36 research outputs found

    Nucleotide-Binding Sites of the Heterodimeric LmrCD ABC-Multidrug Transporter of Lactococcus lactis Are Asymmetric

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    LmrCD is a lactococcal, heterodimeric multidrug transporter, which belongs to the ABC superfamily. It consists of two half-transporters, LmrC and LmrD, that are necessary and sufficient for drug extrusion and ATP hydrolysis. LmrCD is asymmetric in terms of the conservation of the functional motifs of the nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs). Important residues of the nucleotide-binding site of LmrC and the C loop of LmrD are not conserved. To investigate the functional importance of the LmrC and LmrD subunits, the putative catalytic base residue adjacent to the Walker B motif of both NBDs were substituted for the respective carboxamides. Our data demonstrate that Glu587 of LmrD is essential for both drug transport and ATPase activity of the LmrCD heterodimer, whereas mutation of Asp495 of LmrC has a less severe effect on the activity of the complex. Structural and/or functional asymmetry is further demonstrated by differential labeling of both subunits by 8-azido-[α-32P]ATP, which, at 4 °C, occurs predominantly at LmrC, while aluminiumfluoride (AlFx)-induced trapping of the hydrolyzed nucleotide at 30 °C results in an almost exclusive labeling of LmrD. It is concluded that the LmrCD heterodimer contains two structurally and functionally distinct NBDs.

    Tuning Enzyme Activity for Nonaqueous Solvents:Engineering an Enantioselective “Michaelase” for Catalysis in High Concentrations of Ethanol

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    Enzymes have evolved to function under aqueous conditions and may not exhibit features essential for biocatalytic application, such as the ability to function in high concentrations of an organic solvent. Consequently, protein engineering is often required to tune an enzyme for catalysis in non‐aqueous solvents. In this study, we have used a collection of nearly all single mutants of 4‐oxalocrotonate tautomerase, which promiscuously catalyzes synthetically useful Michael‐type additions of acetaldehyde to various nitroolefins, to investigate the effect of each mutation on the ability of this enzyme to retain its “Michaelase” activity in elevated concentrations of ethanol. Examination of this mutability landscape allowed the identification of two hotspot positions, Ser30 and Ala33, at which mutations are beneficial for catalysis in high ethanol concentrations. The “hotspot” position Ala33 was then randomized in a highly enantioselective, but ethanol‐sensitive 4‐OT variant (L8F/M45Y/F50A) to generate an improved enzyme variant (L8F/A33I/M45Y/F50A) that showed great ethanol stability and efficiently catalyzes the enantioselective addition of acetaldehyde to nitrostyrene in 40 % ethanol (permitting high substrate loading) to give the desired γ‐nitroaldehyde product in excellent isolated yield (89 %) and enantiopurity (ee=98 %). The presented work demonstrates the power of mutability‐landscape‐guided enzyme engineering for efficient biocatalysis in non‐aqueous solvents

    Creation of RANKL mutants with low affinity for decoy receptor OPG and their potential anti-fibrosis activity

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    Fibrosis is characterized by the progressive alteration of the tissue structure due to the excessive production of extracellular matrix (ECM). The signaling system encompassing Receptor Activator of Nuclear factor NF-kappa B Ligand (RANKL)/RANK/Osteoprotegerin (OPG) was discovered to play an important role in the regulation of ECM formation and degradation in bone tissue. However, whether and how this signaling pathway plays a role in liver or pulmonary ECM degradation is unclear up to now. Interestingly, increased decoy receptor OPG levels are found in fibrotic tissues. We hypothesize that RANKL can stimulate RANK on macrophages and initiate the process of ECM degradation. This process may be inhibited by highly expressed OPG in fibrotic conditions. In this case, RANKL mutants that can bind to RANK without binding to OPG might become promising therapeutic candidates. In this study, we built a structure-based library containing 44 RANKL mutants and found that the Q236 residue of RANKL is important for OPG binding. We show that RANKL_Q236D can activate RAW cells to initiate the process of ECM degradation and is able to escape from the obstruction by exogenous OPG. We propose that the generation of RANKL mutants with reduced affinity for OPG is a promising strategy for the exploration of new therapeutics against fibrosis

    Development and application of CRISPR-based genetic tools in Bacillus species and Bacillus phages

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    Recently, the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) system has been developed into a precise and efficient genome editing tool. Since its discovery as an adaptive immune system in prokaryotes, it has been applied in many different research fields including biotechnology and medical sciences. The high demand for rapid, highly efficient and versatile genetic tools to thrive in bacteria-based cell factories accelerates this process. This review mainly focuses on significant advancements of the CRISPR system in Bacillus subtilis, including the achievements in gene editing, and on problems still remaining. Next, we comprehensively summarize this genetic tool's up-to-date development and utilization in other Bacillus species, including B. licheniformis, B. methanolicus, B. anthracis, B. cereus, B. smithii and B. thuringiensis. Furthermore, we describe the current application of CRISPR tools in phages to increase Bacillus hosts' resistance to virulent phages and phage genetic modification. Finally, we suggest potential strategies to further improve this advanced technique and provide insights into future directions of CRISPR technologies for rendering Bacillus species cell factories more effective and more powerful

    A regulated synthetic operon facilitates stable overexpression of multigene terpenoid pathway in Bacillus subtilis

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    The creation of microbial cell factories for sustainable production of natural products is important for medical and industrial applications. This requires stable expression of biosynthetic pathways in a host organism with favorable fermentation properties such as Bacillus subtilis. The aim of this study is to construct B. subtilis strains that produce valuable terpenoid compounds by overexpressing the innate methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway. A synthetic operon allowing the concerted and regulated expression of multiple genes was developed. Up to 8 genes have been combined in this operon and a stably inherited plasmid-based vector was constructed resulting in a high production of C-30 carotenoids. For this, two vectors were examined, one with rolling circle replication and another with theta replication. Theta-replication constructs were clearly superior in structural and segregational stability compared to rolling circle constructs. A strain overexpressing all eight genes of the MEP pathway on a theta-replicating plasmid clearly produced the highest level of carotenoids. The level of transcription for each gene in the operon was similar as RT-qPCR analysis indicated. Hence, that corresponding strain can be used as a stable cell factory for production of terpenoids. This is the first report of merging and stably expressing this large-size operon (eight genes) from a plasmid-based system in B. subtilis enabling high C-30 carotenoid production

    Production of Squalene in Bacillus subtilis by Squalene Synthase Screening and Metabolic Engineering

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    Squalene synthase (SQS) catalyzes the conversion of two farnesyl pyrophosphates to squalene, an important intermediate in between isoprene and valuable triterpenoids. In this study, we have constructed a novel biosynthesis pathway for squalene in Bacillus subtilis and performed metabolic engineering aiming at facilitating further exploitation and production of squalene-derived triterpenoids. Therefore, systematic studies and analysis were performed including selection of multiple SQS candidates from various organisms, comparison of expression vectors, optimization of cultivation temperatures, and examination of rate-limiting factors within the synthetic pathway. We were, for the first time, able to obtain squalene synthesis in B. subtilis. Furthermore, we achieved a 29-fold increase of squalene yield (0.26-7.5 mg/L) by expressing SQS from Bacillus megaterium and eliminating bottlenecks within the upstream methylerythritol-phosphate pathway. Moreover, our findings showed that also ispA could positively affect the production of squalene

    Structure-activity relationships for binding of 4-substituted triazole-phenols to macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF)

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    Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a versatile protein that plays a role in inflammation, autoimmune diseases and cancers. Development of novel inhibitors will enable further exploration of MIF as a drug target. In this study, we investigated structure-activity relationships of MIF inhibitors using a MIF tautomerase activity assay to measure binding. Importantly, we notified that transition metals such as copper (II) and zinc (II) interfere with the MIF tautomerase activity under the assay conditions applied. EDTA was added to the assay buffer to avoid interference of residual heavy metals with tautomerase activity measurements. Using these assay conditions the structure-activity relationships for MIF binding of a series of triazole-phenols was explored. The most potent inhibitors in this series provided activities in the low micromolar range. Enzyme kinetic analysis indicates competitive binding that proved reversible. Binding to the enzyme was confirmed using a microscale thermophoresis (MST) assay. Molecular modelling was used to rationalize the observed structure-activity relationships. The most potent inhibitor 2d inhibited proliferation of A549 cells in a clonogenic assay. In addition, 2d attenuated MIF induced ERK phosphorylation in A549 cells. Altogether, this study provides insights in the structure-activity relationships for MIF binding of triazole-phenols and further validates this class of compounds as MIF binding agents in cell-based studies

    Proteolysis Targeting Chimera (PROTAC) for Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF) Has Anti-Proliferative Activity in Lung Cancer Cells

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    Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is involved in protein-protein interactions that play key roles in inflammation and cancer. Current strategies to develop small molecule modulators of MIF functions are mainly restricted to the MIF tautomerase active site. Here, we use this site to develop proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) in order to eliminate MIF from its protein-protein interaction network. We report the first potent MIF-directed PROTAC, denoted MD13, which induced almost complete MIF degradation at low micromolar concentrations with a DC50 around 100 nM in A549 cells. MD13 suppresses the proliferation of A549 cells, which can be explained by deactivation of the MAPK pathway and subsequent induction of cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase. MD13 also exhibits antiproliferative effect in a 3D tumor spheroid model. In conclusion, we describe the first MIF-directed PROTAC (MD13) as a research tool, which also demonstrates the potential of PROTACs in cancer therapy

    Metabolic engineering of bacillus subtilis toward taxadiene biosynthesis as the first committed step for taxol production

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    Terpenoids are natural products known for their medicinal and commercial applications. Metabolic engineering of microbial hosts for the production of valuable compounds, such as artemisinin and Taxol, has gained vast interest in the last few decades. The Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) Bacillus subtilis 168 with its broad metabolic potential is considered one of these interesting microbial hosts. In the effort toward engineering B. subtilis as a cell factory for the production of the chemotherapeutic Taxol, we expressed the plant-derived taxadiene synthase (TXS) enzyme. TXS is responsible for the conversion of the precursor geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP) to taxa-4,11-diene, which is the first committed intermediate in Taxol biosynthesis. Furthermore, overexpression of eight enzymes in the biosynthesis pathway was performed to increase the flux of the GGPP precursor. This was achieved by creating a synthetic operon harboring the B. subtilis genes encoding the 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol-4-phosphate (MEP) pathway (dxs, ispD, ispF, ispH , ispC, ispE, ispG) together with ispA (encoding geranyl and farnesyl pyrophosphate synthases) responsible for providing farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP). In addition, a vector harboring the crtE gene (encoding geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase, GGPPS, of Pantoea ananatis) to increase the supply of GGPP was introduced. The overexpression of the MEP pathway enzymes along with IspA and GGPPS caused an 83-fold increase in the amount of taxadiene produced compared to the strain only expressing TXS and relying on the innate pathway of B. subtilis. The total amount of taxadiene produced by that strain was 17.8 mg/I. This is the first account of the successful expression of taxadiene synthase in B. subtilis. We determined that the expression of GGPPS through the crtE gene is essential for the formation of sufficient precursor, GGPP, in B. subtilis as its innate metabolism is not efficient in producing it. Finally, the extracellular localization of taxadiene production by overexpressing the complete MEP pathway along with IspA and GGPPS presents the prospect for further engineering aiming for semisynthesis of Taxol

    Penicillin V acylases from gram-negative bacteria degrade N-acylhomoserine lactones and attenuate virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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    Virulence pathways in gram-negative pathogenic bacteria are regulated by quorum sensing mechanisms, through the production and sensing of N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) signal molecules. Enzymatic degradation of AHLs leading to attenuation of virulence (quorum quenching) could pave the way for the development of new antibacterials. Penicillin V acylases (PVAs) belong to the Ntn hydrolase superfamily, together with AHL acylases. PVAs are exploited widely in the pharmaceutical industry, but their role in the natural physiology of their native microbes is not clearly understood. This report details the characterization of AHL degradation activity by homotetrameric PVAs from two gram-negative plant pathogenic bacteria, Pectobacterium atrosepticum (PaPVA) and Agrobacterium tumefaciens (AtPVA). Both the PVAs exhibited substrate specificity for degrading long-chain AHLs. Exogenous addition of these enzymes into Pseudomonas aeruginosa greatly diminished the production of elastase and pyocyanin and biofilm formation and increased the survival rate in an insect model of acute infection. Subtle structural differences in the PVA active site that regulate specificity for acyl chain length have been characterized, which could reflect the evolution of AHL-degrading acylases in relation to the environment of the bacteria that produce them and also provide strategies for enzyme engineering. The potential for using these enzymes as therapeutic agents in clinical applications and a few ideas about their possible significance in microbial physiology have also been discussed
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