(1/19133) 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)

(2/19133) In vitro study of two dominant inhibitory GTPase mutants of Escherichia coli translation initiation factor IF2. Direct evidence that GTP hydrolysis is necessary for factor recycling.

We have recently shown that the Escherichia coli initiation factor 2 (IF2) G-domain mutants V400G and H448E do not support cell survival and have a strong negative effect on growth even in the presence of wild-type IF2. We have isolated both mutant proteins and performed an in vitro study of their main functions. The affinity of both mutant proteins for GTP is almost unchanged compared with wild-type IF2. However, the uncoupled GTPase activity of the V400G and H448E mutants is severely impaired, the Vmax values being 11- and 40-fold lower, respectively. Both mutant forms promoted fMet-tRNAfMet binding to 70 S ribosomes with similar efficiencies and were as sensitive to competitive inhibition by GDP as wild-type IF2. Formation of the first peptide bond, as measured by the puromycin reaction, was completely inhibited in the presence of the H448E mutant but still significant in the case of the V400G mutant. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation revealed that, in contrast to wild-type IF2, both mutant proteins stay blocked on the ribosome after formation of the 70 S initiation complex. This probably explains their dominant negative effect in vivo. Our results underline the importance of GTP hydrolysis for the recycling of IF2.  (+info)

(3/19133) 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)

(4/19133) Transcription of the stationary-phase-associated hspX gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is inversely related to synthesis of the 16-kilodalton protein.

The 16-kDa protein, an alpha-crystallin homologue, is one of the most abundant proteins in stationary-phase Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Here, transcription and translation of the hspX gene, which encodes the 16-kDa protein, have been investigated by Northern blotting analysis, primer extension, and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with a microaerophilic stationary-phase model. Two transcripts of about 2.5 and 1.1 kb were demonstrated by Northern blot analysis and hybridized to the hspX gene probe. Primer extension analysis revealed that the transcription start site is located 33 nucleotides upstream of the hspX gene start codon. The cellular level of the hspX mRNA was maximum in log-phase bacilli and was markedly reduced after 20 days in unagitated culture, when the organisms had entered the stationary phase. A third transcript of 0.5 kb was detected 0.6 kb downstream of the hspX gene; this transcript has a transcriptional pattern completely different from that of the 1.1- and 2.5-kb products, suggesting that there may be another gene in this region. In contrast to the high level of hspX mRNA in log-phase bacilli, 16-kDa protein synthesis was low in log-phase bacteria and rose to its maximum after 20 days. In both log-phase and stationary-phase bacteria the mRNA was unstable, with a half-life of 2 min, which indicated that the transcript stability was growth rate independent and not a general means for controlling the gene expression. However, the cellular content of 16-kDa protein, while low in log-phase bacteria, rose to a maximum at 10 days and remained at this high level for up to 50 days, which indicates that this protein is a stable molecule with a low turnover rate. These data suggest that the regulation of hspX expression during entry into and maintenance of stationary phase involves translation initiation efficiency and protein stability as potential mechanisms.  (+info)

(5/19133) Identification and characterization of SirA, an iron-regulated protein from Staphylococcus aureus.

The acquisition of iron by pathogenic bacteria is often a crucial step in establishing infection. To accomplish this, many bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, produce low-molecular-weight iron-chelating siderophores. However, the secretion and transport of these molecules in gram-positive organisms are poorly understood. The sequence, organization, and regulation of genes involved in siderophore transport are conserved among gram-negative bacteria. We used this information to identify a putative siderophore transport locus from an S. aureus genomic sequence database. This locus contains three predicted open reading frames with a high degree of homology to genes involved in siderophore uptake in several bacterial species, in particular the cbr locus of the plant pathogen Erwinia chrysanthemi. The first gene in the locus, which we have designated sir for staphylococcal iron regulated, encodes a putative lipoprotein with a molecular mass of 37 kDa. The open reading frame is preceded by a 19-bp region of dyad symmetry with homology for operator sequences controlling iron-regulated expression of genes in other bacteria. Fur titration experiments indicate that this region of dyad symmetry is sufficient for Fur-dependent regulation in Escherichia coli. The expression of this gene was repressed, in a dose-dependent manner, by the addition of iron to the S. aureus culture medium. sir-encoded proteins may be involved in iron acquisition in vivo and therefore may be targets for antimicrobial agents.  (+info)

(6/19133) Nitrate-dependent regulation of acetate biosynthesis and nitrate respiration by Clostridium thermoaceticum.

Nitrate has been shown to shunt the electron flow in Clostridium thermoaceticum from CO2 to nitrate, but it did not influence the levels of enzymes involved in the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway (J. M. Frostl, C. Seifritz, and H. L. Drake, J. Bacteriol. 178:4597-4603, 1996). Here we show that under some growth conditions, nitrate does in fact repress proteins involved in the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway. The CO oxidation activity in crude extracts of nitrate (30 mM)-supplemented cultures was fivefold less than that of nitrate-free cultures, while the H2 oxidation activity was six- to sevenfold lower. The decrease in CO oxidation activity paralleled a decrease in CO dehydrogenase (CODH) protein level, as confirmed by Western blot analysis. Protein levels of CODH in nitrate-supplemented cultures were 50% lower than those in nitrate-free cultures. Western blots analyses showed that nitrate also decreased the levels of the corrinoid iron-sulfur protein (60%) and methyltransferase (70%). Surprisingly, the decrease in activity and protein levels upon nitrate supplementation was observed only when cultures were continuously sparged. Northern blot analysis indicates that the regulation of the proteins involved in the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway by nitrate is at the transcriptional level. At least a 10-fold decrease in levels of cytochrome b was observed with nitrate supplementation whether the cultures were sparged or stoppered. We also detected nitrate-inducible nitrate reductase activity (2 to 39 nmol min-1 mg-1) in crude extracts of C. thermoaceticum. Our results indicate that nitrate coordinately represses genes encoding enzymes and electron transport proteins in the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway and activates transcription of nitrate respiratory proteins. CO2 also appears to induce expression of the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway genes and repress nitrate reductase activity.  (+info)

(7/19133) Environmental signals modulate ToxT-dependent virulence factor expression in Vibrio cholerae.

The regulatory protein ToxT directly activates the transcription of virulence factors in Vibrio cholerae, including cholera toxin (CT) and the toxin-coregulated pilus (TCP). Specific environmental signals stimulate virulence factor expression by inducing the transcription of toxT. We demonstrate that transcriptional activation by the ToxT protein is also modulated by environmental signals. ToxT expressed from an inducible promoter activated high-level expression of CT and TCP in V. cholerae at 30 degrees C, but expression of CT and TCP was significantly decreased or abolished by the addition of 0.4% bile to the medium and/or an increase of the temperature to 37 degrees C. Also, expression of six ToxT-dependent TnphoA fusions was modulated by temperature and bile. Measurement of ToxT-dependent transcription of genes encoding CT and TCP by ctxAp- and tcpAp-luciferase fusions confirmed that negative regulation by 37 degrees C or bile occurs at the transcriptional level in V. cholerae. Interestingly, ToxT-dependent transcription of these same promoters in Salmonella typhimurium was relatively insensitive to regulation by temperature or bile. These data are consistent with ToxT transcriptional activity being modulated by environmental signals in V. cholerae and demonstrate an additional level of complexity governing the expression of virulence factors in this pathogen. We propose that negative regulation of ToxT-dependent transcription by environmental signals prevents the incorrect temporal and spatial expression of virulence factors during cholera pathogenesis.  (+info)

(8/19133) Role of ribosome release in regulation of tna operon expression in Escherichia coli.

Expression of the degradative tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. In cultures growing in the absence of added tryptophan, transcription of the structural genes of the tna operon is limited by Rho-dependent transcription termination in the leader region of the operon. Tryptophan induction prevents this Rho-dependent termination, and requires in-frame translation of a 24-residue leader peptide coding region, tnaC, that contains a single, crucial, Trp codon. Studies with a lacZ reporter construct lacking the spacer region between tnaC and the first major structural gene, tnaA, suggested that tryptophan induction might involve cis action by the TnaC leader peptide on the ribosome translating the tnaC coding region. The leader peptide was hypothesized to inhibit ribosome release at the tnaC stop codon, thereby blocking Rho's access to the transcript. Regulatory studies with deletion constructs of the tna operon of Proteus vulgaris supported this interpretation. In the present study the putative role of the tnaC stop codon in tna operon regulation in E. coli was examined further by replacing the natural tnaC stop codon, UGA, with UAG or UAA in a tnaC-stop codon-tnaA'-'lacZ reporter construct. Basal level expression was reduced to 20 and 50% when the UGA stop codon was replaced by UAG or UAA, respectively, consistent with the finding that in E. coli translation terminates more efficiently at UAG and UAA than at UGA. Tryptophan induction was observed in strains with any of the stop codons. However, when UAG or UAA replaced UGA, the induced level of expression was also reduced to 15 and 50% of that obtained with UGA as the tnaC stop codon, respectively. Introduction of a mutant allele encoding a temperature-sensitive release factor 1, prfA1, increased basal level expression 60-fold when the tnaC stop codon was UAG and 3-fold when this stop codon was UAA; basal level expression was reduced by 50% in the construct with the natural stop codon, UGA. In strains with any of the three stop codons and the prfA1 mutation, the induced levels of tna operon expression were virtually identical. The effects of tnaC stop codon identity on expression were also examined in the absence of Rho action, using tnaC-stop codon-'lacZ constructs that lack the tnaC-tnaA spacer region. Expression was low in the absence of tnaC stop codon suppression. In most cases, tryptophan addition resulted in about 50% inhibition of expression when UGA was replaced by UAG or UAA and the appropriate suppressor was present. Introduction of the prfA1 mutant allele increased expression of the suppressed construct with the UAG stop codon; tryptophan addition also resulted in ca. 50% inhibition. These findings provide additional evidence implicating the behavior of the ribosome translating tnaC in the regulation of tna operon expression.  (+info)