• Exploring the metabolic network of the epidemic pathogen Burkholderia cenocepacia J2315 via genome-scale reconstruction.

      Fang, Kechi; Zhao, Hansheng; Sun, Changyue; Lam, Carolyn M C; Chang, Suhua; Zhang, Kunlin; Panda, Gurudutta; Godinho, Miguel; Martins dos Santos, Vítor A P; Wang, Jing (2011)
      Burkholderia cenocepacia is a threatening nosocomial epidemic pathogen in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) or a compromised immune system. Its high level of antibiotic resistance is an increasing concern in treatments against its infection. Strain B. cenocepacia J2315 is the most infectious isolate from CF patients. There is a strong demand to reconstruct a genome-scale metabolic network of B. cenocepacia J2315 to systematically analyze its metabolic capabilities and its virulence traits, and to search for potential clinical therapy targets.
    • Genome-scale metabolic network analysis of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1.

      Oberhardt, Matthew A; Puchałka, Jacek; Fryer, Kimberly E; Martins dos Santos, Vítor A P; Papin, Jason A; Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia Health System, Box 800759, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA. (2008-04)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major life-threatening opportunistic pathogen that commonly infects immunocompromised patients. This bacterium owes its success as a pathogen largely to its metabolic versatility and flexibility. A thorough understanding of P. aeruginosa's metabolism is thus pivotal for the design of effective intervention strategies. Here we aim to provide, through systems analysis, a basis for the characterization of the genome-scale properties of this pathogen's versatile metabolic network. To this end, we reconstructed a genome-scale metabolic network of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. This reconstruction accounts for 1,056 genes (19% of the genome), 1,030 proteins, and 883 reactions. Flux balance analysis was used to identify key features of P. aeruginosa metabolism, such as growth yield, under defined conditions and with defined knowledge gaps within the network. BIOLOG substrate oxidation data were used in model expansion, and a genome-scale transposon knockout set was compared against in silico knockout predictions to validate the model. Ultimately, this genome-scale model provides a basic modeling framework with which to explore the metabolism of P. aeruginosa in the context of its environmental and genetic constraints, thereby contributing to a more thorough understanding of the genotype-phenotype relationships in this resourceful and dangerous pathogen.
    • Human lung tissue explants reveal novel interactions during Legionella pneumophila infections.

      Jäger, Jens; Marwitz, Sebastian; Tiefenau, Jana; Rasch, Janine; Shevchuk, Olga; Kugler, Christian; Goldmann, Torsten; Steinert, Michael; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-01)
      Histological and clinical investigations describe late stages of Legionnaires' disease but cannot characterize early events of human infection. Cellular or rodent infection models lack the complexity of tissue or have nonhuman backgrounds. Therefore, we developed and applied a novel model for Legionella pneumophila infection comprising living human lung tissue. We stimulated lung explants with L. pneumophila strains and outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) to analyze tissue damage, bacterial replication, and localization as well as the transcriptional response of infected tissue. Interestingly, we found that extracellular adhesion of L. pneumophila to the entire alveolar lining precedes bacterial invasion and replication in recruited macrophages. In contrast, OMVs predominantly bound to alveolar macrophages. Specific damage to septa and epithelia increased over 48 h and was stronger in wild-type-infected and OMV-treated samples than in samples infected with the replication-deficient, type IVB secretion-deficient DotA(-) strain. Transcriptome analysis of lung tissue explants revealed a differential regulation of 2,499 genes after infection. The transcriptional response included the upregulation of uteroglobin and the downregulation of the macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO). Immunohistochemistry confirmed the downregulation of MARCO at sites of pathogen-induced tissue destruction. Neither host factor has ever been described in the context of L. pneumophila infections. This work demonstrates that the tissue explant model reproduces realistic features of Legionnaires' disease and reveals new functions for bacterial OMVs during infection. Our model allows us to characterize early steps of human infection which otherwise are not feasible for investigations.
    • Inclusion body anatomy and functioning of chaperone-mediated in vivo inclusion body disassembly during high-level recombinant protein production in Escherichia coli.

      Rinas, Ursula; Hoffmann, Frank; Betiku, Eriola; Estapé, David; Marten, Sabine; Biochemical Engineering Division, GBF German Research Center for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. URI@gbf.de (2007-01-01)
      During production in recombinant Escherichia coli, the human basic fibroblast growth factor (hFGF-2) partly aggregates into stable cytoplasmic inclusion bodies. These inclusion bodies additionally contain significant amounts of the heat-shock chaperone DnaK, and putative DnaK substrates such as the elongation factor Tu (ET-Tu) and the metabolic enzymes dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (LpdA), tryptophanase (TnaA), and d-tagatose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (GatY). Guanidinium hydrochloride induced disaggregation studies carried out in vitro on artificial aggregates generated through thermal aggregation of purified hFGF-2 revealed identical disaggregation profiles as hFGF-2 inclusion bodies indicating that the heterogenic composition of inclusion bodies did not influence the strength of interactions of hFGF-2 in aggregates formed in vivo as inclusion bodies compared to those generated in vitro from native and pure hFGF-2 through thermal aggregation. Compared to unfolding of native hFGF-2, higher concentrations of denaturant were required to dissolve hFGF-2 aggregates showing that more energy is required for disruption of interactions in both types of protein aggregates compared to the unfolding of the native protein. In vivo dissolution of hFGF-2 inclusion bodies was studied through coexpression of chaperones of the DnaK and GroEL family and ClpB and combinations thereof. None of the chaperone combinations was able to completely prevent the initial formation of inclusion bodies, but upon prolonged incubation mediated disaggregation of otherwise stable inclusion bodies. The GroEL system was particularly efficient in inclusion body dissolution but did not lead to a corresponding increase in soluble hFGF-2 rather was promoting the proteolysis of the recombinant growth factor. Coproduction of the disaggregating DnaK system and ClpB in conjunction with small amounts of the chaperonins GroELS was most efficient in disaggregation with concomitant formation of soluble hFGF-2. Thus, fine-balanced coproduction of chaperone combinations can play an important role in the production of soluble recombinant proteins with a high aggregation propensity not through prevention of aggregation but predominantly through their disaggregating properties.
    • Kinome analysis of receptor-induced phosphorylation in human natural killer cells.

      König, Sebastian; Nimtz, Manfred; Scheiter, Maxi; Ljunggren, Hans-Gustaf; Bryceson, Yenan T; Jänsch, Lothar; Department of Molecular Structural Biology, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012)
      Natural killer (NK) cells contribute to the defense against infected and transformed cells through the engagement of multiple germline-encoded activation receptors. Stimulation of the Fc receptor CD16 alone is sufficient for NK cell activation, whereas other receptors, such as 2B4 (CD244) and DNAM-1 (CD226), act synergistically. After receptor engagement, protein kinases play a major role in signaling networks controlling NK cell effector functions. However, it has not been characterized systematically which of all kinases encoded by the human genome (kinome) are involved in NK cell activation.
    • Preliminary crystallographic analysis of the N-terminal PDZ-like domain of periaxin, an abundant peripheral nerve protein linked to human neuropathies.

      Han, Huijong; Kursula, Petri (2013-07)
      Periaxin (PRX) is an abundant protein in peripheral nerves and contains a predicted PDZ-like domain at its N-terminus. The large isoform, L-PRX, is required for the maintenance of myelin in the peripheral nervous system and its defects cause neurological disease. Here, the human periaxin PDZ-like domain was crystallized and X-ray diffraction data were collected to 2.85 Å resolution using synchrotron radiation. The crystal belonged to the primitive hexagonal space group P3121 or P3221, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 80.6, c = 81.0 Å, γ = 120° and either two or three molecules in the asymmetric unit. The structure of PRX will shed light on its poorly characterized function in the nervous system.
    • Production and crystallization of a panel of structure-based mutants of the human myelin peripheral membrane protein P2.

      Lehtimäki, Mari; Laulumaa, Saara; Ruskamo, Salla; Kursula, Petri (2012-11-01)
      The myelin sheath is a multilayered membrane that surrounds and insulates axons in the nervous system. One of the proteins specific to the peripheral nerve myelin is P2, a protein that is able to stack lipid bilayers. With the goal of obtaining detailed information on the structure-function relationship of P2, 14 structure-based mutated variants of human P2 were generated and produced. The mutants were designed to potentially affect the binding of lipid bilayers by P2. All mutated variants were also crystallized and preliminary crystallographic data are presented. The structural data from the mutants will be combined with diverse functional assays in order to elucidate the fine details of P2 function at the molecular level.
    • Streamlining homogeneous glycoprotein production for biophysical and structural applications by targeted cell line development.

      Wilke, Sonja; Groebe, Lothar; Maffenbeier, Vitali; Jäger, Volker; Gossen, Manfred; Josewski, Jörn; Duda, Agathe; Polle, Lilia; Owens, Raymond J; Wirth, Dagmar; et al. (2011)
      Studying the biophysical characteristics of glycosylated proteins and solving their three-dimensional structures requires homogeneous recombinant protein of high quality.We introduce here a new approach to produce glycoproteins in homogenous form with the well-established, glycosylation mutant CHO Lec3.2.8.1 cells. Using preparative cell sorting, stable, high-expressing GFP 'master' cell lines were generated that can be converted fast and reliably by targeted integration via Flp recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) to produce any glycoprotein. Small-scale transient transfection of HEK293 cells was used to identify genetically engineered constructs suitable for constructing stable cell lines. Stable cell lines expressing 10 different proteins were established. The system was validated by expression, purification, deglycosylation and crystallization of the heavily glycosylated luminal domains of lysosome-associated membrane proteins (LAMP).
    • Structural basis for complex formation between human IRSp53 and the translocated intimin receptor Tir of enterohemorrhagic E. coli.

      de Groot, Jens C; Schlüter, Kai; Carius, Yvonne; Quedenau, Claudia; Vingadassalom, Didier; Faix, Jan; Weiss, Stefanie M; Reichelt, Joachim; Standfuss-Gabisch, Christine; Lesser, Cammie F; et al. (2011-09-07)
      Actin assembly beneath enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) attached to its host cell is triggered by the intracellular interaction of its translocated effector proteins Tir and EspF(U) with human IRSp53 family proteins and N-WASP. Here, we report the structure of the N-terminal I-BAR domain of IRSp53 in complex with a Tir-derived peptide, in which the homodimeric I-BAR domain binds two Tir molecules aligned in parallel. This arrangement provides a protein scaffold linking the bacterium to the host cell's actin polymerization machinery. The structure uncovers a specific peptide-binding site on the I-BAR surface, conserved between IRSp53 and IRTKS. The Tir Asn-Pro-Tyr (NPY) motif, essential for pedestal formation, is specifically recognized by this binding site. The site was confirmed by mutagenesis and in vivo-binding assays. It is possible that IRSp53 utilizes the NPY-binding site for additional interactions with as yet unknown partners within the host cell.
    • Structure of Shigella IpgB2 in complex with human RhoA: implications for the mechanism of bacterial guanine nucleotide exchange factor mimicry.

      Klink, Björn U; Barden, Stephan; Heidler, Thomas V; Borchers, Christina; Ladwein, Markus; Stradal, Theresia E B; Rottner, Klemens; Heinz, Dirk W; Division of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-05-28)
      A common theme in bacterial pathogenesis is the manipulation of eukaryotic cells by targeting the cytoskeleton. This is in most cases achieved either by modifying actin, or indirectly via activation of key regulators controlling actin dynamics such as Rho-GTPases. A novel group of bacterial virulence factors termed the WXXXE family has emerged as guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for these GTPases. The precise mechanism of nucleotide exchange, however, has remained unclear. Here we report the structure of the WXXXE-protein IpgB2 from Shigella flexneri and its complex with human RhoA. We unambiguously identify IpgB2 as a bacterial RhoA-GEF and dissect the molecular mechanism of GDP release, an essential prerequisite for GTP binding. Our observations uncover that IpgB2 induces conformational changes on RhoA mimicking DbI- but not DOCK family GEFs. We also show that dissociation of the GDP.Mg(2+) complex is preceded by the displacement of the metal ion to the alpha-phosphate of the nucleotide, diminishing its affinity to the GTPase. These data refine our understanding of the mode of action not only of WXXXE GEFs but also of mammalian GEFs of the DH/PH family.
    • Structure of Shigella IpgB2 in complex with human RhoA: implications for the mechanism of bacterial guanine nucleotide exchange factor mimicry.

      Klink, Björn U; Barden, Stephan; Heidler, Thomas V; Borchers, Christina; Ladwein, Markus; Stradal, Theresia E B; Rottner, Klemens; Heinz, Dirk W; Division of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-05-28)
      A common theme in bacterial pathogenesis is the manipulation of eukaryotic cells by targeting the cytoskeleton. This is in most cases achieved either by modifying actin, or indirectly via activation of key regulators controlling actin dynamics such as Rho-GTPases. A novel group of bacterial virulence factors termed the WXXXE family has emerged as guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for these GTPases. The precise mechanism of nucleotide exchange, however, has remained unclear. Here we report the structure of the WXXXE-protein IpgB2 from Shigella flexneri and its complex with human RhoA. We unambiguously identify IpgB2 as a bacterial RhoA-GEF and dissect the molecular mechanism of GDP release, an essential prerequisite for GTP binding. Our observations uncover that IpgB2 induces conformational changes on RhoA mimicking DbI- but not DOCK family GEFs. We also show that dissociation of the GDP.Mg(2+) complex is preceded by the displacement of the metal ion to the alpha-phosphate of the nucleotide, diminishing its affinity to the GTPase. These data refine our understanding of the mode of action not only of WXXXE GEFs but also of mammalian GEFs of the DH/PH family.
    • Structure of the human receptor tyrosine kinase met in complex with the Listeria invasion protein InlB.

      Niemann, Hartmut H; Jäger, Volker; Butler, P Jonathan G; van den Heuvel, Joop; Schmidt, Sabine; Ferraris, Davide; Gherardi, Ermanno; Heinz, Dirk W; Division of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-07-27)
      The tyrosine kinase Met, the product of the c-met proto-oncogene and the receptor for hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF), mediates signals critical for cell survival and migration. The human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes exploits Met signaling for invasion of host cells via its surface protein InlB. We present the crystal structure of the complex between a large fragment of the human Met ectodomain and the Met-binding domain of InlB. The concave face of the InlB leucine-rich repeat region interacts tightly with the first immunoglobulin-like domain of the Met stalk, a domain which does not bind HGF/SF. A second contact between InlB and the Met Sema domain locks the otherwise flexible receptor in a rigid, signaling competent conformation. Full Met activation requires the additional C-terminal domains of InlB which induce heparin-mediated receptor clustering and potent signaling. Thus, although it elicits a similar cellular response, InlB is not a structural mimic of HGF/SF.
    • Structures of the nucleotide-binding domain of the human ABCB6 transporter and its complexes with nucleotides.

      Haffke, Matthias; Menzel, Anja; Carius, Yvonne; Jahn, Dieter; Heinz, Dirk W; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-09)
      The human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter ABCB6 is involved in haem-precursor transport across the mitochondrial membrane. The crystal structure of its nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) has been determined in the apo form and in complexes with ADP, with ADP and Mg(2+) and with ATP at high resolution. The overall structure is L-shaped and consists of two lobes, consistent with other reported NBD structures. Nucleotide binding is mediated by the highly conserved Tyr599 and the Walker A motif, and induces notable structural changes. Structural comparison with other structurally characterized NBDs and full-length ABC transporters gives the first insight into the possible catalytic mechanism of ABCB6 and the role of the N-terminal helix alpha(1) in full-length ABCB6.
    • Thermodynamically reengineering the listerial invasion complex InlA/E-cadherin.

      Wollert, Thomas; Heinz, Dirk W; Schubert, Wolf-Dieter; Molecular Host-Pathogen Interactions, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-08-28)
      Biological processes essentially all depend on the specific recognition between macromolecules and their interaction partners. Although many such interactions have been characterized both structurally and biophysically, the thermodynamic effects of small atomic changes remain poorly understood. Based on the crystal structure of the bacterial invasion protein internalin (InlA) of Listeria monocytogenes in complex with its human receptor E-cadherin (hEC1), we analyzed the interface to identify single amino acid substitutions in InlA that would potentially improve the overall quality of interaction and hence increase the weak binding affinity of the complex. Dissociation constants of InlA-variant/hEC1 complexes, as well as enthalpy and entropy of binding, were quantified by isothermal titration calorimetry. All single substitutions indeed significantly increase binding affinity. Structural changes were verified crystallographically at < or =2.0-A resolution, allowing thermodynamic characteristics of single substitutions to be rationalized structurally and providing unique insights into atomic contributions to binding enthalpy and entropy. Structural and thermodynamic data of all combinations of individual substitutions result in a thermodynamic network, allowing the source of cooperativity between distant recognition sites to be identified. One such pair of single substitutions improves affinity 5,000-fold. We thus demonstrate that rational reengineering of protein complexes is possible by making use of physically distant hot spots of recognition.