Oligomerization of Escherichia coli enterotoxin b through its C-terminal hydrophobic alpha-helix.
Using a chemical cross-linker and gel electrophoresis or a dot blot overlay assay, we studied protein-protein interaction of STb toxin, a 48-residue amphiphilic polypeptide causing intestinal disorders. For the first time, we report on the oligomerization property of STb. This enterotoxin forms hexamers and heptamers in a temperature-independent fashion in presence or absence of its receptor (sulfatide) anchored in a 50-nm liposome or as a free molecule. Full STb structure integrity is necessary for its oligomerization as this process is not observed under reducing conditions in the presence of beta-mercaptoethanol. STb treatment with tetramethylurea (TMU) and different detergents prevented oligomerization. Site-directed mutagenesis decreasing overall STb hydrophobicity in the hydrophobic alpha-helix resulted in the incapacity to form oligomers. Taken together, these data suggest that the C-terminal hydrophobic alpha-helix corresponds to the domain of STb-STb inter-binding where hydrophobic interaction is involved. (+info)
Selective cleavage of D-Ala-D-Lac by small molecules: re-sensitizing resistant bacteria to vancomycin.
Pathogenic enterococci are becoming resistant to currently available antibiotics, including vancomycin, the drug of last resort for Gram-positive infections. Enterococci pose a significant public health threat, not least because of the risk of transferring vancomycin resistance to the ubiquitous Staphylococcus aureus. Vancomycin resistance is manifested by cell wall peptidoglycan precursors with altered termini that cannot bind the antibiotic. Small molecules with well-oriented nucleophile-electrophile assembly and complementary chirality to the peptidoglycan termini were identified as catalytic and selective cleavers of the peptidoglycan precursor depsipeptide. These molecules were tested in combination with vancomycin and were found to re-sensitize vancomycin-resistant bacteria to the antibiotic. (+info)
Isolation from agricultural soil and characterization of a Sphingomonas sp. able to mineralize the phenylurea herbicide isoproturon.
A soil bacterium (designated strain SRS2) able to metabolize the phenylurea herbicide isoproturon, 3-(4-isopropylphenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea (IPU), was isolated from a previously IPU-treated agricultural soil. Based on a partial analysis of the 16S rRNA gene and the cellular fatty acids, the strain was identified as a Sphingomonas sp. within the alpha-subdivision of the proteobacteria. Strain SRS2 was able to mineralize IPU when provided as a source of carbon, nitrogen, and energy. Supplementing the medium with a mixture of amino acids considerably enhanced IPU mineralization. Mineralization of IPU was accompanied by transient accumulation of the metabolites 3-(4-isopropylphenyl)-1-methylurea, 3-(4-isopropylphenyl)-urea, and 4-isopropyl-aniline identified by high-performance liquid chromatography analysis, thus indicating a metabolic pathway initiated by two successive N-demethylations, followed by cleavage of the urea side chain and finally by mineralization of the phenyl structure. Strain SRS2 also transformed the dimethylurea-substituted herbicides diuron and chlorotoluron, giving rise to as-yet-unidentified products. In addition, no degradation of the methoxy-methylurea-substituted herbicide linuron was observed. This report is the first characterization of a pure bacterial culture able to mineralize IPU. (+info)
Fluorometric determination of N-nitroso-N-methylurea with nicotinamide and acetophenone.
A fluorometric method for the determination of N-nitroso-N-methylurea (NMU) has been developed. It is based on the N-methylation reaction of nicotinamide with NMU and a subsequent condensation reaction with acetophenone, followed by an acid treatment to form a fluorescent 2,7-naphthyridine derivative. This method enabled the determination of NMU in the range 0.05 - 2 nmol/200 microl with a relative standard deviation of ca. 3%. It was applied to the determination of NMU formed from a precursor N-methylurea (MU) under simulated gastric conditions containing nitrite and thiocyanate ions at pH 3.0 in the presence of fresh orange juice and milk. NMU was extracted by an Extrelut 20 column and then determined. The mean recoveries of NMU added to the simulated gastric juice containing water, orange juice and milk were 86.5, 85.1 and 69.8%, respectively. The amounts of NMU formed from MU were found to decrease to below 25% in the presence of orange juice and milk. (+info)
Growth in coculture stimulates metabolism of the phenylurea herbicide isoproturon by Sphingomonas sp. strain SRS2.
Metabolism of the phenylurea herbicide isoproturon by Sphingomonas sp. strain SRS2 was significantly enhanced when the strain was grown in coculture with a soil bacterium (designated strain SRS1). Both members of this consortium were isolated from a highly enriched isoproturon-degrading culture derived from an agricultural soil previously treated regularly with the herbicide. Based on analysis of the 16S rRNA gene, strain SRS1 was assigned to the beta-subdivision of the proteobacteria and probably represents a new genus. Strain SRS1 was unable to degrade either isoproturon or its known metabolites 3-(4-isopropylphenyl)-1-methylurea, 3-(4-isopropylphenyl)-urea, or 4-isopropyl-aniline. Pure culture studies indicate that Sphingomonas sp. SRS2 is auxotrophic and requires components supplied by association with other soil bacteria. A specific mixture of amino acids appeared to meet these requirements, and it was shown that methionine was essential for Sphingomonas sp. SRS2. This suggests that strain SRS1 supplies amino acids to Sphingomonas sp. SRS2, thereby leading to rapid metabolism of (14)C-labeled isoproturon to (14)CO(2) and corresponding growth of strain SRS2. Proliferation of strain SRS1 suggests that isoproturon metabolism by Sphingomonas sp. SRS2 provides unknown metabolites or cell debris that supports growth of strain SRS1. The role of strain SRS1 in the consortium was not ubiquitous among soil bacteria; however, the indigenous soil microflora and some strains from culture collections also stimulate isoproturon metabolism by Sphingomonas sp. strain SRS2 to a similar extent. (+info)
In-field spatial variability in the degradation of the phenyl-urea herbicide isoproturon is the result of interactions between degradative Sphingomonas spp. and soil pH.
Substantial spatial variability in the degradation rate of the phenyl-urea herbicide isoproturon (IPU) [3-(4-isopropylphenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea] has been shown to occur within agricultural fields, with implications for the longevity of the compound in the soil, and its movement to ground- and surface water. The microbial mechanisms underlying such spatial variability in degradation rate were investigated at Deep Slade field in Warwickshire, United Kingdom. Most-probable-number analysis showed that rapid degradation of IPU was associated with proliferation of IPU-degrading organisms. Slow degradation of IPU was linked to either a delay in the proliferation of IPU-degrading organisms or apparent cometabolic degradation. Using enrichment techniques, an IPU-degrading bacterial culture (designated strain F35) was isolated from fast-degrading soil, and partial 16S rRNA sequencing placed it within the Sphingomonas group. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified bacterial community 16S rRNA revealed two bands that increased in intensity in soil during growth-linked metabolism of IPU, and sequencing of the excised bands showed high sequence homology to the Sphingomonas group. However, while F35 was not closely related to either DGGE band, one of the DGGE bands showed 100% partial 16S rRNA sequence homology to an IPU-degrading Sphingomonas sp. (strain SRS2) isolated from Deep Slade field in an earlier study. Experiments with strains SRS2 and F35 in soil and liquid culture showed that the isolates had a narrow pH optimum (7 to 7.5) for metabolism of IPU. The pH requirements of IPU-degrading strains of Sphingomonas spp. could largely account for the spatial variation of IPU degradation rates across the field. (+info)
Preparation and activity of guanidinated or acetylated erabutoxins.
1. Erabutoxins, a, b and c, neurotoxic proteins of a sea snake Lacticauda semifasciata, were guanidinated with O-methylisourea. The amino groups of all the lysine residues and those at the N-termini of the toxins were modified. The lethal activity of the toxins decreased to 50% (erabutoxins a and b) or 17% (erabutoxin c) of the original value on the modification. The c.d. (circular dichroism) maximum at 227 nm of the modified toxins became lower, whereas the whole profile of the c.d. curve remained unchanged. 2. The amino groups of erabutoxin b were acetylated with acetic anhydride. All the five monoacetyl derivatives were isolated from the reaction products by CM-cellulose and Bio-Rex 70 column chromatography. [1-Nalpha-acetylarginine]-, [15-N6-acetyl-lysine]- and [51-N6-acetyl-lysine]-erabutoxin b retained the toxicity of the native toxin, whereas [27-N6-acetyl-lysine] and [47-N6-acetyl-lysine]-erabutoxin b were 17 and 8% active respectively. The overall profile of c.d. spectrum of erabutoxin b remained unchanged on the monoacetylation. (+info)
Polar organic pollutants in groundwater: experimental approaches to biodegradation during subsoil passage.
A selection of polar organic compounds was investigated for their biodegradation on a laboratory scale fixed-bed bioreactor and the decline of the parent compounds besides the formation of metabolites was monitored. Of particular interest was the investigation into the degradation of pesticides, especially isoproturon (IPU), surfactants and industrial by-products of chemical synthesis. The results from the laboratory degradation experiments are compared to findings in groundwater. (+info)