Lactococcin Q is a two-peptide (Qα and Qβ) bacteriocin produced by Lactococcus lactis QU 4, which exhibits specific antimicrobial activity against L. lactis strains. The lactococcin Q gene cluster (approximately 4.5 kb) was sequenced and found to include genes encoding lactococcin Q immunity (laqC), an ATP-binding cassette transporter (laqD) and a transport accessory protein (laqE), downstream of the lactococcin Q structural genes (laqA and laqB). In addition, the gene cluster showed high sequence identity with that of a lactococcin Q homologue bacteriocin, lactococcin G. Heterologous expression studies showed that LaqD was responsible for lactococcin Q secretion in a manner dependent on LaqE expression, and that LaqC conferred self-immunity to lactococcin Q and cross-immunity to lactococcin G. Amino acid alignment of both lactococcin transporters revealed that LaqD contains an insertion (160–168 residues) that is essential for lactococcin Q secretion, as L. lactis cells that expressed LaqDΔ160–168 were devoid of this function. Additional experiments demonstrated that the LaqDΔ160–168 mutant was, however, able to secrete lactococcin G, suggesting that the insertion is necessary only for the lactococcin Q secretion by LaqD. This report demonstrates the biosynthetic mechanism of lactococcin Q/G-type bacteriocins and the complementarity of the genes responsible for the secretion of lactococcins Q and G.
The CsrA/RsmA family of post-transcriptional regulators in bacteria is involved in regulating many cellular processes, including pathogenesis. Using a bioinformatics approach, we identified an RsmA binding motif, A(N)GGA, in the Shine–Dalgarno regions of 901 genes. Among these genes with the predicted RsmA binding motif, 358 were regulated by RsmA according to our previously published gene expression profiling analysis (WT vs rsmA negative mutant; Kõiv et al., 2013 ). A small subset of the predicted targets known to be important as virulence factors was selected for experimental validation. RNA footprint analyses demonstrated that RsmA binds specifically to the ANGGA motif in the 5′UTR sequences of celV1, pehA, pelB, pel2 and prtW. RsmA-dependent regulation of these five genes was examined in vivo using plasmid-borne translational and transcriptional fusions with a reporter gusA gene. They were all affected negatively by RsmA. However, we demonstrated that whereas the overall effect of RsmA on celV1 and prtW was determined on both the translational and transcriptional level, expression of pectinolytic enzyme genes (pehA, pel2 and pelB) was affected mainly on the level of transcription in tested conditions. In summary, these data indicate that RsmA controls virulence by integration of its regulatory activities at various levels.
The rod-shaped enteric intracellular pathogen Shigella flexneri and other Shigella species are the causative agents of bacillary dysentery. S. flexneri are able to spread within the epithelial lining of the gut, resulting in lesion formation, cramps and bloody stools. The outer membrane protein IcsA is essential for this spreading process. IcsA is the initiator of an actin-based form of motility whereby it allows the formation of a filamentous actin ‘tail’ at the bacterial pole. Importantly, IcsA is specifically positioned at the bacterial pole such that this process occurs asymmetrically. The mechanism of IcsA polarity is not completely understood, but it appears to be a multifactorial process involving factors intrinsic to IcsA and other regulating factors. In this study, we further investigated IcsA polarization by its intramolecular N-terminal and central polar-targeting (PT) regions (nPT and cPT regions, respectively). The results obtained support a role in polar localization for the cPT region and contend the role of the nPT region. We identified single IcsA residues that have measurable impacts on IcsA polarity augmentation, resulting in decreased S. flexneri sprading efficiency. Intriguingly, regions and residues involved in PT clustered around a highly conserved motif which may provide a functional scaffold for polarity-augmenting residues. How these results fit with the current model of IcsA polarity determination is discussed.
Small acid-soluble proteins (SASPs) play an important role in protection of DNA in dormant bacterial endospores against damage by heat, UV radiation or enzymic degradation. In the genome of the strict anaerobe Clostridium acetobutylicum, five genes encoding SASPs have been annotated and here a further sixth candidate is suggested. The ssp genes are expressed in parallel dependent upon Spo0A, a master regulator of sporulation. Analysis of the transcription start points revealed a σG or a σF consensus promoter upstream of each ssp gene, confirming a forespore-specific gene expression. SASPs were termed SspA (Cac2365), SspB (Cac1522), SspD (Cac1620), SspF (Cac2372), SspH (Cac1663) and Tlp (Cac1487). Here it is shown that with the exception of Tlp, every purified recombinant SASP is able to bind DNA in vitro thereby protecting it against enzymic degradation by DNase I. Moreover, SspB and SspD were specifically cleaved by the two germination-specific proteases GPR (Cac1275) and YyaC (Cac2857), which were overexpressed in Escherichia coli and activated by an autocleavage reaction. Thus, for the first time to our knowledge, GPR-like activity and SASP specificity could be demonstrated for a YyaC-like protein. Collectively, the results assign SspA, SspB, SspD, SspF and SspH of C. acetobutylicum as members of α/β-type SASPs, whereas Tlp seems to be a non-DNA-binding spore protein of unknown function. In acetic acid-extracted proteins of dormant spores of C. acetobutylicum, SspA was identified almost exclusively, indicating its dominant biological role as a major α/β-type SASP in vivo.