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See detailThe crystal structure of the cell division amidase AmiC reveals the fold of the AMIN domain, a new peptidoglycan binding domain.
Rocaboy, Mathieu; Herman, Raphael; Sauvage, Eric ULg et al

in Molecular microbiology (2013)

Binary fission is the ultimate step of the prokaryotic cell cycle. In Gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli, this step implies the invagination of three biological layers (cytoplasmic membrane ... [more ▼]

Binary fission is the ultimate step of the prokaryotic cell cycle. In Gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli, this step implies the invagination of three biological layers (cytoplasmic membrane, peptidoglycan and outer membrane), biosynthesis of the new poles and eventually, daughter cells separation. The latter requires the coordinated action of the N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidases AmiA/B/C and their LytM activators EnvC and NlpD to cleave the septal peptidoglycan. We present here the 2.5 A crystal structure of AmiC which includes the first report of an AMIN domain structure, a beta-sandwich of two symmetrical four-stranded beta-sheets exposing highly conserved motifs on the two outer faces. We show that this N-terminal domain, involved in the localization of AmiC at the division site, is a new peptidoglycan-binding domain. The C-terminal catalytic domain shows an auto-inhibitory alpha helix obstructing the active site. AmiC lacking this helix exhibits by itself an activity comparable to that of the wild type AmiC activated by NlpD. We also demonstrate the interaction between AmiC and NlpD by microscale thermophoresis and confirm the importance of the active site blocking alpha helix in the regulation of the amidase activity. [less ▲]

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See detailCooperativity of peptidoglycan synthases active in bacterial cell elongation.
Banzhaf, Manuel; van den Berg van Saparoea, Bart; Terrak, Mohammed ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2012), 85(1), 179-94

Growth of the bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan sacculus requires the co-ordinated activities of peptidoglycan synthases, hydrolases and cell morphogenesis proteins, but the details of these interactions ... [more ▼]

Growth of the bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan sacculus requires the co-ordinated activities of peptidoglycan synthases, hydrolases and cell morphogenesis proteins, but the details of these interactions are largely unknown. We now show that the Escherichia coli peptidoglycan glycosyltrasferase-transpeptidase PBP1A interacts with the cell elongation-specific transpeptidase PBP2 in vitro and in the cell. Cells lacking PBP1A are thinner and initiate cell division later in the cell cycle. PBP1A localizes mainly to the cylindrical wall of the cell, supporting its role in cell elongation. Our in vitro peptidoglycan synthesis assays provide novel insights into the cooperativity of peptidoglycan synthases with different activities. PBP2 stimulates the glycosyltransferase activity of PBP1A, and PBP1A and PBP2 cooperate to attach newly synthesized peptidoglycan to sacculi. PBP2 has peptidoglycan transpeptidase activity in the presence of active PBP1A. Our data also provide a possible explanation for the depletion of lipid II precursors in penicillin-treated cells. [less ▲]

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See detailSeptal and lateral wall localization of PBP5, the major D,D-carboxypeptidase of Escherichia coli, requires substrate recognition and membrane attachment
Potluri, Lakshmiprasad; Karczmarek, Aneta; Verheul, Jolanda et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2010), 77(2), 300323

The distribution of PBP5, the major D,D-carboxypeptidase in Escherichia coli, was mapped by immunolabelling and by visualization of GFP fusion proteins in wild-type cells and in mutants lacking one or ... [more ▼]

The distribution of PBP5, the major D,D-carboxypeptidase in Escherichia coli, was mapped by immunolabelling and by visualization of GFP fusion proteins in wild-type cells and in mutants lacking one or more D,D-carboxypeptidases. In addition to being scattered around the lateral envelope, PBP5 was also concentrated at nascent division sites prior to visible constriction. Inhibiting PBP2 activity (which eliminates wall elongation) shifted PBP5 to midcell, whereas inhibiting PBP3 (which aborts divisome invagination) led to the creation of PBP5 rings at positions of preseptal wall formation, implying that PBP5 localizes to areas of ongoing peptidoglycan synthesis. A PBP5(S44G) active site mutant was more evenly dispersed, indicating that localization required enzyme activity and the availability of pentapeptide substrates. Both the membrane bound and soluble forms of PBP5 converted pentapeptides to tetrapeptides in vitro and in vivo, and the enzymes accepted the same range of substrates, including sacculi, Lipid II, muropeptides and artificial substrates. However, only the membrane-bound form localized to the developing septum and restored wild-type rod morphology to shape defective mutants, suggesting that the two events are related. The results indicate that PBP5 localization to sites of ongoing peptidoglycan synthesis is substrate dependent and requires membrane attachment. [less ▲]

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See detailThe permease gene nagE2 is the key to N-acetylglucosamine sensing and utilization in Streptomyces coelicolor and is subject to multi-level control
Nothaft, Harald; Rigali, Sébastien ULg; Boomsma, B. et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2010), 75((5)), 1133-44

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See detailThe sugar phosphotransferase system of Streptomyces coelicolor is regulated by the GntR-family regulator DasR and links N-acetylglucosamine metabolism to the control of development
Rigali, Sébastien ULg; Nothaft, H.; Noens, E. E. E. et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2006), 61(5), 1237-1251

Members of the soil-dwelling, sporulating prokaryotic genus Streptomyces are indispensable for the recycling of the most abundant polysaccharides on earth (cellulose and chitin), and produce a wide range ... [more ▼]

Members of the soil-dwelling, sporulating prokaryotic genus Streptomyces are indispensable for the recycling of the most abundant polysaccharides on earth (cellulose and chitin), and produce a wide range of antibiotics and industrial enzymes. How do these organisms sense the nutritional state of the environment, and what controls the signal for the switch to antibiotic production and morphological development? Here we show that high extracellular concentrations of N-acetylglucosamine, the monomer of chitin, prevent Streptomyces coelicolor progressing beyond the vegetative state, and that this effect is absent in a mutant defective of N-acetylglucosamine transport. We provide evidence that the signal is transmitted through the GntR-family regulator DasR, which controls the N-acetylglucosamine regulon, including the pts genes ptsH, ptsI and crr needed for uptake of N-acetylglucosamine. Deletion of dasR or the pts genes resulted in a bald phenotype. Binding of DasR to its target genes is abolished by glucosamine 6-phosphate, a central molecule in N-acetylglucosamine metabolism. Extracellular complementation experiments with many bld mutants showed that the dasR mutant is arrested at an early stage of the developmental programme, and does not fit in the previously described bld signalling cascade. Thus, for the first time we are able to directly link carbon (and nitrogen) metabolism to development, highlighting a novel type of metabolic regulator, which senses the nutritional state of the habitat, maintaining vegetative growth until changing circumstances trigger the switch to sporulation. Our work, and the model it suggests, provide new leads towards understanding how microorganisms time developmental commitment. [less ▲]

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See detailInteraction between two murein (peptidoglycan) synthases, PBP3 and PBP1B, in Escherichia coli
Bertsche, Ute; Kast, Thomas; Wolf, Benoît ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2006), 61(3), 675-690

The murein (peptidoglycan) sacculus is an essential polymer embedded in the bacterial envelope. The Escherichia coli class B penicillin-binding protein (PBP) 3 is a murein transpeptidase and essential for ... [more ▼]

The murein (peptidoglycan) sacculus is an essential polymer embedded in the bacterial envelope. The Escherichia coli class B penicillin-binding protein (PBP) 3 is a murein transpeptidase and essential for cell division. In an affinity chromatography experiment, the bifunctional transglycosylase-transpeptidase murein synthase PBP1B was retained by PBP3-sepharose when a membrane fraction of E. coli was applied. The direct protein-protein interaction between purified PBP3 and PBP1B was characterized in vitro by surface plasmon resonance. The interaction was confirmed in vivo employing two different methods: by a bacterial two-hybrid system, and by cross-linking/co-immunoprecipitation. In the bacterial two-hybrid system, a truncated PBP3 comprising the N-terminal 56 amino acids interacted with PBP1B. Both synthases could be cross-linked in vivo in wild-type cells and in cells lacking FtsW or FtsN. PBP1B localized diffusely and in foci at the septation site and also at the side wall. Statistical analysis of the immunofluorescence signals revealed that the localization of PBP1B at the septation site depended on the physical presence of PBP3, but not on the activity of PBP3. These studies have demonstrated, for the first time, a direct interaction between a class B PBP (PBP3) and a class A PBP (PBP1B) in vitro and in vivo, indicating that different murein synthases might act in concert to enlarge the murein sacculus during cell division. [less ▲]

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See detailMaturation of the Escherichia coli divisome occurs in two steps
Aarsman, Mirjam E. G.; Piette, André ULg; Fraipont, Claudine ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2005), 55(6), 1631-1645

Cell division proteins FtsZ ( FtsA, ZipA, ZapA), FtsE/X, FtsK, FtsQ, FtsL/B, FtsW, PBP3, FtsN and AmiC localize at mid cell in Escherichia coli in an interdependent order as listed. To investigate whether ... [more ▼]

Cell division proteins FtsZ ( FtsA, ZipA, ZapA), FtsE/X, FtsK, FtsQ, FtsL/B, FtsW, PBP3, FtsN and AmiC localize at mid cell in Escherichia coli in an interdependent order as listed. To investigate whether this reflects a time dependent maturation of the divisome, the average cell age at which FtsZ, FtsQ, FtsW, PBP3 and FtsN arrive at their destination was determined by immuno- and GFP- fluorescence microscopy of steady state grown cells at a variety of growth rates. Consistently, a time delay of 14 - 21 min, depending on the growth rate, between Z-ring formation and the mid cell recruitment of proteins down stream of FtsK was found. We suggest a two-step model for bacterial division in which the Z-ring is involved in the switch from cylindrical to polar peptidoglycan synthesis, whereas the much later localizing cell division proteins are responsible for the modification of the envelope shape into that of two new poles. [less ▲]

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See detailEnteropathogenic and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli deliver a novel effector called Cif, which blocks cell cycle G(2)/M transition
Marches, O.; Ledger, T. N.; Boury, M. et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2003), 50(5), 1553-1567

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) are closely related pathogens. Both use a type III secretion system (TTSS) encoded by the 'locus of enterocyte effacement ... [more ▼]

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) are closely related pathogens. Both use a type III secretion system (TTSS) encoded by the 'locus of enterocyte effacement' (LEE) to subvert and attach to epithelial cells through the injection of a repertoire of effector molecules. Here, we report the identification of a new TTSS translocated effector molecule called Cif, which blocks cell cycle G(2)/M transition and induces the formation of stress fibres through the recruitment of focal adhesions. Cif is not encoded by the LEE but by a lambdoid prophage present in EPEC and EHEC. A cif mutant causes localized effacement of microvilli and intimately attaches to the host cell surface, but is defective in the ability to block mitosis. When expressed in TTSS competent LEE-positive pathogens, Cif is injected into the infected epithelial cells. These cells arrested at the G(2)/M phase displayed accumulation of inactive phosphorylated Cdk1. In conclusion, Cif is a new member of a growing family of bacterial cyclomodulins that subvert the host eukaryotic cell cycle. [less ▲]

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See detailThe kinetic properties of the carboxy terminal domain of the Bacillus licheniformis 749/I BlaR penicillin-receptor shed a new light on the derepression of beta-lactamase synthesis
Duval, Valérie; Swinnen, Marc; Lepage, Sophie et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2003), 48(6), 1553-1564

To study the properties of the BlaR penicillin-receptor involved in the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis beta-lactamase, the water-soluble carboxy terminal domain of the protein (BlaR-CTD) was ... [more ▼]

To study the properties of the BlaR penicillin-receptor involved in the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis beta-lactamase, the water-soluble carboxy terminal domain of the protein (BlaR-CTD) was overproduced in the periplasm of Escherichia coli JM105 and purified to protein homogeneity. Its interactions with various beta-lactam antibiotics were studied. The second-order acylation rate constants k(2)/K' ranged from 0.0017 to more than 1 muM(-1) s(-1) and the deacylation rate constants were lower than 4x10(-5) s(-1) . These values imply a rapid to very rapid formation of a stable acylated adduct. BlaR-CTD is thus one of the most sensitive penicillin-binding proteins presently described. In the light of these results, the kinetics of beta-lactamase induction in Bacillus licheniformis were re-examined. When starting with a rather high cell density, a good beta-lactamase substrate such as benzylpenicillin is too sensitive to beta-lactamase-mediated hydrolysis to allow full induction. By contrast, a poor beta-lactamase substrate (7-aminocephalosporanic acid) can fully derepress beta-lactamase expression under conditions where interference of the antibiotic with cell growth is observed. These results suggest that acylation of the penicillin receptor is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for full induction. [less ▲]

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See detailThe fate of the Blal repressor during the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis BlaP beta-lactamase
Filée, Patrice ULg; Benlafya, Kamal; Delmarcelle, Michaël ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2002), 44(3), 685-694

The induction of the Staphylococcus aureus BlaZ and Bacillus licheniformis 749/l BIaP beta-lactamases by beta-lactam antibiotics occurs according to similar processes. In both bacteria, the products of ... [more ▼]

The induction of the Staphylococcus aureus BlaZ and Bacillus licheniformis 749/l BIaP beta-lactamases by beta-lactam antibiotics occurs according to similar processes. In both bacteria, the products of the blal and blaR1 genes share a high degree of sequence homology and act as repressors and penicillin-sensory transducers respectively. It has been shown in S. aureus that the Blal repressor, which controls the expression of BlaZ negatively, is degraded after the addition of the inducer. In the present study, we followed the fate of Blal during beta-lactamase induction in B. licheniformis 749/l and in a recombinant Bacillus subtilis 168 strain harbouring the pDML995 plasmid, which carries the B. licheniformis blaP, blal and blaR1 genes. In contrast to the situation in B. licheniformis 749/l, beta-lactamase induction in B. subtilis 168/pDML995 was not correlated with the proteolysis of Blal. To exclude molecular variations undetectable by SDS-PAGE, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis was performed with cellular extracts from uninduced or induced B. subtilis 168/pDML995 cells. No variation in the Blal isoelectric point was observed in induced cells, whereas the DNA-binding property was lost. Cross-linking experiments with dithiobis(succimidylpropionate) confirmed that, in uninduced recombinant B. subtilis cells, Blat was present as a homodimer and that this situation was not altered in induced conditions. This latter result is incompatible with a mechanism of inactivation of Blal by proteolysis and suggests that the inactivation of Blal results from a non-covalent modification by a co-activator and that the subsequent proteolysis of Blal might be a secondary phenomenon. In addition to the presence of this co-activator, our results show that the presence of penicillin stress is also required for full induction of beta-lactamase biosynthesis. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Dppa Gene of Bacillus Subtilis Encodes a New D-Aminopeptidase
Cheggour, Abdelatif; Fanuel, Laurence; Duez, Colette ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2000), 38(3), 504-13

Different strains of Bacillus were screened for their ability to hydrolyse D-alanyl-p-nitroanilide. Activity was detected in Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus brevis, Bacillus licheniformis 749I and Bacillus ... [more ▼]

Different strains of Bacillus were screened for their ability to hydrolyse D-alanyl-p-nitroanilide. Activity was detected in Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus brevis, Bacillus licheniformis 749I and Bacillus subtilis 168. The last strain was the best producer and was selected for the production and purification of the enzyme. The determination of the N-terminal sequence identified the enzyme as the product of the dppA gene (previously named dciAA) belonging to the dipeptide ABC transport (dpp) operon expressed early during sporulation. Open reading frames (ORFs) encoding putative related proteins were found in the genomes of a variety of Archaea and both sporulating and non-sporulating bacteria. The enzyme behaves as a D-aminopeptidase and represents the prototype of a new peptidase family. Among the tested substrates, the highest activities were found with D-Ala-D-Ala and D-Ala-Gly-Gly. The active enzyme behaves as an octamer of identical 30 kDa subunits. It exhibits a broad pH optimum, extending between pH 9 and 11. It is reversibly inhibited in the presence of Zn2+ chelators, and the sequence comparisons highlight the conservation of potential Zn-binding residues. As it has been shown by others that null mutations in the dpp operon do not inhibit spore formation, the physiological role of DppA is probably an adaptation to nutrient deficiency. [less ▲]

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See detailDifferential Functionalities of Amphiphilic Peptide Segments of the Cell-Septation Penicillin-Binding Protein 3 of Escherichia Coli
Marrec-Fairley, Monique; Piette, André ULg; Gallet, Xavier et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2000), 37(5), 1019-1031

The class B M1-V577 penicillin-binding protein (PBP) 3 of Escherichia coli consists of a M1-L39 membrane anchor (bearing a cytosolic tail) that is linked via a G40-S70 intervening peptide to an R71-I236 ... [more ▼]

The class B M1-V577 penicillin-binding protein (PBP) 3 of Escherichia coli consists of a M1-L39 membrane anchor (bearing a cytosolic tail) that is linked via a G40-S70 intervening peptide to an R71-I236 non-catalytic module (containing the conserved motifs 1-3) itself linked via motif 4 to a D237-V577 catalytic module (containing the conserved motifs 5-7 of the penicilloyl serine transferases superfamily). It has been proposed that during cell septation the peptidoglycan crosslinking activity of the acyl transferase module of PBP3 is regulated by the associated M1-I236 polypeptide itself in interaction with other components of the divisome. The fold adopted by the R71-V577 polypeptide of PBP3 has been modelled by reference to the corresponding R76-S634 polypeptide of the class B Streptococcus pneumoniae PBP2x. Based on these data and the results of site-directed mutagenesis of motifs 1-3 and of peptide segments of high amphiphilicity (identified from hydrophobic moment plots), the M1-I236 polypeptide of PBP3 appears to be precisely designed to work in the way proposed. The membrane anchor and the G40-S70 sequence (containing the G57-Q66 peptide segment) upstream from the non-catalytic module have the information ensuring that PBP3 undergoes proper insertion within the divisome at the cell septation site. Motif 1 and the I74-L82 overlapping peptide segment, motif 2 and the H160-G172 overlapping peptide segment, and the G188-D197 motif 3 are located at or close to the intermodule junction. They contain the information ensuring that PBP3 folds correctly and the acyl transferase catalytic centre adopts the active configuration. The E206-V217 peptide segment is exposed at the surface of the non-catalytic module. It has the information ensuring that PBP3 fulfils its cell septation activity within the fully complemented divisome. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification and characterization of in vivo attenuated mutants of Brucella melitensis.
Lestrate, P.; Delrue, R. M.; DANESE, Isabelle ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2000), 38(3), 543-51

Brucella melitensis 16M is a Gram-negative alpha2-proteobacterium responsible for abortion in goats and for Malta fever in humans. This facultative intracellular pathogen invades into and survives within ... [more ▼]

Brucella melitensis 16M is a Gram-negative alpha2-proteobacterium responsible for abortion in goats and for Malta fever in humans. This facultative intracellular pathogen invades into and survives within both professional and non-professional phagocytes. Signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM) was used to identify genes required for the in vivo pathogenesis of Brucella. A library of transposon mutants was screened in a murine infection model. Out of 672 mutants screened, 20 were not recovered after a 5 day passage in BALB/c mice. The attenuation of 18 mutants was confirmed using an in vivo competition assay against the wild-type strain. The 18 mutants were characterized further for their ability to replicate in murine macrophages and in HeLa cells. The sequences disrupted by the transposon in the mutants have homology to genes coding for proteins of different functional classes: transport, amino acid and DNA metabolism, transcriptional regulation, peptidoglycan synthesis, a chaperone-like protein and proteins of unknown function. The mutants selected in this study provide new insights into the molecular basis of Brucella virulence. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Catalytic, Glycosyl Transferase and Acyl Transferase Modules of the Cell Wall Peptidoglycan-Polymerizing Penicillin-Binding Protein 1b of Escherichia Coli
Terrak, Mohammed ULg; Ghosh, Tushar K.; van Heijenoort, Jean et al

in Molecular Microbiology (1999), 34(2), 350-364

The penicillin-binding protein (PBP) 1b of Escherichia coli catalyses the assembly of lipid-transported N-acetyl glucosaminyl-beta-1, 4-N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanyl-gamma-D-glutamyl-(L)-meso-diaminopimelyl ... [more ▼]

The penicillin-binding protein (PBP) 1b of Escherichia coli catalyses the assembly of lipid-transported N-acetyl glucosaminyl-beta-1, 4-N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanyl-gamma-D-glutamyl-(L)-meso-diaminopimelyl+ ++- (L)-D-alanyl-D-alanine disaccharide pentapeptide units into polymeric peptidoglycan. These units are phosphodiester linked, at C1 of muramic acid, to a C55 undecaprenyl carrier. PBP1b has been purified in the form of His tag (M46-N844) PBP1bgamma. This derivative provides the host cell in which it is produced with a functional wall peptidoglycan. His tag (M46-N844) PBP1bgamma possesses an amino-terminal hydrophobic segment, which serves as transmembrane spanner of the native PBP. This segment is linked, via an congruent with 100-amino-acid insert, to a D198-G435 glycosyl transferase module that possesses the five motifs characteristic of the PBPs of class A. In in vitro assays, the glycosyl transferase of the PBP catalyses the synthesis of linear glycan chains from the lipid carrier with an efficiency of congruent with 39 000 M-1 s-1. Glu-233, of motif 1, is central to the catalysed reaction. It is proposed that the Glu-233 gamma-COOH donates its proton to the oxygen atom of the scissile phosphoester bond of the lipid carrier, leading to the formation of an oxocarbonium cation, which then undergoes attack by the 4-OH group of a nucleophile N-acetylglucosamine. Asp-234 of motif 1 or Glu-290 of motif 3 could be involved in the stabilization of the oxocarbonium cation and the activation of the 4-OH group of the N-acetylglucosamine. In turn, Tyr-310 of motif 4 is an important component of the amino acid sequence-folding information. The glycosyl transferase module of PBP1b, the lysozymes and the lytic transglycosylase Slt70 have much the same catalytic machinery. They might be members of the same superfamily. The glycosyl transferase module is linked, via a short junction site, to the amino end of a Q447-N844 acyl transferase module, which possesses the catalytic centre-defining motifs of the penicilloyl serine transferases superfamily. In in vitro assays with the lipid precursor and in the presence of penicillin at concentrations sufficient to derivatize the active-site serine 510 of the acyl transferase, the rate of glycan chain synthesis is unmodified, showing that the functioning of the glycosyl transferase is acyl transferase independent. In the absence of penicillin, the products of the Ser-510-assisted double-proton shuttle are glycan strands substituted by cross-linked tetrapeptide-pentapeptide and tetrapeptide-tetrapeptide dimers and uncross-linked pentapeptide and tetrapeptide monomers. The acyl transferase of the PBP also catalyses aminolysis and hydrolysis of properly structured thiolesters, but it lacks activity on D-alanyl-D-alanine-terminated peptides. This substrate specificity suggests that carbonyl donor activity requires the attachment of the pentapeptides to the glycan chains made by the glycosyl transferase, and it implies that one and the same PBP molecule catalyses transglycosylation and peptide cross-linking in a sequential manner. Attempts to produce truncated forms of the PBP lead to the conclusion that the multimodular polypeptide chain behaves as an integrated folding entity during PBP1b biogenesis. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen Drug Inactivation Renders the Target Irrelevant to Antibiotic Resistance: A Case Story with Beta-Lactams
Lakaye, Bernard ULg; Dubus, Alice ULg; Lepage, Sylvie ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (1999), 31(1), 89-101

By challenging the efficiency of some of our most useful antimicrobial weapons, bacterial antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasingly worrying clinical problem. A good antibiotic is expected to ... [more ▼]

By challenging the efficiency of some of our most useful antimicrobial weapons, bacterial antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasingly worrying clinical problem. A good antibiotic is expected to exhibit a high affinity for its target and to reach it rapidly, while escaping chemical modification by inactivating enzymes and elimination by efflux mechanisms. A study of the behaviour of a beta-lactamase-overproducing mutant of Enterobacter cloacae in the presence of several penicillins and cephalosporins showed that the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values for several compounds were practically independent of the sensitivity of the target penicillin binding protein (PBP), even for poor beta-lactamase substrates. This apparent paradox was explained by analysing the equation that relates the antibiotic concentration in the periplasm to that in the external medium. Indeed, under conditions that are encountered frequently in clinical isolates, the factor characterizing the PBP sensitivity became negligible. The conclusions can be extended to all antibiotics that are sensitive to enzymatic inactivation and efflux mechanisms and must overcome permeability barriers. It would be a grave mistake to neglect these considerations in the design of future antibacterial chemotherapeutic agents. [less ▲]

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See detailInsertion Of Escherichia Coli Alpha-Haemolysin In Lipid Bilayers As A Non-Transmembrane Integral Protein: Prediction And Experiment
Soloaga, A.; Veiga, Mp.; Garcia-Segura, Lm. et al

in Molecular Microbiology (1999), 31(4), 1013-24

alpha-Haemolysin is an extracellular protein toxin (approximately 107 kDa) secreted by Escherichia coli that acts at the level of the plasma membranes of target eukaryotic cells. The nature of the toxin ... [more ▼]

alpha-Haemolysin is an extracellular protein toxin (approximately 107 kDa) secreted by Escherichia coli that acts at the level of the plasma membranes of target eukaryotic cells. The nature of the toxin interaction with the membrane is not known at present, although it has been established that receptor-mediated binding is not essential. In this work, we have studied the perturbation produced by purified alpha-haemolysin on pure phosphatidylcholine bilayers in the form of large unilamellar vesicles, under conditions in which the toxin has been shown to induce vesicle leakage. The bilayer systems containing bound protein have been examined by differential scanning calorimetry, fluorescence spectroscopy, differential solubilization by Triton X-114, and freeze-fracture electron microscopy. All the data concur in indicating that alpha-haemolysin, under conditions leading to cell lysis, becomes inserted in the target membrane in the way of intrinsic or integral proteins. In addition, the experimental results support the idea that inserted alpha-haemolysin occupies only one of the membrane phospholipid monolayers, i.e. it is not a transmembrane protein. The experimental data are complemented by structure prediction studies according to which as many as ten amphipathic alpha-helices, appropriate for protein-lipid interaction, but no hydrophobic transmembrane helices are predicted in alpha-haemolysin. These observations and predictions have important consequences for the mechanism of cell lysis by alpha-haemolysin; in particular, a non-transmembrane arrangement of the toxin in the target membrane is not compatible with the concept of alpha-haemolysin as a pore-forming toxin. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Structural And Functional Organization Of H-Ns-Like Proteins Is Evolutionarily Conserved In Gram-Negative Bacteria
Bertin, P.; Benhabiles, N.; Krin, E. et al

in Molecular Microbiology (1999), 31(1), 319-29

The structural gene of the H-NS protein, a global regulator of bacterial metabolism, has been identified in the group of enterobacteria as well as in closely related bacteria, such as Erwinia chrysanthemi ... [more ▼]

The structural gene of the H-NS protein, a global regulator of bacterial metabolism, has been identified in the group of enterobacteria as well as in closely related bacteria, such as Erwinia chrysanthemi and Haemophilus influenzae. Isolated outside these groups, the BpH3 protein of Bordetella pertussis exhibits a low amino acid conservation with H-NS, particularly in the N-terminal domain. To obtain information on the structure, function and/or evolution of H-NS, we searched for other H-NS-related proteins in the latest databases. We found that HvrA, a trans-activator protein in Rhodobacter capsulatus, has a low but significant similarity with H-NS and H-NS-like proteins. This Gram-negative bacterium is phylogenetically distant from Escherichia coli. Using theoretical analysis (e.g. secondary structure prediction and DNA binding domain modelling) of the amino acid sequence of H-NS, StpA (an H-NS-like protein in E. coli), BpH3 and HvrA and by in vivo and in vitro experiments (e.g. complementation of various H-NS-related phenotypes and competitive gel shift assay), we present evidence that these proteins belong to the same class of DNA binding proteins. In silico analysis suggests that this family also includes SPB in R. sphaeroides, XrvA in Xanthomonas oryzae and VicH in Vibrio cholerae. These results demonstrate that proteins structurally and functionally related to H-NS are widespread in Gram-negative bacteria. [less ▲]

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See detailThe long-term cytoskeletal rearrangement induced by rabbit enteropathogenic Escherichia coli is Esp-dependent but intimin-independent
Nougayrède, J. P.; Marchès, O.; Boury, M. et al

in Molecular Microbiology (1999), 31

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See detailThe Penicillin sensory transducer, blar, involved in the inducibility of beta-lactamase synthesis in bacillus licheniformis is embedded in the plasma membrane via a four-alpha-helix bundle
Hardt, Karin; Joris, Bernard ULg; Lepage, Sophie et al

in Molecular Microbiology (1997), 23(5), 935-944

Prediction studies, conformational analyses and membrane-topology mapping lead to the conclusion that the penicillin sensory transducer, BlaR, involved in the inducibility of beta-lactamase synthesis in ... [more ▼]

Prediction studies, conformational analyses and membrane-topology mapping lead to the conclusion that the penicillin sensory transducer, BlaR, involved in the inducibility of beta-lactamase synthesis in Bacillus licheniformis, is embedded in the plasma membrane bilayer via four transmembrane segments TM1-TM4 that forma four-alpha-helix bundle. The extracellular 262-amino-acid-residue polypeptide, S340-R601, that is fused at the carboxy end of TM4, possesses the amino acid sequence signature of a penicilloyl serine transferase. It probably functions as penicillin sensor. As an independent entity, this polypeptide behaves as a high-affinity penicillin-binding protein. As a component of the full-size BlaR, it adopts a different conformation presumably because of interactions with the extracellular 63-amino-acid-residue P53-S115 loop that connects TM2 and TM3. Reception of the penicillin-induced signal requires a precise conformation of the sensor but it does not involve penicilloylation of the serine residue S402 of motif STYK. Signal transmission through the plasma membrane by the four-alpha-helix bundle may proceed in a way comparable to that of the aspartate receptor, Tar. Signal emission in the cytosol by the intracellular 189-amino-acid-residue Y134-K322 loop that connects TM3 and TM4, may proceed via the activation of a putative metallopeptidase. [less ▲]

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