• The Biofilm Inhibitor Carolacton Enters Gram-Negative Cells: Studies Using a TolC-Deficient Strain of Escherichia coli.

      Donner, Jannik; Reck, Michael; Bunk, Boyke; Jarek, Michael; App, Constantin Benjamin; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan P; Overmann, Jörg; Müller, Rolf; Kirschning, Andreas; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; et al. (2017-11-01)
      The myxobacterial secondary metabolite carolacton inhibits growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae and kills biofilm cells of the caries- and endocarditis-associated pathogen Streptococcus mutans at nanomolar concentrations. Here, we studied the response to carolacton of an Escherichia coli strain that lacked the outer membrane protein TolC. Whole-genome sequencing of the laboratory E. coli strain TolC revealed the integration of an insertion element, IS5, at the tolC locus and a close phylogenetic relationship to the ancient E. coli K-12. We demonstrated via transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) and determination of MIC values that carolacton penetrates the phospholipid bilayer of the Gram-negative cell envelope and inhibits growth of E. coli TolC at similar concentrations as for streptococci. This inhibition is completely lost for a C-9 (R) epimer of carolacton, a derivative with an inverted stereocenter at carbon atom 9 [(S) → (R)] as the sole difference from the native molecule, which is also inactive in S. pneumoniae and S. mutans, suggesting a specific interaction of native carolacton with a conserved cellular target present in bacterial phyla as distantly related as Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. The efflux pump inhibitor (EPI) phenylalanine arginine β-naphthylamide (PAβN), which specifically inhibits AcrAB-TolC, renders E. coli susceptible to carolacton. Our data indicate that carolacton has potential for use in antimicrobial chemotherapy against Gram-negative bacteria, as a single drug or in combination with EPIs. Strain E. coli TolC has been deposited at the DSMZ; together with the associated RNA-seq data and MIC values, it can be used as a reference during future screenings for novel bioactive compounds. IMPORTANCE The emergence of pathogens resistant against most or all of the antibiotics currently used in human therapy is a global threat, and therefore the search for antimicrobials with novel targets and modes of action is of utmost importance. The myxobacterial secondary metabolite carolacton had previously been shown to inhibit biofilm formation and growth of streptococci. Here, we investigated if carolacton could act against Gram-negative bacteria, which are difficult targets because of their double-layered cytoplasmic envelope. We found that the model organism Escherichia coli is susceptible to carolacton, similar to the Gram-positive Streptococcus pneumoniae, if its multidrug efflux system AcrAB-TolC is either inactivated genetically, by disruption of the tolC gene, or physiologically by coadministering an efflux pump inhibitor. A carolacton epimer that has a different steric configuration at carbon atom 9 is completely inactive, suggesting that carolacton may interact with the same molecular target in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
    • Biofilms 2012: new discoveries and significant wrinkles in a dynamic field.

      Haussler, Susanne; Fuqua, Clay; Twincore, Center for Clinical and Experimental Infection Research, a joint venture of the Helmholtz Center of Infection Research, Braunschweig, and the Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2013-07)
      The ASM 6th Conference on Biofilms was held in Miami, Florida, 29 September to 4 October, 2012. The conference provided an opportunity for the exchange of new findings and ideas with regard to biofilm research. A wide range of findings, spanning applied biology, evolution, ecology, physiology, and molecular biology, were presented at the conference. This review summarizes the presentations with regard to emerging biofilm-related themes.
    • Birth, evolution, and transmission of satellite-free mammalian centromeric domains.

      Nergadze, Solomon G; Piras, Francesca M; Gamba, Riccardo; Corbo, Marco; Cerutti, Federico; McCarter, Joseph G W; Cappelletti, Eleonora; Gozzo, Francesco; Harman, Rebecca M; Antczak, Douglas F; et al. (2018-01-01)
      Mammalian centromeres are associated with highly repetitive DNA (satellite DNA), which has so far hindered molecular analysis of this chromatin domain. Centromeres are epigenetically specified, and binding of the CENPA protein is their main determinant. In previous work, we described the first example of a natural satellite-free centromere on
    • Breaking the vicious cycle of antibiotic killing and regrowth of biofilm-residing .

      Müsken, Mathias; Pawar, Vinay; Schwebs, Timo; Bähre, Heike; Felgner, Sebastian; Weiss, Siegfried; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-10-08)
      Biofilm-residing bacteria embedded in an extracellular matrix are protected from diverse physico-chemical insults. In addition to the general recalcitrance of biofilm-bacteria, high bacterial loads in biofilm-associated infections significantly diminishes the efficacy of antimicrobials due to a low per-cell antibiotic concentration. Accordingly, present antimicrobial treatment protocols, that have been established to serve the eradication of acute infections, fail to clear biofilm-associated chronic infections. In the present study, we applied automated confocal microscopy on Pseudomonas aeruginosa to monitor dynamic killing of biofilm-grown bacteria by tobramycin and colistin in real-time. We revealed that the time required for surviving bacteria to repopulate the biofilm could be taken as measure for effectiveness of the antimicrobial treatment. It depends on the: i) nature and concentration of the antibiotic, ii) duration of antibiotic treatment; iii) application as mono or combination therapy and iv) time intervals of drug administration. The vicious cycle of killing and repopulation of biofilm bacteria could also be broken in an in vivo model system by applying successive antibiotic dosages with time intervals that do not allow full reconstitution of the biofilm communities. Treatment regimens that consider the important aspects of antimicrobial killing kinetics bear the potential to improve control of biofilm regrowth. This is an important and underestimated factor that is bound to ensure sustainable treatment success of chronic infections.
    • CD25+ FoxP3+ Memory CD4 T Cells Are Frequent Targets of HIV Infection In Vivo.

      Chachage, Mkunde; Pollakis, Georgios; Kuffour, Edmund Osei; Haase, Kerstin; Bauer, Asli; Nadai, Yuka; Podola, Lilli; Clowes, Petra; Schiemann, Matthias; Henkel, Lynette; et al. (2016-10-15)
      Interleukin 2 (IL-2) signaling through the IL-2 receptor alpha chain (CD25) facilitates HIV replication in vitro and facilitates homeostatic proliferation of CD25(+) FoxP3(+) CD4(+) T cells. CD25(+) FoxP3(+) CD4(+) T cells may therefore constitute a suitable subset for HIV infection and plasma virion production. CD25(+) FoxP3(+) CD4(+) T cell frequencies, absolute numbers, and the expression of CCR5 and cell cycle marker Ki67 were studied in peripheral blood from HIV(+) and HIV(-) study volunteers. Different memory CD4(+) T cell subsets were then sorted for quantification of cell-associated HIV DNA and phylogenetic analyses of the highly variable EnvV1V3 region in comparison to plasma-derived virus sequences. In HIV(+) subjects, 51% (median) of CD25(+) FoxP3(+) CD4(+) T cells expressed the HIV coreceptor CCR5. Very high frequencies of Ki67(+) cells were detected in CD25(+) FoxP3(+) memory CD4(+) T cells (median, 27.6%) in comparison to CD25(-) FoxP3(-) memory CD4(+) T cells (median, 4.1%; P < 0.0001). HIV DNA content was 15-fold higher in CD25(+) FoxP3(+) memory CD4(+) T cells than in CD25(-) FoxP3(-) T cells (P = 0.003). EnvV1V3 sequences derived from CD25(+) FoxP3(+) memory CD4(+) T cells did not preferentially cluster with plasma-derived sequences. Quasi-identical cell-plasma sequence pairs were rare, and their proportion decreased with the estimated HIV infection duration. These data suggest that specific cellular characteristics of CD25(+) FoxP3(+) memory CD4(+) T cells might facilitate efficient HIV infection in vivo and passage of HIV DNA to cell progeny in the absence of active viral replication. The contribution of this cell population to plasma virion production remains unclear.
    • CD4 T Cell Dependent Colitis Exacerbation Following Re-Exposure of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis.

      Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Bargen, Imke; Pils, Marina C; Krey, Martina; Zur Lage, Susanne; Singh, Anurag K; Basler, Tina; Falk, Christine S; Seidler, Ursula; Hornef, Mathias W; et al. (2017)
      Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the causative agent of Johne's disease (JD), a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of cattle characterized by intermittent to chronic diarrhea. In addition, MAP has been isolated from Crohn's disease (CD) patients. The impact of MAP on severity of clinical symptoms in JD as well as its role in CD are yet unknown. We have previously shown that MAP is able to colonize inflamed enteric tissue and to exacerbate the inflammatory tissue response (Suwandi et al., 2014). In the present study, we analyzed how repeated MAP administration influences the course of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. In comparison to mice exposed to DSS or MAP only, repeated exposure of DSS-treated mice to MAP (DSS/MAP) revealed a significantly enhanced clinical score, reduction of colon length as well as severe CD4(+) T cell infiltration into the colonic lamina propria. Functional analysis identified a critical role of CD4(+) T cells in the MAP-induced disease exacerbation. Additionally, altered immune responses were observed when closely related mycobacteria species such as M. avium ssp. avium and M. avium ssp. hominissuis were administered. These data reveal the specific ability of MAP to aggravate intestinal inflammation and clinical symptoms. Overall, this phenotype is compatible with similar disease promoting capabilites of MAP in JD and CD.
    • Cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein (CRALBP) is a direct downstream target of transcription factor Pax6.

      Boppana, Sridhar; Scheglov, Alexander; Geffers, Robert; Tarabykin, Victor; Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine, Hermann-Rein Strasse 3, 37075 Göttingen, Germany. boppansr@umdnj.edu (2012-02)
      Transcription factor Pax6 plays an essential role in the expression of other transcription factors, cell adhesion molecules and is crucial for neurogenesis in the developing forebrain. Analysis of gene expression profiles through microarray experiments in Pax6 mutants allowed us to focus on CRALBP, one of the many genes that were downregulated.
    • cGAS-STING-TBK1-IRF3/7 induced interferon-β contributes to the clearing of non tuberculous mycobacterial infection in mice.

      Ruangkiattikul, Nanthapon; Nerlich, Andreas; Abdissa, Ketema; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Janze, Nina; Laarmann, Kristin; Spanier, Julia; Kalinke, Ulrich; Weiss, Siegfried; et al. (2017-10-03)
      Type I interferons (IFN-I), such as IFN-α and IFN-β are important messengers in the host response against bacterial infections. Knowledge about the role of IFN-I in infections by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) is limited. Here we show that macrophages infected with pathogens of the Mycobacterium avium complex produced significantly lower amounts of IFN-β than macrophages infected with the opportunistic pathogen M. smegmatis. To dissect the molecular mechanisms of this phenomenon, we focused on the obligate pathogen Mycobacterium avium ssp paratuberculosis (MAP) and the opportunistic M. smegmatis. Viability of both bacteria was required for induction of IFN-β in macrophages. Both bacteria induced IFN-β via the cGAS-STING-TBK1-IRF3/7-pathway of IFN-β activation. Stronger phosphorylation of TBK1 and higher amounts of extracellular bacterial DNA in the macrophage cytosol were found in M. smegmatis infected macrophages than in MAP infected macrophages. After intraperitoneal infection of mice, a strong Ifnb induction by M. smegmatis correlated with clearance of the bacteria. In contrast, MAP only induced weak Ifnb expression which correlated with bacterial persistence and increased number of granulomas in the liver. In mice lacking the type I interferon receptor we observed improved survival of M. smegmatis while survival of MAP was similar to that in wildtype mice. On the other hand, treatment of MAP infected wildtype mice with the IFN-I inducer poly(I:C) or recombinant IFN-β impaired the survival of MAP. This indicates an essential role of IFN-I in clearing infections by MAP and M. smegmatis. The expression level of IFN-I is decisive for transient versus persistent NTM infection.
    • Characterization of the p53 cistrome--DNA binding cooperativity dissects p53's tumor suppressor functions.

      Schlereth, Katharina; Heyl, Charlotte; Krampitz, Anna-Maria; Mernberger, Marco; Finkernagel, Florian; Scharfe, Maren; Jarek, Michael; Leich, Ellen; Rosenwald, Andreas; Stiewe, Thorsten; et al. (2013-08)
      p53 protects us from cancer by transcriptionally regulating tumor suppressive programs designed to either prevent the development or clonal expansion of malignant cells. How p53 selects target genes in the genome in a context- and tissue-specific manner remains largely obscure. There is growing evidence that the ability of p53 to bind DNA in a cooperative manner prominently influences target gene selection with activation of the apoptosis program being completely dependent on DNA binding cooperativity. Here, we used ChIP-seq to comprehensively profile the cistrome of p53 mutants with reduced or increased cooperativity. The analysis highlighted a particular relevance of cooperativity for extending the p53 cistrome to non-canonical binding sequences characterized by deletions, spacer insertions and base mismatches. Furthermore, it revealed a striking functional separation of the cistrome on the basis of cooperativity; with low cooperativity genes being significantly enriched for cell cycle and high cooperativity genes for apoptotic functions. Importantly, expression of high but not low cooperativity genes was correlated with superior survival in breast cancer patients. Interestingly, in contrast to most p53-activated genes, p53-repressed genes did not commonly contain p53 binding elements. Nevertheless, both the degree of gene activation and repression were cooperativity-dependent, suggesting that p53-mediated gene repression is largely indirect and mediated by cooperativity-dependently transactivated gene products such as CDKN1A, E2F7 and non-coding RNAs. Since both activation of apoptosis genes with non-canonical response elements and repression of pro-survival genes are crucial for p53's apoptotic activity, the cistrome analysis comprehensively explains why p53-induced apoptosis, but not cell cycle arrest, strongly depends on the intermolecular cooperation of p53 molecules as a possible safeguard mechanism protecting from accidental cell killing.
    • A chemical proteomics approach to identify c-di-GMP binding proteins in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Düvel, Juliane; Bertinetti, Daniela; Möller, Stefan; Schwede, Frank; Morr, Michael; Wissing, Josef; Radamm, Lena; Zimmermann, Bastian; Genieser, Hans-Gottfried; Jänsch, Lothar; et al. (2012-02)
      In many bacteria, high levels of the ubiquitous second messenger c-di-GMP have been demonstrated to suppress motility and to promote the establishment of surface-adherent biofilm communities. While molecular mechanisms underlying the synthesis and degradation of c-di-GMP have been comprehensively characterized, little is known about how c-di-GMP mediates its regulatory effects. In this study, we have established a chemical proteomics approach to identify c-di-GMP interacting proteins in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. A functionalized c-di-GMP analog, 2'-aminohexylcarbamoyl-c-di-GMP (2'-AHC-c-di-GMP), was chemically synthesized and following its immobilization used to perform affinity pull down experiments. Enriched proteins were subsequently identified by high-resolution mass spectrometry. 2'-AHC-c-di-GMP was also employed in surface plasmon resonance studies to evaluate and quantify the interaction of c-di-GMP with its potential target molecules in vitro. The biochemical tools presented here may serve the identification of novel classes of c-di-GMP effectors and thus contribute to a better characterization and understanding of the complex c-di-GMP signaling network.
    • ChIP-on-chip analysis identifies IL-22 as direct target gene of ectopically expressed FOXP3 transcription factor in human T cells

      Jeron, Andreas; Hansen, Wiebke; Ewert, Franziska; Buer, Jan; Geffers, Robert; Bruder, Dunja (2012-12-17)
      Abstract Background The transcription factor (TF) forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) is constitutively expressed at high levels in naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (nTregs). It is not only the most accepted marker for that cell population but is also considered lineage determinative. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) of TFs in combination with genomic tiling microarray analysis (ChIP-on-chip) has been shown to be an appropriate tool for identifying FOXP3 transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) on a genome-wide scale. In combination with microarray expression analysis, the ChIP-on-chip technique allows identification of direct FOXP3 target genes. Results ChIP-on-chip analysis of the human FOXP3 expressed in resting and PMA/ionomycin–stimulated Jurkat T cells revealed several thousand putative FOXP3 binding sites and demonstrated the importance of intronic regions for FOXP3 binding. The analysis of expression data showed that the stimulation-dependent down-regulation of IL-22 was correlated with direct FOXP3 binding in the IL-22 promoter region. This association was confirmed by real-time PCR analysis of ChIP-DNA. The corresponding ChIP-region also contained a matching FOXP3 consensus sequence. Conclusions Knowledge of the general distribution patterns of FOXP3 TFBSs in the human genome under resting and activated conditions will contribute to a better understanding of this TF and its influence on direct target genes, as well as its importance for the phenotype and function of Tregs. Moreover, FOXP3-dependent repression of Th17-related IL-22 may be relevant to an understanding of the phenomenon of Treg/Th17 cell plasticity.
    • Chromatin binding of Gcn5 in Drosophila is largely mediated by CP190.

      Ali, Tamer; Krüger, Marcus; Bhuju, Sabin; Jarek, Michael; Bartkuhn, Marek; Renkawitz, Rainer; Hel,holtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-11-29)
      Centrosomal 190 kDa protein (CP190) is a promoter binding factor, mediates long-range interactions in the context of enhancer-promoter contacts and in chromosomal domain formation. All Drosophila insulator proteins bind CP190 suggesting a crucial role in insulator function. CP190 has major effects on chromatin, such as depletion of nucleosomes, high nucleosomal turnover and prevention of heterochromatin expansion. Here, we searched for enzymes, which might be involved in CP190 mediated chromatin changes. Eighty percent of the genomic binding sites of the histone acetyltransferase Gcn5 are colocalizing with CP190 binding. Depletion of CP190 reduces Gcn5 binding to chromatin. Binding dependency was further supported by Gcn5 mediated co-precipitation of CP190. Gcn5 is known to activate transcription by histone acetylation. We used the dCas9 system to target CP190 or Gcn5 to a Polycomb repressed and H3K27me3 marked gene locus. Both, CP190 as well as Gcn5, activate this locus, thus supporting the model that CP190 recruits Gcn5 and thereby activates chromatin.
    • Chromera velia, endosymbioses and the rhodoplex hypothesis--plastid evolution in cryptophytes, alveolates, stramenopiles, and haptophytes (CASH lineages).

      Petersen, Jörn; Ludewig, Ann-Kathrin; Michael, Victoria; Bunk, Boyke; Jarek, Michael; Baurain, Denis; Brinkmann, Henner (2014-03)
      The discovery of Chromera velia, a free-living photosynthetic relative of apicomplexan pathogens, has provided an unexpected opportunity to study the algal ancestry of malaria parasites. In this work, we compared the molecular footprints of a eukaryote-to-eukaryote endosymbiosis in C. velia to their equivalents in peridinin-containing dinoflagellates (PCD) to reevaluate recent claims in favor of a common ancestry of their plastids. To this end, we established the draft genome and a set of full-length cDNA sequences from C. velia via next-generation sequencing. We documented the presence of a single coxI gene in the mitochondrial genome, which thus represents the genetically most reduced aerobic organelle identified so far, but focused our analyses on five "lucky genes" of the Calvin cycle. These were selected because of their known support for a common origin of complex plastids from cryptophytes, alveolates (represented by PCDs), stramenopiles, and haptophytes (CASH) via a single secondary endosymbiosis with a red alga. As expected, our broadly sampled phylogenies of the nuclear-encoded Calvin cycle markers support a rhodophycean origin for the complex plastid of Chromera. However, they also suggest an independent origin of apicomplexan and dinophycean (PCD) plastids via two eukaryote-to-eukaryote endosymbioses. Although at odds with the current view of a common photosynthetic ancestry for alveolates, this conclusion is nonetheless in line with the deviant plastome architecture in dinoflagellates and the morphological paradox of four versus three plastid membranes in the respective lineages. Further support for independent endosymbioses is provided by analysis of five additional markers, four of them involved in the plastid protein import machinery. Finally, we introduce the "rhodoplex hypothesis" as a convenient way to designate evolutionary scenarios where CASH plastids are ultimately the product of a single secondary endosymbiosis with a red alga but were subsequently horizontally spread via higher-order eukaryote-to-eukaryote endosymbioses.
    • Clinical and Biological Manifestation of RNF168 Deficiency in Two Polish Siblings.

      Pietrucha, Barbara; Heropolitańska-Pliszka, Edyta; Geffers, Robert; Enßen, Julia; Wieland, Britta; Bogdanova, Natalia Valerijevna; Dörk, Thilo; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Germline mutations in the RING finger protein gene RNF168 have been identified in a combined immunodeficiency disorder called RIDDLE syndrome. Since only two patients have been described with somewhat different phenotypes, there is need to identify further patients. Here, we report on two Polish siblings with RNF168 deficiency due to homozygosity for a novel frameshift mutation, c.295delG, that was identified through exome sequencing. Both patients presented with immunoglobulin deficiency, telangiectasia, cellular radiosensitivity, and increased alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. The younger sibling had a more pronounced neurological and morphological phenotype, and she also carried an ATM gene mutation in the heterozygous state. Immunoblot analyses showed absence of RNF168 protein, whereas ATM levels and function were proficient in lymphoblastoid cells from both patients. Consistent with the absence of RNF168 protein, 53BP1 recruitment to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) after irradiation was undetectable in lymphoblasts or primary fibroblasts from either of the two patients. γH2AX foci accumulated normally but they disappeared with significant delay, indicating a severe defect in DSB repair. A comparison with the two previously identified patients indicates immunoglobulin deficiency, cellular radiosensitivity, and increased AFP levels as hallmarks of RNF168 deficiency. The variability in its clinical expression despite similar cellular phenotypes suggests that some manifestations of RNF168 deficiency may be modified by additional genetic or epidemiological factors.
    • A clonotypic Vγ4Jγ1/Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 innate γδ T-cell population restricted to the CCR6⁺CD27⁻ subset.

      Kashani, Elham; Föhse, Lisa; Raha, Solaiman; Sandrock, Inga; Oberdörfer, Linda; Koenecke, Christian; Suerbaum, Sebastian; Weiss, Siegfried; Prinz, Immo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Here we investigate the TCR repertoire of mouse Vγ4(+) γδ T cells in correlation with their developmental origin and homeostasis. By deep sequencing we identify a high frequency of straight Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 germline rearrangements without P- and N-nucleotides within the otherwise highly diverse Trd repertoire of Vγ4(+) cells. This sequence is infrequent in CCR6(-)CD27(+) cells, but abundant among CCR6(+)CD27(-) γδ T cells. Using an inducible Rag1 knock-in mouse model, we show that γδ T cells generated in the adult thymus rarely contain this germline-rearranged Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 sequence, confirming its fetal origin. Single-cell analysis and deep sequencing of the Trg locus reveal a dominant CDR3 junctional motif that completes the TCR repertoire of invariant Vγ4(+)Vδ5(+) cells. In conclusion, this study identifies an innate subset of fetal thymus-derived γδ T cells with an invariant Vγ4(+)Vδ5(+) TCR that is restricted to the CCR6(+)CD27(-) subset of γδ T cells.
    • Clustered core- and pan-genome content on Rhodobacteraceae chromosomes.

      Kopejtka, Karel; Lin, Yan; Jakubovičová, Markéta; Koblížek, Michal; Tomasch, Jürgen; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Oxford University Press, 2019-07-03)
      In Bacteria, chromosome replication starts at a single origin of replication and proceeds on both replichores. Due to its asymmetric nature, replication influences chromosome structure and gene organization, mutation rate and expression. To date, little is known about the distribution of highly conserved genes over the bacterial chromosome. Here, we used a set of 101 fully-sequenced Rhodobacteraceae representatives to analyze the relationship between conservation of genes within this family and their distance from the origin of replication. Twenty-two of the analyzed species had core genes clustered significantly closer to the origin of replication with representatives of the genus Celeribacter being the most apparent example. Interestingly, there were also eight species with the opposite organization. In particular Rhodobaca barguzinensis and Loktanella vestfoldensis showed a significant increase of core genes with distance from the origin of replication. The uneven distribution of low-conserved regions is in particular pronounced for genomes in which the halves of one replichore differ in their conserved gene content. Phage integration and horizontal gene transfer partially explain the scattered nature of Rhodobacteraceae genomes. Our findings lay the foundation for a better understanding of bacterial genome evolution and the role of replication therein.
    • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat-Dependent, Biofilm-Specific Death of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Mediated by Increased Expression of Phage-Related Genes.

      Heussler, Gary E; Cady, Kyle C; Koeppen, Katja; Bhuju, Sabin; Stanton, Bruce A; O'Toole, George A (2015)
      The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated (CRISPR/Cas) system is an adaptive immune system present in many archaea and bacteria. CRISPR/Cas systems are incredibly diverse, and there is increasing evidence of CRISPR/Cas systems playing a role in cellular functions distinct from phage immunity. Previously, our laboratory reported one such alternate function in which the type 1-F CRISPR/Cas system of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain UCBPP-PA14 (abbreviated as P. aeruginosa PA14) inhibits both biofilm formation and swarming motility when the bacterium is lysogenized by the bacteriophage DMS3. In this study, we demonstrated that the presence of just the DMS3 protospacer and the protospacer-adjacent motif (PAM) on the P. aeruginosa genome is necessary and sufficient for this CRISPR-dependent loss of these group behaviors, with no requirement of additional DMS3 sequences. We also demonstrated that the interaction of the CRISPR system with the DMS3 protospacer induces expression of SOS-regulated phage-related genes, including the well-characterized pyocin operon, through the activity of the nuclease Cas3 and subsequent RecA activation. Furthermore, our data suggest that expression of the phage-related genes results in bacterial cell death on a surface due to the inability of the CRISPR-engaged strain to downregulate phage-related gene expression, while these phage-related genes have minimal impact on growth and viability under planktonic conditions. Deletion of the phage-related genes restores biofilm formation and swarming motility while still maintaining a functional CRISPR/Cas system, demonstrating that the loss of these group behaviors is an indirect effect of CRISPR self-targeting.
    • Coculture of Staphylococcus aureus with Pseudomonas aeruginosa Drives S. aureus towards Fermentative Metabolism and Reduced Viability in a Cystic Fibrosis Model.

      Filkins, Laura M; Graber, Jyoti A; Olson, Daniel G; Dolben, Emily L; Lynd, Lee R; Bhuju, Sabin; O'Toole, George A (2015-07-15)
      The airways of patients with cystic fibrosis are colonized with diverse bacterial communities that change dynamically during pediatric years and early adulthood. Staphylococcus aureus is the most prevalent pathogen during early childhood, but during late teens and early adulthood, a shift in microbial composition occurs leading to Pseudomonas aeruginosa community predominance in ∼50% of adults. We developed a robust dual-bacterial in vitro coculture system of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus on monolayers of human bronchial epithelial cells homozygous for the ΔF508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) mutation to better model the mechanisms of this interaction. We show that P. aeruginosa drives the S. aureus expression profile from that of aerobic respiration to fermentation. This shift is dependent on the production of both 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline N-oxide (HQNO) and siderophores by P. aeruginosa. Furthermore, S. aureus-produced lactate is a carbon source that P. aeruginosa preferentially consumes over medium-supplied glucose. We find that initially S. aureus and P. aeruginosa coexist; however, over extended coculture P. aeruginosa reduces S. aureus viability, also in an HQNO- and P. aeruginosa siderophore-dependent manner. Interestingly, S. aureus small-colony-variant (SCV) genetic mutant strains, which have defects in their electron transport chain, experience reduced killing by P. aeruginosa compared to their wild-type parent strains; thus, SCVs may provide a mechanism for persistence of S. aureus in the presence of P. aeruginosa. We propose that the mechanism of P. aeruginosa-mediated killing of S. aureus is multifactorial, requiring HQNO and P. aeruginosa siderophores as well as additional genetic, environmental, and nutritional factors.
    • Community richness of amphibian skin bacteria correlates with bioclimate at the global scale.

      Kueneman, Jordan G; Bletz, Molly C; McKenzie, Valerie J; Becker, C Guilherme; Joseph, Maxwell B; Abarca, Juan G; Archer, Holly; Arellano, Ana Lisette; Bataille, Arnaud; Becker, Matthew; et al. (Dpringer-Nature, 2019-03-01)
      Animal-associated microbiomes are integral to host health, yet key biotic and abiotic factors that shape host-associated microbial communities at the global scale remain poorly understood. We investigated global patterns in amphibian skin bacterial communities, incorporating samples from 2,349 individuals representing 205 amphibian species across a broad biogeographic range. We analysed how biotic and abiotic factors correlate with skin microbial communities using multiple statistical approaches. Global amphibian skin bacterial richness was consistently correlated with temperature-associated factors. We found more diverse skin microbiomes in environments with colder winters and less stable thermal conditions compared with environments with warm winters and less annual temperature variation. We used bioinformatically predicted bacterial growth rates, dormancy genes and antibiotic synthesis genes, as well as inferred bacterial thermal growth optima to propose mechanistic hypotheses that may explain the observed patterns. We conclude that temporal and spatial characteristics of the host's macro-environment mediate microbial diversity.
    • COMPEL: a database on composite regulatory elements providing combinatorial transcriptional regulation

      Kel-Margoulis, Olga V.; Romashchenko, Aida G.; Kolchanov, Nikolay A.; Wingender, Edgar; Kel, Alexander E. (Oxford University Press, 2000-01-01)