Specific binding of nisin to the peptidoglycan precursor lipid II combines pore formation and inhibition of cell wall biosynthesis for potent antibiotic activity. (1/97)

Unlike numerous pore-forming amphiphilic peptide antibiotics, the lantibiotic nisin is active in nanomolar concentrations, which results from its ability to use the lipid-bound cell wall precursor lipid II as a docking molecule for subsequent pore formation. Here we use genetically engineered nisin variants to identify the structural requirements for the interaction of the peptide with lipid II. Mutations affecting the conformation of the N-terminal part of nisin comprising rings A through C, e.g. [S3T]nisin, led to reduced binding and increased the peptide concentration necessary for pore formation. The binding constant for the S3T mutant was 0.043 x 10(7) m(-1) compared with 2 x 10(7) m(-1) for the wild-type peptide, and the minimum concentration for pore formation increased from the 1 nm to the 50 nm range. In contrast, peptides mutated in the flexible hinge region, e.g. [DeltaN20/DeltaM21]nisin, were completely inactive in the pore formation assay, but were reduced to some extent in their in vivo activity. We found the remaining in vivo activity to result from the unaltered capacity of the mutated peptide to bind to lipid II and thus to inhibit its incorporation into the peptidoglycan network. Therefore, through interaction with the membrane-bound cell wall precursor lipid II, nisin inhibits peptidoglycan synthesis and forms highly specific pores. The combination of two killing mechanisms in one molecule potentiates antibiotic activity and results in nanomolar MIC values, a strategy that may well be worth considering for the construction of novel antibiotics.  (+info)

The lysis protein E of phi X174 is a specific inhibitor of the MraY-catalyzed step in peptidoglycan synthesis. (2/97)

Coliphage phi X174 encodes a single lysis protein, E, a 91-amino acid membrane protein. Dominant mutations have been isolated in the host gene mraY that confer E resistance. mraY encodes translocase I, which catalyzes the formation of the first lipid intermediate in bacterial cell wall synthesis, suggesting a model in which E inhibits MraY and promotes cell lysis in a manner analogous to cell wall synthesis inhibitors like penicillin. To test this model biochemically, we monitored the effect of E on cell wall synthesis in vivo and in vitro. We find that expression of Emyc, encoding an epitope-tagged E protein, from a multicopy plasmid inhibits the incorporation of [(3)H]diaminopimelic acid into cell wall and leads to a profile of labeled precursors consistent with MraY inhibition. Moreover, we find that membranes isolated after Emyc expression are drastically reduced in MraY activity, whereas the activity of Rfe, an enzyme in the same superfamily, was unaffected. We therefore conclude that E is indeed a cell wall synthesis inhibitor and that this inhibition results from a specific block at the MraY-catalyzed step in the pathway.  (+info)

Identification of the UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide:L-alanine ligase for synthesis of branched peptidoglycan precursors in Enterococcus faecalis. (3/97)

Many species of gram-positive bacteria produce branched peptidoglycan precursors resulting from the transfer of various L-amino acids or glycine from amino acyl-tRNA to the epsilon-amino group of L-lysine. The UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide:L-alanine ligase and alanyl-tRNA synthetase genes from Enterococcus faecalis were identified, cloned, and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The purified enzymes were necessary and sufficient for tRNA-dependent addition of L-alanine to UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide in vitro. The ligase belonged to the Fem family of proteins, which were initially identified genetically as factors essential for methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus.  (+info)

The VanY(D) DD-carboxypeptidase of Enterococcus faecium BM4339 is a penicillin-binding protein. (4/97)

VanD-type Enterococcus faecium BM4339 is constitutively resistant to vancomycin and to low levels of teicoplanin. This strain produces peptidoglycan precursors terminating in D-lactate but, unlike VanA- and VanB-type strains, E. faecium BM4339 has a mutated ddl ligase gene and cannot synthesize D-Ala-D-Ala. Consequently, although it possesses vanX(D) and vanY(D) genes, it should not require an active VanX-type DD-dipeptidase or a VanY-type DD-carboxypeptidase for resistance. The vanY(D) gene contains the signatures of a penicillin-binding protein (PBP) and is believed to encode a penicillin-sensitive DD-carboxypeptidase. The enzyme activity was found to be membrane-bound and inhibited by low concentrations of benzylpenicillin in membrane preparations and in intact bacteria, indicating that the active site was present on the outside surface of the membrane. The 38 kDa protein was revealed as a PBP present in more copies per cell than conventional PBPs and all the protein was accessible to benzylpenicillin added externally, confirming the localization of the active site. A glycopeptide-susceptible strain of E. faecium lacked this PBP, and the membrane-bound DD-carboxypeptidase activity was less than 5% of that of E. faecium BM4339. Although the active site of VanY(D) was external to the membrane, UDP-MurNAc-tetrapeptide was produced internally, probably from UDP-MurNAc-pentadepsipeptide. The presence of benzylpenicillin at low concentrations in the growth medium substantially reduced the amount of tetrapeptide produced, indicating that inhibition of VanY(D) by benzylpenicillin influenced production of peptidoglycan precursors internally. A model to explain these contrasting observations is proposed.  (+info)

Anchoring of surface proteins to the cell wall of Staphylococcus aureus. III. Lipid II is an in vivo peptidoglycan substrate for sortase-catalyzed surface protein anchoring. (5/97)

Surface proteins of Staphylococcus aureus are anchored to the cell wall peptidoglycan by a mechanism requiring a C-terminal sorting signal with an LPXTG motif. Surface proteins are first synthesized in the bacterial cytoplasm and then transported across the cytoplasmic membrane. Cleavage of the N-terminal signal peptide of the cytoplasmic surface protein P1 precursor generates the extracellular P2 species, which is the substrate for the cell wall anchoring reaction. Sortase, a membrane-anchored transpeptidase, cleaves P2 between the threonine (T) and the glycine (G) of the LPXTG motif and catalyzes the formation of an amide bond between the carboxyl group of threonine and the amino group of cell wall cross-bridges. We have used metabolic labeling of staphylococcal cultures with [(32)P]phosphoric acid to reveal a P3 intermediate. The (32)P-label of immunoprecipitated surface protein is removed by treatment with lysostaphin, a glycyl-glycine endopeptidase that separates the cell wall anchor structure. Furthermore, the appearance of P3 is prevented in the absence of sortase or by the inhibition of cell wall synthesis. (32)P-Labeled cell wall anchor species bind to nisin, an antibiotic that is known to form a complex with lipid II. Thus, it appears that the P3 intermediate represents surface protein linked to the lipid II peptidoglycan precursor. The data support a model whereby lipid II-linked polypeptides are incorporated into the growing peptidoglycan via the transpeptidation and transglycosylation reactions of cell wall synthesis, generating mature cell wall-linked surface protein.  (+info)

Further evidence that a cell wall precursor [C(55)-MurNAc-(peptide)-GlcNAc] serves as an acceptor in a sorting reaction. (6/97)

Previous studies suggested that a Gly-containing branch of cell wall precursor [C(55)-MurNAc-(peptide)-GlcNAc], which is often referred to as lipid II, might serve as a nucleophilic acceptor in sortase-catalyzed anchoring of surface proteins in Staphylococcus aureus. To test this hypothesis, we first simplified the procedure for in vitro biosynthesis of Gly-containing lipid II by using branched UDP-MurNAc-hexapeptide isolated from the cytoplasm of Streptomyces spp. Second, we designed a thin-layer chromatography-based assay in which the mobility of branched but not linear lipid II is shifted in the presence of both sortase and LPSTG-containing peptide. These results and those of additional experiments presented in this study further suggest that lipid II indeed serves as a natural substrate in a sorting reaction.  (+info)

Role of the murein precursor UDP-N-acetylmuramyl-L-Ala-gamma-D-Glu-meso-diaminopimelic acid-D-Ala-D-Ala in repression of beta-lactamase induction in cell division mutants. (7/97)

Certain beta-lactam antibiotics induce the chromosomal ampC beta-lactamase of many gram-negative bacteria. The natural inducer, though not yet unequivocally identified, is a cell wall breakdown product which enters the cell via the AmpG permease component of the murein recycling pathway. Surprisingly, it has been reported that beta-lactamase is not induced by cefoxitin in the absence of FtsZ, which is required for cell division, or in the absence of penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP2), which is required for cell elongation. Since these results remain unexplained, we examined an ftsZ mutant and other cell division mutants (ftsA, ftsQ, and ftsI) and a PBP2 mutant for induction of beta-lactamase. In all mutants, beta-lactamase was not induced by cefoxitin, which confirms the initial reports. The murein precursor, UDP-N-acetylmuramyl-L-Ala-gamma-D-Glu-meso-diaminopimelic acid-D-Ala-D-Ala (UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide), has been shown to serve as a corepressor with AmpR to repress beta-lactamase expression in vitro. Our results suggest that beta-lactamase is not induced because the fts mutants contain a greatly increased amount of corepressor which the inducer cannot displace. In the PBP2(Ts) mutant, in addition to accumulation of corepressor, cell wall turnover and recycling were greatly reduced so that little or no inducer was available. Hence, in both cases, a high ratio of repressor to inducer presumably prevents induction.  (+info)

Glutamate racemase is an endogenous DNA gyrase inhibitor. (8/97)

Almost all bacteria possess glutamate racemase to synthesize d-glutamate as an essential component of peptidoglycans in the cell walls. The enforced production of glutamate racemase, however, resulted in suppression of cell proliferation. In the Escherichia coli JM109/pGR3 clone, the overproducer of glutamate racemase, the copy number (i.e. replication efficiency) of plasmid DNA declined dramatically, whereas the E. coli WM335 mutant that is defective in the gene of glutamate racemase showed little genetic competency. The comparatively low and high activities for DNA supercoiling were contained in the E. coli JM109/pGR3 and WM335 cells, respectively. Furthermore, we found that the DNA gyrase of E. coli was modulated by the glutamate racemase of E. coli in the presence of UDP-N-acetylmuramyl-l-alanine, which is a peptidoglycan precursor and functions as an absolute activator for the racemase. This is the first finding of the enzyme protein participating in both d-amino acid metabolism and DNA processing.  (+info)