Publications

2019
Mitchell, Angela M, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Envelope stress responses: balancing damage repair and toxicity”. Nat Rev Microbiol 17.7 (2019): , 17, 7, 417-428. Web.Abstract
The Gram-negative envelope is a complex structure that consists of the inner membrane, the periplasm, peptidoglycan and the outer membrane, and protects the bacterial cell from the environment. Changing environmental conditions can cause damage, which triggers the envelope stress responses to maintain cellular homeostasis. In this Review, we explore the causes, both environmental and intrinsic, of envelope stress, as well as the cellular stress response pathways that counter these stresses. Furthermore, we discuss the damage to the cell that occurs when these pathways are aberrantly activated either in the absence of stress or to an excessive degree. Finally, we review the mechanisms whereby the σ response constantly acts to prevent cell death caused by highly toxic unfolded outer membrane proteins. Together, the recent work that we discuss has provided insights that emphasize the necessity for proper levels of stress response activation and the detrimental consequences that can occur in the absence of proper regulation.
Hart, Elizabeth M, et al.A small-molecule inhibitor of BamA impervious to efflux and the outer membrane permeability barrier”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116.43 (2019): , 116, 43, 21748-21757. Web.Abstract
The development of new antimicrobial drugs is a priority to combat the increasing spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria. This development is especially problematic in gram-negative bacteria due to the outer membrane (OM) permeability barrier and multidrug efflux pumps. Therefore, we screened for compounds that target essential, nonredundant, surface-exposed processes in gram-negative bacteria. We identified a compound, MRL-494, that inhibits assembly of OM proteins (OMPs) by the β-barrel assembly machine (BAM complex). The BAM complex contains one essential surface-exposed protein, BamA. We constructed a mutagenesis library, screened for resistance to MRL-494, and identified the mutation BamA restores OMP biogenesis in the presence of MRL-494. The mutant protein has both altered conformation and activity, suggesting it could either inhibit MRL-494 binding or allow BamA to function in the presence of MRL-494. By cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA), we determined that MRL-494 stabilizes BamA and BamA from thermally induced aggregation, indicating direct or proximal binding to both BamA and BamA Thus, it is the altered activity of BamA responsible for resistance to MRL-494. Strikingly, MRL-494 possesses a second mechanism of action that kills gram-positive organisms. In microbes lacking an OM, MRL-494 lethally disrupts the cytoplasmic membrane. We suggest that the compound cannot disrupt the cytoplasmic membrane of gram-negative bacteria because it cannot penetrate the OM. Instead, MRL-494 inhibits OMP biogenesis from outside the OM by targeting BamA. The identification of a small molecule that inhibits OMP biogenesis at the cell surface represents a distinct class of antibacterial agents.
Hart, Elizabeth M, et al.Fine-Tuning of σ Activation Suppresses Multiple Assembly-Defective Mutations in Escherichia coli”. J Bacteriol 201.11 (2019). Web.Abstract
The Gram-negative outer membrane (OM) is a selectively permeable asymmetric bilayer that allows vital nutrients to diffuse into the cell but prevents toxins and hydrophobic molecules from entering. Functionally and structurally diverse β-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs) build and maintain the permeability barrier, making the assembly of OMPs crucial for cell viability. In this work, we characterize an assembly-defective mutant of the maltoporin LamB, LamB We show that the folding defect of LamB results in an accumulation of unfolded substrate that is toxic to the cell when the periplasmic protease DegP is removed. Selection for suppressors of this toxicity identified the novel mutant allele. The mutant DegS protein contains an amino acid substitution at the PDZ/protease domain interface that results in a partially activated conformation of this protein. This activation increases basal levels of downstream σ stress response signaling. Furthermore, the enhanced σ activity of DegS suppresses a number of other assembly-defective conditions without exhibiting the toxicity associated with high levels of σ activity. We propose that the increased basal levels of σ signaling primes the cell to respond to envelope stress before OMP assembly defects threaten cell viability. This finding addresses the importance of envelope stress responses in monitoring the OMP assembly process and underpins the critical balance between envelope defects and stress response activation. Gram-negative bacteria, such as , inhabit a natural environment that is prone to flux. In order to cope with shifting growth conditions and the changing availability of nutrients, cells must be capable of quickly responding to stress. Stress response pathways allow cells to rapidly shift gene expression profiles to ensure survival in this unpredictable environment. Here we describe a mutant that partially activates the σ stress response pathway. The elevated basal level of this stress response allows the cell to quickly respond to overwhelming stress to ensure cell survival.
Silhavy, Thomas J, and Angela M Mitchell. “Genetic Analysis of Protein Translocation”. Protein J (2019). Web.Abstract
Cells in all domains of life must translocate newly synthesized proteins both across membranes and into membranes. In eukaryotes, proteins are translocated into the lumen of the ER or the ER membrane. In prokaryotes, proteins are translocated into the cytoplasmic membrane or through the membrane into the periplasm for Gram-negative bacteria or the extracellular space for Gram-positive bacteria. Much of what we know about protein translocation was learned through genetic selections and screens utilizing lacZ gene fusions in Escherichia coli. This review covers the basic principles of protein translocation and how they were discovered and developed. In particular, we discuss how lacZ gene fusions and the phenotypes conferred were exploited to identify the genes involved in protein translocation and provide insights into their mechanisms of action. These approaches, which allowed the elucidation of processes that are conserved throughout the domains of life, illustrate the power of seemingly simple experiments.
Ricci, Dante P, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Outer Membrane Protein Insertion by the β-barrel Assembly Machine”. EcoSal Plus 82 (2019). Web.Abstract
Like all outer membrane (OM) constituents, integral OM β-barrel proteins in Gram-negative bacteria are synthesized in the cytoplasm and trafficked to the OM, where they are locally assembled into the growing OM by the ubiquitous β-barrel assembly machine (Bam). While the identities and structures of all essential and accessory Bam components have been determined, the basic mechanism of Bam-assisted OM protein integration remains elusive. Here we review mechanistic analyses of OM β-barrel protein folding and Bam dynamics and summarize recent insights that inform a general model for OM protein recognition and assembly by the Bam complex.
Hart, Elizabeth M, et al.The Synthetic Phenotype of Δ Δ Double Mutants Results from a Lethal Jamming of the Bam Complex by the Lipoprotein RcsF”. MBio 10.3 (2019). Web.Abstract
The selective permeability of the Gram-negative outer membrane (OM) is maintained by integral β-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs). The heteropentomeric β-barrel assembly machine (Bam) folds and inserts OMPs into the OM. Coordination of the essential proteins BamA and BamD is critical for OMP assembly and therefore the viability of the cell. The role of the nonessential lipoproteins BamBCE has yet to be characterized; however, genetic evidence suggests that they have nonoverlapping roles in OMP assembly. In this work, we quantify changes of the proteome in the conditional lethal Δ Δ double mutant. We show that cells lacking BamB and BamE have a global OMP defect that is a result of a lethal obstruction of an assembly-competent Bam complex by the lipoprotein RcsF. RcsF is a stress-sensing lipoprotein that is threaded through the lumen of abundant β-barrel OMPs by the Bam complex to expose the amino terminus on the cell surface. We demonstrate that simply removing this lipoprotein corrects the severe OMP assembly defect of the double mutant nearly as efficiently as a previously isolated suppressor mutation in We propose that BamB and BamE play crucial, nonoverlapping roles to coordinate the activities of BamA and BamD during OMP biogenesis. Protein assembly into lipid bilayers is an essential process that ensures the viability of diverse organisms. In Gram-negative bacteria, the heteropentomeric β-barrel assembly machine (Bam) folds and inserts proteins into the outer membrane. Due to its essentiality, outer membrane protein (OMP) assembly by the Bam complex is an attractive target for antibiotic development. Here, we show that the conditional lethal phenotype of a mutant lacking two of the three nonessential lipoproteins, BamB and BamE, is caused by lethal jamming of the stripped-down Bam complex by a normally surface-exposed lipoprotein, RcsF. The heterotrimeric Bam complex (BamA, BamD, BamC) is nearly as efficient as the wild-type complex in OMP assembly if RcsF is removed. Our study highlights the importance of BamB and BamE in regulating the interaction between BamA and BamD and expands our understanding of the role of the Bam complex in outer membrane biogenesis.
2018
Mitchell, Angela M, Tharan Srikumar, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Cyclic Enterobacterial Common Antigen Maintains the Outer Membrane Permeability Barrier of Escherichia coli in a Manner Controlled by YhdP”. MBio 94 (2018). Web.Abstract
Gram-negative bacteria have an outer membrane (OM) impermeable to many toxic compounds that can be further strengthened during stress. In , the envelope contains enterobacterial common antigen (ECA), a carbohydrate-derived moiety conserved throughout , the function of which is poorly understood. Previously, we identified several genes in K-12 responsible for an RpoS-dependent decrease in envelope permeability during carbon-limited stationary phase. For one of these, , a gene of unknown function, deletion causes high levels of both vancomycin and detergent sensitivity, independent of growth phase. We isolated spontaneous suppressor mutants of with loss-of-function mutations in the ECA biosynthesis operon. ECA biosynthesis gene deletions suppressed envelope permeability from deletion independently of envelope stress responses and interactions with other biosynthesis pathways, demonstrating suppression is caused directly by removing ECA. Furthermore, deletion changed cellular ECA levels and was found to co-occur phylogenetically with the ECA biosynthesis operon. Cells make three forms of ECA: ECA lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an ECA chain linked to LPS core; ECA phosphatidylglycerol, a surface-exposed ECA chain linked to phosphatidylglycerol; and cyclic ECA, a cyclized soluble ECA molecule found in the periplasm. We determined that the suppression of envelope permeability with deletion is caused specifically by the loss of cyclic ECA, despite lowered levels of this molecule found with deletion. Furthermore, removing cyclic ECA from wild-type cells also caused changes to OM permeability. Our data demonstrate cyclic ECA acts to maintain the OM permeability barrier in a manner controlled by YhdP. Enterobacterial common antigen (ECA) is a surface antigen made by all members of , including many clinically relevant genera (e.g., , , ). Although this surface-exposed molecule is conserved throughout , very few functions have been ascribed to it. Here, we have determined that the periplasmic form of ECA, cyclic ECA, plays a role in maintaining the outer membrane permeability barrier. This activity is controlled by a protein of unknown function, YhdP, and deletion of damages the OM permeability barrier in a cyclic ECA-dependent manner, allowing harmful molecules such as antibiotics into the cell. This role in maintenance of the envelope permeability barrier is the first time a phenotype has been described for cyclic ECA. As the Gram-negative envelope is generally impermeable to antibiotics, understanding the mechanisms through which the barrier is maintained and antibiotics are excluded may lead to improved antibiotic delivery.
Konovalova, Anna, et al.Inhibitor of intramembrane protease RseP blocks the σ response causing lethal accumulation of unfolded outer membrane proteins”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2018). Web.Abstract
The outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria forms a robust permeability barrier that blocks entry of toxins and antibiotics. Most OM proteins (OMPs) assume a β-barrel fold, and some form aqueous channels for nutrient uptake and efflux of intracellular toxins. The Bam machine catalyzes rapid folding and assembly of OMPs. Fidelity of OMP biogenesis is monitored by the σ stress response. When OMP folding defects arise, the proteases DegS and RseP act sequentially to liberate σ into the cytosol, enabling it to activate transcription of the stress regulon. Here, we identify batimastat as a selective inhibitor of RseP that causes a lethal decrease in σ activity in , and we further identify RseP mutants that are insensitive to inhibition and confer resistance. Remarkably, batimastat treatment allows the capture of elusive intermediates in the OMP biogenesis pathway and offers opportunities to better understand the underlying basis for σ essentiality.
May, Kerrie L, and Thomas J Silhavy. “The Phospholipase PldA Regulates Outer Membrane Homeostasis via Lipid Signaling”. MBio 92 (2018). Web.Abstract
The outer membrane (OM) bilayer of Gram-negative bacteria is biologically unique in its asymmetrical organization of lipids, with an inner leaflet composed of glycerophospholipids (PLs) and a surface-exposed outer leaflet composed of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). This lipid organization is integral to the OM's barrier properties. Perturbations of the outer leaflet by antimicrobial peptides or defects in LPS biosynthesis or transport to the OM cause a compensatory flipping of PLs to the outer leaflet. As a result, lipid asymmetry is disrupted and OM integrity is compromised. Recently, we identified an mutant that exhibits aberrant accumulation of surface PLs accompanied by a cellular increase in LPS production. Remarkably, the observed hyperproduction of LPS is PldA dependent. Here we provide evidence that the fatty acids generated by PldA at the OM are transported into the cytoplasm and simultaneously activated by thioesterification to coenzyme A (CoA) by FadD. The acyl-CoAs produced ultimately inhibit LpxC degradation by FtsH. The increased levels of LpxC, the enzyme that catalyzes the first committed step in LPS biosynthesis, increases the amount of LPS produced. Our data suggest that PldA acts as a sensor for lipid asymmetry in the OM. PldA protects the OM barrier by both degrading mislocalized PLs and generating lipid second messengers that enable long-distance signaling that prompts the cell to restore homeostasis at a distant organelle. The outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria is an effective permeability barrier that protects the cell from toxic agents, including antibiotics. Barrier defects are often manifested by phospholipids present in the outer leaflet of this membrane that take up space normally occupied by lipopolysaccharide. We have discovered a signaling mechanism that operates across the entire cell envelope used by the cell to detect these outer membrane defects. A phospholipase, PldA, that functions to degrade these mislocalized phospholipids has a second, equally important function as a sensor. The fatty acids produced by hydrolysis of the phospholipids act as second messengers to signal the cell that more lipopolysaccharide is needed. These fatty acids diffuse across the periplasm and are transported into the cytoplasm by a process that attaches coenzyme A. The acyl-CoA molecule produces signals to inhibit the degradation of the critical enzyme LpxC by the ATP-dependent protease FtsH, increasing lipopolysaccharide production.
Lee, James, et al.Substrate binding to BamD triggers a conformational change in BamA to control membrane insertion”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115.10 (2018): , 115, 10, 2359-2364. Web.Abstract
The β-barrel assembly machine (Bam) complex folds and inserts integral membrane proteins into the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. The two essential components of the complex, BamA and BamD, both interact with substrates, but how the two coordinate with each other during assembly is not clear. To elucidate aspects of this process we slowed the assembly of an essential β-barrel substrate of the Bam complex, LptD, by changing a conserved residue near the C terminus. This defective substrate is recruited to the Bam complex via BamD but is unable to integrate into the membrane efficiently. Changes in the extracellular loops of BamA partially restore assembly kinetics, implying that BamA fails to engage this defective substrate. We conclude that substrate binding to BamD activates BamA by regulating extracellular loop interactions for folding and membrane integration.
2017
Armitage, Judith P, et al.Classic Spotlights: Selected Highlights from the First 100 Years of the ”. J Bacteriol 199.13 (2017). Web.
McCabe, Anne L, et al.Conformational Changes That Coordinate the Activity of BamA and BamD Allowing β-Barrel Assembly”. J Bacteriol 199.20 (2017). Web.Abstract
Most integral outer membrane proteins (OMPs) of Gram-negative bacteria, such as, assume a β-barrel structure. The β-barrel assembly machine (Bam), a five-member complex composed of β-barrel OMP BamA and four associated lipoproteins, BamB, BamC, BamD, and BamE, folds and inserts OMPs into the outer membrane. The two essential proteins BamA and BamD interact to stabilize two subcomplexes, BamAB and BamCDE, and genetic and structural evidence suggests that interactions between BamA and BamD occur via an electrostatic interaction between a conserved aspartate residue in a periplasmic domain of BamA and a conserved arginine in BamD. In this work, we characterize charge-change mutations at these key BamA and BamD residues and nearby charged residues in BamA with respect to OMP assembly and Bam complex stability. We show that Bam complex stability does not correlate with function, that BamA and BamD must adopt at least two active conformational states during OMP assembly, and that these charged residues are not required for function. Rather, these charged residues are important for coordinating the activities of BamA and BamD to allow efficient OMP assembly. We present a model of OMP assembly wherein recognition and binding of unfolded OMP substrate by BamA and BamD induce a signaling interaction between the two proteins, causing conformational changes necessary for the assembly reaction to proceed. By analogy to signal sequence recognition by SecYEG, we believe these BamA-BamD interactions ensure that both substrate and complex are competent for OMP assembly before the assembly reaction commences.Conformational changes in the proteins of the β-barrel assembly machine (Bam complex) are associated with the folding and assembly of outer membrane proteins (OMPs) in Gram-negative bacteria. We show that electrostatic interactions between the two essential proteins BamA and BamD coordinate conformational changes upon binding of unfolded substrate that allow the assembly reaction to proceed. Mutations affecting this interaction are lethal not because they destabilize the Bam complex but rather because they disrupt this coordination. Our model of BamA-BamD interactions regulating conformation in response to proper substrate interaction is reminiscent of conformational changes the secretory (Sec) machinery undergoes after signal sequence recognition that ensure protein quality control.
Konovalova, Anna, Daniel E Kahne, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Outer Membrane Biogenesis”. Annu Rev Microbiol 71 (2017): , 71, 539-556. Web.Abstract
The hallmark of gram-negative bacteria and organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts is the presence of an outer membrane. In bacteria such as Escherichia coli, the outer membrane is a unique asymmetric lipid bilayer with lipopolysaccharide in the outer leaflet. Integral transmembrane proteins assume a β-barrel structure, and their assembly is catalyzed by the heteropentameric Bam complex containing the outer membrane protein BamA and four lipoproteins, BamB-E. How the Bam complex assembles a great diversity of outer membrane proteins into a membrane without an obvious energy source is a particularly challenging problem, because folding intermediates are predicted to be unstable in either an aqueous or a hydrophobic environment. Two models have been put forward: the budding model, based largely on structural data, and the BamA assisted model, based on genetic and biochemical studies. Here we offer a critical discussion of the pros and cons of each.
Rowland, Elizabeth A, et al.Sirtuin Lipoamidase Activity Is Conserved in Bacteria as a Regulator of Metabolic Enzyme Complexes”. MBio 85 (2017). Web.Abstract
Lipoic acid is an essential metabolic cofactor added as a posttranslational modification on several multimeric enzyme complexes. These protein complexes, evolutionarily conserved from bacteria to humans, are core regulators of cellular metabolism. While the multistep enzymatic process of adding lipoyl modifications has been well characterized in, the enzyme required for the removal of these lipoyl moieties (i.e., a lipoamidase or delipoylase) has not yet been identified. Here, we describe our discovery of sirtuins as lipoamidases in bacteria and establish their conserved substrates. Specifically, by using a series of knockout, overexpression, biochemical,, proteomic, and functional assays, we determined the substrates of sirtuin CobB inas components of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (KDH), and glycine cleavage (GCV) complexes.assays provided direct evidence for this specific CobB activity and its NADdependence, a signature of all sirtuins. By designing a targeted quantitative mass spectrometry method, we further measured sirtuin-dependent, site-specific lipoylation on these substrates. The biological significance of CobB-modulated lipoylation was next established by its inhibition of both PDH and KDH activities. By restricting the carbon sources available to, we demonstrated that CobB regulates PDH and KDH under several growth conditions. Additionally, we found that SrtN, the sirtuin homolog in Gram-positive, can also act as a lipoamidase. By demonstrating the evolutionary conservation of lipoamidase activity across sirtuin homologs, along with the conservation of common substrates, this work emphasizes the significance of protein lipoylation in regulating central metabolic processes.Here, we demonstrate that sirtuin lipoamidase activity exists in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and establishing its conservation from bacteria to humans. Specifically, we discovered that CobB and SrtN act as lipoamidases inand, respectively. Intriguingly, not only is this sirtuin enzymatic activity conserved, but also the lipoylated substrates and functions are conserved, as bacterial sirtuins negatively regulate the lipoylation levels and activities of PDH and KDH. Considering that PDH and KDH regulate two carbon entry points into the tricarboxylic acid cycle, our finding highlights lipoylation as a conserved molecular toggle that regulates central metabolic pathways. Indeed, our findings from tests in which we limited nutrient availability support this. Furthermore, this study illustrates how the integration of technologies from different disciplines provides avenues to uncover enzymatic activities at the core of cellular metabolism regulation.
Soltes, Garner R, et al.Distinctive Roles for Periplasmic Proteases in the Maintenance of Essential Outer Membrane Protein Assembly”. J Bacteriol 199.20 (2017). Web.Abstract
Outer membrane protein (OMP) biogenesis inis a robust process essential to the life of the organism. It is catalyzed by the β-barrel assembly machine (Bam) complex, and a number of quality control factors, including periplasmic chaperones and proteases, maintain the integrity of this trafficking pathway. Little is known, however, about how periplasmic proteases recognize and degrade OMP substrates when assembly is compromised or whether different proteases recognize the same substrate at distinct points in the assembly pathway. In this work, we use well-defined assembly-defective mutants of LptD, the essential lipopolysaccharide assembly translocon, to show that the periplasmic protease DegP degrades substrates with assembly defects that prevent or impair initial contact with Bam, causing the mutant protein to accumulate in the periplasm. In contrast, another periplasmic protease, BepA, degrades a LptD mutant substrate that has engaged the Bam complex and formed a nearly complete barrel. Furthermore, we describe the role of the outer membrane lipoprotein YcaL, a protease of heretofore unknown function, in the degradation of a LptD substrate that has engaged the Bam complex but is stalled at an earlier step in the assembly process that is not accessible to BepA. Our results demonstrate that multiple periplasmic proteases monitor OMPs at distinct points in the assembly process.OMP assembly is catalyzed by the essential Bam complex and occurs in a cellular environment devoid of energy sources. Assembly intermediates that misfold can compromise this essential molecular machine. Here we demonstrate distinctive roles for three different periplasmic proteases that can clear OMP substrates with folding defects that compromise assembly at three different stages. These quality control factors help ensure the integrity of the permeability barrier that contributes to the intrinsic resistance of Gram-negative organisms to many antibiotics.
Silhavy, Thomas J. “2016 Jack Kenney Award for Outstanding Service.”. J Bacteriol 199.1 (2017). Web.
Grabowicz, Marcin, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Envelope Stress Responses: An Interconnected Safety Net.”. Trends Biochem Sci 42.3 (2017): , 42, 3, 232-242. Web.Abstract
The Escherichia coli cell envelope is a protective barrier at the frontline of interaction with the environment. Fidelity of envelope biogenesis must be monitored to establish and maintain a contiguous barrier. Indeed, the envelope must also be repaired and modified in response to environmental assaults. Envelope stress responses (ESRs) sense envelope damage or defects and alter the transcriptome to mitigate stress. Here, we review recent insights into the stress-sensing mechanisms of the σ(E) and Cpx systems and the interaction of these ESRs. Small RNAs (sRNAs) are increasingly prominent regulators of the transcriptional response to stress. These fast-acting regulators also provide avenues for inter-ESR regulation that could be important when cells face multiple contemporaneous stresses, as is the case during infection.
May, Kerrie L, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Making a membrane on the other side of the wall”. Biochim Biophys Acta 1862.11 (2017): , 1862, 11, 1386-1393. Web.Abstract
The outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria is positioned at the frontline of the cell's interaction with its environment and provides a barrier against influx of external toxins while still allowing import of nutrients and excretion of wastes. It is a remarkable asymmetric bilayer with a glycolipid surface-exposed leaflet and a glycerophospholipid inner leaflet. Lipid asymmetry is key to OM barrier function and several different systems actively maintain this lipid asymmetry. All OM components are synthesized in the cytosol before being secreted and assembled into a contiguous membrane on the other side of the cell wall. Work in recent years has uncovered the pathways that transport and assemble most of the OM components. However, our understanding of how phospholipids are delivered to the OM remains notably limited. Here we will review seminal works in phospholipid transfer performed some 40years ago and place more recent insights in their context. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Bacterial Lipids edited by Russell E. Bishop.
Mitchell, Angela M, Wei Wang, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Novel RpoS-Dependent Mechanisms Strengthen the Envelope Permeability Barrier during Stationary Phase.”. J Bacteriol 199.2 (2017). Web.Abstract
Gram-negative bacteria have effective methods of excluding toxic compounds, including a largely impermeable outer membrane (OM) and a range of efflux pumps. Furthermore, when cells become nutrient limited, RpoS enacts a global expression change providing cross-protection against many stresses. Here, we utilized sensitivity to an anionic detergent (sodium dodecyl sulfate [SDS]) to probe changes occurring to the cell's permeability barrier during nutrient limitation. Escherichia coli is resistant to SDS whether cells are actively growing, carbon limited, or nitrogen limited. In actively growing cells, this resistance depends on the AcrAB-TolC efflux pump; however, this pump is not necessary for protection under either carbon-limiting or nitrogen-limiting conditions, suggesting an alternative mechanism(s) of SDS resistance. In carbon-limited cells, RpoS-dependent pathways lessen the permeability of the OM, preventing the necessity for efflux. In nitrogen-limited but not carbon-limited cells, the loss of rpoS can be completely compensated for by the AcrAB-TolC efflux pump. We suggest that this difference simply reflects the fact that nitrogen-limited cells have access to a metabolizable energy (carbon) source that can efficiently power the efflux pump. Using a transposon mutant pool sequencing (Tn-Seq) approach, we identified three genes, sanA, dacA, and yhdP, that are necessary for RpoS-dependent SDS resistance in carbon-limited stationary phase. Using genetic analysis, we determined that these genes are involved in two different envelope-strengthening pathways. These genes have not previously been implicated in stationary-phase stress responses. A third novel RpoS-dependent pathway appears to strengthen the cell's permeability barrier in nitrogen-limited cells. Thus, though cells remain phenotypically SDS resistant, SDS resistance mechanisms differ significantly between growth states. IMPORTANCE: Gram-negative bacteria are intrinsically resistant to detergents and many antibiotics due to synergistic activities of a strong outer membrane (OM) permeability barrier and efflux pumps that capture and expel toxic molecules eluding the barrier. When the bacteria are depleted of an essential nutrient, a program of gene expression providing cross-protection against many stresses is induced. Whether this program alters the OM to further strengthen the barrier is unknown. Here, we identify novel pathways dependent on the master regulator of stationary phase that further strengthen the OM permeability barrier during nutrient limitation, circumventing the need for efflux pumps. Decreased permeability of nutrient-limited cells to toxic compounds has important implications for designing new antibiotics capable of targeting Gram-negative bacteria that may be in a growth-limited state.
Grabowicz, Marcin, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Redefining the essential trafficking pathway for outer membrane lipoproteins.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114.18 (2017): , 114, 18, 4769-4774. Web.Abstract
The outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria is a permeability barrier and an intrinsic antibiotic resistance factor. Lipoproteins are OM components that function in cell wall synthesis, diverse secretion systems, and antibiotic efflux pumps. Moreover, each of the essential OM machines that assemble the barrier requires one or more lipoproteins. This dependence is thought to explain the essentiality of the periplasmic chaperone LolA and its OM receptor LolB that traffic lipoproteins to the OM. However, we show that in strains lacking substrates that are toxic when mislocalized, both LolA and LolB can be completely bypassed by activating an envelope stress response without compromising trafficking of essential lipoproteins. We identify the Cpx stress response as a monitor of lipoprotein trafficking tasked with protecting the cell from mislocalized lipoproteins. Moreover, our findings reveal that an alternate trafficking pathway exists that can, under certain conditions, bypass the functions of LolA and LolB, implying that these proteins do not perform any truly essential mechanistic steps in lipoprotein trafficking. Instead, these proteins' key function is to prevent lethal accumulation of mislocalized lipoproteins.
Silhavy, Thomas J. “State of the Journal.”. J Bacteriol 199.1 (2017). Web.
2016
Silhavy, Thomas J. “2015 Jack Kenney Award for Outstanding Service.”. J Bacteriol 198.1 (2016): , 198, 1, 4. Web.
Soltes, Garner R, et al.The Activity of Escherichia coli Chaperone SurA Is Regulated by Conformational Changes Involving a Parvulin Domain.”. J Bacteriol 198.6 (2016): , 198, 6, 921-9. Web.Abstract
UNLABELLED: The periplasmic chaperone SurA is critical for the biogenesis of outer membrane proteins (OMPs) and, thus, the maintenance of membrane integrity in Escherichia coli. The activity of this modular chaperone has been attributed to a core chaperone module, with only minor importance assigned to the two SurA peptidyl-prolyl isomerase (PPIase) domains. In this work, we used synthetic phenotypes and covalent tethering to demonstrate that the activity of SurA is regulated by its PPIase domains and, furthermore, that its activity is correlated with the conformational state of the chaperone. When combined with mutations in the β-barrel assembly machine (BAM), SurA mutations resulting in deletion of the second parvulin domain (P2) inhibit OMP assembly, suggesting that P2 is involved in the regulation of SurA. The first parvulin domain (P1) potentiates this autoinhibition, as mutations that covalently tether the P1 domain to the core chaperone module severely impair OMP assembly. Furthermore, these inhibitory mutations negate the suppression of and biochemically stabilize the protein specified by a well-characterized gain-of-function mutation in P1, demonstrating that SurA cycles between distinct conformational and functional states during the OMP assembly process. IMPORTANCE: This work reveals the reversible autoinhibition of the SurA chaperone imposed by a heretofore underappreciated parvulin domain. Many β-barrel-associated outer membrane (OM) virulence factors, including the P-pilus and type I fimbriae, rely on SurA for proper assembly; thus, a mechanistic understanding of SurA function and inhibition may facilitate antibiotic intervention against Gram-negative pathogens, such as uropathogenic Escherichia coli, E. coli O157:H7, Shigella, and Salmonella. In addition, SurA is important for the assembly of critical OM biogenesis factors, such as the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) transport machine, suggesting that specific targeting of SurA may provide a useful means to subvert the OM barrier.
Silhavy, Thomas J. “Classic Spotlight: a Very Pleiotropic Mutant.”. J Bacteriol 198.3 (2016): , 198, 3, 371. Web.
Silhavy, Thomas J. “Classic Spotlight: Gram-Negative Bacteria Have Two Membranes.”. J Bacteriol 198.2 (2016): , 198, 2, 201. Web.
Silhavy, Thomas J. “Classic Spotlight: the Birth of the Transcriptional Activator.”. J Bacteriol 198.5 (2016): , 198, 5, 744. Web.
Grabowicz, Marcin, Daria Koren, and Thomas J Silhavy. “The CpxQ sRNA Negatively Regulates Skp To Prevent Mistargeting of β-Barrel Outer Membrane Proteins into the Cytoplasmic Membrane.”. MBio 72 (2016): , 7, 2, e00312-16. Web.Abstract
UNLABELLED: The promoter most strongly induced upon activation of the Cpx two-component envelope stress response is the cpxP promoter. The 3' untranscribed region (UTR) of the cpxP transcript is shown to produce a small RNA (sRNA), CpxQ. We investigated the role of CpxQ in combating envelope stress. Remarkably, the two effectors specified by the transcript are deployed to combat distinct stresses in different cellular compartments. CpxP acts in both a regulatory negative-feedback loop and as an effector that combats periplasmic protein misfolding. We find that CpxQ combats toxicity at the inner membrane (IM) by downregulating the synthesis of the periplasmic chaperone Skp. Our data indicate that this regulation prevents Skp from inserting β-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs) into the IM, a lethal event that likely collapses the proton motive force. Our findings suggest that Skp can fold and directly insert OMPs into a lipid bilayer in vivo without the aid of the Bam complex. IMPORTANCE: Skp is a well-characterized periplasmic chaperone that binds unfolded OMPs. Surprisingly, we find that Skp can catalyze the folding and mistargeting of OMPs into the inner membrane without the aid of the other cellular proteins that normally assemble OMPs. Several OMPs function as diffusion pores. Accordingly, their mistargeting is lethal because it depolarizes the inner membrane. We show that the most highly expressed transcript of the Cpx stress response produces an sRNA from the 3' UTR, CpxQ, which combats this potential toxicity by downregulating Skp production. Defects in OMP assembly trigger the σ(E)response to upregulate factors, including Skp, that promote OMP folding. The Cpx response downregulates σ(E) Our findings reveal that this heretofore puzzling hierarchy exists to protect the inner membrane.
Sutterlin, Holly A, et al.Disruption of lipid homeostasis in the Gram-negative cell envelope activates a novel cell death pathway.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113.11 (2016): , 113, 11, E1565-74. Web.Abstract
Gram-negative bacteria balance synthesis of the outer membrane (OM), cell wall, and cytoplasmic contents during growth via unknown mechanisms. Here, we show that a dominant mutation (designated mlaA*, maintenance of lipid asymmetry) that alters MlaA, a lipoprotein that removes phospholipids from the outer leaflet of the OM of Escherichia coli, increases OM permeability, lipopolysaccharide levels, drug sensitivity, and cell death in stationary phase. Surprisingly, single-cell imaging revealed that death occurs after protracted loss of OM material through vesiculation and blebbing at cell-division sites and compensatory shrinkage of the inner membrane, eventually resulting in rupture and slow leakage of cytoplasmic contents. The death of mlaA* cells was linked to fatty acid depletion and was not affected by membrane depolarization, suggesting that lipids flow from the inner membrane to the OM in an energy-independent manner. Suppressor analysis suggested that the dominant mlaA* mutation activates phospholipase A, resulting in increased levels of lipopolysaccharide and OM vesiculation that ultimately undermine the integrity of the cell envelope by depleting the inner membrane of phospholipids. This novel cell-death pathway suggests that balanced synthesis across both membranes is key to the mechanical integrity of the Gram-negative cell envelope.
Okuda, Suguru, et al.Lipopolysaccharide transport and assembly at the outer membrane: the PEZ model.”. Nat Rev Microbiol 14.6 (2016): , 14, 6, 337-45. Web.Abstract
Gram-negative bacteria have a double-membrane cellular envelope that enables them to colonize harsh environments and prevents the entry of many clinically available antibiotics. A main component of most outer membranes is lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a glycolipid containing several fatty acyl chains and up to hundreds of sugars that is synthesized in the cytoplasm. In the past two decades, the proteins that are responsible for transporting LPS across the cellular envelope and assembling it at the cell surface in Escherichia coli have been identified, but it remains unclear how they function. In this Review, we discuss recent advances in this area and present a model that explains how energy from the cytoplasm is used to power LPS transport across the cellular envelope to the cell surface.
Lee, James, et al.Characterization of a stalled complex on the β-barrel assembly machine.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113.31 (2016): , 113, 31, 8717-22. Web.Abstract
The assembly of β-barrel proteins into membranes is mediated by an evolutionarily conserved machine. This process is poorly understood because no stable partially folded barrel substrates have been characterized. Here, we slowed the folding of the Escherichia coli β-barrel protein, LptD, with its lipoprotein plug, LptE. We identified a late-stage intermediate in which LptD is folded around LptE, and both components interact with the two essential β-barrel assembly machine (Bam) components, BamA and BamD. We propose a model in which BamA and BamD act in concert to catalyze folding, with the final step in the process involving closure of the ends of the barrel with release from the Bam components. Because BamD and LptE are both soluble proteins, the simplest model consistent with these findings is that barrel folding by the Bam complex begins in the periplasm at the membrane interface.
Mahoney, Tara F, Dante P Ricci, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Classifying β-Barrel Assembly Substrates by Manipulating Essential Bam Complex Members.”. J Bacteriol 198.14 (2016): , 198, 14, 1984-92. Web.Abstract
UNLABELLED: The biogenesis of the outer membrane (OM) of Escherichia coli is a conserved and vital process. The assembly of integral β-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs), which represent a major component of the OM, depends on periplasmic chaperones and the heteropentameric β-barrel assembly machine (Bam complex) in the OM. However, not all OMPs are affected by null mutations in the same chaperones or nonessential Bam complex members, suggesting there are categories of substrates with divergent requirements for efficient assembly. We have previously demonstrated two classes of substrates, one comprising large, low-abundance, and difficult-to-assemble substrates that are heavily dependent on SurA and also Skp and FkpA, and the other comprising relatively simple and abundant substrates that are not as dependent on SurA but are strongly dependent on BamB for assembly. Here, we describe novel mutations in bamD that lower levels of BamD 10-fold and >25-fold without altering the sequence of the mature protein. We utilized these mutations, as well as a previously characterized mutation that lowers wild-type BamA levels, to reveal a third class of substrates. These mutations preferentially cause a marked decrease in the levels of multimeric proteins. This susceptibility of multimers to lowered quantities of Bam machines in the cell may indicate that multiple Bam complexes are needed to efficiently assemble multimeric proteins into the OM. IMPORTANCE: The outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, serves as a selective permeability barrier that prevents the uptake of toxic molecules and antibiotics. Integral β-barrel proteins (OMPs) are assembled by the β-barrel assembly machine (Bam), components of which are conserved in mitochondria, chloroplasts, and all Gram-negative bacteria, including many clinically relevant pathogenic species. Bam is essential for OM biogenesis and accommodates a diverse array of client proteins; however, a mechanistic model that accounts for the selectivity and broad substrate range of Bam is lacking. Here, we show that the assembly of multimeric OMPs is more strongly affected than that of monomeric OMPs when essential Bam complex components are limiting, suggesting that multiple Bam complexes are needed to assemble multimeric proteins.
Konovalova, Anna, Angela M Mitchell, and Thomas J Silhavy. “A lipoprotein/β-barrel complex monitors lipopolysaccharide integrity transducing information across the outer membrane.”. Elife 5 (2016). Web.Abstract
Lipoprotein RcsF is the OM component of the Rcs envelope stress response. RcsF exists in complexes with β-barrel proteins (OMPs) allowing it to adopt a transmembrane orientation with a lipidated N-terminal domain on the cell surface and a periplasmic C-terminal domain. Here we report that mutations that remove BamE or alter a residue in the RcsF trans-lumen domain specifically prevent assembly of the interlocked complexes without inactivating either RcsF or the OMP. Using these mutations we demonstrate that these RcsF/OMP complexes are required for sensing OM outer leaflet stress. Using mutations that alter the positively charged surface-exposed domain, we show that RcsF monitors lateral interactions between lipopolysaccharide (LPS) molecules. When these interactions are disrupted by cationic antimicrobial peptides, or by the loss of negatively charged phosphate groups on the LPS molecule, this information is transduced to the RcsF C-terminal signaling domain located in the periplasm to activate the stress response.
Konovalova, Anna, Jaclyn A Schwalm, and Thomas J Silhavy. “A Suppressor Mutation That Creates a Faster and More Robust σE Envelope Stress Response.”. J Bacteriol 198.17 (2016): , 198, 17, 2345-51. Web.Abstract
UNLABELLED: The σE envelope stress response is an essential signal transduction pathway which detects and removes mistargeted outer membrane (OM) β-barrel proteins (OMPs) in the periplasm of Escherichia coli It relies on σE, an alternative sigma factor encoded by the rpoE gene. Here we report a novel mutation, a nucleotide change of C to A in the third base of the second codon, which increases levels of σE (rpoE_S2R). The rpoE_S2R mutation does not lead to the induction of the stress response during normal growth but instead changes the dynamics of induction upon periplasmic stress, resulting in a faster and more robust response. This allows cells to adapt faster to the periplasmic stress, avoiding lethal accumulation of unfolded OMPs in the periplasm caused by severe defects in the OMP assembly pathway. IMPORTANCE: Survival of bacteria under conditions of external or internal stresses depends on timely induction of stress response signaling pathways to regulate expression of appropriate genes that function to maintain cellular homeostasis. Previous studies have shown that strong preinduction of envelope stress responses can allow bacteria to survive a number of lethal genetic perturbations. In our paper, we describe a unique mutation that enhances kinetics of the σE envelope stress response pathway rather than preinducing the response. This allows bacteria to quickly adapt to sudden and severe periplasmic stress.
2015
Silhavy, Thomas J. “2014 Jack Kenney award for outstanding service.”. J Bacteriol 197.1 (2015): , 197, 1, 3. Web.
Silhavy, Thomas J. “Editorial and policy changes for 2015.”. J Bacteriol 197.1 (2015): , 197, 1, 2. Web.
Silhavy, Thomas J. “The Journal of Bacteriology Is 100.”. J Bacteriol 198.1 (2015): , 198, 1, 1-3. Web.
Konovalova, Anna, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Outer membrane lipoprotein biogenesis: Lol is not the end.”. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 370.1679 (2015). Web.Abstract
Bacterial lipoproteins are lipid-anchored proteins that contain acyl groups covalently attached to the N-terminal cysteine residue of the mature protein. Lipoproteins are synthesized in precursor form with an N-terminal signal sequence (SS) that targets translocation across the cytoplasmic or inner membrane (IM). Lipid modification and SS processing take place at the periplasmic face of the IM. Outer membrane (OM) lipoproteins take the localization of lipoproteins (Lol) export pathway, which ends with the insertion of the N-terminal lipid moiety into the inner leaflet of the OM. For many lipoproteins, the biogenesis pathway ends here. We provide examples of lipoproteins that adopt complex topologies in the OM that include transmembrane and surface-exposed domains. Biogenesis of such lipoproteins requires additional steps beyond the Lol pathway. In at least one case, lipoprotein sequences reach the cell surface by being threaded through the lumen of a beta-barrel protein in an assembly reaction that requires the heteropentomeric Bam complex. The inability to predict surface exposure reinforces the importance of experimental verification of lipoprotein topology and we will discuss some of the methods used to study OM protein topology.
2014
Sutterlin, Holly A, Sisi Zhang, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Accumulation of phosphatidic acid increases vancomycin resistance in Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 196.18 (2014): , 196, 18, 3214-20. Web.Abstract
In Gram-negative bacteria, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) contributes to the robust permeability barrier of the outer membrane, preventing entry of toxic molecules such as antibiotics. Mutations in lptD, the beta-barrel component of the LPS transport and assembly machinery, compromise LPS assembly and result in increased antibiotic sensitivity. Here, we report rare vancomycin-resistant suppressors that improve barrier function of a subset of lptD mutations. We find that all seven suppressors analyzed mapped to the essential gene cdsA, which is responsible for the conversion of phosphatidic acid to CDP-diacylglycerol in phospholipid biosynthesis. These cdsA mutations cause a partial loss of function and, as expected, accumulate phosphatidic acid. We show that this suppression is not confined to mutations that cause defects in outer membrane biogenesis but rather that these cdsA mutations confer a general increase in vancomycin resistance, even in a wild-type cell. We use genetics and quadrupole time of flight (Q-TOF) liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to show that accumulation of phosphatidic acid by means other than cdsA mutations also increases resistance to vancomycin. We suggest that increased levels of phosphatidic acid change the physical properties of the outer membrane to impede entry of vancomycin into the periplasm, hindering access to its target, an intermediate required for the synthesis of the peptidoglycan cell wall.
Dwyer, Robert S, et al.Folding LacZ in the periplasm of Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 196.18 (2014): , 196, 18, 3343-50. Web.Abstract
Targeted, translational LacZ fusions provided the initial support for the signal sequence hypothesis in prokaryotes and allowed for selection of the mutations that identified the Sec translocon. Many of these selections relied on the fact that expression of targeted, translational lacZ fusions like malE-lacZ and lamB-lacZ42-1 causes lethal toxicity as folded LacZ jams the translocation pore. However, there is another class of targeted LacZ fusions that do not jam the translocon. These targeted, nonjamming fusions also show toxic phenotypes that may be useful for selecting mutations in genes involved in posttranslocational protein folding and targeting; however, they have not been investigated to the same extent as their jamming counterparts. In fact, it is still unclear whether LacZ can be fully translocated in these fusions. It may be that they simply partition into the inner membrane where they can no longer participate in folding or assembly. In the present study, we systematically characterize the nonjamming fusions and determine their ultimate localization. We report that LacZ can be fully translocated into the periplasm, where it is toxic. We show that this toxicity is likely due to LacZ misfolding and that, in the absence of the periplasmic disulfide bond catalyst DsbA, LacZ folds in the periplasm. Using the novel phenotype of periplasmic β-galactosidase activity, we show that the periplasmic chaperone FkpA contributes to LacZ folding in this nonnative compartment. We propose that targeted, nonjamming LacZ fusions may be used to further study folding and targeting in the periplasm of Escherichia coli.
Malojčić, Goran, et al.LptE binds to and alters the physical state of LPS to catalyze its assembly at the cell surface.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111.26 (2014): , 111, 26, 9467-72. Web.Abstract
The assembly of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on the surface of Gram-negative bacterial cells is essential for their viability and is achieved by the seven-protein LPS transport (Lpt) pathway. The outer membrane (OM) lipoprotein LptE and the β-barrel membrane protein LptD form a complex that assembles LPS into the outer leaflet of the OM. We report a crystal structure of the Escherichia coli OM lipoprotein LptE at 2.34 Å. The structure reveals homology to eukaryotic LPS-binding proteins and allowed for the prediction of an LPS-binding site, which was confirmed by genetic and biophysical experiments. Specific point mutations at this site lead to defects in OM biogenesis. We show that wild-type LptE disrupts LPS-LPS interactions in vitro and that these mutations decrease the ability of LptE to disaggregate LPS. Transmission electron microscopic imaging shows that LptE can disrupt LPS aggregates even at substoichiometric concentrations. We propose a model in which LptE functions as an LPS transfer protein in the OM translocon by disaggregating LPS during transport to allow for its insertion into the OM.
Grabowicz, Marcin, et al.A mutant Escherichia coli that attaches peptidoglycan to lipopolysaccharide and displays cell wall on its surface.”. Elife 3 (2014): , 3, e05334. Web.Abstract
The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) forms the surface-exposed leaflet of the outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria, an organelle that shields the underlying peptidoglycan (PG) cell wall. Both LPS and PG are essential cell envelope components that are synthesized independently and assembled by dedicated transenvelope multiprotein complexes. We have identified a point-mutation in the gene for O-antigen ligase (WaaL) in Escherichia coli that causes LPS to be modified with PG subunits, intersecting these two pathways. Synthesis of the PG-modified LPS (LPS*) requires ready access to the small PG precursor pool but does not weaken cell wall integrity, challenging models of precursor sequestration at PG assembly machinery. LPS* is efficiently transported to the cell surface without impairing OM function. Because LPS* contains the canonical vancomycin binding site, these surface-exposed molecules confer increased vancomycin-resistance by functioning as molecular decoys that titrate the antibiotic away from its intracellular target. This unexpected LPS glycosylation fuses two potent pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).
Koyuncu, Emre, et al.Sirtuins are evolutionarily conserved viral restriction factors.”. MBio 56 (2014). Web.Abstract
UNLABELLED: The seven human sirtuins are a family of ubiquitously expressed and evolutionarily conserved NAD(+)-dependent deacylases/mono-ADP ribosyltransferases that regulate numerous cellular and organismal functions, including metabolism, cell cycle, and longevity. Here, we report the discovery that all seven sirtuins have broad-range antiviral properties. We demonstrate that small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of individual sirtuins and drug-mediated inhibition of sirtuin enzymatic activity increase the production of virus progeny in infected human cells. This impact on virus growth is observed for both DNA and RNA viruses. Importantly, sirtuin-activating drugs inhibit the replication of diverse viruses, as we demonstrate for human cytomegalovirus, a slowly replicating DNA virus, and influenza A (H1N1) virus, an RNA virus that multiplies rapidly. Furthermore, sirtuin defense functions are evolutionarily conserved, since CobB, the sirtuin homologue in Escherichia coli, protects against bacteriophages. Altogether, our findings establish sirtuins as broad-spectrum and evolutionarily conserved components of the immune defense system, providing a framework for elucidating a new set of host cell defense mechanisms and developing sirtuin modulators with antiviral activity. IMPORTANCE: We live in a sea of viruses, some of which are human pathogens. These pathogenic viruses exhibit numerous differences: DNA or RNA genomes, enveloped or naked virions, nuclear or cytoplasmic replication, diverse disease symptoms, etc. Most antiviral drugs target specific viral proteins. Consequently, they often work for only one virus, and their efficacy can be compromised by the rapid evolution of resistant variants. There is a need for the identification of host proteins with broad-spectrum antiviral functions, which provide effective targets for therapeutic treatments that limit the evolution of viral resistance. Here, we report that sirtuins present such an opportunity for the development of broad-spectrum antiviral treatments, since our findings highlight these enzymes as ancient defense factors that protect against a variety of viral pathogens.
Zafar, Ammar M, et al.Transcriptional occlusion caused by overlapping promoters.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111.4 (2014): , 111, 4, 1557-61. Web.Abstract
RpoS (σ(38)) is required for cell survival under stress conditions, but it can inhibit growth if produced inappropriately and, consequently, its production and activity are elaborately regulated. Crl, a transcriptional activator that does not bind DNA, enhances RpoS activity by stimulating the interaction between RpoS and the core polymerase. The crl gene has two overlapping promoters, a housekeeping, RpoD- (σ(70)) dependent promoter, and an RpoN (σ(54)) promoter that is strongly up-regulated under nitrogen limitation. However, transcription from the RpoN promoter prevents transcription from the RpoD promoter, and the RpoN-dependent transcript lacks a ribosome-binding site. Thus, activation of the RpoN promoter produces a long noncoding RNA that silences crl gene expression simply by being made. This elegant and economical mechanism, which allows a near-instantaneous reduction in Crl synthesis without the need for transacting regulatory factors, restrains the activity of RpoS to allow faster growth under nitrogen-limiting conditions.
Konovalova, Anna, et al.Transmembrane domain of surface-exposed outer membrane lipoprotein RcsF is threaded through the lumen of β-barrel proteins.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111.41 (2014): , 111, 41, E4350-8. Web.Abstract
RcsF (regulator of capsule synthesis) is an outer membrane (OM) lipoprotein that functions to sense defects such as changes in LPS. However, LPS is found in the outer leaflet, and RcsF was thought to be tethered to the inner leaflet by its lipidated N terminus, raising the question of how it monitors LPS. We show that RcsF has a transmembrane topology with the lipidated N terminus on the cell surface and the C-terminal signaling domain in the periplasm. Strikingly, the short, unstructured, charged transmembrane domain is threaded through the lumen of β-barrel OM proteins where it is protected from the hydrophobic membrane interior. We present evidence that these unusual complexes, which contain one protein inside another, are formed by the Bam complex that assembles all β-barrel proteins in the OM. The ability of the Bam complex to expose lipoproteins at the cell surface underscores the mechanistic versatility of the β-barrel assembly machine.
2013
Rigel, Nathan W, Dante P Ricci, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Conformation-specific labeling of BamA and suppressor analysis suggest a cyclic mechanism for β-barrel assembly in Escherichia coli.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110.13 (2013): , 110, 13, 5151-6. Web.Abstract
In gram-negative bacteria, integral outer membrane β-barrel proteins (OMPs) are assembled by the beta-barrel assembly machine (Bam) complex. The essential components of this complex are the OMP BamA [which contains a carboxyl-terminal β-barrel and an amino-terminal periplasmic module composed of five polypeptide transport associated (POTRA) domains] and the lipoprotein BamD. In Escherichia coli, the Bam complex also contains three nonessential lipoproteins (BamBCE), all of which require the barrel-proximal POTRA domain (P5) for stable interactions with BamA. We have previously reported that the BamA β-barrel assumes two different conformations. A method for conformation-specific labeling of BamA described here reveals that these conformers reflect the degree of surface exposure of the conserved sixth extracellular loop (L6). L6 is surface accessible in one conformation but not in the other, likely because it occupies the lumen of the BamA β-barrel in the latter case. A gain-of-function mutation that promotes Bam activity (bamDR197L) and a loss-of-function mutation that decreases the activity of Bam (ΔbamE) both favor surface exposure of BamA L6, suggesting that BamD and BamE normally act to control L6 exposure through opposing functions. These results, along with the synthetic lethality of the bamDR197L ΔbamE double mutant, imply a cyclic mechanism in which the Bam lipoproteins regulate the conformation of BamA during the OMP assembly reaction. Our results further suggest that BamDE controls L6 exposure via conformational signals transmitted through P5 to L6.
Mahoney, Tara F, and Thomas J Silhavy. “The Cpx stress response confers resistance to some, but not all, bactericidal antibiotics.”. J Bacteriol 195.9 (2013): , 195, 9, 1869-74. Web.Abstract
It has recently been suggested that bactericidal antibiotics, including aminoglycoside antibiotics (AGAs), and toxic small molecules, such as hydroxyurea (HU), kill bacteria the same way, namely, by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) via a process requiring activation of the Cpx stress response. We suggest an opposite, protective role for Cpx. We have confirmed the initial finding that cpxA null mutations confer resistance to HU. However, the two-component sensor CpxA is both a kinase and a phosphatase, and previous work from our lab has shown that removing CpxA can activate the stress response owing to buildup of the phosphorylated response regulator (CpxR∼P) that occurs in the absence of the phosphatase activity. We show that a dominant cpxA* mutation that constitutively activates the Cpx stress response confers a high level of resistance to both HU and AGAs in a CpxR-dependent manner. In contrast, inactivating the CpxR response regulator by mutating the phosphorylation site (D51A) or the putative DNA-binding motif (M199A) does not increase resistance to HU or AGAs. Taken together, these results demonstrate that activation of the Cpx stress response can protect cells from HU and AGAs. However, the Cpx response does not increase resistance to all classes of bactericidal antibiotics, as the cpxA* mutants are not significantly more resistant to fluoroquinolones or β-lactams than wild-type cells. Thus, it seems unlikely that all bactericidal antibiotics kill by the same mechanism.
Grabowicz, Marcin, Jennifer Yeh, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Dominant negative lptE mutation that supports a role for LptE as a plug in the LptD barrel.”. J Bacteriol 195.6 (2013): , 195, 6, 1327-34. Web.Abstract
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the major outer leaflet constituent of the Gram-negative outer membrane (OM) bilayer. A bipartite protein complex of LptD and LptE assembles LPS into the OM. It has been established that LptE assists folding and assembly of its β-barrel partner LptD, yet reported biochemical evidence suggested additional LptE functions. Here, we isolated dominant negative lptE mutations, seeking to inform these functions. The lptE14 mutation increased OM permeability to erythromycin, even when the wild-type lptE gene was present. We show that the lptE14 mutation does not cause a defect in either LptD assembly or LPS export. A spontaneous IS1 insertion in secA suppressed lptE14 erythromycin sensitivity by removing the C-terminal SecB-binding domain of SecA. While this suppressor mutation broadly impeded SecB-dependent secretion of preproteins, we show that suppression was a direct and specific consequence of reduced LptD levels in the OM. We suggest that lptE14 causes poor plugging of the LptD β barrel and that a reduction of ineffectively plugged LptD-LptE14 complexes in the OM decreases permeability to erythromycin. Hence, lptE14 supports a proposed plug-and-barrel LptE-LptD arrangement.
Dwyer, Robert S, et al.Predicting functionally informative mutations in Escherichia coli BamA using evolutionary covariance analysis.”. Genetics 195.2 (2013): , 195, 2, 443-55. Web.Abstract
The essential outer membrane β-barrel protein BamA forms a complex with four lipoprotein partners BamBCDE that assembles β-barrel proteins into the outer membrane of Escherichia coli. Detailed genetic studies have shown that BamA cycles through multiple conformations during substrate assembly, suggesting that a complex network of residues may be involved in coordinating conformational changes and lipoprotein partner function. While genetic analysis of BamA has been informative, it has also been slow in the absence of a straightforward selection for mutants. Here we take a bioinformatic approach to identify candidate residues for mutagenesis using direct coupling analysis. Starting with the BamA paralog FhaC, we show that direct coupling analysis works well for large β-barrel proteins, identifying pairs of residues in close proximity in tertiary structure with a true positive rate of 0.64 over the top 50 predictions. To reduce the effects of noise, we designed and incorporated a novel structured prior into the empirical correlation matrix, dramatically increasing the FhaC true positive rate from 0.64 to 0.88 over the top 50 predictions. Our direct coupling analysis of BamA implicates residues R661 and D740 in a functional interaction. We find that the substitutions R661G and D740G each confer OM permeability defects and destabilize the BamA β-barrel. We also identify synthetic phenotypes and cross-suppressors that suggest R661 and D740 function in a similar process and may interact directly. We expect that the direct coupling analysis approach to informed mutagenesis will be particularly useful in systems lacking adequate selections and for dynamic proteins with multiple conformations.
Schwalm, Jaclyn, et al.Role for Skp in LptD assembly in Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 195.16 (2013): , 195, 16, 3734-42. Web.Abstract
The periplasmic chaperone Skp has long been implicated in the assembly of outer membrane proteins (OMPs) in Escherichia coli. It has been shown to interact with unfolded OMPs, and the simultaneous loss of Skp and the main periplasmic chaperone in E. coli, SurA, results in synthetic lethality. However, a Δskp mutant displays only minor OMP assembly defects, and no OMPs have been shown to require Skp for their assembly. Here, we report a role for Skp in the assembly of the essential OMP LptD. This role may be compensated for by other OMP assembly proteins; in the absence of both Skp and FkpA or Skp and BamB, LptD assembly is impaired. Overexpression of SurA does not restore LptD levels in a Δskp ΔfkpA double mutant, nor does the overexpression of Skp or FkpA restore LptD levels in the ΔsurA mutant, suggesting that Skp acts in concert with SurA to efficiently assemble LptD in E. coli. Other OMPs, including LamB, are less affected in the Δskp ΔfkpA and Δskp bamB::kan double mutants, suggesting that Skp is specifically necessary for the assembly of certain OMPs. Analysis of an OMP with a domain structure similar to that of LptD, FhuA, suggests that common structural features may determine which OMPs require Skp for their assembly.
Ricci, Dante P, et al.The activity and specificity of the outer membrane protein chaperone SurA are modulated by a proline isomerase domain.”. MBio 44 (2013). Web.Abstract
UNLABELLED: SurA is a component of the periplasmic chaperone network that plays a central role in biogenesis of integral outer membrane β-barrel proteins (OMPs) in Escherichia coli. Although SurA contains two well-conserved proline isomerase (PPIase) domains, the contribution of these domains to SurA function is unclear. In the present work, we show that defects in OMP assembly caused by mutation of the β-barrel assembly factors BamA or BamB can be corrected by gain-of-function mutations in SurA that map to the first PPIase domain. These mutations apparently bypass the requirement for a stable interaction between SurA and the Bam complex and enhance SurA chaperone activity in vivo despite destabilization of the protein in vitro. Our findings suggest an autoinhibitory mechanism for regulation of SurA chaperone activity through interdomain interactions involving a PPIase domain. We propose a model in which SurA activity is modulated by an interaction between SurA and the Bam complex that alters the substrate specificity of the chaperone. IMPORTANCE: The dominant surA mutations described here alter amino acid residues that are highly conserved in eukaryotic homologs of SurA, including Pin 1, the human proline isomerase (PPIase) implicated in Alzheimer's disease and certain cancers. Consequently, a mechanistic description of SurA function may enhance our understanding of clinically important PPIases and their role(s) in disease. In addition, the virulence of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, such as Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia coli O157:H7, is largely dependent on SurA, making this PPIase/chaperone an attractive antibiotic target. Investigating the function of SurA in outer membrane (OM) biogenesis will be useful in the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the disruption of the OM or the processes that are essential for its assembly.
2012
Ricci, Dante P, et al.Activation of the Escherichia coli β-barrel assembly machine (Bam) is required for essential components to interact properly with substrate.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109.9 (2012): , 109, 9, 3487-91. Web.Abstract
The outer membrane (OM) of gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli contains lipoproteins and integral β-barrel proteins (outer-membrane proteins, OMPs) assembled into an asymmetrical lipid bilayer. Insertion of β-barrel proteins into the OM is mediated by a protein complex that contains the OMP BamA and four associated lipoproteins (BamBCDE). The mechanism by which the Bam complex catalyzes the assembly of OMPs is not known. We report here the isolation and characterization of a temperature-sensitive lethal mutation, bamAE373K, which alters the fifth polypeptide transport-associated domain and disrupts the interaction between the BamAB and BamCDE subcomplexes. Suppressor mutations that map to codon 197 in bamD restore Bam complex function to wild-type levels. However, these suppressors do not restore the interaction between BamA and BamD; rather, they bypass the requirement for stable holocomplex formation by activating BamD. These results imply that BamA and BamD interact directly with OMP substrates.
Ricci, Dante P, and Thomas J Silhavy. “The Bam machine: a molecular cooper.”. Biochim Biophys Acta 1818.4 (2012): , 1818, 4, 1067-84. Web.Abstract
The bacterial outer membrane (OM) is an exceptional biological structure with a unique composition that contributes significantly to the resiliency of Gram-negative bacteria. Since all OM components are synthesized in the cytosol, the cell must efficiently transport OM-specific lipids and proteins across the cell envelope and stably integrate them into a growing membrane. In this review, we discuss the challenges associated with these processes and detail the elegant solutions that cells have evolved to address the topological problem of OM biogenesis. Special attention will be paid to the Bam machine, a highly conserved multiprotein complex that facilitates OM β-barrel folding. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Protein Folding in Membranes.
Rigel, Nathan W, et al.BamE modulates the Escherichia coli beta-barrel assembly machine component BamA.”. J Bacteriol 194.5 (2012): , 194, 5, 1002-8. Web.Abstract
Biogenesis of the outer membrane (OM) is an essential process in gram-negative bacteria. One of the key steps of OM biogenesis is the assembly of integral outer membrane beta-barrel proteins (OMPs) by a protein machine called the Bam complex. In Escherichia coli, the Bam complex is composed of the essential proteins BamA and BamD and three nonessential lipoproteins, BamB, BamC, and BamE. Both BamC and BamE are important for stabilizing the interaction between BamA and BamD. We used comprehensive genetic analysis to clarify the interplay between BamA and the BamCDE subcomplex. Combining a ΔbamE allele with mutations in genes that encode other OMP assembly factors leads to severe synthetic phenotypes, suggesting a critical function for BamE. These synthetic phenotypes are not nearly as severe in a ΔbamC background, suggesting that the functions of BamC and BamE are not completely overlapping. This unique function of BamE is related to the conformational state of BamA. In wild-type cells, BamA is sensitive to externally added proteinase K. Strikingly, when ΔbamE mutant cells are treated with proteinase K, BamA is degraded beyond detection. Taken together, our findings suggest that BamE modulates the conformation of BamA, likely through its interactions with BamD.
Rigel, Nathan W, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Making a beta-barrel: assembly of outer membrane proteins in Gram-negative bacteria.”. Curr Opin Microbiol 15.2 (2012): , 15, 2, 189-93. Web.Abstract
The outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria is an essential organelle that serves as a selective permeability barrier by keeping toxic compounds out of the cell while allowing vital nutrients in. How the OM and its constituent lipid and protein components are assembled remains an area of active research. In this review, we describe our current understanding of how outer membrane proteins (OMPs) are delivered to and then assembled in the OM of the model Gram-negative organism Escherichia coli.
Peterson, Celeste N, et al.RpoS proteolysis is controlled directly by ATP levels in Escherichia coli.”. Genes Dev 26.6 (2012): , 26, 6, 548-53. Web.Abstract
The master regulator of stationary phase in Escherichia coli, RpoS, responds to carbon availability through changes in stability, but the individual steps in the pathway are unknown. Here we systematically block key steps of glycolysis and the citric acid cycle and monitor the effect on RpoS degradation in vivo. Nutrient upshifts trigger RpoS degradation independently of protein synthesis by activating metabolic pathways that generate small energy molecules. Using metabolic mutants and inhibitors, we show that ATP, but not GTP or NADH, is necessary for RpoS degradation. In vitro reconstitution assays directly demonstrate that ClpXP fails to degrade RpoS, but not other proteins, at low ATP hydrolysis rates. These data suggest that cellular ATP levels directly control RpoS stability.
2011
Cowles, Charles E, et al.The free and bound forms of Lpp occupy distinct subcellular locations in Escherichia coli.”. Mol Microbiol 79.5 (2011): , 79, 5, 1168-81. Web.Abstract
The lipoprotein Lpp is the most numerically abundant protein in Escherichia coli, has been investigated for over 40 years, and has served as the paradigmatic bacterial lipoprotein since its initial discovery. It exists in two distinct forms: a 'bound-form', which is covalently bound to the cell's peptidoglycan layer, and a 'free-form', which is not. Although it is known that the carboxyl-terminus of bound-form Lpp is located in the periplasm, the precise location of free-form Lpp has never been determined. For decades, it has been widely assumed that free-form Lpp is associated with bound-form. In this work, we show that the free and bound forms of Lpp are not largely associated with each other, but are found in distinct subcellular locations. Our results indicate that free-form Lpp spans the outer membrane and is surface-exposed, whereas bound-form Lpp resides in the periplasm. Thus, Lpp represents a novel example of a single lipoprotein that is able to occupy distinct subcellular locations, and challenges models in which the free and bound forms of Lpp are assumed to be associated with each other.
Chimalakonda, Gitanjali, et al.Lipoprotein LptE is required for the assembly of LptD by the beta-barrel assembly machine in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108.6 (2011): , 108, 6, 2492-7. Web.Abstract
Most Gram-negative bacteria contain lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a glucosamine-based phospholipid, in the outer leaflet of the outer membrane (OM). LPS is unique to the bacterial OM and, in most cases, essential for cell viability. Transport of LPS from its site of synthesis to the cell surface requires eight essential proteins, MsbA and LptABCDEFG. Although the key players have been identified, the mechanism of LPS transport and assembly is not clear. The stable LptD/E complex is present at the OM and functions in the final stages of LPS assembly. Here, we have identified the mutant allele lptE6, which causes a two-amino-acid deletion in the lipoprotein LptE that affects its interaction with LptD. Highly specific suppressor mutations were isolated not only in lptD but also in bamA, which encodes the central component of the β-barrel assembly machine. We show that lptE6 and both suppressor mutations affect the assembly of the LptD/E complex and suggest that the lipoprotein LptE interacts with LptD while this protein is being assembled by the β-barrel assembly machine.
2010
Silhavy, Thomas J, Daniel Kahne, and Suzanne Walker. “The bacterial cell envelope.”. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 25 (2010): , 2, 5, a000414. Web.Abstract
The bacteria cell envelope is a complex multilayered structure that serves to protect these organisms from their unpredictable and often hostile environment. The cell envelopes of most bacteria fall into one of two major groups. Gram-negative bacteria are surrounded by a thin peptidoglycan cell wall, which itself is surrounded by an outer membrane containing lipopolysaccharide. Gram-positive bacteria lack an outer membrane but are surrounded by layers of peptidoglycan many times thicker than is found in the gram-negatives. Threading through these layers of peptidoglycan are long anionic polymers, called teichoic acids. The composition and organization of these envelope layers and recent insights into the mechanisms of cell envelope assembly are discussed.
Ruiz, Natividad, et al.Nonconsecutive disulfide bond formation in an essential integral outer membrane protein.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107.27 (2010): , 107, 27, 12245-50. Web.Abstract
The Gram-negative bacterial envelope is bounded by two membranes. Disulfide bond formation and isomerization in this oxidizing environment are catalyzed by DsbA and DsbC, respectively. It remains unknown when and how the Dsb proteins participate in the biogenesis of outer membrane proteins, which are transported across the cell envelope after their synthesis. The Escherichia coli protein LptD is an integral outer membrane protein that forms an essential complex with the lipoprotein LptE. We show that oxidation of LptD is not required for the formation of the LptD/E complex but it is essential for function. Remarkably, none of the cysteines in LptD are essential because either of two nonconsecutive disulfide bonds suffices for function. Oxidation of LptD, which is efficiently catalyzed by DsbA, does not involve the isomerase DsbC, but it requires LptE. Thus, oxidation is completed only after LptD interacts with LptE, an interaction that occurs at the outer membrane and seems necessary for LptD folding.
Carabetta, Valerie J, Thomas J Silhavy, and Ileana M Cristea. “The response regulator SprE (RssB) is required for maintaining poly(A) polymerase I-degradosome association during stationary phase.”. J Bacteriol 192.14 (2010): , 192, 14, 3713-21. Web.Abstract
Poly(A) polymerase I (PAP I) is the enzyme responsible for the addition of poly(A) tails onto RNA molecules in Escherichia coli. Polyadenylation is believed to facilitate the destruction of such RNAs by the mRNA degradosome. Recently, it was discovered that the stationary-phase regulatory protein SprE (RssB) has a second function in the control of polyadenylation that is distinct from its known function in the regulated proteolysis of RpoS. In the work presented herein, we used a targeted proteomic approach to further investigate SprE's involvement in the polyadenylation pathway. Specifically, we used cryogenic cell lysis, immunopurifications on magnetic beads, and mass spectrometry to identify interacting partners of PAP I-green fluorescent protein. We provide the first in vivo evidence that PAP I interacts with the mRNA degradosome during both exponential and stationary phases and find that the degradosome can contain up to 10 different proteins under certain conditions. Moreover, we demonstrate that the majority of these PAP I interactions are formed via protein-protein interactions and that SprE plays an important role in the maintenance of the PAP I-degradosome association during stationary phase.
2009
Malinverni, Juliana C, and Thomas J Silhavy. “An ABC transport system that maintains lipid asymmetry in the gram-negative outer membrane.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106.19 (2009): , 106, 19, 8009-14. Web.Abstract
The outer membranes (OMs) of gram-negative bacteria have an asymmetric lipid distribution with lipopolysaccharides at the outer leaflet and phospholipids (PLs) at the inner leaflet. This lipid arrangement is essential for the barrier function of the OM and for the viability of most gram-negative bacteria. Cells with OM assembly defects or cells exposed to harsh chemical treatments accumulate PLs in the outer leaflet of the OM and this disrupts lipopolysaccharide organization and increases sensitivity to small toxic molecules. We have identified an ABC transport system in Escherichia coli with predicted import function that serves to prevent PL accumulation in the outer leaflet of the OM. This highly conserved pathway, which we have termed the Mla pathway for its role in preserving OM lipid asymmetry, is composed of at least 6 proteins and contains at least 1 component in each cellular compartment. We propose that the Mla pathway constitutes a bacterial intermembrane PL trafficking system.
van Stelten, Johna, et al.Effects of antibiotics and a proto-oncogene homolog on destruction of protein translocator SecY.”. Science 325.5941 (2009): , 325, 5941, 753-6. Web.Abstract
Protein secretion occurs via translocation by the evolutionarily conserved Sec complex. LacZ hybrid proteins have long been used to study translocation in Escherichia coli. Some LacZ hybrids were thought to block secretion by physically jamming the Sec complex, leading to cell death. We found that jammed Sec complexes caused the degradation of essential translocator components by the protease FtsH. Increasing the amounts or the stability of the membrane protein YccA, a known inhibitor of FtsH, counteracted this destruction. Antibiotics that inhibit translation elongation also jammed the translocator and caused the degradation of translocator components, which may contribute to their effectiveness. Intriguingly, YccA is a functional homolog of the proto-oncogene product Bax Inhibitor-1, which may share a similar mechanism of action in regulating apoptosis upon prolonged secretion stress.
Carabetta, Valerie J, et al.The response regulator SprE (RssB) modulates polyadenylation and mRNA stability in Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 191.22 (2009): , 191, 22, 6812-21. Web.Abstract
In Escherichia coli, the adaptor protein SprE (RssB) controls the stability of the alternate sigma factor RpoS (sigma(38) and sigma(S)). When nutrients are abundant, SprE binds RpoS and delivers it to ClpXP for degradation, but when carbon sources are depleted, this process is inhibited. It also has been noted that overproduction of SprE is toxic. Here we show that null mutations in pcnB, encoding poly(A) polymerase I (PAP I), and in hfq, encoding the RNA chaperone Hfq, suppress this toxicity. Since PAP I, in conjunction with Hfq, is responsible for targeting RNAs, including mRNAs, for degradation by adding poly(A) tails onto their 3' ends, these data indicate that SprE helps modulate the polyadenylation pathway in E. coli. Indeed, in exponentially growing cells, sprE deletion mutants exhibit significantly reduced levels of polyadenylation and increased stability of specific mRNAs, similar to what is observed in a PAP I-deficient strain. In stationary phase, we show that SprE changes the intracellular localization of PAP I. Taken together, we propose that SprE plays a multifunctional role in controlling the transcriptome, regulating what is made via its effects on RpoS, and modulating what is degraded via its effects on polyadenylation and turnover of specific mRNAs.
Ruiz, Natividad, Daniel Kahne, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Transport of lipopolysaccharide across the cell envelope: the long road of discovery.”. Nat Rev Microbiol 79 (2009): , 7, 9, 677-83. Web.Abstract
Intracellular lipid transport is poorly understood. Genetic studies to identify lipid-transport factors are complicated by the essentiality of many lipids, whereas biochemical and cell biology approaches aiming to determine localization and mechanisms of lipid transport are often challenged by the lack of adequate technology. Here, we review the epic history of how different approaches, technological advances and ingenuity contributed to the recent discovery of a multi-protein pathway that transports lipopolysaccharide across the envelope of Gram-negative bacteria.
2008
Ruiz, Natividad, et al.Identification of two inner-membrane proteins required for the transport of lipopolysaccharide to the outer membrane of Escherichia coli.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105.14 (2008): , 105, 14, 5537-42. Web.Abstract
The outer membrane (OM) of most Gram-negative bacteria contains lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the outer leaflet. LPS, or endotoxin, is a molecule of important biological activities. In the host, LPS elicits a potent immune response, while in the bacterium, it plays a crucial role by establishing a barrier to limit entry of hydrophobic molecules. Before LPS is assembled at the OM, it must be synthesized at the inner membrane (IM) and transported across the aqueous periplasmic compartment. Much is known about the biosynthesis of LPS but, until recently, little was known about its transport and assembly. We applied a reductionist bioinformatic approach that takes advantage of the small size of the proteome of the Gram-negative endosymbiont Blochmannia floridanus to search for novel factors involved in OM biogenesis. This led to the discovery of two essential Escherichia coli IM proteins of unknown function, YjgP and YjgQ, which are required for the transport of LPS to the cell surface. We propose that these two proteins, which we have renamed LptF and LptG, respectively, are the missing transmembrane components of the ABC transporter that, together with LptB, functions to extract LPS from the IM en route to the OM.
2007
Sklar, Joseph G, et al.Defining the roles of the periplasmic chaperones SurA, Skp, and DegP in Escherichia coli.”. Genes Dev 21.19 (2007): , 21, 19, 2473-84. Web.Abstract
Integral beta-barrel proteins (OMPs) are a major class of outer membrane proteins in Gram-negative bacteria. In Escherichia coli, these proteins are synthesized in the cytoplasm, translocated across the inner membrane via the Sec machinery, and assembled in the outer membrane through an unknown mechanism that requires the outer membrane YaeT complex and the periplasmic chaperones SurA, DegP, and Skp. Here, we have established the relationship between these three chaperones providing insight into the mechanism of OMP biogenesis using depletion analysis. Depletion of SurA alone results in a marked decrease in outer membrane density, while the loss of DegP and Skp has no effect on outer membrane composition. Furthermore, we demonstrate that SurA and YaeT interact directly in vivo. Based on these results, we suggest that SurA is the primary chaperone responsible for the periplasmic transit of the bulk mass of OMPs to the YaeT complex. The role of Skp and DegP is amplified in the absence of SurA. Evidence presented suggests that DegP/Skp function to rescue OMPs that fall off the SurA pathway. The seemingly redundant periplasmic chaperones do function in parallel, but the relative importance of the primary function of each pathway depends on whether or not cells are under stress.
Ureta, Alejandro R, et al.Kinetic analysis of the assembly of the outer membrane protein LamB in Escherichia coli mutants each lacking a secretion or targeting factor in a different cellular compartment.”. J Bacteriol 189.2 (2007): , 189, 2, 446-54. Web.Abstract
Outer membrane beta-barrel proteins in gram-negative bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, must be translocated from their site of synthesis in the cytoplasm to the periplasm and finally delivered to the outer membrane. At least a dozen proteins located in the cytoplasm, the periplasm, and both the inner and outer membranes are required to catalyze this complex assembly process. At normal growth temperatures and conditions the transport and assembly processes are so fast that assembly intermediates cannot be detected. Using cells grown at a low temperature to slow the assembly process and pulse-chase analysis with immunodetection methods, we followed newly synthesized LamB molecules during their transit through the cell envelope. The quality and reproducibility of the data allowed us to calculate rate constants for three different subassembly reactions. This kinetic analysis revealed that secB and secD mutants exhibit nearly identical defects in precursor translocation from the cytoplasm. However, subsequent subassembly reaction rates provided no clear evidence for an additional role for SecD in LamB assembly. Moreover, we found that surA mutants are qualitatively indistinguishable from yfgL mutants, suggesting that the products of both of these genes share a common function in the assembly process, most likely the delivery of LamB to the YaeT assembly complex in the outer membrane.
Sklar, Joseph G, et al.Lipoprotein SmpA is a component of the YaeT complex that assembles outer membrane proteins in Escherichia coli.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104.15 (2007): , 104, 15, 6400-5. Web.Abstract
A major role of the outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria is to provide a protective permeability barrier for the cell, and proper maintenance of the OM is required for cellular viability. OM biogenesis requires the coordinated assembly of constituent lipids and proteins via dedicated OM assembly machineries. We have previously shown that, in Escherichia coli, the multicomponent YaeT complex is responsible for the assembly of OM beta-barrel proteins (OMPs). This complex contains the OMP YaeT and three OM lipoproteins. Here, we report another component of the YaeT complex, the OM lipoprotein small protein A (SmpA). Strains carrying loss-of-function mutations in smpA are viable but exhibit defects in OMP assembly. Biochemical experiments show that SmpA is involved in maintaining complex stability. Taken together, these experiments establish an important role for SmpA in both the structure and function of the YaeT complex.
Button, Julie E, Thomas J Silhavy, and Natividad Ruiz. “A suppressor of cell death caused by the loss of sigmaE downregulates extracytoplasmic stress responses and outer membrane vesicle production in Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 189.5 (2007): , 189, 5, 1523-30. Web.Abstract
When envelope biogenesis is compromised or damage to envelope components occurs, bacteria trigger signaling cascades, which lead to the production of proteins that combat such extracytoplasmic stresses. In Escherichia coli, there are three pathways known to deal with envelope stresses: the Bae, Cpx, and sigma(E) responses. Although the effectors of the Bae and Cpx responses are not essential in E. coli, the effector of the sigma(E) response, the sigma factor RpoE (sigma(E)), is essential for viability. However, mutations that suppress the lethality of an rpoE-null allele can be easily obtained, and here we describe how we have isolated at least four classes of these suppressors. We present the first description of one such suppressor class, loss-of-function mutations in ydcQ, a gene encoding a putative DNA-binding protein. In wild-type rpoE(+) strains, ydcQ mutants have two distinct phenotypes: extracytoplasmic stress responses are significantly downregulated, and the production of outer membrane vesicles is severely reduced. We present a model in which sigma(E) is not essential per se but, rather, we propose that rpoE mutant cells die, possibly because they overreact to the absence of this sigma factor by triggering a cell death signal.
2006
Ruiz, Natividad, Daniel Kahne, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Advances in understanding bacterial outer-membrane biogenesis.”. Nat Rev Microbiol 41 (2006): , 4, 1, 57-66. Web.Abstract
The outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli serves as a protective barrier that controls the influx and efflux of solutes. This allows the bacteria to inhabit several different, and often hostile, environments. The assembly of the E. coli outer membrane has been difficult to study using traditional genetic and biochemical methods, and how all its components reach the outer membrane after being synthesized in the cytoplasm and cytoplasmic membrane, how they are assembled in an environment that is devoid of an obvious energy source, and how assembly proceeds without disrupting the integrity of this essential cellular structure are all fundamental questions that remain unanswered. Here, we review the new approaches that have led to the recent discovery of components of the machinery involved in the biogenesis of this distinctive cellular organelle.
Peterson, Celeste N, et al.LrhA regulates rpoS translation in response to the Rcs phosphorelay system in Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 188.9 (2006): , 188, 9, 3175-81. Web.Abstract
Regulation of the Escherichia coli stationary-phase sigma factor RpoS is complex and occurs at multiple levels in response to different environmental stresses. One protein that reduces RpoS levels is the transcription factor LrhA, a global regulator of flagellar synthesis. Here we clarify the mechanism of this repression and provide insight into the signaling pathways that feed into this regulation. We show that LrhA represses RpoS at the level of translation in a manner that is dependent on the small RNA (sRNA) chaperone Hfq. Although LrhA also represses the transcription of the sRNA RprA, its regulation of RpoS mainly occurs independently of RprA. To better understand the physiological signals affecting this pathway, a transposon mutagenesis screen was carried out to find factors affecting LrhA activity levels. The RcsCDB phosphorelay system, a cell envelope stress-sensing pathway, was found to repress lrhA synthesis. In addition, mutations in the gene encoding the DNA motor protein FtsK induce lrhA synthesis, which may explain why such strains fail to accumulate RpoS in stationary phase.
Ruiz, Natividad, et al.Probing the barrier function of the outer membrane with chemical conditionality.”. ACS Chem Biol 16 (2006): , 1, 6, 385-95. Web.Abstract
A key function of biological membranes is to exclude toxic small molecules while allowing influx of nutrients. Cells achieve this by controlling the composition of different types of proteins and lipids within the membrane by a process called membrane biogenesis. We have recently proposed a strategy to identify genes involved in membrane biogenesis in Gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli by selecting for suppressors of mutations that render the outer membrane (OM) leaky. We predicted that different small molecules could select different suppressors because mutations that answer a specific selection will correct the membrane permeability defect to different degrees depending on the structure of the small molecule. We have tested this hypothesis by selecting for resistance to bile acids in an imp4213 strain, which contains a compromised OM owing to a defect in lipopolysaccharide biogenesis. We report here that a suppressor mutation in yaeT , which specifies an essential protein involved in the assembly of beta-barrel proteins in the OM, confers resistance to a specific subset of bile acids in the imp4213 strain. YaeT is conserved from bacteria to man because it is involved in OM biogenesis in mitochondria and chloroplasts. These results demonstrate that structurally different toxic small molecules select different, and highly specific, genetic solutions for correcting membrane-permeability defects. The remarkable chemical specificity of the imp4213 suppressors provides insights into the molecular nature of the OM permeability barrier.
Malinverni, Juliana C, et al.YfiO stabilizes the YaeT complex and is essential for outer membrane protein assembly in Escherichia coli.”. Mol Microbiol 61.1 (2006): , 61, 1, 151-64. Web.Abstract
Recent advances in the study of bacterial membranes have led to the identification of a multicomponent YaeT complex in the outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria that is involved in the targeting and folding of beta-barrel outer membrane proteins (OMPs). In Escherichia coli, this complex consists of an essential OMP, YaeT, and three OM lipoproteins, YfgL, NlpB and YfiO. YfiO is the only essential lipoprotein component of the complex. We show that this lipoprotein is required for the proper assembly and/or targeting of OMPs to the OM but not the assembly of lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Depletion of YfiO causes similar phenotypes as does the depletion of YaeT, and we conclude that YfiO plays a critical role in YaeT-mediated OMP folding. We demonstrate that YfiO and YfgL directly interact with YaeT in vitro, while NlpB interacts directly with YfiO. Genetic analysis verifies the importance of YfiO and its interactions with NlpB in maintaining the functional integrity of the YaeT complex.
2005
Ruiz, Natividad, et al.Chemical conditionality: a genetic strategy to probe organelle assembly.”. Cell 121.2 (2005): , 121, 2, 307-17. Web.Abstract
The assembly of the Escherichia coli outer membrane (OM) is poorly understood. Although insight into fundamental cellular processes is often obtained from studying mutants, OM-defective mutants have not been very informative because they generally have nonspecific permeability defects. Here we show that toxic small molecules can be used in selections employing strains with permeability defects to create particular chemical conditions that demand specific suppressor mutations. Suppressor phenotypes are correlated with the physical properties of the small molecules, but the mutations are not in their target genes. Instead, mutations allow survival by partially restoring membrane impermeability. Using "chemical conditionality," we identified mutations in yfgL, and, here and in the accompanying paper by Wu et al. published in this issue of Cell (Wu et al., 2005), we show that YfgL is part of a multiprotein complex involved in the assembly of OM beta barrel proteins. We posit that panels of toxic small molecules will be useful for generating chemical conditionalities that enable identification of genes required for organelle assembly in other organisms.
Wu, Tao, et al.Identification of a multicomponent complex required for outer membrane biogenesis in Escherichia coli.”. Cell 121.2 (2005): , 121, 2, 235-45. Web.Abstract
Gram-negative bacteria have an outer membrane (OM) that functions as a barrier to protect the cell from toxic compounds such as antibiotics and detergents. The OM is a highly asymmetric bilayer composed of phospholipids, glycolipids, and proteins. Assembly of this essential organelle occurs outside the cytoplasm in an environment that lacks obvious energy sources such as ATP, and the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. We describe the identification of a multiprotein complex required for the assembly of proteins in the OM of Escherichia coli. We also demonstrate genetic interactions between genes encoding components of this protein assembly complex and imp, which encodes a protein involved in the assembly of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in the OM. These genetic interactions suggest a role for YfgL, one of the lipoprotein components of the protein assembly complex, in a homeostatic control mechanism that coordinates the overall OM assembly process.
Ruiz, Natividad, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Sensing external stress: watchdogs of the Escherichia coli cell envelope.”. Curr Opin Microbiol 82 (2005): , 8, 2, 122-6. Web.Abstract
The Cpx and sigmaE signaling systems monitor the cell envelope in Escherichia coli. When induced, each system triggers a signaling cascade that leads to the upregulation of factors needed to combat envelope damage. Although each system is distinct and can be uniquely induced by certain cues, they also share striking similarities. In this review, we discuss the recent progress in our understanding of the Cpx and sigmaE systems and compare how both function to maintain the integrity of the cell envelope.
Mandel, Mark J, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Starvation for different nutrients in Escherichia coli results in differential modulation of RpoS levels and stability.”. J Bacteriol 187.2 (2005): , 187, 2, 434-42. Web.Abstract
Levels of RpoS increase upon glucose starvation in Escherichia coli, which leads to the transcription of genes whose products combat a variety of stresses. RpoS stability is a key level of control in this process, as SprE (RssB)-mediated degradation is inhibited under glucose starvation. Starvation for ammonia or phosphate also results in increased stress resistance and induction of RpoS-dependent genes. However, we demonstrate that RpoS levels following ammonia starvation are only slightly increased compared to growing cells and are 10-fold below the levels observed under glucose or phosphate limitation. This difference is largely due to regulated proteolysis of RpoS, as its stability in ammonia-starved cells is intermediate between that in logarithmic-phase cells and glucose-starved cells. Use of an rpoS construct that is devoid of the gene's native transcriptional and translational control regions reveals that stability differences are sufficient to explain the different levels of RpoS observed in logarithmic phase, ammonia starvation, and glucose starvation. Under phosphate starvation, however, rpoS translation is increased. The cellular response to nutrient limitation is much more complex than previously appreciated, as there is not simply one response that is activated by starvation for any essential nutrient. Our data support the hypothesis that SprE activity is the key level at which ammonia and glucose starvation signals are transmitted to RpoS, and they suggest that carbon source and/or energy limitation are necessary for full inactivation of the SprE pathway.
Peterson, Celeste N, Mark J Mandel, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Escherichia coli starvation diets: essential nutrients weigh in distinctly.”. J Bacteriol 187.22 (2005): , 187, 22, 7549-53. Web.
Isaac, Daniel D, et al.The extracytoplasmic adaptor protein CpxP is degraded with substrate by DegP.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102.49 (2005): , 102, 49, 17775-9. Web.Abstract
In Escherichia coli, the CpxR/A two-component system senses various types of extracytoplasmic stresses and responds by activating the expression of genes encoding periplasmic protein folding and trafficking factors that clear such stresses to ensure the organism's survival. The cpxP gene encodes a small, stress-combative periplasmic protein and is the most strongly induced member of the Cpx regulon. We demonstrate that the Cpx stress response suppresses the toxicity associated with two misfolded proteins derived from the P pilus of uropathogenic E. coli and that mutations in either cpxP or the gene for the periplasmic protease DegP prevent suppression by preventing the degradation of these proteins. Strikingly, the presence of a periplasmic misfolded protein substrate significantly enhances the proteolysis of CpxP by DegP. Our data suggest that CpxP functions as a periplasmic adaptor protein that is required for the effective proteolysis of a subset of misfolded substrates by the DegP protease.
2004
Duguay, Amy R, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Quality control in the bacterial periplasm.”. Biochim Biophys Acta 1694.1-3 (2004): , 1694, 1-3, 121-34. Web.Abstract
Studies of the mechanisms that Gram-negative bacteria use to sense and respond to stress have led to a greater understanding of protein folding in both cytoplasmic and extracytoplasmic locations. In response to stressful conditions, bacteria induce a variety of stress response systems, examples of which are the sigma(E) and Cpx systems in Escherichia coli. Induction of these stress response systems results in upregulation of several gene targets that have been shown to be important for protein folding under normal conditions. Here we review the identification of stress response systems and their corresponding gene targets in E. coli. In addition, we discuss the apparent redundancy of the folding factors in the periplasm, and we consider the potential importance of the functional overlap that exists.
Peterson, Celeste N, Natividad Ruiz, and Thomas J Silhavy. “RpoS proteolysis is regulated by a mechanism that does not require the SprE (RssB) response regulator phosphorylation site.”. J Bacteriol 186.21 (2004): , 186, 21, 7403-10. Web.Abstract
In Escherichia coli the response regulator SprE (RssB) facilitates degradation of the sigma factor RpoS by delivering it to the ClpXP protease. This process is regulated: RpoS is degraded in logarithmic phase but becomes stable upon carbon starvation, resulting in its accumulation. Because SprE contains a CheY domain with a conserved phosphorylation site (D58), the prevailing model posits that this control is mediated by phosphorylation. To test this model, we mutated the conserved response regulator phosphorylation site (D58A) of the chromosomal allele of sprE and monitored RpoS levels in response to carbon starvation. Though phosphorylation contributed to the SprE basal activity, we found that RpoS proteolysis was still regulated upon carbon starvation. Furthermore, our results indicate that phosphorylation of wild-type SprE occurs by a mechanism that is independent of acetyl phosphate.
2003
Ruiz, Natividad, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Constitutive activation of the Escherichia coli Pho regulon upregulates rpoS translation in an Hfq-dependent fashion.”. J Bacteriol 185.20 (2003): , 185, 20, 5984-92. Print.Abstract
Regulation of the sigma factor RpoS occurs at the levels of transcription, translation, and protein stability activity, and it determines whether Escherichia coli turns on or off the stationary-phase response. To better understand the regulation of RpoS, we conducted genetic screens and found that mutations in the pst locus cause accumulation of RpoS during exponential growth. The pst locus encodes for the components of the high-affinity transport system for inorganic phosphate (P(i)), which is involved in sensing P(i) levels in the environment. When the Pst transporter is compromised (either by mutation or by P(i) starvation), the two-component system PhoBR activates the transcription of the Pho regulon, a subset of genes that encode proteins for transporting and metabolizing alternative phosphate sources. Our data show that strains carrying mutations which constitutively activate the Pho regulon have increased rpoS translation during exponential growth. This upregulation of rpoS translation is Hfq dependent, suggesting the involvement of a small regulatory RNA (sRNA). The transcription of this yet-to-be-identified sRNA is regulated by the PhoBR two-component system.
Hand, Nicholas J, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Null mutations in a Nudix gene, ygdP, implicate an alarmone response in a novel suppression of hybrid jamming.”. J Bacteriol 185.22 (2003): , 185, 22, 6530-9. Print.Abstract
Induction of the toxic LamB-LacZ protein fusion, Hyb42-1, leads to a lethal generalized protein export defect. The prlF1 suppressor causes hyperactivation of the cytoplasmic Lon protease and relieves the inducer sensitivity of Hyb42-1. Since prlF1 does not cause a detectable change in the stability or level of the hybrid protein, we conducted a suppressor screen, seeking factors genetically downstream of lon with prlF1-like phenotypes. Two independent insertions in the ygdP open reading frame relieve the toxicity of the fusion protein and share two additional properties with prlF1: cold sensitivity and the ability to suppress the temperature sensitivity of a degP null mutation. Despite these similarities, ygdP does not appear to act in the same genetic pathway as prlF1 and lon, suggesting a fundamental link between the phenotypes. We speculate that the common properties of the suppressors relate to secretion defects. The ygdP gene (also known as nudH) has been shown to encode a Nudix protein that acts as a dinucleotide oligophosphate (alarmone) hydrolase. Our results suggest that loss of ygdP function leads to the induction of an alarmone-mediated response that affects secretion. Using an epitope-tagged ygdP construct, we present evidence that this response is sensitive to secretion-related stress and is regulated by differential proteolysis of YgdP in a self-limiting manner.
Bowers, Christina Wilson, Fion Lau, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Secretion of LamB-LacZ by the signal recognition particle pathway of Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 185.19 (2003): , 185, 19, 5697-705. Print.Abstract
LamB-LacZ fusion proteins have classically been used in studies of the general secretion pathway of Escherichia coli. Here we describe how increasing signal sequence hydrophobicity routes LamB-LacZ Hyb42-1 to the signal recognition particle (SRP) pathway. Secretion of this hydrophobic fusion variant (H*LamB-LacZ) was reduced in the absence of fully functional Ffh and Ffs, and the translocator jamming caused by Hyb42-1 was prevented by efficient delivery of the fusion to the periplasm. Finally, we found that in the absence of the ribosome-associated chaperone, trigger factor (Tig), LamB-LacZ localized to the periplasm in a SecA-dependent, SRP-independent fashion. Collectively, our results provide compelling in vivo evidence that there is an SRP-dependent cotranslational targeting mechanism in E. coli and argue against a role for trigger factor in pathway discrimination.
DiGiuseppe, Patricia A, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Signal detection and target gene induction by the CpxRA two-component system.”. J Bacteriol 185.8 (2003): , 185, 8, 2432-40. Print.Abstract
The Cpx pathway is a two-component signal transduction system that senses a variety of envelope stresses, including misfolded proteins, and responds by upregulating periplasmic folding and trafficking factors. CpxA resides in the inner membrane and has both kinase and phosphatase activities. CpxR, the response regulator, mediates a response by activating transcription of stress-combative genes. Signal transduction is subject to feedback inhibition via regulon member CpxP and autoamplification. Recently, it was shown that the Cpx pathway is also upregulated when cells adhere to hydrophobic surfaces and that this response is dependent on the outer membrane lipoprotein NlpE. Here we show that while NlpE is required for induction of the Cpx pathway by adhesion, induction by envelope stress and during growth is NlpE independent. We show that while all of the envelope stresses tested induce the Cpx pathway in a manner that is dependent on the periplasmic domain of CpxA, induction during growth is independent of CpxA. Therefore, we propose that the Cpx pathway can sense inducing cues that enter the signaling pathway at three distinct points. Although CpxP is not required for induction of the Cpx pathway, we show that its activity as a negative regulator of CpxA is inactivated by envelope stress. Moreover, the cpxP promoter is more inducible than any other regulon member tested. Consistent with these results, we suggest that CpxP performs a second function, most likely that of a chaperone. Finally, we show that two Cpx-regulated genes are differentially upregulated in response to different envelope stresses, suggesting the existence of three stress-responsive systems.
2002
Braun, Martin, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Imp/OstA is required for cell envelope biogenesis in Escherichia coli.”. Mol Microbiol 45.5 (2002): , 45, 5, 1289-302. Print.Abstract
In Gram-negative bacteria, all components of the outer membrane are synthesized in the cytoplasm or the cytoplasmic leaflet of the inner membrane and must thus traverse the inner membrane and the periplasm on the way to their final destination. In this study, we show Imp/OstA to have characteristics typical for proteins involved in envelope biogenesis. Imp is essential and forms a high-molecular-weight disulphide-bonded complex in the outer membrane. Upon depletion of Imp, lipids and outer membrane proteins appear in a novel membrane fraction with higher density than the outer membrane. We propose Imp to be part of a targeting/usher system for components of the outer membrane.
Duguay, Amy Rizzitello, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Signal sequence mutations as tools for the characterization of LamB folding intermediates.”. J Bacteriol 184.24 (2002): , 184, 24, 6918-28. Print.Abstract
lamBA23DA25Y and lamBA23YA25Y tether LamB to the inner membrane by blocking signal sequence processing. We isolated suppressors of lamBA23DA25Y and lamBA23YA25Y, all of which mapped within the LamB signal sequence. Most interesting were mutations that changed an amino acid with a strong positive charge to an amino acid with no charge. Further characterization of two such suppressors revealed that they produce functional LamB that is localized to the outer membrane with its entire signal sequence still attached. Biochemical analysis shows that mutant LamB monomer chases into an oligomeric species with properties different from those of wild-type LamB trimer. Because assembly of mutant LamB is slowed, these mutations provide useful tools for the characterization of LamB folding intermediates.
Otto, Karen, and Thomas J Silhavy. “Surface sensing and adhesion of Escherichia coli controlled by the Cpx-signaling pathway.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99.4 (2002): , 99, 4, 2287-92. Web.Abstract
Bacterial adhesion is an important initial step in biofilm formation, which may cause problems in medical, environmental, and industrial settings. In spite of obvious phenotypic differences between attached and planktonic cells, knowledge about the genetic basis for these differences and how adhesion-induced changes are mediated is limited. The Cpx two-component signal transduction pathway responds specifically to stress caused by disturbances in the cell envelope and activates genes encoding periplasmic protein folding and degrading factors. Here, we address the role of the Cpx-signaling pathway in sensing and responding to the physical change occurring during adhesion of Escherichia coli to surfaces. We present evidence that the expression of Cpx-regulated genes is induced during initial adhesion of E. coli to abiotic surfaces. This induction is specifically observed upon attachment of stationary-phase cells to hydrophobic surfaces. Moreover, surface-induced activity of the Cpx response requires NlpE, an outer membrane lipoprotein, which has previously been shown to induce the Cpx system when overproduced. The importance of a functional Cpx response during adhesion is further supported by the fact that a dramatically lower number of cells attach to the surface and dynamic cell-surface interactions as measured by a quartz crystal microbalance technique are altered when the CpxRA pathway is disrupted. The defects in adhesion exhibited by the cpxR and nlpE mutants were strikingly similar to those of wild-type cells in which protein synthesis was inhibited, suggesting that the Cpx pathway plays a key role in the regulation of adhesion-induced gene expression.
2001
Eggert, US, et al.Genetic basis for activity differences between vancomycin and glycolipid derivatives of vancomycin.”. Science 294.5541 (2001): , 294, 5541, 361-4. Web.Abstract
Small molecules that affect specific protein functions can be valuable tools for dissecting complex cellular processes. Peptidoglycan synthesis and degradation is a process in bacteria that involves multiple enzymes under strict temporal and spatial regulation. We used a set of small molecules that inhibit the transglycosylation step of peptidoglycan synthesis to discover genes that help to regulate this process. We identified a gene responsible for the susceptibility of Escherichia coli cells to killing by glycolipid derivatives of vancomycin, thus establishing a genetic basis for activity differences between these compounds and vancomycin.
Rizzitello, AE, JR Harper, and TJ Silhavy. “Genetic evidence for parallel pathways of chaperone activity in the periplasm of Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 183.23 (2001): , 183, 23, 6794-800. Web.Abstract
The periplasm of Escherichia coli contains many proteins proposed to have redundant functions in protein folding. Using depletion analysis, we directly demonstrated that null mutations in skp and surA, as well as in degP and surA, result in synthetic phenotypes, suggesting that Skp, SurA, and DegP are functionally redundant. The Deltaskp surA::kan combination has a bacteriostatic effect and leads to filamentation, while the degP::Tn10 surA::kan combination is bactericidal. The steady-state levels of several envelope proteins are greatly reduced upon depletion of a wild-type copy of surA in both instances. We suggest that the functional redundancy of Skp, SurA, and DegP lies in the periplasmic chaperone activity. Taken together, our data support a model in which the periplasm of E. coli contains parallel pathways for chaperone activity. In particular, we propose that Skp and DegP are components of the same pathway and that SurA is a component of a separate pathway. The loss of either pathway has minimal effects on the cell, while the loss of both pathways results in the synthetic phenotypes observed.
Ruiz, N, CN Peterson, and TJ Silhavy. “RpoS-dependent transcriptional control of sprE: regulatory feedback loop.”. J Bacteriol 183.20 (2001): , 183, 20, 5974-81. Web.Abstract
The stationary-phase response exhibited by Escherichia coli upon nutrient starvation is mainly induced by a decrease of the ClpXP-dependent degradation of the alternate primary sigma factor RpoS. Although it is known that the specific regulation of this proteolysis is exercised by the orphan response regulator SprE, it remains unclear how SprE's activity is regulated in vivo. Previous studies have demonstrated that the cellular content of SprE itself is paradoxically increased in stationary-phase cells in an RpoS-dependent fashion. We show here that this RpoS-dependent upregulation of SprE levels is due to increased transcription. Furthermore, we demonstrate that sprE is part of the two-gene rssA-sprE operon, but it can also be transcribed from an additional RpoS-dependent promoter located in the rssA-sprE intergenic region. In addition, by using an in-frame deletion in rssA we found that RssA does not regulate either SprE or RpoS under the conditions tested.
2000
Silhavy, TJ. “Gene fusions.”. J Bacteriol 182.21 (2000): , 182, 21, 5935-8. Print.
Hand, NJ, and TJ Silhavy. “A practical guide to the construction and use of lac fusions in Escherichia coli.”. Methods Enzymol 326 (2000): , 326, 11-35. Print.
Gibson, KE, and TJ Silhavy. “SprE levels are growth phase regulated in a sigma(S)-dependent manner at the level of translation.”. J Bacteriol 182.14 (2000): , 182, 14, 4117-20. Print.Abstract
SprE regulates sigma(S) levels in response to nutrient availability by promoting ClpXP-mediated degradation. Paradoxically, we observe that SprE is similarly regulated, accumulating preferentially upon starvation. This regulation of SprE levels is sigma(S) dependent, altering SprE synthesis at the level of translation. Thus, we demonstrate that SprE and sigma(S) function within a regulatory feedback loop.
Raivio, TL, et al.Tethering of CpxP to the inner membrane prevents spheroplast induction of the cpx envelope stress response.”. Mol Microbiol 37.5 (2000): , 37, 5, 1186-97. Print.Abstract
The Cpx envelope stress response of Escherichia coli is controlled by a two-component regulatory system that senses misfolded proteins in extracytoplasmic compartments and responds by inducing the expression of envelope protein folding and degrading factors. We have proposed that in the absence of envelope stress the pathway is maintained in a downregulated state, in part through interactions between the periplasmic inhibitor molecule CpxP and the sensing domain of the histidine kinase CpxA. In this study, we show that depletion of the periplasmic contents of the cell by spheroplast formation does indeed lead to induction of the Cpx envelope stress response. Further, removal of CpxP is an important component of this induction because tethering an MBP-CpxP fusion protein to the spheroplast inner membranes prevents full activation by this treatment. Spheroplast formation has previously been demonstrated to induce the expression of a periplasmic protein of unknown function, Spy. Analysis of spy expression in response to spheroplast formation by Western blot analysis and by lacZ operon fusion in various cpx mutant backgrounds demonstrated that spy is a member of the Cpx regulon. Interestingly, although the only known spy homologue is cpxP, Spy does not appear to perform the same function as CpxP as it is not involved in inhibiting the Cpx envelope stress response. Rather, deletion of spy leads to activation of the sigmaE stress response. Because the sigmaE response is specifically affected by alterations in outer membrane protein biogenesis, we think it possible that Spy may be involved in this process.
1999
Raivio, TL, DL Popkin, and TJ Silhavy. “The Cpx envelope stress response is controlled by amplification and feedback inhibition.”. J Bacteriol 181.17 (1999): , 181, 17, 5263-72. Print.Abstract
In Escherichia coli, the Cpx two-component regulatory system activates expression of protein folding and degrading factors in response to misfolded proteins in the bacterial envelope (inner membrane, periplasm, and outer membrane). It is comprised of the histidine kinase CpxA and the response regulator CpxR. This response plays a role in protection from stresses, such as elevated pH, as well as in the biogenesis of virulence factors. Here, we show that the Cpx periplasmic stress response is subject to amplification and repression through positive and negative autofeedback mechanisms. Western blot and operon fusion analyses demonstrated that the cpxRA operon is autoactivated. Conditions that lead to elevated levels of phosphorylated CpxR cause a concomitant increase in transcription of cpxRA. Conversely, overproduction of CpxP, a small, Cpx-regulated protein of previously unknown function, represses the regulon and can block activation of the pathway. This repression is dependent on an intact CpxA sensing domain. The ability to autoactivate and then subsequently repress allows for a temporary amplification of the Cpx response that may be important in rescuing cells from transitory stresses and cueing the appropriately timed elaboration of virulence factors.
Gibson, KE, and TJ Silhavy. “The LysR homolog LrhA promotes RpoS degradation by modulating activity of the response regulator sprE.”. J Bacteriol 181.2 (1999): , 181, 2, 563-71. Print.Abstract
Synthesis of the OmpF porin of Escherichia coli is regulated in response to environmental and growth phase signals. In order to identify constituents of the various regulatory pathways involved in modulating ompF transcriptional expression, transposon insertion mutagenesis was performed and mutations that increased ompF'-lacZ activity were identified as previously described. Mutations mapping to a previously identified gene of unknown function, lrhA, were obtained. We found that LrhA, a LysR homolog, functions as a regulatory component in the RpoS-dependent growth phase repression of ompF. In addition to altered growth phase regulation of ompF, these lrhA mutants have pleiotropic stationary-phase defects as a result of decreased RpoS levels. We provide evidence that LrhA promotes degradation of RpoS by functioning within a genetic pathway that includes the response regulator SprE and the ClpXP protease. LrhA functions upstream of the other components in the pathway and appears to modulate the activity of SprE.
Harris, CR, and TJ Silhavy. “Mapping an interface of SecY (PrlA) and SecE (PrlG) by using synthetic phenotypes and in vivo cross-linking.”. J Bacteriol 181.11 (1999): , 181, 11, 3438-44. Print.Abstract
SecY and SecE are integral cytoplasmic membrane proteins that form an essential part of the protein translocation machinery in Escherichia coli. Sites of direct contact between these two proteins have been suggested by the allele-specific synthetic phenotypes exhibited by pairwise combinations of prlA and prlG signal sequence suppressor mutations in these genes. We have introduced cysteine residues within the first periplasmic loop of SecY and the second periplasmic loop of SecE, at a specific pair of positions identified by this genetic interaction. The expression of the cysteine mutant pair results in a dominant lethal phenotype that requires the presence of DsbA, which catalyzes the formation of disulfide bonds. A reducible SecY-SecE complex is also observed, demonstrating that these amino acids must be sufficiently proximal to form a disulfide bond. The use of cysteine-scanning mutagenesis enabled a second contact site to be discovered. Together, these two points of contact allow the modeling of a limited region of quaternary structure, establishing the first characterized site of interaction between these two proteins. This study proves that actual points of protein-protein contact can be identified by using synthetic phenotypes.
Raivio, TL, and TJ Silhavy. “The sigmaE and Cpx regulatory pathways: overlapping but distinct envelope stress responses.”. Curr Opin Microbiol 22 (1999): , 2, 2, 159-65. Web.Abstract
The Cpx and sigmaE extracytoplasmic stress responses sense and respond to misfolded proteins in the bacterial envelope. Recent studies have highlighted differences between these regulatory pathways in terms of activating signals, mechanisms of signal transduction and the nature of the responses. Cumulatively, the findings suggest distinct physiological roles for these partially overlapping envelope stress responses. The sigmaE pathway is essential for survival and is primarily responsible for monitoring and responding to alterations in outer membrane protein folding. Mounting evidence suggests that the Cpx regulon may have been adapted to ensure properly timed expression and assembly of adhesive organelles.
1998
Danese, PN, et al.Accumulation of the enterobacterial common antigen lipid II biosynthetic intermediate stimulates degP transcription in Escherichia coli.”. J Bacteriol 180.22 (1998): , 180, 22, 5875-84. Print.Abstract
In Escherichia coli, transcription of the degP locus, which encodes a heat-shock-inducible periplasmic protease, is controlled by two parallel signal transduction systems that each monitor extracytoplasmic protein physiology. For example, the heat-shock-inducible sigma factor, sigmaE, controls degP transcription in response to the overproduction and folded state of various extracytoplasmic proteins. Similarly, the CpxA/R two-component signal transduction system increases degP transcription in response to the overproduction of a variety of extracytoplasmic proteins. Since degP transcription is attuned to the physiology of extracytoplasmic proteins, we were interested in identifying negative transcriptional regulators of degP. To this end, we screened for null mutations that increased transcription from a strain containing a degP-lacZ reporter fusion. Through this approach, we identified null mutations in the wecE, rmlAECA, and wecF loci that increase degP transcription. Interestingly, each of these loci is responsible for synthesis of the enterobacterial common antigen (ECA), a glycolipid situated on the outer leaflet of the outer membrane of members of the family Enterobacteriaceae. However, these null mutations do not stimulate degP transcription by eliminating ECA biosynthesis. Rather, the wecE, rmlAECA, and wecF null mutations each impede the same step in ECA biosynthesis, and it is the accumulation of the ECA biosynthetic intermediate, lipid II, that causes the observed perturbations. For example, the lipid II-accumulating mutant strains each (i) confer upon E. coli a sensitivity to bile salts, (ii) confer a sensitivity to the synthesis of the outer membrane protein LamB, and (iii) stimulate both the Cpx pathway and sigmaE activity. These phenotypes suggest that the accumulation of lipid II perturbs the structure of the bacterial outer membrane. Furthermore, these results underscore the notion that although the Cpx and sigmaE systems function in parallel to regulate degP transcription, they can be simultaneously activated by the same perturbation.

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