RecA-Mediated gene conversion and aminoglycoside resistance in strains heterozygous for rRNA.
Clinical resistance to aminoglycosides in general is due to enzymatic drug modification. Mutational alterations of the small ribosomal subunit rRNA have recently been found to mediate acquired resistance in bacterial pathogens in vivo. In this study we investigated the effect of 16S rRNA heterozygosity (wild-type [wt] and mutant [mut] operons at position 1408 [1408wt/1408mut]) on aminoglycoside resistance. Using an integrative vector, we introduced a single copy of a mutated rRNA operon (1408 A-->G) into Mycobacterium smegmatis, which carries two chromosomal wild-type rRNA operons; the resultant transformants exhibited an aminoglycoside-sensitive phenotype. In contrast, introduction of the mutated rRNA operon into an M. smegmatis rrnB knockout strain carrying a single functional chromosomal wild-type rRNA operon resulted in aminoglycoside-resistant transformants. Subsequent analysis by DNA sequencing and RNase protection assays unexpectedly demonstrated a homozygous mutant genotype, rRNAmut/rRNAmut, in the resistant transformants. To investigate whether RecA-mediated gene conversion was responsible for the aminoglycoside-resistant phenotype in the rRNAwt/rRNAmut strains, recA mutant strains were generated by allelic exchange techniques. Transformation of the recA rrnB M. smegmatis mutant strains with an integrative vector expressing a mutated rRNA operon (Escherichia coli position 1408 A-->G) resulted in transformants with an aminoglycoside-sensitive phenotype. Subsequent analysis showed stable heterozygosity at 16S rRNA position 1408 with a single wild-type allele and a single resistant allele. These results demonstrate that rRNA-mediated mutational resistance to aminoglycosides is recessive. (+info)
Reduced pyrazinamidase activity and the natural resistance of Mycobacterium kansasii to the antituberculosis drug pyrazinamide.
Pyrazinamide (PZA), an analog of nicotinamide, is a prodrug that requires conversion to the bactericidal compound pyrazinoic acid (POA) by the bacterial pyrazinamidase (PZase) activity of nicotinamidase to show activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Mutations leading to a loss of PZase activity cause PZA resistance in M. tuberculosis. M. kansasii is naturally resistant to PZA and has reduced PZase activity along with an apparently detectable nicotinamidase activity. The role of the reduction in PZase activity in the natural PZA resistance of M. kansasii is unknown. The MICs of PZA and POA for M. kansasii were determined to be 500 and 125 micrograms/ml, respectively. Using [14C]PZA and [14C]nicotinamide, we found that M. kansasii had about 5-fold-less PZase activity and about 25-fold-less nicotinamidase activity than M. tuberculosis. The M. kansasii pncA gene was cloned on a 1.8-kb BamHI DNA fragment, using M. avium pncA probe. Sequence analysis showed that the M. kansasii pncA gene encoded a protein with homology to its counterparts from M. tuberculosis (69.9%), M. avium (65.6%), and Escherichia coli (28.5%). Transformation of naturally PZA-resistant M. bovis BCG with M. kansasii pncA conferred partial PZA susceptibility. Transformation of M. kansasii with M. avium pncA caused functional expression of PZase and high-level susceptibility to PZA, indicating that the natural PZA resistance in M. kansasii results from a reduced PZase activity. Like M. tuberculosis, M. kansasii accumulated POA in the cells at an acidic pH; however, due to its highly active POA efflux pump, the naturally PZA-resistant species M. smegmatis did not. These findings suggest the existence of a weak POA efflux mechanism in M. kansasii. (+info)
Natural competence for DNA transformation by Legionella pneumophila and its association with expression of type IV pili.
We have recently described the expression of two pili of different lengths on the surface of Legionella pneumophila (B. J. Stone and Y. Abu Kwaik, Infect. Immun. 66:1768-1775, 1998). Production of long pili requires a functional pilEL locus, encoding a type IV pilin protein. Since type IV pili in Neisseria gonorrhoeae are associated with competence for DNA transformation, we examined the competence of L. pneumophila for DNA transformation under conditions that allowed the expression of type IV pili. We show that L. pneumophila is naturally competent for DNA transformation by isogenic chromosomal DNA and by plasmid DNA containing L. pneumophila DNA. Many different L. pneumophila loci are able to transform L. pneumophila after addition of plasmid DNA, including gspA, ppa, asd, and pilEL. The transformation frequency is reduced when competing DNA containing either L. pneumophila DNA or vector sequences is added to the bacteria, suggesting that uptake-specific sequences may not be involved in DNA uptake. Competence for DNA transformation correlates with expression of the type IV pili, and a pilEL mutant defective in expression of type IV pili is not competent for DNA transformation. Complementation of the mutant for competence is restored by the reintroduction of a cosmid that restores production of type IV pili. Minimal competence is restored to the mutant by introduction of pilEL alone. We conclude that competence for DNA transformation in L. pneumophila is associated with expression of the type IV pilus and results in recombination of L. pneumophila DNA into the chromosome. Since expression of type IV pili also facilitates attachment of L. pneumophila to mammalian cells and protozoa, we designated the type IV pili CAP (for competence- and adherence-associated pili). (+info)
Metabolic engineering of a 1,2-propanediol pathway in Escherichia coli.
1,2-Propanediol (1,2-PD) is a major commodity chemical that is currently derived from propylene, a nonrenewable resource. A goal of our research is to develop fermentation routes to 1,2-PD from renewable resources. Here we report the production of enantiomerically pure R-1,2-PD from glucose in Escherichia coli expressing NADH-linked glycerol dehydrogenase genes (E. coli gldA or Klebsiella pneumoniae dhaD). We also show that E. coli overexpressing the E. coli methylglyoxal synthase gene (mgs) produced 1,2-PD. The expression of either glycerol dehydrogenase or methylglyoxal synthase resulted in the anaerobic production of approximately 0.25 g of 1,2-PD per liter. R-1,2-PD production was further improved to 0.7 g of 1,2-PD per liter when methylglyoxal synthase and glycerol dehydrogenase (gldA) were coexpressed. In vitro studies indicated that the route to R-1,2-PD involved the reduction of methylglyoxal to R-lactaldehyde by the recombinant glycerol dehydrogenase and the reduction of R-lactaldehyde to R-1, 2-PD by a native E. coli activity. We expect that R-1,2-PD production can be significantly improved through further metabolic and bioprocess engineering. (+info)
The specific genes for lantibiotic mutacin II biosynthesis in Streptococcus mutans T8 are clustered and can be transferred en bloc.
Mutacin II is a ribosomally synthesized peptide lantibiotic produced by group II Streptococcus mutans. DNA sequencing has revealed that the mutacin II biosynthetic gene cluster consists of seven specific open reading frames: a regulator (mutR), the prepromutacin structural gene (mutA), a modifying protein (mutM), an ABC transporter (mutT), and an immunity cluster (mutFEG). Transformations of a non-mutacin-producing strain, S. mutans UA159, and a mutacin I-producing strain, S. mutans UA140, with chromosomal DNA from S. mutans T8 with an aphIII marker inserted upstream of the mutacin II structural gene yielded transformants producing mutacin II and mutacins I and II, respectively. (+info)
Bacterial evolution: bacteria play pass the gene.
DNA transfer between related bacterial species is enhanced by species-specific uptake sequences. These sequences have been used to identify genes that have been transferred from Haemophilus to Neisseria, providing a clear example of interspecific transfer of DNA in the evolution of the pathogenic Neisseria. (+info)
Characterization of the recD gene of Neisseria gonorrhoeae MS11 and the effect of recD inactivation on pilin variation and DNA transformation.
Pilin antigenic variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae may result following intrachromosomal recombination between homologous pil genes. Despite extensive study, recA is the only previously characterized gene known to be involved in this process. In this study, the gonococcal recD gene, encoding one subunit of the putative RecBCD holoenzyme, was characterized and its role in pilin variation assessed. The complete recD gene of N. gonorrhoeae MS11 was cloned and its nucleotide sequence determined. The gonococcal recD gene complemented a defined Escherichia coli recD mutant, based on plaque formation of bacteriophage lambda and the restoration of ATP-dependent nuclease activity. Inactivation of the gonococcal recD gene had no measurable effect on cell viability or survival following UV exposure, but did decrease the frequency of DNA transformation approximately threefold. The frequency at which non-parental pilin phenotypes were spawned was 12-fold greater in MS11 recD mutants compared with the parental MS11 rec+ strain. Similar results were obtained using recD mutants that were not competent for DNA transformation. Complementation of the MS11 recD mutant with a wild-type recD gene copy restored the frequency of pilin phenotypic variation to approximately wild-type levels. The nucleotide changes at pilE in the recD mutants were confined to the variable regions of the gene and were similar to changes previously attributed to gene conversion. (+info)
Identification of Haemophilus influenzae Rd transformation genes using cassette mutagenesis.
Genes required for natural transformation of Haemophilus influenzae Rd were identified by a cassette mutagenesis protocol consisting of the following steps: random insertional mutagenesis, phenotypic screening, sequencing of genome sequence tags from the DNA flanking the insertion in the selected mutants and comparison of genome sequence tags to genomic sequence data. The cassette mutagenesis screen for transformation genes resulted in five distinct mutant classes, two of which have been identified in previous studies. Insertions in the three newly identified loci interrupted genes with predicted protein products homologous to a type IV pilin-like protein biogenesis operon, drug-efflux transporters and a phospholipid-biosynthesis enzyme. The most significant finding of this screen is the requirement for type IV pilin-like proteins in genetic transformation of H. influenzae. These surface structures are utilized for DNA uptake in a number of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and appear to be the common component among the systems for DNA binding. (+info)