Influence of crossdrafts on the performance of a biological safety cabinet.
A biological safety cabinet was tested to determine the effect of crossdrafts (such as those created by normal laboratory activity or ventilation) upon the ability of the cabinet to protect both experiments and investigators. A simple crossdraft, controllable from 50 to 200 feet per min (fpm; 15.24 to 60.96 m/min), was created across the face of the unit. Modifications of standardized procedures involving controlled bacterial aerosol challenges provided stringent test conditions. Results indicated that, as the crossflow velocities exceeded 100 fpm, the ability of the cabinet to protect either experiments or investigators decreased logarithmically with increasing crossdraft speed. Because 100 fpm is an airspeed easily achieved by some air conditioning and heating vents (open windows and doorways may create velocities far in excess of 200 fpm), the proper placement of a biological safety cabinet within the laboratory--away from such disruptive air currents--is essential to satisfactory cabinet performance. (+info)
Carcinogenicity of triethanolamine in mice and its mutagenicity after reaction with sodium nitrite in bacteria.
Mice fed a diet containing 0.3 or 0.03% triethanolamine developed malignant tumors. Females showed a high incidence of tumors in lymphoid tissues, while this type was absent in males. Tumors in other tissues were produced at a considerable rate in both sexes, but no hepatoma was found. Triethanolamine was not mutagenic to Bacillus subtilis by itself, but it became mutagenic after reacting with sodium nitrite under acidic conditions or when the mixture was heated. Although N-nitrosodiethanolamine, a known carcinogen and mutagen, was detected in the reaction mixture by thin-layer chromatography, it may not be the main mutagenic product, because the product was a stable and direct mutagen and its mutagenic activity was destroyed by liver enzymes, unlike N-nitrosodiethanolamine. The lethal and mutagenic DNA damages produced by this unidentified product were susceptible to some extent to the repair functions of the bacteria. (+info)
Prodigious substrate specificity of AAC(6')-APH(2"), an aminoglycoside antibiotic resistance determinant in enterococci and staphylococci.
BACKGROUND: High-level gentamicin resistance in enterococci and staphylococci is conferred by AAC(6')-APH(2"), an enzyme with 6'-N-acetyltransferase and 2"-O-phosphotransferase activities. The presence of this enzyme in pathogenic gram-positive bacteria prevents the successful use of gentamicin C and most other aminoglycosides as therapeutic agents. RESULTS: In an effort to understand the mechanism of aminoglycoside modification, we expressed AAC(6')-APH(2") in Bacillus subtilis. The purified enzyme is monomeric with a molecular mass of 57 kDa and displays both the expected aminoglycoside N-acetyltransferase and O-phosphotransferase activities. Structure-function analysis with various aminoglycosides substrates reveals an enzyme with broad specificity in both enzymatic activities, accounting for AAC(6')-APH(2")'s dramatic negative impact on clinical aminoglycoside therapy. Both lividomycin A and paromomycin, aminoglycosides lacking a 6'-amino group, were acetylated by AAC(6')-APH(2"). The infrared spectrum of the product of paromomycin acetylation yielded a signal consistent with O-acetylation. Mass spectral and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis of the products of neomycin phosphorylation indicated that phosphoryl transfer occurred primarily at the 3'-OH of the 6-aminohexose ring A, and that some diphosphorylated material was also present with phosphates at the 3'-OH and the 3"'-OH of ring D, both unprecedented observations for this enzyme. Furthermore, the phosphorylation site of lividomycin A was determined to be the 5"-OH of the pentose ring C. CONCLUSIONS: The bifunctional AAC(6')-APH(2") has the capacity to inactivate virtually all clinically important aminoglycosides through N- and O-acetylation and phosphorylation of hydroxyl groups. The extremely broad substrate specificity of this enzyme will impact on future development of aminoglycosides and presents a significant challenge for antibiotic design. (+info)
In vivo and in vitro processing of the Bacillus subtilis transcript coding for glutamyl-tRNA synthetase, serine acetyltransferase, and cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase.
In Bacillus subtilis, the adjacent genes gltX, cysE, and cysS encoding respectively glutamyl-tRNA synthetase, serine acetyl-transferase, and cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase, are transcribed as an operon but a gltX probe reveals only the presence of a monocistronic gltX mRNA (Gagnon et al., 1994, J Biol Chem 269:7473-7482). The transcript of the gltX-cysE intergenic region contains putative alternative secondary structures forming a p-independent terminator or an antiterminator, and a conserved sequence (T-box) found in the leader of most aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase and many amino acid biosynthesis genes in B. subtilis and in other Gram-positive eubacteria. The transcription of these genes is initiated 45 nt upstream from the first codon of gltX and is under the control of a sigmaA-type promoter. Analysis of the in vivo transcript of this operon revealed a cleavage site immediately downstream from the p-independent terminator structure. In vitro transcription analysis, using RNA polymerases from Escherichia coli, B. subtilis, and that encoded by the T7 phage, in the presence of various RNase inhibitors, shows the same cleavage. This processing generates mRNAs whose 5'-end half-lives differ by a factor of 2 in rich medium, and leaves putative secondary structures at the 3' end of the gltX transcript and at the 5' end of the cysE/S mRNA, which may be involved in the stabilization of these mRNAs. By its mechanism and its position, this cleavage differs from that of the other known transcripts encoding aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases in B. subtilis. (+info)
Structural basis of multidrug recognition by BmrR, a transcription activator of a multidrug transporter.
Multidrug-efflux transporters demonstrate an unusual ability to recognize multiple structurally dissimilar toxins. A comparable ability to bind diverse hydrophobic cationic drugs is characteristic of the Bacillus subtilis transcription regulator BmrR, which upon drug binding activates expression of the multidrug transporter Bmr. Crystal structures of the multidrug-binding domain of BmrR (2.7 A resolution) and of its complex with the drug tetraphenylphosphonium (2.8 A resolution) revealed a drug-induced unfolding and relocation of an alpha helix, which exposes an internal drug-binding pocket. Tetraphenylphosphonium binding is mediated by stacking and van der Waals contacts with multiple hydrophobic residues of the pocket and by an electrostatic interaction between the positively charged drug and a buried glutamate residue, which is the key to cation selectivity. Similar binding principles may be used by other multidrug-binding proteins. (+info)
Comparison of synonymous codon distribution patterns of bacteriophage and host genomes.
Synonymous codon usage patterns of bacteriophage and host genomes were compared. Two indexes, G + C base composition of a gene (fgc) and fraction of translationally optimal codons of the gene (fop), were used in the comparison. Synonymous codon usage data of all the coding sequences on a genome are represented as a cloud of points in the plane of fop vs. fgc. The Escherichia coli coding sequences appear to exhibit two phases, "rising" and "flat" phases. Genes that are essential for survival and are thought to be native are located in the flat phase, while foreign-type genes from prophages and transposons are found in the rising phase with a slope of nearly unity in the fgc vs. fop plot. Synonymous codon distribution patterns of genes from temperate phages P4, P2, N15 and lambda are similar to the pattern of E. coli rising phase genes. In contrast, genes from the virulent phage T7 or T4, for which a phage-encoded DNA polymerase is identified, fall in a linear curve with a slope of nearly zero in the fop vs. fgc plane. These results may suggest that the G + C contents for T7, T4 and E. coli flat phase genes are subject to the directional mutation pressure and are determined by the DNA polymerase used in the replication. There is significant variation in the fop values of the phage genes, suggesting an adjustment to gene expression level. Similar analyses of codon distribution patterns were carried out for Haemophilus influenzae, Bacillus subtilis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and their phages with complete genomic sequences available. (+info)
Esterases in serum-containing growth media counteract chloramphenicol acetyltransferase activity in vitro.
The spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi was unexpectedly found to be as susceptible to diacetyl chloramphenicol, the product of the enzyme chloramphenicol acetyltransferase, as it was to chloramphenicol itself. The susceptibilities of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, as well as that of B. burgdorferi, to diacetyl chloramphenicol were then assayed in different media. All three species were susceptible to diacetyl chloramphenicol when growth media were supplemented with rabbit serum or, to a lesser extent, human serum. Susceptibility of E. coli and B. subtilis to diacetyl chloramphenicol was not observed in the absence of serum, when horse serum was used, or when the rabbit or human serum was heated first. In the presence of 10% rabbit serum, a strain of E. coli bearing the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (cat) gene had a fourfold-lower resistance to chloramphenicol than in the absence of serum. A plate bioassay for chloramphenicol activity showed the conversion by rabbit, mouse, and human sera but not bacterial cell extracts or heated serum of diacetyl chloramphenicol to an inhibitory compound. Deacetylation of acetyl chloramphenicol by serum components was demonstrated by using fluorescent substrates and thin-layer chromatography. These studies indicate that esterases of serum can convert diacetyl chloramphenicol back to an active antibiotic, and thus, in vitro findings may not accurately reflect the level of chloramphenicol resistance by cat-bearing bacteria in vivo. (+info)
Transient gene asymmetry during sporulation and establishment of cell specificity in Bacillus subtilis.
Sporulation in Bacillus subtilis is initiated by an asymmetric division generating two cells of different size and fate. During a short interval, the smaller forespore harbors only 30% of the chromosome until the remaining part is translocated across the septum. We demonstrate that moving the gene for sigmaF, the forespore-specific transcription factor, in the trapped region of the chromosome is sufficient to produce spores in the absence of the essential activators SpoIIAA and SpoIIE. We propose that transient genetic asymmetry is the device that releases SpoIIE phosphatase activity in the forespore and establishes cell specificity. (+info)