Expression of the genes for trehalose synthesis (mts and mth, encoding maltooligosyl trehalose synthase and hydrolase) and trehalose hydrolysis (treH) in Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 was up-regulated markedly upon dehydration. However, the amount of trehalose accumulated during dehydration was small, whereas a large amount of sucrose was accumulated. Northern blotting analysis revealed that these genes were transcribed as an operon. Gene disruption of mth resulted in a decrease in the trehalose level and in tolerance during dehydration. In contrast, gene disruption of treH resulted in an increase in both the amount of trehalose and tolerance. These results suggest that trehalose is important for the dehydration tolerance of this cyanobacterium. The amount of trehalose accumulated during dehydration was small, corresponding to 0·05–0·1 % of dry weight, suggesting that trehalose did not stabilize proteins and membranes directly during dehydration. To reveal the role of trehalose, the expression profiles of the wild-type strain and gene disruptants during dehydration were compared by using oligomeric DNA microarray. It was found that the expression of two genes, one of which encodes a cofactor of a chaperone DnaK, correlated with trehalose content, suggesting that a chaperone system induced by trehalose is important for the dehydration tolerance of Anabaena sp. PCC 7120.
The global response of Escherichia coli to the broad-spectrum biocide polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) was investigated using transcriptional profiling. The transcriptional analyses were validated by direct determination of the PHMB-tolerance phenotypes of derivatives of E. coli MG1655 carrying either insertionally inactivated genes and/or plasmids expressing the cognate open reading frames from a heterologous promoter in the corresponding chromosomally inactivated strains. The results showed that a wide range of genes was altered in transcriptional activity and that all of the corresponding knockout strains subsequently challenged with biocide were altered in tolerance. Of particular interest was the induction of the rhs genes and the implication of enzymes involved in the repair/binding of nucleic acids in the generation of tolerance, suggesting a novel dimension in the mechanism of action of PHMB based on its interaction with nucleic acids.
The widely conserved phage-shock-protein A (pspA) operon encodes an extracytoplasmic stress response system that is essential for virulence in Yersinia enterocolitica, and has been linked to other important phenotypes in Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica and Shigella flexneri. Regulation of pspA operon expression is mediated through a promoter upstream of pspA that depends on sigma factor RpoN (σ 54) and the enhancer binding protein PspF. PspA, PspB and PspC, encoded within the pspA operon, also regulate expression by participating in a putative signal transduction pathway that probably serves to modulate PspF activity. All of this suggests that appropriate expression of the pspA operon is critical. Previous genetic analysis of the Y. enterocolitica pspA operon suggested that an additional level of complexity might be mediated by PspF/RpoN-independent expression of some psp genes. Here, an rpoN null mutation and interposon analysis were used to confirm that PspF/RpoN-independent gene expression does originate within the psp locus. Molecular genetic approaches were used to systematically analyse the two large non-coding regions within the psp locus. Primer extension, control region deletion and site-directed mutagenesis experiments led to the identification of RpoN-independent promoters both upstream and downstream of pspA. The precise location of the PspF/RpoN-dependent promoter upstream of pspA was also determined. The discovery of these RpoN-independent promoters reveals yet another level of transcriptional complexity for the Y. enterocolitica pspA operon that may function to allow low-level constitutive expression of psp genes and/or additional regulation under some conditions.
A synthetic promoter library (SPL) for Lactobacillus plantarum has been developed, which generalizes the approach for obtaining synthetic promoters. The consensus sequence, derived from rRNA promoters extracted from the L. plantarum WCFS1 genome, was kept constant, and the non-consensus sequences were randomized. Construction of the SPL was performed in a vector (pSIP409) previously developed for high-level, inducible gene expression in L. plantarum and Lactobacillus sakei. A wide range of promoter strengths was obtained with the approach, covering 3–4 logs of expression levels in small increments of activity. The SPL was evaluated for the ability to drive β-glucuronidase (GusA) and aminopeptidase N (PepN) expression. Protein production from the synthetic promoters was constitutive, and the most potent promoters gave high protein production with levels comparable to those of native rRNA promoters, and production of PepN protein corresponding to approximately 10–15 % of the total cellular protein. High correlation was obtained between the activities of promoters when tested in L. sakei and L. plantarum, which indicates the potential of the SPL for other Lactobacillus species. The SPL enables fine-tuning of stable gene expression for various applications in L. plantarum.
5-Methyl cytosine (m5C) was detected in genomic DNA of the enteric pathogen Vibrio cholerae by HPLC analysis and immunoblotting with m5C-specific antibody. Although cleavage with the restriction endonuclease EcoRII revealed the absence of a Dcm homologue in V. cholerae, analysis of the genome sequence indicated the presence of a gene, designated in this study as vchM, which encodes a DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase (m5C-MTase) designated M.Vch. M.Vch is not associated with a restriction endonuclease or a mismatch very short patch repair (Vsr)-like endonuclease and is hence an ‘orphan’ or solitary MTase, although analysis of a phylogenetic tree indicated that related cytosine MTases are all components of restriction-modification systems. M.Vch recognizes and methylates the first 5′ C in the degenerate sequence 5′-RCCGGY-3′. RT-PCR analysis suggested that vchM gene expression is increased during the stationary phase of growth. During stationary phase, the spontaneous mutation frequency in the V. cholerae wild-type strain was significantly higher than in the corresponding vchM mutant strain, suggesting that the presence of M.Vch and the absence of a very short patch (VSP) repair-like system imposes upon V. cholerae a mutator phenotype.
The NADP(H)-dependent enzymes glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) and ferredoxin(flavodoxin)-NADP(H) reductase (FPR), encoded by the zwf and fpr genes, respectively, are committed members of the soxRS regulatory system involved in superoxide resistance in Escherichia coli. Exposure of E. coli cells to the superoxide propagator methyl viologen (MV) led to rapid accumulation of G6PDH, while FPR was induced after a lag period of several minutes. Bacteria expressing G6PDH from a multicopy plasmid accumulated higher NADPH levels and displayed a protracted soxRS response, whereas FPR build-up had the opposite effects. Inactivation of either of the two genes resulted in enhanced sensitivity to MV killing, while further increases in the cellular content of FPR led to higher survival rates under oxidative conditions. In contrast, G6PDH accumulation over wild-type levels of expression failed to increase MV tolerance. G6PDH and FPR could act concertedly to deliver reducing equivalents from carbohydrates, via NADP+, to the FPR acceptors ferredoxin and/or flavodoxin. To evaluate whether this electron-transport system could mediate reductive repair reactions, the pathway was reconstituted in vitro from purified components; the reconstituted system was found to be functional in reactivation of oxidatively damaged iron–sulfur clusters of hydro-lyases such as aconitase and 6-phosphogluconate dehydratase. Recovery of these activities after oxidative challenge was faster and more extensive in transformed bacteria overexpressing FPR than in wild-type cells, indicating that the reductase could sustain hydro-lyase repair in vivo. However, FPR-deficient mutants were still able to fix iron–sulfur clusters at significant rates, suggesting that back-up routes for ferredoxin and/or flavodoxin reduction might be called into action to rescue inactivated enzymes when FPR is absent.
The majority of Escherichia coli strains isolated from urinary tract infections have the potential to express multiple fimbriae. Two of the most common fimbrial adhesins are type 1 fimbriae and pyelonephritis-associated pili (Pap). Previous research has shown that induced, plasmid-based expression of a Pap regulator, papB, and its close homologues can prevent inversion of the fim switch controlling the expression of type 1 fimbriae. The aim of the present study was to determine if this cross-regulation occurs when PapB is expressed from its native promoter in the chromosome of E. coli K-12 and clinical isolates. The regulation was examined in three ways: (1) mutated alleles of the pap regulatory region, including papB and papI, that maintain the pap promoter in either the off or the on phase were exchanged into the chromosome of both E. coli K-12 and the clinical isolate E. coli CFT073, and the effect on type 1 fimbrial expression was measured; (2) type 1 fimbrial expression was determined using a novel fimS : : gfp + reporter system in mutants of the clinical isolate E. coli 536 in which combinations of complete fimbrial clusters had been deleted; (3) type 1 fimbrial expression was determined in a range of clinical isolates and compared with both the number of P clusters and their expression. All three approaches demonstrated that P expression represses type 1 fimbrial expression. Using a number of novel genetic approaches, this work extends the initial finding that PapB inhibits FimB recombination to the impact of this regulation in clinical isolates.
Bacterial fructosyltransferase (FTF) enzymes synthesize fructan polymers from sucrose. FTFs catalyse two different reactions, depending on the nature of the acceptor, resulting in: (i) transglycosylation, when the growing fructan chain (polymerization), or mono- and oligosaccharides (oligosaccharide synthesis), are used as the acceptor substrate; (ii) hydrolysis, when water is used as the acceptor. Lactobacillus reuteri 121 levansucrase (Lev) and inulosucrase (Inu) enzymes are closely related at the amino acid sequence level (86 % similarity). Also, the eight amino acid residues known to be involved in catalysis and/or sucrose binding are completely conserved. Nevertheless, these enzymes differ markedly in their reaction and product specificities, i.e. in β(2→6)- versus β(2→1)-glycosidic-bond specificity (resulting in levan and inulin synthesis, respectively), and in the ratio of hydrolysis versus transglycosylation activities [resulting in glucose and fructooligosaccharides (FOSs)/polymer synthesis, respectively]. The authors report a detailed characterization of the transglycosylation reaction products synthesized by the Lb. reuteri 121 Lev and Inu enzymes from sucrose and related oligosaccharide substrates. Lev mainly converted sucrose into a large levan polymer (processive reaction), whereas Inu synthesized mainly a broad range of FOSs of the inulin type (non-processive reaction). Interestingly, the two FTF enzymes were also able to utilize various inulin-type FOSs (1-kestose, 1,1-nystose and 1,1,1-kestopentaose) as substrates, catalysing a disproportionation reaction; to the best of our knowledge, this has not been reported for bacterial FTF enzymes. Based on these data, a model is proposed for the organization of the sugar-binding subsites in the two Lb. reuteri 121 FTF enzymes. This model also explains the catalytic mechanism of the enzymes, and differences in their product specificities.