• Acquired type III secretion system determines environmental fitness of epidemic Vibrio parahaemolyticus in the interaction with bacterivorous protists.

      Matz, Carsten; Nouri, Bianka; McCarter, Linda; Martinez-Urtaza, Jaime; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2011)
      Genome analyses of marine microbial communities have revealed the widespread occurrence of genomic islands (GIs), many of which encode for protein secretion machineries described in the context of bacteria-eukaryote interactions. Yet experimental support for the specific roles of such GIs in aquatic community interactions remains scarce. Here, we test for the contribution of type III secretion systems (T3SS) to the environmental fitness of epidemic Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Comparisons of V. parahaemolyticus wild types and T3SS-defective mutants demonstrate that the T3SS encoded on genome island VPaI-7 (T3SS-2) promotes survival of V. parahaemolyticus in the interaction with diverse protist taxa. Enhanced persistence was found to be due to T3SS-2 mediated cytotoxicity and facultative parasitism of V. parahaemolyticus on coexisting protists. Growth in the presence of bacterivorous protists and the T3SS-2 genotype showed a strong correlation across environmental and clinical isolates of V. parahaemolyticus. Short-term microcosm experiments provide evidence that protistan hosts facilitate the invasion of T3SS-2 positive V. parahaemolyticus into a coastal plankton community, and that water temperature and productivity further promote enhanced survival of T3SS-2 positive V. parahaemolyticus. This study is the first to describe the fitness advantage of GI-encoded functions in a microbial food web, which may provide a mechanistic explanation for the global spread and the seasonal dynamics of V. parahaemolyticus pathotypes, including the pandemic serotype cluster O3:K6, in aquatic environments.
    • Beta-lactam resistance response triggered by inactivation of a nonessential penicillin-binding protein.

      Moya, Bartolomé; Dötsch, Andreas; Juan, Carlos; Blázquez, Jesús; Zamorano, Laura; Haussler, Susanne; Oliver, Antonio; Servicio de Microbiología and Unidad de Investigación, Hospital Son Dureta, Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Ciencias de la Salud Palma de Mallorca, Spain. (2009-03)
      It has long been recognized that the modification of penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) to reduce their affinity for beta-lactams is an important mechanism (target modification) by which Gram-positive cocci acquire antibiotic resistance. Among Gram-negative rods (GNR), however, this mechanism has been considered unusual, and restricted to clinically irrelevant laboratory mutants for most species. Using as a model Pseudomonas aeruginosa, high up on the list of pathogens causing life-threatening infections in hospitalized patients worldwide, we show that PBPs may also play a major role in beta-lactam resistance in GNR, but through a totally distinct mechanism. Through a detailed genetic investigation, including whole-genome analysis approaches, we demonstrate that high-level (clinical) beta-lactam resistance in vitro, in vivo, and in the clinical setting is driven by the inactivation of the dacB-encoded nonessential PBP4, which behaves as a trap target for beta-lactams. The inactivation of this PBP is shown to determine a highly efficient and complex beta-lactam resistance response, triggering overproduction of the chromosomal beta-lactamase AmpC and the specific activation of the CreBC (BlrAB) two-component regulator, which in turn plays a major role in resistance. These findings are a major step forward in our understanding of beta-lactam resistance biology, and, more importantly, they open up new perspectives on potential antibiotic targets for the treatment of infectious diseases.
    • FKBPs in bacterial infections.

      Ünal, Can M; Steinert, Michael; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-10)
      FK506-binding proteins (FKBPs) contain a domain with peptidyl-prolyl-cis/trans-isomerase (PPIase) activity and bind the immunosuppressive drugs FK506 and rapamycin. FKBPs belong to the immunophilin family and are found in eukaryotes and bacteria.
    • The 'LipoYeasts' project: using the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica in combination with specific bacterial genes for the bioconversion of lipids, fats and oils into high-value products.

      Sabirova, Julia S; Haddouche, R; Van Bogaert, I N; Mulaa, F; Verstraete, W; Timmis, K N; Schmidt-Dannert, C; Nicaud, J M; Soetaert, W; Gesellschaft für biotechnologische Forschung (GBF), Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124 Braunschweig, >Germany. (2011-01)
      The oleochemical industry is currently still dominated by conventional chemistry, with biotechnology only starting to play a more prominent role, primarily with respect to the biosurfactants or lipases, e.g. as detergents, or for biofuel production. A major bottleneck for all further biotechnological applications is the problem of the initial mobilization of cheap and vastly available lipid and oil substrates, which are then to be transformed into high-value biotechnological, nutritional or pharmacological products. Under the EU-sponsored LipoYeasts project we are developing the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica into a versatile and high-throughput microbial factory that, by use of specific enzymatic pathways from hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria, efficiently mobilizes lipids by directing its versatile lipid metabolism towards the production of industrially valuable lipid-derived compounds like wax esters (WE), isoprenoid-derived compounds (carotenoids, polyenic carotenoid ester), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and free hydroxylated fatty acids (HFAs). Different lipid stocks (petroleum, alkane, vegetable oil, fatty acid) and combinations thereof are being assessed as substrates in combination with different mutant and recombinant strains of Y. lipolytica, in order to modulate the composition and yields of the produced added-value products.
    • Proteomic insights into metabolic adaptations in Alcanivorax borkumensis induced by alkane utilization.

      Sabirova, Julia S; Ferrer, Manuel; Regenhardt, Daniela; Timmis, Kenneth N; Golyshin, Peter N; Institute of Microbiology, Technical University of Braunschweig, Spielmannstrasse 7, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany. jsa05@gbf.de (2006-06)
      Alcanivorax borkumensis is a ubiquitous marine petroleum oil-degrading bacterium with an unusual physiology specialized for alkane metabolism. This "hydrocarbonoclastic" bacterium degrades an exceptionally broad range of alkane hydrocarbons but few other substrates. The proteomic analysis presented here reveals metabolic features of the hydrocarbonoclastic lifestyle. Specifically, hexadecane-grown and pyruvate-grown cells differed in the expression of 97 cytoplasmic and membrane-associated proteins whose genes appeared to be components of 46 putative operon structures. Membrane proteins up-regulated in alkane-grown cells included three enzyme systems able to convert alkanes via terminal oxidation to fatty acids, namely, enzymes encoded by the well-known alkB1 gene cluster and two new alkane hydroxylating systems, a P450 cytochrome monooxygenase and a putative flavin-binding monooxygenase, and enzymes mediating beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Cytoplasmic proteins up-regulated in hexadecane-grown cells reflect a central metabolism based on a fatty acid diet, namely, enzymes of the glyoxylate bypass and of the gluconeogenesis pathway, able to provide key metabolic intermediates, like phosphoenolpyruvate, from fatty acids. They also include enzymes for synthesis of riboflavin and of unsaturated fatty acids and cardiolipin, which presumably reflect membrane restructuring required for membranes to adapt to perturbations induced by the massive influx of alkane oxidation enzymes. Ancillary functions up-regulated included the lipoprotein releasing system (Lol), presumably associated with biosurfactant release, and polyhydroxyalkanoate synthesis enzymes associated with carbon storage under conditions of carbon surfeit. The existence of three different alkane-oxidizing systems is consistent with the broad range of oil hydrocarbons degraded by A. borkumensis and its ecological success in oil-contaminated marine habitats.
    • Transcriptional profiling of the marine oil-degrading bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis during growth on n-alkanes.

      Sabirova, Julia S; Becker, Anke; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Nicaud, Jean-Marc; Timmis, Kenneth N; Golyshin, Peter N; Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. julia.sabirova@ugent.be (2011-06)
      The marine oil-degrading bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis SK2 has attracted significant interest due to its hydrocarbonoclastic lifestyle, its alkane-centered metabolism, and for playing an important ecological role in cleaning up marine oil spills. In this study, we used microarray technology to characterize the transcriptional responses of A. borkumensis to n-hexadecane exposure as opposed to pyruvate, which led to the identification of a total of 220 differentially expressed genes, with 109 genes being upregulated and 111 genes being downregulated. Among the genes upregulated on alkanes are systems predicted to be involved in the terminal oxidation of alkanes, biofilm formation, signal transduction, and regulation.