Quorum sensing (QS)-dependent biofilm formation and motility were controlled by AqsR in Acinetobacter oleivorans DR1. QS-controlled phenotypes appeared to be inhibited by indole and the aqsR mutant had the same phenotypes. We demonstrated that the turnover rate of AqsR became more rapid without the N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) signal, and that indole could increase the expression of many protease and chaperone proteins. The addition of exogenous indole decreased the expression of two AqsR-targeted genes: AOLE_03905 (putative surface adhesion protein) and AOLE_11355 (l-asparaginase). The overexpression of AqsR in Escherichia coli was impossible with the indole treatment. Surprisingly, our [35S]methionine pulse-labelling data demonstrated that the stability and folding of AqsR protein decreased in the presence of indole without changing aqsR mRNA expression in E. coli. Interestingly, indole resulted in a loss of TraR-dependent traG expression in an Agrobacterium tumefaciens indicator strain. However, when indole was added after incubation with exogenous AHL, indole could not inhibit the TraR-dependent expression of the traG promoter. This indicated that AHL-bound TraR could be protective against indole, but TraR without AHL could not be active in the presence of indole. Here, we provided evidence for the first time showing that the indole effect on QS-controlled bacterial phenotypes is due to inhibited QS regulator folding and not a reduced QS signal.
In phototrophic sulfur bacteria, sulfite is a well-established intermediate during reduced sulfur compound oxidation. Sulfite is generated in the cytoplasm by the reverse-acting dissimilatory sulfite reductase DsrAB. Many purple sulfur bacteria can even use externally available sulfite as a photosynthetic electron donor. Nevertheless, the exact mode of sulfite oxidation in these organisms is a long-standing enigma. Indirect oxidation in the cytoplasm via adenosine-5′-phosphosulfate (APS) catalysed by APS reductase and ATP sulfurylase is neither generally present nor essential. The inhibition of sulfite oxidation by tungstate in the model organism Allochromatium vinosum indicated the involvement of a molybdoenzyme, but homologues of the periplasmic molybdopterin-containing SorAB or SorT sulfite dehydrogenases are not encoded in genome-sequenced purple or green sulfur bacteria. However, genes for a membrane-bound polysulfide reductase-like iron–sulfur molybdoprotein (SoeABC) are universally present. The catalytic subunit of the protein is predicted to be oriented towards the cytoplasm. We compared the sulfide- and sulfite-oxidizing capabilities of A. vinosum WT with single mutants deficient in SoeABC or APS reductase and the respective double mutant, and were thus able to prove that SoeABC is the major sulfite-oxidizing enzyme in A. vinosum and probably also in other phototrophic sulfur bacteria. The genes also occur in a large number of chemotrophs, indicating a general importance of SoeABC for sulfite oxidation in the cytoplasm. Furthermore, we showed that the periplasmic sulfur substrate-binding protein SoxYZ is needed in parallel to the cytoplasmic enzymes for effective sulfite oxidation in A. vinosum and provided a model for the interplay between these systems despite their localization in different cellular compartments.
Acquisition of iron from key innate immune defence proteins such as transferrin (Tf) and lactoferrin is an important mechanism by which pathogenic bacteria obtain essential iron for growth within their host. Bacterial species that do not produce siderophores often use specific Tf-binding proteins, the best characterized being the Neisseriaceae-type Tf-binding proteins TbpA and TbpB. Previous work from our laboratory has shown that siderophore-producing enteric species such as Escherichia coli also readily bind Tf, although no genomic evidence exists for Tbp-like Tf-binding proteins. Application of proteomic analyses and molecular mutagenesis strategies to an enteropathogenic E. coli identified the OmpA and OmpC porins as Tf-binding proteins. Mutagenesis of the ompA or ompC genes affected E. coli Tf binding and, furthermore, compromised the ability of the ompA mutant to respond to growth promotion by certain catecholamine stress hormones. Evidence was also found to implicate the OmpA porin as an entry point for catecholamine stress hormones. Further proteomic analyses in other bacterial pathogens revealed wide-scale involvement of porins in Tf binding: Salmonella typhimurium (OmpC), and Shigella sonnei, Shigella flexneri and Shigella boydii (OmpC and/or OmpA). This study shows that in addition to their existing housekeeping functions, the Gram-negative porin family of proteins can also act as Tf-capture proteins for those bacteria that lack the classical Neisseriaceae-type Tf-binding proteins.
Corynebacterium glutamicum, a Gram-positive soil bacterium belonging to the actinomycetes, is able to degrade formaldehyde but the enzyme(s) involved in this detoxification process were not known. Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase Ald, which is essential for ethanol utilization, and FadH, characterized here as NAD-linked mycothiol-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase, were shown to be responsible for formaldehyde oxidation since a mutant lacking ald and fadH could not oxidize formaldehyde resulting in the inability to grow when formaldehyde was added to the medium. Moreover, C. glutamicum ΔaldΔfadH did not grow with vanillate, a carbon source giving rise to intracellular formaldehyde. FadH from C. glutamicum was purified from recombinant Escherichia coli and shown to be active as a homotetramer. Mycothiol-dependent formaldehyde oxidation revealed K m values of 0.6 mM for mycothiol and 4.3 mM for formaldehyde and a V max of 7.7 U mg−1. FadH from C. glutamicum also possesses zinc-dependent, but mycothiol-independent alcohol dehydrogenase activity with a preference for short chain primary alcohols such as ethanol (K m = 330 mM, V max = 9.6 U mg−1), 1-propanol (K m = 150 mM, V max = 5 U mg−1) and 1-butanol (K m = 50 mM, V max = 0.8 U mg−1). Formaldehyde detoxification system by Ald and mycothiol-dependent FadH is essential for tolerance of C. glutamicum to external stress by free formaldehyde in its habitat and for growth with natural substrates like vanillate, which are metabolized with concomitant release of formaldehyde.
Cytoplasmic membranes of the strictly anaerobic sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough contain two terminal oxygen reductases, a bd quinol oxidase and a cc(b/o)o 3 cytochrome oxidase (Cox). Viability assays pointed out that single Δbd, Δcox and double ΔbdΔcox deletion mutant strains were more sensitive to oxygen exposure than the WT strain, showing the involvement of these oxygen reductases in the detoxification of oxygen. The Δcox strain was slightly more sensitive than the Δbd strain, pointing to the importance of the cc(b/o)o 3 cytochrome oxidase in oxygen protection. Decreased O2 reduction rates were measured in mutant cells and membranes using lactate, NADH, ubiquinol and menadiol as substrates. The affinity for oxygen measured with the bd quinol oxidase (K m, 300 nM) was higher than that of the cc(b/o)o3 cytochrome oxidase (K m, 620 nM). The total membrane activity of the bd quinol oxidase was higher than that of the cytochrome oxidase activity in line with the higher expression of the bd oxidase genes. In addition, analysis of the ΔbdΔcox mutant strain indicated the presence of at least one O2-scavenging membrane-bound system able to reduce O2 with menaquinol as electron donor with an O2 affinity that was two orders of magnitude lower than that of the bd quinol oxidase. The lower O2 reductase activity in mutant cells with hydrogen as electron donor and the use of specific inhibitors indicated an electron transfer link between periplasmic H2 oxidation and membrane-bound oxygen reduction via the menaquinol pool. This linkage is crucial in defence of the strictly anaerobic bacterium Desulfovibrio against oxygen stress.
Zymomonas mobilis, an ethanol-producing bacterium, possesses the Entner–Doudoroff (E-D) pathway, pyruvate decarboxylase and two alcohol dehydrogenase isoenzymes for the fermentative production of ethanol and carbon dioxide from glucose. Using available kinetic parameters, we have developed a kinetic model that incorporates the enzymic reactions of the E-D pathway, both alcohol dehydrogenases, transport reactions and reactions related to ATP metabolism. After optimizing the reaction parameters within likely physiological limits, the resulting kinetic model was capable of simulating glycolysis in vivo and in cell-free extracts with good agreement with the fluxes and steady-state intermediate concentrations reported in previous experimental studies. In addition, the model is shown to be consistent with experimental results for the coupled response of ATP concentration and glycolytic flux to ATPase inhibition. Metabolic control analysis of the model revealed that the majority of flux control resides not inside, but outside the E-D pathway itself, predominantly in ATP consumption, demonstrating why past attempts to increase the glycolytic flux through overexpression of glycolytic enzymes have been unsuccessful. Co-response analysis indicates how homeostasis of ATP concentrations starts to deteriorate markedly at the highest glycolytic rates. This kinetic model has potential for application in Z. mobilis metabolic engineering and, since there are currently no E-D pathway models available in public databases, it can serve as a basis for the development of models for other micro-organisms possessing this type of glycolytic pathway.