• Autoinducer-2-regulated genes in Streptococcus mutans UA159 and global metabolic effect of the luxS mutation.

      Sztajer, Helena; Lemme, André; Vilchez, Ramiro; Schulz, Stefan; Geffers, Robert; Yip, Cindy Ying Yin; Levesque, Celine M; Cvitkovitch, Dennis G; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz-Center for Infection Research, Division of Cell Biology, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2008-01)
      Autoinducer 2 (AI-2) is the only species-nonspecific autoinducer known in bacteria and is produced by both gram-negative and gram-positive organisms. Consequently, it is proposed to function as a universal quorum-sensing signal for interaction between bacterial species. AI-2 is produced as the by-product of a metabolic transformation carried out by the LuxS enzyme. To separate the metabolic function of the LuxS enzyme from the signaling role of AI-2, we carried out a global transcriptome analysis of a luxS null mutant culture of Streptococcus mutans UA159, an important cariogenic bacterium and a crucial component of the dental plaque biofilm community, in comparison to a luxS null mutant culture supplemented with chemically pure 4,5-dihydroxy-2,3-pentanedione, the precursor of AI-2. The data revealed fundamental changes in gene expression affecting 585 genes (30% of the genome) which could not be restored by the signal molecule AI-2 and are therefore not caused by quorum sensing but by lack of the transformation carried out by the LuxS enzyme in the activated methyl cycle. All functional classes of enzymes were affected, including genes known to be important for biofilm formation, bacteriocin synthesis, competence, and acid tolerance. At the same time, 59 genes were identified whose transcription clearly responded to the addition of AI-2. Some of them were related to protein synthesis, stress, and cell division. Three membrane transport proteins were upregulated which are not related to any of the known AI-2 transporters. Three transcription factors were identified whose transcription was stimulated repeatedly by AI-2 addition during growth. Finally, a global regulatory protein, the delta subunit of the RNA polymerase (rpoE), was induced 147-fold by AI-2, representing the largest differential gene expression observed. The data show that many phenotypes related to the luxS mutation cannot be ascribed to quorum sensing and have identified for the first time regulatory proteins potentially mediating AI-2-based signaling in gram-positive bacteria.
    • Complete sequence of the suicide vector pJP5603.

      Riedel, Thomas; Rohlfs, Meike; Buchholz, Ina; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Reck, Michael; Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research, Group Microbial Communication, Braunschweig, Germany. tri07@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013-01)
      We have sequenced the complete R6K-based and mobilizable suicide vector pJP5603. For the replication of the vector a trans supply of the pir-encoded π protein of plasmid R6K is essential. The 3.126 kb plasmid encodes a kanamycin resistance cassette for selection and contains a lacZ-α-system that allows a blue-white selection of cloned fragments.
    • The CtrA phosphorelay integrates differentiation and communication in the marine alphaproteobacterium Dinoroseobacter shibae.

      Wang, Hui; Ziesche, Lisa; Frank, Oliver; Michael, Victoria; Martin, Madeleine; Petersen, Jörn; Schulz, Stefan; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Tomasch, Jürgen; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014)
      Dinoroseobacter shibae, a member of the Roseobacter clade abundant in marine environments, maintains morphological heterogeneity throughout growth, with small cells dividing by binary fission and large cells dividing by budding from one or both cell poles. This morphological heterogeneity is lost if the quorum sensing (QS) system is silenced, concurrent with a decreased expression of the CtrA phosphorelay, a regulatory system conserved in Alphaproteobacteria and the master regulator of the Caulobacter crescentus cell cycle. It consists of the sensor histidine kinase CckA, the phosphotransferase ChpT and the transcriptional regulator CtrA. Here we tested if the QS induced differentiation of D. shibae is mediated by the CtrA phosphorelay.
    • The delta subunit of RNA polymerase, RpoE, is a global modulator of Streptococcus mutans environmental adaptation.

      Xue, Xiaoli; Tomasch, Jürgen; Sztajer, Helena; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Research Group Microbial Communication, Division of Cell Biology, Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-10)
      The delta subunit of RNA polymerase, RpoE, is widespread in low-G+C Gram-positive bacteria and is thought to play a role in enhancing transcriptional specificity by blocking RNA polymerase binding at weak promoter sites and stimulating RNA synthesis by accelerating core enzyme recycling. Despite the well-studied biochemical properties of RpoE, a role for this protein in vivo has not been defined in depth. In this study, we show that inactivation of rpoE in the human dental caries pathogen Streptococcus mutans causes impaired growth and loss of important virulence traits, including biofilm formation, resistance to antibiotics, and tolerance to environmental stresses. Complementation of the mutant with rpoE expressed in trans restored its phenotype to wild type. The luciferase fusion reporter showed that rpoE was highly transcribed throughout growth and that acid and hydrogen peroxide stresses repressed rpoE expression. Transcriptome profiling of wild-type and ΔrpoE cells in the exponential and early stationary phase of growth, under acid and hydrogen peroxide stress and under both stresses combined, revealed that genes involved in histidine synthesis, malolactic fermentation, biofilm formation, and antibiotic resistance were downregulated in the ΔrpoE mutant under all conditions. Moreover, the loss of RpoE resulted in dramatic changes in transport and metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. Interestingly, differential expression, mostly upregulation, of 330 noncoding regions was found. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that RpoE is an important global modulator of gene expression in S. mutans which is required for optimal growth and environmental adaptation.
    • Description of Labrenzia alexandrii gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel alphaproteobacterium containing bacteriochlorophyll a, and a proposal for reclassification of Stappia aggregata as Labrenzia aggregata comb. nov., of Stappia marina as Labrenzia marina comb. nov. and of Stappia alba as Labrenzia alba comb. nov., and emended descriptions of the genera Pannonibacter, Stappia and Roseibium, and of the species Roseibium denhamense and Roseibium hamelinense.

      Biebl, Hanno; Pukall, Rüdiger; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Schulz, Stefan; Allgaier, Martin; Tindall, Brian J; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research HZI, Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-05)
      A slightly pink-coloured strain, strain DFL-11(T), was isolated from single cells of the marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium lusitanicum and was found to contain the genes encoding two proteins of the photosynthetic reaction centre, pufL and pufM. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis revealed that the novel strain belonged to the alpha-2 subgroup of the Proteobacteria and was most closely related to Stappia aggregata (97.7 % similarity), Stappia alba (98.0 %) and Stappia marina (98.0 %). Dark-grown cells of strain DFL-11(T) contained small amounts of bacteriochlorophyll a (bchl a) and a carotenoid. Cells of strain DFL-11(T) were rods, 0.5-0.7 x 0.9-3.0 microm in size and motile by means of a single, subpolarly inserted flagellum. The novel strain was strictly aerobic and utilized a wide range of organic carbon sources, including fatty acids, tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates and sugars. Biotin and thiamine were required as growth factors. Growth was obtained at sea salt concentrations of between 1 and 10 % (w/v), at a pH between 6 and 9.2 and at a temperature of up to 33 degrees C (optimum, 26 degrees C). Nitrate was not reduced and indole was not produced from tryptophan. Strain DFL11(T) was resistant to potassium tellurite and transformed it to elemental tellurium. The major respiratory lipoquinone was ubiquinone 10 (Q10). The polar lipids comprised phosphatidylglycerol, diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylmonomethylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, an unidentified aminolipid and the glycolipid sulphoquinovosyldiacylglyceride. The fatty acids comprised 16 : 1 omega7c, 16 : 0, 18 : 1 omega7c, 18 : 0, 11-methyl 18 : 1 omega6t, 11-methyl 20 : 1 omega6t, 20 : 1 omega7c, 22 : 0, 22 : 1 and the hydroxy fatty acids 3-OH 14 : 0, 3-OH 16 : 0 (ester-linked), 3-OH 18 : 0, 3-OH 20 : 1 and 3-OH 20 : 0, all of which are amide-linked. The DNA G+C value was 56 mol%. Comparative analysis of alpha-2 subgroup 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that the type species of the genus Stappia, Stappia stellulata, is only distantly related to S. aggregata (95.3 % sequence similarity). Based on the combination of the 16S rRNA gene sequence data, a detailed chemotaxonomic study and the biochemical and physiological properties of members of the genera Stappia, Pannonibacter and Roseibium, it is proposed that S. aggregata, S. alba, S. marina are transferred to a new genus, Labrenzia gen. nov., as Labrenzia aggregata comb. nov., Labrenzia alba comb. nov. and Labrenzia marina comb. nov. The type species of the new genus is Labrenzia alexandrii sp. nov., with strain DFL-11(T) (=DSM 17067(T)=NCIMB 14079(T)) as the type strain. The pufLM genes of the photosynthesis reaction centre were shown to be present in some, but not all, species of the new genus Labrenzia and they were identified for the first time in S. stellulata. In accordance with the new data collected in this study, emended descriptions are provided for the genera Pannonibacter, Roseibium and Stappia.
    • Genetic variability of mutans streptococci revealed by wide whole-genome sequencing.

      Song, Lifu; Wang, Wei; Conrads, Georg; Rheinberg, Anke; Sztajer, Helena; Reck, Michael; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Zeng, An-Ping; Institute of Bioprocess and Biosystems, Technical University Hamburg Harburg, Hamburg Harburg, Germany. (2013)
      Mutans streptococci are a group of bacteria significantly contributing to tooth decay. Their genetic variability is however still not well understood.
    • A genome-wide study of two-component signal transduction systems in eight newly sequenced mutans streptococci strains.

      Song, Lifu; Sudhakar, Padhmanand; Wang, Wei; Conrads, Georg; Brock, Anke; Sun, Jibin; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Zeng, An-Ping; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2012)
      Mutans streptococci are a group of gram-positive bacteria including the primary cariogenic dental pathogen Streptococcus mutans and closely related species. Two component systems (TCSs) composed of a signal sensing histidine kinase (HK) and a response regulator (RR) play key roles in pathogenicity, but have not been comparatively studied for these oral bacterial pathogens.
    • The global impact of the delta subunit RpoE of the RNA polymerase on the proteome of Streptococcus mutans.

      Xue, Xiaoli; Li, Jinshan; Wang, Wei; Sztajer, Helena; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Research Group Microbial Communication, Division of Cell Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. Xiaoli.Xue@helmholtz-hzi.de (2012-01)
      Transcriptional specificity in low-G+C Gram-positive bacteria is maintained by RpoE, the delta subunit of the RNA polymerase. Here, we studied the effect of RpoE at the proteome level in the human dental pathogen Streptococcus mutans by comparing the ΔrpoE mutant with the wild-type under five conditions: (0) exponential growth, (1) early stationary phase, (2) acid stress, (3) oxidative stress, and (4) combined acid and oxidative stress. A total of 280 cellular protein spots were reproducibly detected, of which 97 differentially expressed protein spots were identified by MALDI-TOF MS. Lack of RpoE caused downregulation of proteins for carbohydrate metabolism and energy production, including phosphoglucomutase (PGM), the phosphopentomutase DeoB and the pyruvate formate-lyase Pfl. The ΔrpoE mutant had extensive changes in the abundance of proteins involved in acid and oxidative tolerance and protein turnover, and of chaperones, at exponential phase in the absence of stress, suggesting a potential internal stress. In addition, the mutant had reduced amounts of proteins for adaptation responses, e.g. the multiple sugar transport and metabolism enzymes required for entering early stationary phase, and the proteins for stress-defence mechanisms and glycolysis under oxidative stress. Comparison of the proteome data with the corresponding transcriptome data suggested that the effects were the result of altered transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. The data are consistent with the reduced transcriptional specificity of the RNA polymerase in the ΔrpoE mutant, and suggest a general impact, but not a specific regulatory role, of RpoE in stress adaptation.
    • Potential for luxS related signalling in marine bacteria and production of autoinducer-2 in the genus Shewanella.

      Bodor, Agnes; Elxnat, Bettina; Thiel, Verena; Schulz, Stefan; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz-Center for Infection Research, Group Microbial Communication, Division of Cell Biology, Inhoffenstr, 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. agb@gbf.de (2008)
      BACKGROUND: The autoinducer-2 (AI-2) group of signalling molecules are produced by both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria as the by-product of a metabolic transformation carried out by the LuxS enzyme. They are the only non species-specific quorum sensing compounds presently known in bacteria. The luxS gene coding for the AI-2 synthase enzyme was found in many important pathogens. Here, we surveyed its occurrence in a collection of 165 marine isolates belonging to abundant marine phyla using conserved degenerated PCR primers and sequencing of selected positive bands to determine if the presence of the luxS gene is phylogenetically conserved or dependent on the habitat. RESULTS: The luxS gene was not present in any of the Alphaproteobacteria (n = 71) and Bacteroidetes strains (n = 29) tested; by contrast, these bacteria harboured the sahH gene, coding for an alternative enzyme for the detoxification of S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) in the activated methyl cycle. Within the Gammaproteobacteria (n = 76), luxS was found in all Shewanella, Vibrio and Alteromonas isolates and some Pseudoalteromonas and Halomonas species, while sahH was detected in Psychrobacter strains. A number of Gammaproteobacteria (n = 27) appeared to have neither the luxS nor the sahH gene. We then studied the production of AI-2 in the genus Shewanella using the Vibrio harveyi bioassay. All ten species of Shewanella tested produced a pronounced peak of AI-2 towards the end of the exponential growth phase in several media investigated. The maximum of AI-2 activity was different in each Shewanella species, ranging from 4% to 46% of the positive control. CONCLUSION: The data are consistent with those of fully sequenced bacterial genomes and show that the potential for luxS related signalling is dependent on phylogenetic affiliation rather than ecological niche and is largest in certain groups of Gammaproteobacteria in the marine environment. This is the first report on AI-2 production in Shewanella species; its signalling role in these organisms remains to be elucidated.
    • Subpopulation-specific transcriptome analysis of competence-stimulating-peptide-induced Streptococcus mutans.

      Lemme, André; Gröbe, Lothar; Reck, Michael; Tomasch, Jürgen; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Research Group Microbial Communication, Braunschweig, Germany. Andre.Lemme@helmholtz-hzi.de (2011-04)
      Competence-stimulating-peptide (CSP)-mediated competence development in Streptococcus mutans is a transient and biphasic process, since only a subpopulation induces the expression of ComX in the presence of CSP, and the activation of the DNA uptake machinery in this fraction shuts down ~3 to 4 h postinduction. Here, we combine for the first time, to our knowledge, the bacterial flow-cytometric sorting of cells and subpopulation-specific transcriptome analysis of both the competent and noncompetent fraction of CSP-treated S. mutans cells. Sorting was guided by a ComX-green fluorescent protein (ComX-GFP) reporter, and the transcriptome analysis demonstrated the successful combination of both methods, because a strong enrichment of transcripts for comX and its downstream genes was achieved. Three two-component systems were expressed in the competent fraction, and among them was ComDE. Moreover, the recently identified regulator system ComR/S was expressed exclusively in the competent fraction. In contrast, the expression of bacteriocin-related genes was at the same level in all cells. GFP reporter strains for ComE and CipB (mutacin V) confirmed this expression pattern on the single-cell level. Fluorescence microscopy revealed that some ComX-expressing cells committed autolysis in an early stage of competence initiation. In viable ComX-expressing cells, the uptake of DNA could be shown on the single-cell level. This study demonstrates that all cells in the population respond to CSP through the activation of bacteriocin-related genes. Some of these cells start to activate ComX expression but then segregate into two subpopulations, one becoming competent and another one that lyses, resulting in intrapopulation diversity.