Prophages represent a large fraction of prokaryotic genomes and often provide new functions to their hosts, in particular virulence and fitness. How prokaryotic cells maintain such gene providers is central for understanding bacterial genome evolution by horizontal transfer. Prophage excision occurs through site-specific recombination mediated by a prophage-encoded integrase. In addition, a recombination directionality factor (or excisionase) directs the reaction toward excision and prevents the phage genome from being reintegrated. In this work, we describe the role of the transcription termination factor Rho in prophage maintenance through control of the synthesis of transcripts that mediate recombination directionality factor expression and, thus, excisive recombination. We show that Rho inhibition by bicyclomycin allows for the expression of prophage genes that lead to excisive recombination. Thus, besides its role in the silencing of horizontally acquired genes, Rho also maintains lysogeny of defective and functional prophages.
Temperate bacteriophage lytic development is intrinsically related to the stress response in particular at the DNA replication and virion maturation steps. Alternatively, temperate phages become lysogenic and integrate their genome into the host chromosome. Under stressful conditions, the prophage resumes a lytic development program, and the phage DNA is excised before being replicated. The KplE1 defective prophage of Escherichia coli K12 constitutes a model system because it is fully competent for integrative as well as excisive recombination and presents an atypical recombination module, which is conserved in various phage genomes. In this work, we identified the host-encoded stress-responsive molecular chaperone DnaJ (Hsp40) as an active participant in KplE1 prophage excision. We first show that the recombination directionality factor TorI of KplE1 specifically interacts with DnaJ. In addition, we found that DnaJ dramatically enhances both TorI binding to its DNA target and excisive recombination in vitro. Remarkably, such stimulatory effect by DnaJ was performed independently of its DnaK chaperone partner and did not require a functional DnaJ J-domain. Taken together, our results underline a novel and unsuspected functional interaction between the generic host stress-regulated chaperone and temperate bacteriophage lysogenic development.
Ramlibacter tataouinensis TTB310(T) (strain TTB310), a betaproteobacterium isolated from a semi-arid region of South Tunisia (Tataouine), is characterized by the presence of both spherical and rod-shaped cells in pure culture. Cell division of strain TTB310 occurs by the binary fission of spherical "cyst-like" cells ("cyst-cyst" division). The rod-shaped cells formed at the periphery of a colony (consisting mainly of cysts) are highly motile and colonize a new environment, where they form a new colony by reversion to cyst-like cells. This unique cell cycle of strain TTB310, with desiccation tolerant cyst-like cells capable of division and desiccation sensitive motile rods capable of dissemination, appears to be a novel adaptation for life in a hot and dry desert environment. In order to gain insights into strain TTB310s underlying genetic repertoire and possible mechanisms responsible for its unusual lifestyle, the genome of strain TTB310 was completely sequenced and subsequently annotated. The complete genome consists of a single circular chromosome of 4,070,194 bp with an average G+C content of 70.0%, the highest among the Betaproteobacteria sequenced to date, with total of 3,899 predicted coding sequences covering 92% of the genome. We found that strain TTB310 has developed a highly complex network of two-component systems, which may utilize responses to light and perhaps a rudimentary circadian hourglass to anticipate water availability at the dew time in the middle/end of the desert winter nights and thus direct the growth window to cyclic water availability times. Other interesting features of the strain TTB310 genome that appear to be important for desiccation tolerance, including intermediary metabolism compounds such as trehalose or polyhydroxyalkanoate, and signal transduction pathways, are presented and discussed.
Analysis of sequenced bacterial genomes revealed that the genomes encode more than 30% hypothetical and conserved hypothetical proteins of unknown function. Among proteins of unknown function that are conserved in anaerobes, some might be determinants of the anaerobic way of life. This study focuses on two divergent clusters specifically found in anaerobic microorganisms and mainly composed of genes encoding conserved hypothetical proteins. We show that the two gene clusters DVU2103-DVU2104-DVU2105 (orp2) and DVU2107-DVU2108-DVU2109 (orp1) form two divergent operons transcribed by the ?(54)-RNA polymerase. We further demonstrate that the ?(54)-dependent transcriptional regulator DVU2106, located between orp1 and orp2, collaborates with ?(54)-RNA polymerase to orchestrate the simultaneous expression of the divergent orp operons. DVU2106, whose structural gene is transcribed by the ?(70)-RNA polymerase, negatively retrocontrols its own expression. By using an endogenous pulldown strategy, we identify a physiological complex composed of DVU2103, DVU2104, DVU2105, DVU2108, and DVU2109. Interestingly, inactivation of DVU2106, which is required for orp operon transcription, induces morphological defects that are likely linked to the absence of the ORP complex. A putative role of the ORP proteins in positioning the septum during cell division is discussed.
Temperate phages have the ability to maintain their genome in their host, a process called lysogeny. For most, passive replication of the phage genome relies on integration into the hosts chromosome and becoming a prophage. Prophages remain silent in the absence of stress and replicate passively within their host genome. However, when stressful conditions occur, a prophage excises itself and resumes the viral cycle. Integration and excision of phage genomes are mediated by regulated site-specific recombination catalyzed by tyrosine and serine recombinases. In the KplE1 prophage, site-specific recombination is mediated by the IntS integrase and the TorI recombination directionality factor (RDF). We previously described a sub-family of temperate phages that is characterized by an unusual organization of the recombination module. Consequently, the attL recombination region overlaps with the integrase promoter, and the integrase and RDF genes do not share a common activated promoter upon lytic induction as in the lambda prophage. In this study, we show that the intS gene is tightly regulated by its own product as well as by the TorI RDF protein. In silico analysis revealed that overlap of the attL region with the integrase promoter is widely encountered in prophages present in prokaryotic genomes, suggesting a general occurrence of negatively autoregulated integrase genes. The prediction that these integrase genes are negatively autoregulated was biologically assessed by studying the regulation of several integrase genes from two different Escherichia coli strains. Our results suggest that the majority of tRNA-associated integrase genes in prokaryotic genomes could be autoregulated and that this might be correlated with the recombination efficiency as in KplE1. The consequences of this unprecedented regulation for excessive recombination are discussed.
The organization of the recombination regions of the KplE1 prophage in Escherichia coli K12 differs from that observed in the lambda prophage. Indeed, the binding sites characterized for the IntS integrase, the TorI recombination directionality factor (RDF) and the integration host factor (IHF) vary in number, spacing and orientation on the attL and attR regions. In this paper, we performed site-directed mutagenesis of the recombination sites to decipher if all sites are essential for the site-specific recombination reaction and how the KplE1 intasome is assembled. We also show that TorI and IntS form oligomers that are stabilized in the presence of their target DNA. Moreover, we found that IHF is the only nucleoid associated protein (NAP) involved in KplE1 recombination, although it is dispensable. This is consistent with the presence of only one functional IHF site on attR and none on attL.
With the escalation of high throughput prokaryotic genome sequencing, there is an ever-increasing need for databases that characterise, catalogue and present data relating to particular gene sets and genomes/metagenomes. Two-component system (TCS) signal transduction pathways are the dominant mechanisms by which micro-organisms sense and respond to external as well as internal environmental changes. These systems respond to a wide range of stimuli by triggering diverse physiological adjustments, including alterations in gene expression, enzymatic reactions, or protein-protein interactions.
Recombination directionality factors (RDFs), or excisionases, are essential players of prophage excisive recombination. Despite the essentially catalytic role of the integrase in both integrative and excisive recombination, RDFs are required to direct the reaction towards excision and to prevent re-integration of the prophage genome when entering a lytic cycle. KplE1, HK620 and numerous (pro)phages that integrate at the same site in enterobacteria genomes (such as the argW tRNA gene) all share a highly conserved recombination module. This module comprises the attL and attR recombination sites and the RDF and integrase genes. The KplE1 RDF was named TorI after its initial identification as a negative regulator of the tor operon. However, it was characterized as an essential factor of excisive recombination. In this study, we designed an extensive random mutagenesis protocol of the torI gene and identified key residues involved in both functions of the TorI protein. We show that, in addition to TorI-TorR protein-protein interaction, TorI interacts in solution with the IntS integrase. Moreover, in vitro, TorR and IntS appear to compete for TorI binding. Finally, our mutagenesis results suggest that the C-terminal part of the TorI protein is dedicated to protein-protein interactions with both proteins TorR and IntS.
Temperate phages mediate gene transfer and can modify the properties of their host organisms through the acquisition of novel genes, a process called lysogeny. The KplE1 prophage is one of the 10 prophage regions in Escherichia coli K12 MG1655. KplE1 is defective for lysis but fully competent for site-specific recombination. The TorI recombination directionality factor is strictly required for prophage excision from the host genome. We have previously shown that DnaJ promotes KplE1 excision by increasing the affinity of TorI for its site-specific recombination DNA target. Here, we provide evidence of a direct association between TorI and DnaJ using in vitro cross-linking assays and limited proteolysis experiments that show that this interaction allows both proteins to be transiently protected from trypsin digestion. Interestingly, NMR titration experiments showed that binding of DnaJ involves specific regions of the TorI structure. These regions, mainly composed of ?-helices, are located on a surface opposite the DNA-binding site. Taken together, we propose that DnaJ, without the aid of DnaK/GrpE, is capable of increasing the efficiency of KplE1 excision by causing a conformational stabilization that allows TorI to adopt a more favorable conformation for binding to its specific DNA target.
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