Matching Items (26)

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Reversal of the ΔdegP Phenotypes by a Novel rpoE Allele of Escherichia coli

Description

RseA sequesters RpoE (σ[superscript E]) to the inner membrane of Escherichia coli when envelope stress is low. Elevated envelope stress triggers RseA cleavage by the sequential action of two membrane

RseA sequesters RpoE (σ[superscript E]) to the inner membrane of Escherichia coli when envelope stress is low. Elevated envelope stress triggers RseA cleavage by the sequential action of two membrane proteases, DegS and RseP, releasing σ[superscript E] to activate an envelope stress reducing pathway. Revertants of a ΔdegP ΔbamB strain, which fails to grow at 37°C due to high envelope stress, harbored mutations in the rseA and rpoE genes. Null and missense rseA mutations constitutively hyper-activated the σ[superscript E] regulon and significantly reduced the major outer membrane protein (OMP) levels. In contrast, a novel rpoE allele, rpoE3, resulting from the partial duplication of the rpoE gene, increased σ[superscript E] levels greater than that seen in the rseA mutant background but did not reduce OMP levels. A σ[superscript E]-dependent RybB::LacZ construct showed only a weak activation of the σ[superscript E] pathway by rpoE3. Despite this, rpoE3 fully reversed the growth and envelope vesiculation phenotypes of ΔdegP. Interestingly, rpoE3 also brought down the modestly activated Cpx envelope stress pathway in the ΔdegP strain to the wild type level, showing the complementary nature of the σ[superscript E] and Cpx pathways. Through employing a labile mutant periplasmic protein, AcrA[subscript L222Q], it was determined that the rpoE3 mutation overcomes the ΔdegP phenotypes, in part, by activating a σ[superscript E]-dependent proteolytic pathway. Our data suggest that a reduction in the OMP levels is not intrinsic to the σ[superscript E]-mediated mechanism of lowering envelope stress. They also suggest that under extreme envelope stress, a tight homeostasis loop between RseA and σ[superscript E] may partly be responsible for cell death, and this loop can be broken by mutations that either lower RseA activity or increase σ[superscript E] levels.

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  • 2012-03-16

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Unearthing the Antibacterial Mechanism of Medicinal Clay: A Geochemical Approach to Combating Antibiotic Resistance

Description

Natural antibacterial clays, when hydrated and applied topically, kill human pathogens including antibiotic resistant strains proliferating worldwide. Only certain clays are bactericidal; those containing soluble reduced metals and expandable clay

Natural antibacterial clays, when hydrated and applied topically, kill human pathogens including antibiotic resistant strains proliferating worldwide. Only certain clays are bactericidal; those containing soluble reduced metals and expandable clay minerals that absorb cations, providing a capacity for extended metal release and production of toxic hydroxyl radicals. Here we show the critical antibacterial components are soluble Fe[superscript 2+] and Al[superscript 3+] that synergistically attack multiple cellular systems in pathogens normally growth-limited by Fe supply. This geochemical process is more effective than metal solutions alone and provides an alternative antibacterial strategy to traditional antibiotics. Advanced bioimaging methods and genetic show that Al[superscript 3+] misfolds cell membrane proteins, while Fe[superscript 2+] evokes membrane oxidation and enters the cytoplasm inflicting hydroxyl radical attack on intracellular proteins and DNA. The lethal reaction precipitates Fe[superscript 3+]-oxides as biomolecular damage proceeds. Discovery of this bactericidal mechanism demonstrated by natural clays should guide designs of new mineral-based antibacterial agents.

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Date Created
  • 2016-01-08

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Characterization of Lipid Transport Mutants that Overcome the Iron-Transport Defect in Escherichia coli

Description

When limited for iron, Escherichia coli secretes a siderophore, enterobactin, to solubilize and intake extracellular Fe3+ by a TonB-dependent high-affinity pathway. Consequently, E. coli tonB mutants grow poorly on a

When limited for iron, Escherichia coli secretes a siderophore, enterobactin, to solubilize and intake extracellular Fe3+ by a TonB-dependent high-affinity pathway. Consequently, E. coli tonB mutants grow poorly on a medium limited for iron. Upon longer incubation, however, faster growing colonies emerge and overcome this growth defect. The work presented in this paper reports and characterizes these faster growing colonies (revertants) in an attempt to dissect the mechanism by which they overcome the TonB deficiency. Genomic analysis revealed mutations in yejM, a putative inner-to-outer membrane cardiolipin transporter, which are responsible for the faster growth phenotype in a tonB mutant background. Further characterization of the revertants revealed that they display hypersensitivity to vancomycin, a large antibiotic that is normally precluded from entering E. coli cells, and leaked periplasmic proteins into the culture supernatant, indicating a compromised outer membrane permeability barrier. All phenotypes were reversed by supplying the wild type copy of yejM on a plasmid, suggesting that yejM mutations are solely responsible for the observed phenotypes. In the absence of wild type tonB, however, the deletion of all known of cardiolipin synthase genes (clsABC) did not produce the phenotype similar to mutations in the yejM gene, suggesting the absence of cardiolipin from the outer membrane per se is not responsible for the increased outer membrane permeability. These data show that a defect in lipid biogenesis and transport can compromise outer membrane permeability barrier to allow siderophore intake and that YejM may have additional roles other than transporting cardiolipin.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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The Effects of Environmental Changes on the Rhamnolipid Production in Pseduomonas aeruginosa

Description

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that disrupts the hydration of mucous of the lungs, which promotes opportunistic bacterial infections that begin in the affected person’s childhood, and persist

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that disrupts the hydration of mucous of the lungs, which promotes opportunistic bacterial infections that begin in the affected person’s childhood, and persist into adulthood. One of the bacteria that infect the CF lung is Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This gram-negative bacterium is acquired from the environment of the CF lung, changing the expression of phenotypes over the course of the infection. As P. aeruginosa infections become chronic, some phenotype changes are known to be linked with negative patient outcomes. An important exoproduct phenotype is rhamnolipid production, which is a glycolipid that P. aeruginosa produces as a surfactant for surface-mediated travel. Over time, the expression of this phenotype decreases in expression in the CF lung.
The objective of this investigation is to evaluate how environmental changes that are related to the growth environment in the CF lung alters rhamnolipid production. Thirty-five P. aeruginosa isolates from Dartmouth College and Seattle Children’s Hospital were selected to observe the impact of temperature, presence of Staphylococcus aureus metabolites, and oxygen availability on rhamnolipid production. It was found that the rhamnolipid production significantly decreased for 30C versus 37C, but not at 40C. The addition of S. aureus spent media, in any of the tested conditions, did not influence rhamnolipid production. Finally, the change in oxygen concentration from normoxia to hypoxia significantly reduced rhamnolipid production. These results were compared to swarming assay data to understand how changes in rhamnolipid production impact surface-mediated motility.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Effects of Environmental Conditions on Pyocyanin Production in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Description

Pyocyanin is a pigment produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa that acts as a virulence factor in helping this pathogen to establish chronic infection in the lungs of persons with cystic fibrosis

Pyocyanin is a pigment produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa that acts as a virulence factor in helping this pathogen to establish chronic infection in the lungs of persons with cystic fibrosis (CF). Then, as lung infections become chronic, P. aeruginosa tends to down-regulate pyocyanin production. The effects of environmental conditions, particularly temperature change, on pyocyanin production in P. aeruginosa has not been widely studied in the past. The goals of this project were twofold: First, we aim to identify how environmental conditions potentially present in the CF lungs affect pyocyanin pigment production in P. aeruginosa. Second, through the examination of effects of environmental changes, we aim to identify methods to modulate phenotypes of P. aeruginosa in order to identify putative biomarkers through metabolic analysis. This paper also identifies a newly derived pyocyanin culturing and extraction procedure that yields increased sensitivity for pyocyanin detection.
Through a liquid-liquid extraction procedure, pyocyanin was quantified in cultures that were incubated at 30°C, 37°C, and 40°C and in the presence of Staphylococcus aureus spent media. In addition, culturing methods for the measurement of pyocyanin under hypoxic conditions were analyzed. I hypothesized that environmental conditions such as temperature, co-infection with S. aureus, and oxygen depletion would influence pyocyanin production. It was found that overall, 30°C incubation produced statistically significant decrease in pyocyanin production compared with incubation at 37°C. These findings will help to determine how phenotypes are affected by conditions in the CF lung. In addition, these conclusions will help direct metabolic analysis and to identify volatile biomarkers of pyocyanin production for future use in breath-based diagnostics of CF lung infections.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Surveilling United States Sewage Sludge for Genetic Evidence of Genomoviridae & Microviridae Populations

Description

Following the journey through the sewerage system, wastewater is subject to a series of purification procedures, prior to water reuse and disposal of the resultant sewage sludge. Biosolids, also

Following the journey through the sewerage system, wastewater is subject to a series of purification procedures, prior to water reuse and disposal of the resultant sewage sludge. Biosolids, also known as treated sewage sludge, deemed fit for application on land, is a nutrient-rich, semisolid byproduct of biological wastewater treatment. Technological progression in metagenomics has allowed for large-scale analysis of complex viral communities in a number of samples, including wastewater. Members of the Microviridae family are non-enveloped, ssDNA bacteriophages, and are known to infect enterobacteria. Members of the Genomoviridae family similarly are non-enveloped, ssDNA viruses, but are presumed to infect fungi rather than eubacteria. As these two families of viruses are not relatively documented and their diversity poorly classified, this study aimed to analyze the presence of genomoviruses and the diversity of microviruses in nine samples representative of wastewater in Arizona and other regions of the United States. Using a metagenomic approach, the nucleic acids of genomoviruses and microviruses were isolated, assembled into complete genomes, and characterized through visual analysis: a heat chart showing percent coverage for genomoviruses and a circular phylogenetic tree showing diversity of microviruses. The heat map results for the genomoviruses showed a large presence of 99 novel sequences in all nine wastewater samples. Additionally, the 535 novel microviruses displayed great diversity in the cladogram, both in terms of sub-family and isolation source. Further research should be conducted in order to classify the taxonomy of microviruses and the diversity of genomoviruses. Finally, this study suggests future exploration of the viral host, prior to entering the wastewater system.

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  • 2020-05

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Characterization of the Heat Stress Tolerance of an  Escherichia coli RNA Polymerase Mutant

Description

Abiotic stresses, such as heat, can drive protein misfolding and aggregation, leading to inhibition of cellular function and ultimately cell death. Unexpectedly, a thermotolerant Escherichia coli was identified from a

Abiotic stresses, such as heat, can drive protein misfolding and aggregation, leading to inhibition of cellular function and ultimately cell death. Unexpectedly, a thermotolerant Escherichia coli was identified from a pool of antibiotic resistant RNA polymerase β subunit (rpoB) mutants. This stress tolerant phenotype was characterized through exposure to high temperature and ethanol. After 30-minute exposure of cells to 55°C or 25% ethanol, the mutant displayed 100 times greater viability than the wild-type, indicating that the rpoB mutation may have broadly affected the cellular environment to reduce protein misfolding and/or prevent protein aggregation. To further test this hypothesis, we examined thermotolerance of cells lacking heat shock chaperone DnaJ (Hsp40), which is a cochaperone of one of the most abundant and conserved chaperones, DnaK (Hsp70). The deletion of dnaJ led to severe growth defects in the wild-type, namely a slower growth rate and extreme filamentation at 42°C. The severity of the growth defects increased after additionally deleting DnaJ analog, CbpA. However, these defects were significantly ameliorated by the rpoB mutation. Finally, the rpoB mutant was found to be minimally affected by the simultaneous depletion of DnaK and DnaJ compared to the wild-type, which failed to form single colonies at 37°C and 42°C. Based on these observations, it is proposed that the rpoB mutant’s robust thermotolerant phenotype results from a cellular environment protective against protein aggregation or improper folding. The folding environment of the rpoB mutants should be further examined to elucidate the mechanism by which both antibiotic resistance and thermotolerance can be conferred.

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  • 2020-05

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The impact of Staphylococcus aureus volatiles on Pseudomonas aeruginosa phenotypes

Description

Persons with cystic fibrosis (CF) are highly susceptible to lung infections caused by the opportunistic pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) and Staphylococcus aureus (SA). By age 20, ~16% of CF patients

Persons with cystic fibrosis (CF) are highly susceptible to lung infections caused by the opportunistic pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) and Staphylococcus aureus (SA). By age 20, ~16% of CF patients have co-infections with these two bacteria, and this number grows as the patients age1. PA-SA co-infections are associated with worsened clinical outcomes in CF patients, but the reasons are not well understood. One hypothesis is that SA influences the production of PA virulence factors and other chronic infection phenotypes. Previous work in our lab investigated the effects of SA on PA quorum-regulated phenotypes when they are grown as planktonic co-cultures. We are expanding on this result by testing whether SA can influence PA phenotypes without being in direct contact, and without being able to exchange soluble secreted factors. In this study, we hypothesized that SA produces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause changes in PA phenotypes leading to a down-regulation of motility and protease production, and increased antibiotic resistance. To test this hypothesis, we exposed two laboratory strains of PA to the VOCs produced by pre-grown lawns of two strains of SA, and measured PA motility by conducting swarming, swimming, and twitching assays, measuring protease production, as well as antibiotic sensitivity. After exposing PA to a pre-grown lawn of SA, there was a significant difference in some phenotypes compared to controls. There were significant decreases in swarming motility, twitching motility, and protease production, and an increase in a bright green pigment (possibly siderophores) when PA was exposed to SA. The degree of phenotypic alterations was dependent on both the PA strain and the SA strain being tested. Exposure to SA VOCs also altered PA sensitivity to ciprofloxacin, though one strain caused an increase in susceptibility while the other SA strain caused an increase in resistance. These data demonstrate that SA VOCs can influence PA phenotypes in vitro, which may have relevance for CF patients who are co-infected with these two bacteria.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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How the EnvZ/OmpR Two-component Regulatory System Affects fepA Gene Expression in Escherichia coli

Description

This study focused on the connection between the EnvZ/OmpR two-component regulatory system and the iron homeostasis system in Escherichia coli, specifically how a mutant form of EnvZ11/OmpR is able to

This study focused on the connection between the EnvZ/OmpR two-component regulatory system and the iron homeostasis system in Escherichia coli, specifically how a mutant form of EnvZ11/OmpR is able to reduce the expression of fepA::lacZ, a reporter gene fusion in E. coli. FepA is one of several outer membrane siderophore receptors that allow extracellular siderophores bound to iron to enter the cells to power various biological processes. Previous studies have shown that in E. coli cells that expressed a mutant allele of envZ, called envZ11, which led to altered expression of various iron genes including down regulation of fepA::lacZ. The wild type EnvZ/OmpR system is not considered to regulate iron genes, but because these envz11 strains had downregulated fepA::lacZ, this study was undertaken to understand the connection and mechanisms of this downregulation. A large number of Lac+ revertants were obtained from the B32-2483 strain (envz11 and fepA::lacZ) and 7 Lac+ revertants that had reversion mutations not directly correcting the envZ11 allele were further characterized. With P1 phage transduction genetic mapping that involved moving a kanamycin resistance marker linked to fepA::lacZ, two Lac+ revertants were found to have their reversion mutations in the fepA promoter region, while the other five revertants had their mutations mapping outside the fepA region. These two revertants underwent DNA sequencing and found to carry two different single base pair mutations in two different locations of the fepA promoter region. Each one is in the Fur repressor binding region, but one also may have affected the Shine-Dalgarno region involved in translation initiation. All 7 reveratants underwent beta-galactosidase assays to measure fepA::lacZ expression. The two revertants that had mutations in the fepA promoter region had significantly increased fepA activity, with the revertant with the Shine-Dalgarno mutation having the most elevated fepA expression. The other 5 revertants that did not map in the fepA region had fepA expression elevated to the same level as that found in the wild type EnvZ/OmpR background. The data suggest that the negative effect of envZ11 can be overcome by multiple mechanisms, including directly correcting the envZ11 allele or changing the fepA promoter region.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

Characterization of the structure and interactions of the AcrAB-TolC multi-drug efflux pump in Escherichia coli

Description

The spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria is currently a pressing global health concern, especially considering the prevalence of multi-drug resistance. Efflux pumps, bacterial machinery involved in various active transport functions,

The spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria is currently a pressing global health concern, especially considering the prevalence of multi-drug resistance. Efflux pumps, bacterial machinery involved in various active transport functions, are capable of removing a broad range of antibiotics from the periplasmic space and the outer leaflet of the inner membrane, frequently conferring multi-drug resistance. Many aspects of efflux machinery’s structure, functions, and inter-protein interactions are still not fully understood; further characterization of these components of efflux will provide a strong foundation for combating this resistance mechanism. In this project, I further characterize the channel protein TolC as a part of the AcrAB-TolC efflux pump complex in Escherichia coli by first determining the specificity of compensatory mutations in TolC against defective AcrA and AcrB, and then identifying TolC residues that might influence TolC aperture dynamics or stability when altered. Specificity of compensatory mutations was determined using an array of TolC mutants, previously generated from defective AcrA or AcrB, against a different mutant AcrB protein; these new mutant combinations were then analyzed by real-time efflux and antibiotic susceptibility assays. A vancomycin susceptible TolC mutant—a phenotype that has been associated with constitutively open TolC channels—was then used to generate vancomycin-resistant revertants which were evaluated with DNA sequencing, protein quantification by Western blots, and real-time efflux assays to identify residues important for TolC aperture dynamics and protein stability and complex activity. Mutations identified in revertant strains corresponded to residues located in the lower half of the periplasmic domain of TolC; generally, these revertants had poorer efflux than wild-type TolC in the mutant AcrB background, and all revertants had poorer efflux activity than the parental mutant strain.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05