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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (13)
- Infection and Immunity
- Journal of Bacteriology
- Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
- Molecular Microbiology
- Microbiology (Reading, England)
- Microbiology (Reading, England)
- Environmental Microbiology
- Microbiology (Reading, England)
- Journal of the Royal Society, Interface / the Royal Society
- PLoS Pathogens
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- BMC Microbiology
- BMC Microbiology
Articles by Steve Atkinson in JoVE
Polymer Microarrays for High Throughput Discovery of Biomaterials
Andrew L. Hook1, Chien-Yi Chang2, Jing Yang1, David J. Scurr1, Robert Langer3, Daniel G. Anderson3, Steve Atkinson2, Paul Williams2, Martyn C. Davies1, Morgan R. Alexander1
1Laboratory of Biophysics and Surface Analysis, University of Nottingham, 2School of Molecular Medical Sciences, University of Nottingham, 3David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A description of the formation of a polymer microarray using an on-chip photopolymerization technique. The high throughput surface characterization using atomic force microscopy, water contact angle measurements, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry and a cell attachment assay is also described.
Other articles by Steve Atkinson on PubMed
N-acylhomoserine Lactones Undergo Lactonolysis in a PH-, Temperature-, and Acyl Chain Length-dependent Manner During Growth of Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Infection and Immunity. Oct, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12228292
In gram-negative bacterial pathogens, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, cell-to-cell communication via the N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) signal molecules is involved in the cell population density-dependent control of genes associated with virulence. This phenomenon, termed quorum sensing, relies upon the accumulation of AHLs to a threshold concentration at which target structural genes are activated. By using biosensors capable of detecting a range of AHLs we observed that, in cultures of Y. pseudotuberculosis and P. aeruginosa, AHLs accumulate during the exponential phase but largely disappear during the stationary phase. When added to late-stationary-phase, cell-free culture supernatants of the respective pathogen, the major P. aeruginosa [N-butanoylhomoserine lactone (C4-HSL) and N-(3-oxododecanoyl)homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C12-HSL)] and Y. pseudotuberculosis [N-(3-oxohexanoyl)homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C6-HSL) and N-hexanoylhomoserine lactone (C6-HSL)] AHLs were inactivated. Short-acyl-chain compounds (e.g., C4-HSL) were turned over more extensively than long-chain molecules (e.g., 3-oxo-C12-HSL). Little AHL inactivation occurred with cell extracts, and no evidence for inactivation by specific enzymes was apparent. This AHL turnover was discovered to be due to pH-dependent lactonolysis. By acidifying the growth media to pH 2.0, lactonolysis could be reversed. By using carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we found that the ring opening of homoserine lactone (HSL), N-propionyl HSL (C3-HSL), and C4-HSL increased as pH increased but diminished as the N-acyl chain was lengthened. At low pH levels, the lactone rings closed but not via a simple reversal of the ring opening reaction mechanism. Ring opening of C4-HSL, C6-HSL, 3-oxo-C6-HSL, and N-octanoylhomoserine lactone (C8-HSL), as determined by the reduction of pH in aqueous solutions with time, was also less rapid for AHLs with more electron-donating longer side chains. Raising the temperature from 22 to 37 degrees C increased the rate of ring opening. Taken together, these data show that (i) to be functional under physiological conditions in mammalian tissue fluids, AHLs require an N-acyl side chain of at least four carbons in length and (ii) that the longer the acyl side chain the more stable the AHL signal molecule.
Journal of Bacteriology. Feb, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16452428
The Yersinia enterocolitica LuxI homologue YenI directs the synthesis of N-3-(oxohexanoyl)homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C6-HSL) and N-hexanoylhomoserine lactone (C6-HSL). In a Y. enterocolitica yenI mutant, swimming motility is temporally delayed while swarming motility is abolished. Since both swimming and swarming are flagellum dependent, we purified the flagellin protein from the parent and yenI mutant. Electrophoresis revealed that in contrast to the parent strain, the yenI mutant grown for 17 h at 26 degrees C lacked the 45-kDa flagellin protein FleB. Reverse transcription-PCR indicated that while mutation of yenI had no effect on yenR, flhDC (the motility master regulator) or fliA (the flagellar sigma factor) expression, fleB (the flagellin structural gene) was down-regulated. Since 3-oxo-C6-HSL and C6-HSL did not restore swimming or swarming in the yenI mutant, we reexamined the N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) profile of Y. enterocolitica. Using AHL biosensors and mass spectrometry, we identified three additional AHLs synthesized via YenI: N-(3-oxodecanoyl)homoserine lactone, N-(3-oxododecanoyl)homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C12-HSL), and N-(3-oxotetradecanoyl)homoserine lactone. However, none of the long-chain AHLs either alone or in combination with the short-chain AHLs restored swarming or swimming in the yenI mutant. By investigating the transport of radiolabeled 3-oxo-C12-HSL and by introducing an AHL biosensor into the yenI mutant we demonstrate that the inability of exogenous AHLs to restore motility to the yenI mutant is not related to a lack of AHL uptake. However, both AHL synthesis and motility were restored by complementation of the yenI mutant with a plasmid-borne copy of yenI.
Comprehensive Profiling of N-acylhomoserine Lactones Produced by Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis Using Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Hybrid Quadrupole-linear Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. Jan, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 16967185
A method for the comprehensive profiling of the N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) family of bacterial quorum-sensing molecules is presented using liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to hybrid quadrupole-linear ion trap (QqQLIT) mass spectrometry. Information-dependent acquisition (IDA), using triggered combinations of triple-quadrupole and linear ion trap modes in the same LC-MS/MS run, was used to simultaneously screen, quantify and identify multiple AHLs in a single sample. This MS method uses common AHL fragment ions attributed to the homoserine moiety and the 3-oxo-, 3-hydroxy- or unsubstituted acyl side chains, to identify unknown AHLs in cell-free culture supernatants in an unbiased manner. This LC-MS technique was applied to determine the relative molar ratios of AHLs produced by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and the consequences of inactivating by mutation either or both of the AHL synthase genes (ypsI and ytbI) on AHL profile and concentration. The Y. pseudotuberculosis wild type but not the ypsI ytbI double mutant produced at least 24 different AHLs with acyl chains ranging from C4 to C15 with or without 3-oxo or 3-hydroxy substituents. YtbI, in contrast to YpsI, could direct the synthesis of all of the AHLs identified. The most abundant and hence most biologically relevant Y. pseudotuberculosis AHLs were found to be the 3-oxo-substituted C6, C7 and C8 AHLs and the unsubstituted C6 and C8 compounds. The LC-QqQLIT methodology is broadly applicable to quorum-sensing signal molecule analysis and can provide comprehensive AHL profiles and concentrations from a single sample and simultaneously collect confirmatory spectra for each AHL identified.
Functional Interplay Between the Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis YpsRI and YtbRI Quorum Sensing Systems Modulates Swimming Motility by Controlling Expression of FlhDC and FliA
Molecular Microbiology. Jul, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18466299
Quorum sensing (QS) in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis involves two pairs of LuxRI orthologues (YpsRI and YtbRI) and multiple N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs). In a ypsI/ytbI mutant, AHL synthesis was abolished, unaffected in a ypsR/ytbR double mutant and substantially reduced in a ypsI/ytbR mutant, indicating that neither YpsR nor YtbR is essential for AHL synthesis. To determine the interrelationship between YpsRI and YtbRI we constructed chromosomal lux-promoter fusions to ypsR, ypsI, ytbR and ytbI and examined their expression in each of the QS mutant backgrounds. The YpsRI system negatively autoregulates itself but positively regulates the expression of the ytbRI system whereas the ytbRI system is positively autoregulated but only at the level of ytbI expression. YtbRI does not control expression of ypsR or ypsI. This hierarchical QS system controls swimming motility via regulation of flhDC and fliA. The AHLs synthesized via YtbI play a dual role, activating flhDC, in conjunction with YpsR but repressing fliA in conjunction with YtbR and YpsR. In liquid and plate assays, the early onset of motility observed in ypsR and ypsI mutants was abolished in ytbI, ytbR ypsI/ytbI, ypsR/ytbR mutants, indicating that QS regulates motility both positively (via YtbRI) and negatively (via YpsRI).
Functional Characterization of FlgM in the Regulation of Flagellar Synthesis and Motility in Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis
Microbiology (Reading, England). Jun, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19383707
We describe here the functional characterization of the flgM gene in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Direct interaction of FlgM with the alternative sigma factor sigma(28) (FliA) was first confirmed. A conserved region in the C-terminus of FlgM was found which included the sigma(28) binding domain. By site-directed mutagenesis, bacterial two-hybrid analysis and Western blotting, the primary FlgM binding sites with sigma(28) were shown to be Ile85, Ala86 and Leu89. A role for FlgM in swimming motility was demonstrated by inactivation of flgM and subsequent complementation in trans. Transcriptional fusion analyses showed differential gene expression of flhDC, fliA, flgM and fliC in the fliA and flgM mutants compared with the wild-type. flhDC expression was not influenced by sigma(28) or FlgM while fliA expression was abolished in the fliA mutant and considerably reduced in the flgM mutant when compared to the wild-type, indicating that both FliA and FlgM can activate fliA transcription. Conversely, flgM transcription was higher in the fliA mutant when compared to the wild-type, suggesting that flgM transcription was repressed by sigma(28). Interestingly, fliC expression was markedly increased in the flgM mutant, suggesting a negative regulatory role for FlgM in fliC expression. The transcription of other sigma-dependent genes (cheW, flgD, flaA, csrA and fliZ) was also examined in fliA and flgM mutant backgrounds and this revealed that other sigma-factors apart from sigma(28) may be involved in flagellar biogenesis in Y. pseudotuberculosis. Taking together the motility phenotypes and effects of flgM mutation on the regulation of these key motility genes, we propose that the mechanisms regulating flagellar biogenesis in Y. pseudotuberculosis may differ from those described for other bacteria.
Microbiology (Reading, England). Aug, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19443542
Yersinia pseudotuberculosis is an enteric bacterium which must overcome the acidic stress in host organs for successful colonization, but how this bacterium survives in acidic conditions remains largely unknown. In the present study, the importance of OmpR in acid survival of Y. pseudotuberculosis YpIII was confirmed by the fact that mutation of ompR (strain DeltaompR) greatly reduced cell survival at pH 4.5 or lower. To characterize the regulatory role of OmpR in this acid survival process, proteomic analysis was carried out to compare YpIII at pH 7.0 and pH 4.5 with DeltaompR at pH 7.0, and urease components were revealed to be the main targets for OmpR regulation. Addition of urea to the culture medium also enhanced acid survival of YpIII but not DeltaompR and urease activity was significantly induced by acid in YpIII but not in DeltaompR. Each of the seven components of the YpIII urease gene cluster was fused to a lacZ reporter and their expression was dramatically decreased in a DeltaompR background; this supports the notion that OmpR positively regulates urease expression. Furthermore, gel shift analysis revealed that OmpR binds to the deduced promoter regions of three polycistronic transcriptional units (ureABC, ureEF and ureGD) in the urease cluster, suggesting that the regulation of OmpR to urease components is direct. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that OmpR activates urease expression to enhance acid survival in Y. pseudotuberculosis.
Environmental Microbiology. Jul, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19508552
N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) quorum-sensing molecules modulate the swimming behaviour of zoospores of the macroalga Ulva to facilitate the location of bacterial biofilms. Here we show that the intertidal surfaces colonized by Ulva are dominated by Alphaproteobacteria, particularly the Rhodobacteraceae family, and the Bacteroidetes family Flavobacteriaceae, and that this diverse assemblage both produces and degrades AHLs. N-acylhomoserine lactones could also be extracted from the surfaces of pebbles recovered from intertidal rock-pools. Bacteria representative of this assemblage were isolated and tested for the production and degradation of AHLs, and for their ability to modulate zoospore settlement at different biofilm densities. Of particular interest was a Shewanella sp. This strain produced three major AHLs (OC4, OC10 and OC12) in the late exponential phase, but the longer-chain AHLs were rapidly degraded in the stationary phase. Degradation occurred via both lactonase and amidase activity. A close relationship was found between AHL synthesis and Ulva zoospore settlement. The Shewanella isolate also interfered with AHL production by a Sulfitobacter isolate and its ability to enhance zoospore settlement in a polymicrobial biofilm. This influence on the attachment of Ulva zoospores suggests that AHL-degrading strains can affect bacterial community behaviour by interfering with quorum sensing between neighbouring bacteria. More importantly, these interactions may exert wider ecological effects across different kingdoms.
Microbiology (Reading, England). Nov, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19643764
OmpR has been demonstrated to negatively regulate the expression of the flagellar master operon flhDC in a wide variety of bacterial species. Here we report the positive regulation of flhDC expression by OmpR in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. A sigma(70)-dependent promoter was identified by primer extension analysis and an active region with two conserved OmpR-binding sites around the flhDC promoter was confirmed. To confirm the regulation of flhDC expression by OmpR, flhDC as well as the downstream flagellar genes fliA, flgD, flgA, flgM, fliC and flaA were fused to lacZ, and decreased expression of all these genes in an ompR mutant (Delta ompR) was detected. Furthermore, Delta ompR was defective in bacterial motility and flagella synthesis. This defect was due to the low level of expression of flhDC in Delta ompR since overproduction of FlhDC in Delta ompR restored bacterial motility. The importance of two conserved OmpR-binding sites around the flhDC promoter region in the regulation of flhDC expression by OmpR was demonstrated by the fact that mutation of either one or both sites significantly decreased the promoter activity in the wild-type but not in Delta ompR. The binding of OmpR to these two sites was also demonstrated by DNA mobility shift assay. The possible mechanism underlying this positive regulation in Y. pseudotuberculosis is discussed. To our knowledge, this is the first report to demonstrate that OmpR positively regulates flhDC expression.
Journal of the Royal Society, Interface / the Royal Society. Nov, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19674996
For many years, bacterial cells were considered primarily as selfish individuals, but, in recent years, it has become evident that, far from operating in isolation, they coordinate collective behaviour in response to environmental challenges using sophisticated intercellular communication networks. Cell-to-cell communication between bacteria is mediated by small diffusible signal molecules that trigger changes in gene expression in response to fluctuations in population density. This process, generally referred to as quorum sensing (QS), controls diverse phenotypes in numerous Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Recent advances have revealed that bacteria are not limited to communication within their own species but are capable of 'listening in' and 'broadcasting to' unrelated species to intercept messages and coerce cohabitants into behavioural modifications, either for the good of the population or for the benefit of one species over another. It is also evident that QS is not limited to the bacterial kingdom. The study of two-way intercellular signalling networks between bacteria and both uni- and multicellular eukaryotes as well as between eukaryotes is just beginning to unveil a rich diversity of communication pathways.
Biofilm Development on Caenorhabditis Elegans by Yersinia is Facilitated by Quorum Sensing-dependent Repression of Type III Secretion
PLoS Pathogens. 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21253572
Yersinia pseudotuberculosis forms biofilms on Caenorhabditis elegans which block nematode feeding. This genetically amenable host-pathogen model has important implications for biofilm development on living, motile surfaces. Here we show that Y. pseudotuberculosis biofilm development on C. elegans is governed by N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL)-mediated quorum sensing (QS) since (i) AHLs are produced in nematode associated biofilms and (ii) Y. pseudotuberculosis strains expressing an AHL-degrading enzyme or in which the AHL synthase (ypsI and ytbI) or response regulator (ypsR and ytbR) genes have been mutated, are attenuated. Although biofilm formation is also attenuated in Y. pseudotuberculosis strains carrying mutations in the QS-controlled motility regulator genes, flhDC and fliA, and the flagellin export gene, flhA, flagella are not required since fliC mutants form normal biofilms. However, in contrast to the parent and fliC mutant, Yop virulon proteins are up-regulated in flhDC, fliA and flhA mutants in a temperature and calcium independent manner. Similar observations were found for the Y. pseudotuberculosis QS mutants, indicating that the Yop virulon is repressed by QS via the master motility regulator, flhDC. By curing the pYV virulence plasmid from the ypsI/ytbI mutant, by growing YpIII under conditions permissive for type III needle formation but not Yop secretion and by mutating the type III secretion apparatus gene, yscJ, we show that biofilm formation can be restored in flhDC and ypsI/ytbI mutants. These data demonstrate that type III secretion blocks biofilm formation and is reciprocally regulated with motility via QS.
Manipulation of Quorum Sensing Regulation in Pseudomonas Fluorescens NCIMB 10586 to Increase Mupirocin Production
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. May, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21318358
Transcription of the 74 kb Pseudomonas fluorescens mupirocin [pseudomonic acid (PA)] biosynthesis cluster depends on quorum sensing-dependent regulation via the LuxI/LuxR homologues MupI/MupR. To facilitate analysis of novel PAs from pathway mutants, we investigated factors that affect mup gene expression. First, the signal produced by MupI was identified as N-(3-oxodecanoyl)homoserine lactone, but exogenous addition of this molecule did not activate mupirocin production prematurely nor did expression of mupI in trans increase metabolite production. Second, we confirmed that mupX, encoding an amidase/hydrolase that can degrade N-acylhomoserine lactones, is also required for efficient expression, consistent with its occurrence in a regulatory module linked to unrelated genes in P. fluorescens. Third, and most significantly, mupR expression in trans to wild type and mutants can increase production of antibiotic and novel intermediates up to 17-fold.
Characterization of N-acylhomoserine Lactone-degrading Bacteria Associated with the Zingiber Officinale (ginger) Rhizosphere: Co-existence of Quorum Quenching and Quorum Sensing in Acinetobacter and Burkholderia
BMC Microbiology. 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21385437
Cell-to-cell communication (quorum sensing (QS)) co-ordinates bacterial behaviour at a population level. Consequently the behaviour of a natural multi-species community is likely to depend at least in part on co-existing QS and quorum quenching (QQ) activities. Here we sought to discover novel N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL)-dependent QS and QQ strains by investigating a bacterial community associated with the rhizosphere of ginger (Zingiber officinale) growing in the Malaysian rainforest.
BMC Microbiology. 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21527009
In order to identify new virulence determinants in Y. pseudotuberculosis a comparison between its genome and that of Yersinia pestis was undertaken. This reveals dozens of pseudogenes in Y. pestis, which are still putatively functional in Y. pseudotuberculosis and may be important in the enteric lifestyle. One such gene, YPTB1572 in the Y. pseudotuberculosis IP32953 genome sequence, encodes a protein with similarity to invasin, a classic adhesion/invasion protein, and to intimin, the attaching and effacing protein from enteropathogenic (EPEC) and enterohaemorraghic (EHEC) Escherichia coli.