A number of Gram-negative pathogens utilize type III secretion systems (T3SSs) to inject bacterial effector proteins into the host. An important component of T3SSs is a conserved ATPase that captures chaperone-effector complexes and energizes their dissociation to facilitate effector translocation. To date, there has been limited work characterizing the chaperone-T3SS ATPase interaction despite it being a fundamental aspect of T3SS function. In this study, we present the 2.1 Å resolution crystal structure of the Salmonella enterica SPI-2-encoded ATPase, SsaN. Our structure revealed a local and functionally important novel feature in helix 10 that we used to define the interaction domain relevant to chaperone binding. We modeled the interaction between the multicargo chaperone, SrcA, and SsaN and validated this model using mutagenesis to identify the residues on both the chaperone and ATPase that mediate the interaction. Finally, we quantified the benefit of this molecular interaction on bacterial fitness in vivo using chromosomal exchange of wild-type ssaN with mutants that retain ATPase activity but no longer capture the chaperone. Our findings provide insight into chaperone recognition by T3SS ATPases and demonstrate the importance of the chaperone-T3SS ATPase interaction for the pathogenesis of Salmonella.
Host defense peptides secreted by colonocytes and Paneth cells play a key role in innate host defenses in the gut. In Crohn's disease, the burden of tissue-associated Escherichia coli commonly increases at epithelial surfaces where host defense peptides concentrate, suggesting that this bacterial population might actively resist this mechanism of bacterial killing. Adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) is associated with Crohn's disease; however, the colonization determinants of AIEC in the inflamed gut are undefined. Here, we establish that host defense peptide resistance contributes to host colonization by Crohn's-associated AIEC. We identified a plasmid-encoded genomic island (called PI-6) in AIEC strain NRG857c that confers high-level resistance to ?-helical cationic peptides and ?- and ?-defensins. Deletion of PI-6 sensitized strain NRG857c to these host defense molecules, reduced its competitive fitness in a mouse model of infection, and attenuated its ability to induce cecal pathology. This phenotype is due to two genes in PI-6, arlA, which encodes a Mig-14 family protein implicated in defensin resistance, and arlC, an OmpT family outer membrane protease. Implicit in these findings are new bacterial targets whose inhibition might limit AIEC burden and disease in the gut.
The emergence and spread of carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative pathogens is a global public health problem. The acquisition of metallo-?-lactamases (MBLs) such as NDM-1 is a principle contributor to the emergence of carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative pathogens that threatens the use of penicillin, cephalosporin and carbapenem antibiotics to treat infections. To date, a clinical inhibitor of MBLs that could reverse resistance and re-sensitize resistant Gram-negative pathogens to carbapenems has not been found. Here we have identified a fungal natural product, aspergillomarasmine A (AMA), that is a rapid and potent inhibitor of the NDM-1 enzyme and another clinically relevant MBL, VIM-2. AMA also fully restored the activity of meropenem against Enterobacteriaceae, Acinetobacter spp. and Pseudomonas spp. possessing either VIM or NDM-type alleles. In mice infected with NDM-1-expressing Klebsiella pneumoniae, AMA efficiently restored meropenem activity, demonstrating that a combination of AMA and a carbapenem antibiotic has therapeutic potential to address the clinical challenge of MBL-positive carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative pathogens.
Salmonella enterica is a causative agent of foodborne gastroenteritis and the systemic disease known as typhoid fever. This bacterium uses two type three secretion systems (T3SSs) to translocate protein effectors into host cells to manipulate cellular function. Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI)-2 encodes a T3SS required for intracellular survival of the pathogen. Genes in SPI-2 include apparatus components, secreted effectors and chaperones that bind to secreted cargo to coordinate their release from the bacterial cell. Although the effector repertoire secreted by the SPI-2 T3SS is large, only three virulence-associated chaperones have been characterized.
Horizontal gene transfer plays a major role in microbial evolution by innovating the bacterial genome with new genetic blueprints to adapt to previously unexploited niches. However, to benefit from these genetic acquisitions, the bacterium must integrate the expression of these new genes into existing regulatory nodes and deploy them at the right time. There is much to gain from uncovering the genetic diversity in noncoding DNA that is selective during host infection because of the beneficial effect it has on bacterial gene expression. By identifying genes that have undergone regulatory evolution, a deeper understanding of the arms race between host and pathogen is gained.
Salmonella pathogenicity island 12 (SPI-12) of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is a 15-kb region that encompasses genes STM2230 to STM2245 and encodes a remnant phage known to contribute to bacterial virulence. In mouse infection experiments and replication assays in macrophages, we demonstrated a role for four genes in SPI-12 for bacterial survival in the host. STM2239, a potential Q antiterminator, showed a prominent contribution to bacterial fitness. Transcriptional reporter experiments, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), and immunoblotting demonstrated that the virulence regulator SsrB and STM2239 contribute to transcriptional activation of genes in SPI-12. SsrB was found to indirectly regulate this locus by transcriptional read-through from the sspH2 (STM2241) promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation showed that STM2239 copurified with the promoter regulating STM2237, suggesting that STM2239 may function as an antiterminator to activate adjacent genes. These results demonstrate that bacteriophage genes may be adapted by pathogenic bacteria to improve fitness in the host.
Crohns disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract in which alterations to the bacterial community contribute to disease. Adherent-invasive Escherichia coli are associated with human Crohns disease; however, their role in intestinal immunopathology is unclear because of the lack of an animal model compatible with chronic timescales. Here we establish chronic adherent-invasive Escherichia coli infection in streptomycin-treated conventional mice (CD1, DBA/2, C3H, 129e and C57BL/6), enabling the study of host response and immunopathology. Adherent-invasive Escherichia coli induces an active T-helper 17 response, heightened levels of proinflammatory cytokines and fibrotic growth factors, with transmural inflammation and fibrosis. Depletion of CD8+ T cells increases caecal bacterial load, pathology and intestinal fibrosis in C57BL/6 mice, suggesting a protective role. Our findings provide evidence that chronic adherent-invasive Escherichia coli infections result in immunopathology similar to that seen in Crohns disease. With this model, research into the host and bacterial genetics associated with adherent-invasive Escherichia coli-induced disease becomes more widely accessible.
Extracellular attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogens including pathogenic Escherichia coli colonize the host gut causing diarrhea and inflammation. Although much is known regarding the pathogenesis of A/E bacteria, there remains an incomplete understanding of host immune responses to these microbes. NK cells are an important source of IFN-? and are essential for early innate responses to viral pathogens; however, their role during extracellular bacterial infections is still largely unexplored. We studied the host response to the murine A/E pathogen Citrobacter rodentium to investigate NK-cell function during infection. NK1.1? cell depletions and analysis of colonic intestinal inflammation following Citrobacter infection demonstrated that CD3?NK1.1? cells play an important role in the initial clearance of C. rodentium, as evidenced by higher bacterial load, intestinal pathology, and crypt hyperplasia at the peak of inflammation in depleted mice. Loss of CD3?NK1.1? cells resulted in lower colonic IFN-?, TNF-?, and IL-12, and a delay in homing of IFN-??CD4? T cells to the gut. Loss of this response resulted in lower anti-C. rodentium IgG in NK1.1-depleted mice. These data establish that CD3?NK1.1? cells are critical for inducing an early Th1 response involved in clearance of a pathogen that is restricted to the gastrointestinal tract.
The dampening of host immune responses is a critical aspect of pathogenesis for the enteropathogen Salmonella enterica. Our laboratory has recently described a role for the secreted effector GogB in disruption of NF?B activation and limitation of the host inflammatory response to infection. GogB alters the NF?B pathway by preventing I?B degradation by the host SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase, through an interaction with Skp1 and FBXO22. The prevention of NF?B activation through this interaction dampens the host inflammatory response in the gut, which in turn limits the damage to host tissues during chronic infection. In this addendum, we summarize these recent findings and discuss their implications and impact in the area of host-pathogen interactions.
Although investigations of medieval plague victims have identified Yersinia pestis as the putative etiologic agent of the pandemic, methodological limitations have prevented large-scale genomic investigations to evaluate changes in the pathogens virulence over time. We screened over 100 skeletal remains from Black Death victims of the East Smithfield mass burial site (1348-1350, London, England). Recent methods of DNA enrichment coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing subsequently permitted reconstruction of ten full human mitochondrial genomes (16 kb each) and the full pPCP1 (9.6 kb) virulence-associated plasmid at high coverage. Comparisons of molecular damage profiles between endogenous human and Y. pestis DNA confirmed its authenticity as an ancient pathogen, thus representing the longest contiguous genomic sequence for an ancient pathogen to date. Comparison of our reconstructed plasmid against modern Y. pestis shows identity with several isolates matching the Medievalis biovar; however, our chromosomal sequences indicate the victims were infected with a Y. pestis variant that has not been previously reported. Our data reveal that the Black Death in medieval Europe was caused by a variant of Y. pestis that may no longer exist, and genetic data carried on its pPCP1 plasmid were not responsible for the purported epidemiological differences between ancient and modern forms of Y. pestis infections.
Technological advances in DNA recovery and sequencing have drastically expanded the scope of genetic analyses of ancient specimens to the extent that full genomic investigations are now feasible and are quickly becoming standard. This trend has important implications for infectious disease research because genomic data from ancient microbes may help to elucidate mechanisms of pathogen evolution and adaptation for emerging and re-emerging infections. Here we report a reconstructed ancient genome of Yersinia pestis at 30-fold average coverage from Black Death victims securely dated to episodes of pestilence-associated mortality in London, England, 1348-1350. Genetic architecture and phylogenetic analysis indicate that the ancient organism is ancestral to most extant strains and sits very close to the ancestral node of all Y. pestis commonly associated with human infection. Temporal estimates suggest that the Black Death of 1347-1351 was the main historical event responsible for the introduction and widespread dissemination of the ancestor to all currently circulating Y. pestis strains pathogenic to humans, and further indicates that contemporary Y. pestis epidemics have their origins in the medieval era. Comparisons against modern genomes reveal no unique derived positions in the medieval organism, indicating that the perceived increased virulence of the disease during the Black Death may not have been due to bacterial phenotype. These findings support the notion that factors other than microbial genetics, such as environment, vector dynamics and host susceptibility, should be at the forefront of epidemiological discussions regarding emerging Y. pestis infections.
Gram-negative bacterial pathogens have developed specialized secretion systems to transfer bacterial proteins directly into host cells. These bacterial effectors are central to virulence and reprogram host cell processes to favor bacterial survival, colonization, and proliferation. Knowing the complete set of effectors encoded by a particular pathogen is the key to understanding bacterial disease. In addition, the identification of the molecular assemblies that these effectors engage once inside the host cell is critical to determining the mechanism of action of each effector. In this work we used stable isotope labeling of amino acids in cell culture (SILAC), a powerful quantitative proteomics technique, to identify the proteins secreted by the Salmonella pathogenicity island-2 type three secretion system (SPI-2 T3SS) and to characterize the host interaction partners of SPI-2 effectors. We confirmed many of the known SPI-2 effectors and were able to identify several novel substrate candidates of this secretion system. We verified previously published host protein-effector binding pairs and obtained 11 novel interactions, three of which were investigated further and confirmed by reciprocal co-immunoprecipitation. The host cell interaction partners identified here suggest that Salmonella SPI-2 effectors target, in a concerted fashion, cellular processes such as cell attachment and cell cycle control that are underappreciated in the context of infection. The technology outlined in this study is specific and sensitive and serves as a robust tool for the identification of effectors and their host targets that is readily amenable to the study of other bacterial pathogens.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. typhi), is a human restricted pathogen and the causal agent of typhoid fever. Although the use of antimicrobial drugs or vaccines has served as an effective therapeutics strategy against typhoid fever, the recent surge in multidrug resistant strains of S. typhi presents a major health concern worldwide. Progress on typhoid research has been limited in the past due to the lack of a suitable animal model that recapitulates the hallmark immunological features of human typhoid fever. We have recently developed a humanized immune system (HIS) mouse model that after intravenous challenge with S. typhi displayed classical manifestations of human typhoid fever including meningitis, liver pathology and mortality. Concurrent to our studies, two other groups also have developed humanized mouse models of S. typhi infections employing different protocols. All these recently adopted animal models of S. typhi infections provide promise for a new era of S. typhi research that may expedite detailed understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of this bacterial infection and investigations of new antimicrobials and vaccines for effective control.
Invasive salmonellosis caused by Salmonella enterica involves an enteric stage of infection where the bacteria colonize mucosal epithelial cells, followed by systemic infection with intracellular replication in immune cells. The type III secretion system encoded in Salmonella Pathogenicity Island (SPI)-2 is essential for intracellular replication and the regulators governing high-level expression of SPI-2 genes within the macrophage phagosome and in inducing media thought to mimic this environment have been well characterized. However, low-level expression of SPI-2 genes is detectable in media thought to mimic the extracellular environment suggesting that additional regulatory pathways are involved in SPI-2 gene expression prior to cellular invasion. The regulators involved in this activity are not known and the extracellular transcriptional activity of the entire SPI-2 island in vivo has not been studied. We show that low-level, SsrB-independent promoter activity for the ssrA-ssrB two-component regulatory system and the ssaG structural operon encoded in SPI-2 is dependent on transcriptional input by OmpR and Fis under non-inducing conditions. Monitoring the activity of all SPI-2 promoters in real-time following oral infection of mice revealed invasion-independent transcriptional activity of the SPI2 T3SS in the lumen of the gut, which we suggest is a priming activity with functional relevance for the subsequent intracellular host-pathogen interaction.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are zoonotic foodborne and waterborne pathogens that are a serious public health concern because they cause outbreaks and the potentially fatal hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The most common STEC serotype associated with human disease is O157:H7, but there is a growing recognition of over 100 non-O157 serotypes that also may result in human illness. Some of these non-O157 STEC strains cause outbreaks and severe disease such as HUS and hemorrhagic colitis, whereas others are associated with only mild diarrhea or with no human disease at all. The relative scarceness of whole genome sequence data for non-O157 STEC has limited the scientific discovery into the genetic basis of these differences in virulence. Uncovering the scope of genetic diversity and phylogeny of the non-O157 STEC through targeting sequencing of clinically relevant isolates will offer new biological insight to the pathogenic behavior of these emerging pathogens. These approaches would also enable molecular risk assessment strategies to rapidly identify and respond to emerging non-O157 STEC that pose a serious public health risk to humans.
Type III secretion systems that deliver bacterial proteins into eukaryotic cells are the basis for both symbiotic and pathogenic relationships between many Gram-negative bacteria and their hosts. Exploration of the structure, function and assembly of this secretion system has greatly enhanced our knowledge of bacterial ecology in the context of infectious disease and has spawned new avenues in anti-infective research with a view towards inhibiting virulence functions. We outline advances in understanding type III secretion system function with specific focus on how assembly is hierarchically coordinated at the level of expression and how the type III secretion system mediates transitions in substrate specificity.
Two ancestral nucleoid-associated proteins called Hha and YdgT contribute to the negative regulation of several virulence-associated genes in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Our previous work showed that Hha and YdgT proteins are required for negative regulation of Salmonella Pathogenicity Island-2 and that hha ydgT double mutants are attenuated for murine infection. Interestingly, hha ydgT mutant bacteria exhibited a non-motile phenotype suggesting that Hha and YdgT have a role in flagellar regulation.
Salmonella enterica is a species of bacteria that is a major cause of enteritis across the globe, while certain serovars cause typhoid, a more serious disease associated with a significant mortality rate. Type III secreted effectors are major contributors to the pathogenesis of Salmonella infections. Genes encoding effectors are acquired via horizontal gene transfer, and a subset are encoded within active phage lysogens. Because the acquisition of effectors is in flux, the complement of effectors possessed by various Salmonella strains frequently differs. By comparing the genome sequences of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium strain SL1344 with LT2, we identified a gene with significant similarity to SseK/NleB type III secreted effector proteins within a phage ST64B lysogen that is absent from LT2. We have named this gene sseK3. SseK3 was co-regulated with the SPI-2 type III secretion system in vitro and inside host cells, and was also injected into infected host cells. While no role for SseK3 in virulence could be identified, a role for the other family members in murine typhoid was found. SseK3 and other phage-encoded effectors were found to have a significant but sparse distribution in the available Salmonella genome sequences, indicating the potential for more uncharacterised effectors to be present in less studied serovars. These phage-encoded effectors may be principle subjects of contemporary selective processes shaping Salmonella-host interactions.
Combinations of antibiotics are commonly used in medicine to broaden antimicrobial spectrum and generate synergistic effects. Alternatively, combination of nonantibiotic drugs with antibiotics offers an opportunity to sample a previously untapped expanse of bioactive chemical space. We screened a collection of drugs to identify compounds that augment the activity of the antibiotic minocycline. Unexpected synergistic drug combinations exhibited in vitro and in vivo activity against bacterial pathogens, including multidrug-resistant isolates.
Mucosal-associated Escherichia coli may play a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). In this study we assessed mucosal-associated E. coli in adults at the time of first diagnosis.
Adherent and invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC) are commonly found in ileal lesions of Crohns Disease (CD) patients, where they adhere to intestinal epithelial cells and invade into and survive in epithelial cells and macrophages, thereby gaining access to a typically restricted host niche. Colonization leads to strong inflammatory responses in the gut suggesting that AIEC could play a role in CD immunopathology. Despite extensive investigation, the genetic determinants accounting for the AIEC phenotype remain poorly defined. To address this, we present the complete genome sequence of an AIEC, revealing the genetic blueprint for this disease-associated E. coli pathotype.
Sequence data from the past decade has laid bare the significance of horizontal gene transfer in creating genetic diversity in the bacterial world. Regulatory evolution, in which non-coding DNA is mutated to create new regulatory nodes, also contributes to this diversity to allow niche adaptation and the evolution of pathogenesis. To survive in the host environment, Salmonella enterica uses a type III secretion system and effector proteins, which are activated by the SsrA-SsrB two-component system in response to the host environment. To better understand the phenomenon of regulatory evolution in S. enterica, we defined the SsrB regulon and asked how this transcription factor interacts with the cis-regulatory region of target genes. Using ChIP-on-chip, cDNA hybridization, and comparative genomics analyses, we describe the SsrB-dependent regulon of ancestral and horizontally acquired genes. Further, we used a genetic screen and computational analyses integrating experimental data from S. enterica and sequence data from an orthologous regulatory system in the insect endosymbiont, Sodalis glossinidius, to identify the conserved yet flexible palindrome sequence that defines DNA recognition by SsrB. Mutational analysis of a representative promoter validated this palindrome as the minimal architecture needed for regulatory input by SsrB. These data provide a high-resolution map of a regulatory network and the underlying logic enabling pathogen adaptation to a host.
NleG homologues constitute the largest family of Type 3 effectors delivered by pathogenic E. coli, with fourteen members in the enterohaemorrhagic (EHEC) O157:H7 strain alone. Identified recently as part of the non-LEE-encoded (Nle) effector set, this family remained uncharacterised and shared no sequence homology to other proteins including those of known function. The C-terminal domain of NleG2-3 (residues 90 to 191) is the most conserved region in NleG proteins and was solved by NMR. Structural analysis of this structure revealed the presence of a RING finger/U-box motif. Functional assays demonstrated that NleG2-3 as well as NleG5-1, NleG6-2 and NleG9 family members exhibited a strong autoubiquitination activity in vitro; a characteristic usually expressed by eukaryotic ubiquitin E3 ligases. When screened for activity against a panel of 30 human E2 enzymes, the NleG2-3 and NleG5-1 homologues showed an identical profile with only UBE2E2, UBE2E3 and UBE2D2 enzymes supporting NleG activity. Fluorescence polarization analysis yielded a binding affinity constant of 56+/-2 microM for the UBE2D2/NleG5-1 interaction, a value comparable with previous studies on E2/E3 affinities. The UBE2D2 interaction interface on NleG2-3 defined by NMR chemical shift perturbation and mutagenesis was shown to be generally similar to that characterised for human RING finger ubiquitin ligases. The alanine substitutions of UBE2D2 residues Arg5 and Lys63, critical for activation of eukaryotic E3 ligases, also significantly decreased both NleG binding and autoubiquitination activity. These results demonstrate that bacteria-encoded NleG effectors are E3 ubiquitin ligases analogous to RING finger and U-box enzymes in eukaryotes.
Many Gram-negative bacteria colonize and exploit host niches using a protein apparatus called a type III secretion system (T3SS) that translocates bacterial effector proteins into host cells where their functions are essential for pathogenesis. A suite of T3SS-associated chaperone proteins bind cargo in the bacterial cytosol, establishing protein interaction networks needed for effector translocation into host cells. In Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, a T3SS encoded in a large genomic island (SPI-2) is required for intracellular infection, but the chaperone complement required for effector translocation by this system is not known. Using a reverse genetics approach, we identified a multi-cargo secretion chaperone that is functionally integrated with the SPI-2-encoded T3SS and required for systemic infection in mice. Crystallographic analysis of SrcA at a resolution of 2.5 A revealed a dimer similar to the CesT chaperone from enteropathogenic E. coli but lacking a 17-amino acid extension at the carboxyl terminus. Further biochemical and quantitative proteomics data revealed three protein interactions with SrcA, including two effector cargos (SseL and PipB2) and the type III-associated ATPase, SsaN, that increases the efficiency of effector translocation. Using competitive infections in mice we show that SrcA increases bacterial fitness during host infection, highlighting the in vivo importance of effector chaperones for the SPI-2 T3SS.
Salmonella survives and replicates in host cells by using a type III secretion system to evade host immune defenses. The innate immune system plays an important role as a first line of defense against pathogens and is mediated in part by Toll-like receptors (TLRs); however, the infection dynamics of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium within macrophages stimulated with TLR ligands is poorly understood. We studied the infection dynamics of Salmonella in murine macrophages previously exposed to TLR ligands and report that treatment of macrophages with four different TLR agonists resulted in their increased phagocytic capacity toward Salmonella but not fluorescent microspheres. Further analysis revealed that the intracellular replication of Salmonella was enhanced in TLR-stimulated macrophages in a manner requiring a functional type III secretion system and enhanced transcriptional activity of the sseA virulence gene operon. Studies of mice that normally resolve an acute primary infection with Salmonella revealed that pretreatment of animals with CpG DNA had a detrimental effect on disease outcome. CpG-treated mice infected with Salmonella all succumbed to infection and had higher bacterial loads in the spleen than did control animals. These data suggest that Salmonella can exploit macrophages activated via the innate immune system for increased intracellular survival.
Intracellular Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (serovar Typhimurium) occupies a Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV) where bacterial effector proteins are secreted into the host cell using type III secretion systems (T3SS). Cytoskeletal motor proteins and T3SS-delivered effector proteins facilitate SCV positioning to juxtanuclear positions where bacterial replication occurs. Here, we show that this characteristic SCV positioning is not maintained by all SCVs during infection of HeLa cells. Notably, juxtanuclear SCV localization that occurs by 8 to 14 h postinfection is followed by significant centrifugal displacement of a subset of SCVs toward the host cell periphery by 24 h postinfection. This novel phenotype requires bacterial protein synthesis, a functional Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2)-encoded T3SS, intact microtubules, and kinesin-1 motor protein. Bacteria lacking PipB2, a kinesin-recruiting T3SS effector, did not exhibit centrifugal displacement and remained at juxtanuclear positions throughout 24 h of infection. While levels of the SPI-2 effectors PipB2 and SifA increased during 24 h postinfection, a corresponding decrease in levels of the SPI-1 T3SS effectors SipA and SopB, both known to mediate juxtanuclear SCV positioning, was observed. A fluorescence-based assay indicated that wild-type serovar Typhimurium transferred from infected to uninfected epithelial cells while strains deficient in SPI-2 T3SS secretion or PipB2 did not. Our results reveal a novel SCV phenotype implicated in the cell-to-cell spread of serovar Typhimurium during infection.
We have shown previously that Chlamydophila pneumoniae contains a dual-specific Ser/Thr protein kinase that phosphorylates CdsD, a structural component of the type III secretion apparatus. To further study the role of PknD in growth and development we sought to identify a PknD inhibitor to determine whether PknD activity is required for replication.
The survival of Salmonella enterica within the intracellular host niche requires highly co-ordinated expression of virulence effectors predominantly regulated by the SsrAB two-component regulatory system. S. enterica serovar Typhimurium mutants lacking the ssrAB genes are avirulent in mice, highlighting the importance of this regulatory system in vivo. Mutants lacking the gene encoding the alternative sigma factor sigmaE (rpoE) are also highly attenuated for intracellular survival, pointing to a potential connection with the SsrAB regulatory system.
The acquisition of DNA by horizontal gene transfer enables bacteria to adapt to previously unexploited ecological niches. Although horizontal gene transfer and mutation of protein-coding sequences are well-recognized forms of pathogen evolution, the evolutionary significance of cis-regulatory mutations in creating phenotypic diversity through altered transcriptional outputs is not known. We show the significance of regulatory mutation for pathogen evolution by mapping and then rewiring a cis-regulatory module controlling a gene required for murine typhoid. Acquisition of a binding site for the Salmonella pathogenicity island-2 regulator, SsrB, enabled the srfN gene, ancestral to the Salmonella genus, to play a role in pathoadaptation of S. typhimurium to a host animal. We identified the evolved cis-regulatory module and quantified the fitness gain that this regulatory output accrues for the bacterium using competitive infections of host animals. Our findings highlight a mechanism of pathogen evolution involving regulatory mutation that is selected because of the fitness advantage the new regulatory output provides the incipient clones.
The emergence of multi-drug resistance and bacteria with increased virulence is a familiar refrain to the contemporary microbiologist. Although intense research over the past decade has ascribed much molecular detail to these processes, more esoteric questions remain: for example, why are some bacteria evolving increased virulence towards humans, what are the genes underpinning this virulence potential and what are the selective pressures that favor these traits? A holistic approach that considers the organismal biology of bacteria with their diverse hosts seems appropriate to begin to tackle such issues. As it happens, the type III secretion system is turning out to be a central player in the adaptation of both parasites and mutualists to diverse hosts. With this in mind, human interventions in agriculture, animal husbandry and even drug discovery that could influence the selection of bacteria with improved type III secretion system function should be critically appraised.
Control of bacterial colonization at mucosal surfaces depends on rapid activation of the innate immune system. Interleukin-15 (IL-15) directs the development, maturation, and function of a population of cells positive for NK1.1, such as natural killer (NK) cells, which are critical components of the innate immune defense against several viral and bacterial pathogens. Using IL-15-deficient mice, in vivo depletion of NK1.1(+) cells from wild-type mice, and in vivo overexpression of IL-15 from a recombinant adenovirus, we tested the role of IL-15 and NK1.1(+) cells in innate protection of the murine gut and reticuloendothelial system from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection. IL-15 and the NK1.1(+) cell population provided innate protection from serovar Typhimurium in mice at the enteric mucosae and in the reticuloendothelial system during murine typhoid. Interestingly, serovar Typhimurium extensively colonized the gut of IL-15(-/-) mice and wild-type C57BL/6 mice depleted of NK1.1(+) cells prior to infection, even though the animals were not pretreated with antibiotics to reduce colonization resistance and there was an absence of overt inflammation in the colon and cecum. Enhanced dissemination of Salmonella from the gut of mice depleted of NK1.1(+) cells correlated with a localized disruption of IL-17 in the colon. These data suggest a relationship between the gut ecosystem and the innate mucosal immune system, which may be linked via IL-15 and NK1.1(+) cells.
Citrobacter rodentium is a mouse enteropathogen that is closely related to Escherichia coli and causes severe colonic hyperplasia and bloody diarrhea. C. rodentium infection requires expression of genes of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island, which simulates infection by enteropathogenic E. coli and enterohemorrhagic E. coli in the human intestine, providing an effective model for studying enteropathogenesis. In this study we investigated the role of RpoS, the stationary phase sigma factor, in virulence in C. rodentium. Sequence analysis showed that the rpoS gene is highly conserved in C. rodentium and E. coli, exhibiting 92% identity. RpoS was critical for survival under heat shock conditions and during exposure to H(2)O(2) and positively regulated the expression of catalase KatE (HPII). The development of the RDAR (red dry and rough) morphotype, an important virulence trait in E. coli, was also mediated by RpoS in C. rodentium. Unlike E. coli, C. rodentium grew well in the mouse colon, and the wild-type strain colonized significantly better than rpoS mutants. However, a mutation in rpoS conferred a competitive growth advantage over the wild type both in vitro in Luria-Bertani medium and in vivo in the mouse colon. Survival analysis showed that the virulence of an rpoS mutant was attenuated. The expression of genes on the LEE pathogenicity island, which are essential for colonization and virulence, was reduced in the rpoS mutant. In conclusion, RpoS is important for the stress response and is required for full virulence in C. rodentium.
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a gastrointestinal pathogen that has become a serious public health concern, as it is associated with outbreaks and severe diseases such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome. The molecular basis of its greater virulence than that of other serotypes is not completely known. OI-1 is a putative fimbria-encoding genomic island that is found almost exclusively in O157:H7 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains and may be associated with the enhanced pathogenesis of these strains. In this study, we identified and characterized a novel repressor of flagellar synthesis encoded by OI-1. We showed that deletion of Z0021 increased the motility of E. coli O157:H7, which correlated with an increase in flagellin production and enhanced assembly of flagella on the cell surface. In contrast, overexpression of Z0021 inhibited motility. We demonstrated that Z0021 exerted its regulatory effects downstream of the transcription and translation of flhDC but prior to the activation of class II/III promoters. Furthermore, the master regulator of flagellar synthesis, FlhD(4)C(2), was shown to be a high-copy suppressor of the nonmotile phenotype associated with elevated levels of Z0021--a finding consistent with Z0021-FlhD(4)C(2) being a potential regulatory complex. This work provides insight into the mechanism by which Z0021, which we have named fmrA, represses flagellar synthesis and is the first report of a fimbrial-operon-encoded inhibitor of motility in E. coli O157:H7.
Bacterial pathogens often manipulate host immune pathways to establish acute and chronic infection. Many Gram-negative bacteria do this by secreting effector proteins through a type III secretion system that alter the host response to the pathogen. In this study, we determined that the phage-encoded GogB effector protein in Salmonella targets the host SCF E3 type ubiquitin ligase through an interaction with Skp1 and the human F-box only 22 (FBXO22) protein. Domain mapping and functional knockdown studies indicated that GogB-containing bacteria inhibited I?B degradation and NF?B activation in macrophages, which required Skp1 and a eukaryotic-like F-box motif in the C-terminal domain of GogB. GogB-deficient Salmonella were unable to limit NF?B activation, which lead to increased proinflammatory responses in infected mice accompanied by extensive tissue damage and enhanced colonization in the gut during long-term chronic infections. We conclude that GogB is an anti-inflammatory effector that helps regulate inflammation-enhanced colonization by limiting tissue damage during infection.
The enteropathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium employs a suite of tightly regulated virulence factors within the intracellular compartment of phagocytic host cells resulting in systemic dissemination in mice. A type VI secretion system (T6SS) within Salmonella pathogenicity island 6 (SPI-6) has been implicated in this process; however, the regulatory inputs and the roles of noncore genes in this system are not well understood. Here we describe four clusters of noncore T6SS genes in SPI-6 based on a comparative relationship with the T6SS-3 of Burkholderia mallei and report that the disruption of these genes results in defects in intracellular replication and systemic dissemination in mice. In addition, we show that the expression of the SPI-6-encoded Hcp and VgrG orthologs is enhanced during late stages of macrophage infection. We identify six regions that are transcriptionally active during cell infections and that have regulatory contributions from the regulators of virulence SsrB, PhoP, and SlyA. We show that levels of protein expression are very weak under in vitro conditions and that expression is not enhanced upon the deletion of ssrB, phoP, slyA, qseC, ompR, or hfq, suggesting an unknown activating factor. These data suggest that the SPI-6 T6SS has been integrated into the Salmonella Typhimurium virulence network and customized for host-pathogen interactions through the action of noncore genes.
Expansion into new host niches requires bacterial pathogens to adapt to changes in nutrient availability and to evade an arsenal of host defenses. Horizontal acquisition of Salmonella Pathogenicity Island (SPI)-2 permitted the expansion of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium into the intracellular environment of host cells by allowing it to deliver bacterial effector proteins across the phagosome membrane. This is facilitated by the SsrA-SsrB two-component regulatory system and a type III secretion system encoded within SPI-2. SPI-2 acquisition was followed by evolution of existing regulatory DNA, creating an expanded SsrB regulon involved in intracellular fitness and host infection. Here, we identified an SsrB-regulated operon comprising an ABC transporter in Salmonella. Biochemical and structural studies determined that the periplasmic solute-binding component, STM1633/DalS, transports D-alanine and that DalS is required for intracellular survival of the bacteria and for fitness in an animal host. This work exemplifies the role of nutrient exchange at the host-pathogen interface as a critical determinant of disease outcome.
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