changes in the concentrations of associated metabolites, in particular, intermediates of the glycolysis and several amino acids.

Authors: Manuel Liebeke, Kirsten Dörries, Daniela Zühlke, Jörg Bernhardt, Stephan Fuchs, Jan Pané-Farré, Susanne Engelmann, , Rüdiger Bode, Thomas Dandekar, Ulrike Lindequist, ,

Date Published: 1st Apr 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Twin-arginine protein translocation (Tat) pathways are required for transport of folded proteins across bacterial, archaeal and chloroplast membranes. Recent studies indicate that Tat has evolved into a mainstream pathway for protein secretion in certain halophilic archaea, which thrive in highly saline environments. Here, we investigated the effects of environmental salinity on Tat-dependent protein secretion by the Gram-positive soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis, which encounters widely differing salt concentrations in its natural habitats. The results show that environmental salinity determines the specificity and need for Tat-dependent secretion of the Dyp-type peroxidase YwbN in B. subtilis. Under high salinity growth conditions, at least three Tat translocase subunits, namely TatAd, TatAy and TatCy, are involved in the secretion of YwbN. Yet, a significant level of Tat-independent YwbN secretion is also observed under these conditions. When B. subtilis is grown in medium with 1% NaCl or without NaCl, the secretion of YwbN depends strictly on the previously described "minimal Tat translocase" consisting of the TatAy and TatCy subunits. Notably, in medium without NaCl, both tatAyCy and ywbN mutants display significantly reduced exponential growth rates and severe cell lysis. This is due to a critical role of secreted YwbN in the acquisition of iron under these conditions. Taken together, our findings show that environmental conditions, such as salinity, can determine the specificity and need for the secretion of a bacterial Tat substrate.

Authors: René van der Ploeg, , Georg Homuth, Marc Schaffer, Emma L Denham, Carmine G Monteferrante, Marcus Miethke, Mohamed A Marahiel, , Theresa Winter, , Haike Antelmann,

Date Published: 30th Mar 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Knowledge on absolute protein concentrations is mandatory for the simulation of biological processes in the context of systems biology. A novel approach for the absolute quantification of proteins at a global scale has been developed and its applicability demonstrated using glucose starvation of the Gram-positive model bacterium Bacillus subtilis and the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus as proof-of-principle examples. Absolute intracellular protein concentrations were initially determined for a preselected set of anchor proteins by employing a targeted mass spectrometric method and isotopically labeled internal standard peptides. Known concentrations of these anchor proteins were then used to calibrate two-dimensional (2-D) gels allowing the calculation of absolute abundance of all detectable proteins on the 2-D gels. Using this approach, concentrations of the majority of metabolic enzymes were determined, and thus a quantification of the players of metabolism was achieved. This new strategy is fast, cost-effective, applicable to any cell type, and thus of value for a broad community of laboratories with experience in 2-D gel-based proteomics and interest in quantitative approaches. Particularly, this approach could also be utilized to quantify existing data sets with the aid of a few standard anchor proteins.

Authors: , Susanne Sievers, Daniela Zühlke, Judith Kuzinski, , Jan Muntel, Bernd Hessling, Jörg Bernhardt, Rabea Sietmann, , , Dörte Becher

Date Published: 11th Mar 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacteria have developed an impressive ability to survive and propagate in highly diverse and changing environments by evolving phenotypic heterogeneity. Phenotypic heterogeneity ensures that a subpopulation is well prepared for environmental changes. The expression bet hedging is commonly (but often incorrectly) used by molecular biologists to describe any observed phenotypic heterogeneity. In evolutionary biology, however, bet hedging denotes a risk-spreading strategy displayed by isogenic populations that evolved in unpredictably changing environments. Opposed to other survival strategies, bet hedging evolves because the selection environment changes and favours different phenotypes at different times. Consequently, in bet hedging populations all phenotypes perform differently well at any time, depending on the selection pressures present. Moreover, bet hedging is the only strategy in which temporal variance of offspring numbers per individual is minimized. Our paper aims to provide a guide for the correct use of the term bet hedging in molecular biology.

Authors: , Patsy Haccou,

Date Published: 21st Jan 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacillus subtilis possesses interlinked routes for the synthesis of proline. The ProJ-ProA-ProH route is responsible for the production of proline as an osmoprotectant, and the ProB-ProA-ProI route provides proline for protein synthesis. We show here that the transcription of the anabolic proBA and proI genes is controlled in response to proline limitation via a T-box-mediated termination/antitermination regulatory mechanism, a tRNA-responsive riboswitch. Primer extension analysis revealed mRNA leader transcripts of 270 and 269 nt for the proBA and proI genes, respectively, both of which are synthesized from SigA-type promoters. These leader transcripts are predicted to fold into two mutually exclusive secondary mRNA structures, forming either a terminator or an antiterminator configuration. Northern blot analysis allowed the detection of both the leader and the full-length proBA and proI transcripts. Assessment of the level of the proBA transcripts revealed that the amount of the full-length mRNA species strongly increased in proline-starved cultures. Genetic studies with a proB-treA operon fusion reporter strain demonstrated that proBA transcription is sensitively tied to proline availability and is derepressed as soon as cellular starvation for proline sets in. Both the proBA and the proI leader sequences contain a CCU proline-specific specifier codon prone to interact with the corresponding uncharged proline-specific tRNA. By replacing the CCU proline specifier codon in the proBA T-box leader with UUC, a codon recognized by a Phe-specific tRNA, we were able to synthetically re-engineer the proline-specific control of proBA transcription to a control that was responsive to starvation for phenylalanine.

Authors: Jeanette Brill, , Harald Putzer,

Date Published: 13th Jan 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Several computational methods exist to suggest rational genetic interventions that improve the productivity of industrial strains. Nonetheless, these methods are less effective to predict possible genetic responses of the strain after the intervention. This problem requires a better understanding of potential alternative metabolic and regulatory pathways able to counteract the targeted intervention.

Authors: , Katrin Gunka, Rafael Polanía, Stefan Tholen,

Date Published: 11th Jan 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract

Not specified

Authors: Marco Pittelkow,

Date Published: 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

The important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is known to spread on soft agar plates. Here, we show that colony spreading of S. aureus involves the agr quorum-sensing system. This finding can be related to the agr-dependent expression of biosurfactants, such as phenol-soluble modulins, suggesting a connection between spreading motility and virulence.

Authors: Eleni Tsompanidou, Mark J J B Sibbald, Monika A Chlebowicz, Annette Dreisbach, Jaap Willem Back, , Girbe Buist, Emma L Denham

Date Published: 17th Dec 2010

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

In Gram-positive bacteria, carbon catabolite protein A (CcpA) is the master regulator of carbon catabolite control, which ensures optimal energy usage under diverse conditions. Unlike other LacI-GalR proteins, CcpA is activated for DNA binding by first forming a complex with the phosphoprotein HPr-Ser46-P. Bacillus subtilis CcpA functions as both a transcription repressor and activator and binds to more than 50 operators called catabolite response elements (cres). These sites are highly degenerate with the consensus, WTGNNARCGNWWWCAW. How CcpA-(HPr-Ser46-P) binds such diverse sequences is unclear. To gain insight into this question, we solved the structures of the CcpA-(HPr-Ser46-P) complex bound to three different operators, the synthetic (syn) cre, ackA2 cre and gntR-down cre. Strikingly, the structures show that the CcpA-bound operators display different bend angles, ranging from 31° to 56°. These differences are accommodated by a flexible linkage between the CcpA helix-turn-helix-loop-helix motif and hinge helices, which allows independent docking of these DNA-binding modules. This flexibility coupled with an abundance of non-polar residues capable of non-specific nucleobase interactions permits CcpA-(HPr-Ser46-P) to bind diverse operators. Indeed, biochemical data show that CcpA-(HPr-Ser46-P) binds the three cre sites with similar affinities. Thus, the data reveal properties that license this protein to function as a global transcription regulator.

Authors: Maria A Schumacher, Mareen Sprehe, , , Richard G Brennan

Date Published: 26th Nov 2010

Publication Type: Not specified

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