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  • Antibacterial potency of Type VI amidase effector toxins is dependent on substrate topology and cellular context. eLife Radkov, A., Sapiro, A. L., Flores, S., Henderson, C., Saunders, H., Kim, R., Massa, S., Thompson, S., Mateusiak, C., Biboy, J., Zhao, Z., Starita, L. M., Hatleberg, W. L., Vollmer, W., Russell, A. B., Simorre, J. P., Anthony-Cahill, S., Brzovic, P., Hayes, B., Chou, S. 2022; 11


    Members of the bacterial T6SS amidase effector (Tae) superfamily of toxins are delivered between competing bacteria to degrade cell wall peptidoglycan. Although Taes share a common substrate, they exhibit distinct antimicrobial potency across different competitor species. To investigate the molecular basis governing these differences, we quantitatively defined the functional determinants of Tae1 from Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 using a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and a high-throughput in vivo genetic approach called deep mutational scanning (DMS). As expected, combined analyses confirmed the role of critical residues near the Tae1 catalytic center. Unexpectedly, DMS revealed substantial contributions to enzymatic activity from a much larger, ring-like functional hot spot extending around the entire circumference of the enzyme. Comparative DMS across distinct growth conditions highlighted how functional contribution of different surfaces is highly context-dependent, varying alongside composition of targeted cell walls. These observations suggest that Tae1 engages with the intact cell wall network through a more distributed three-dimensional interaction interface than previously appreciated, providing an explanation for observed differences in antimicrobial potency across divergent Gram-negative competitors. Further binding studies of several Tae1 variants with their cognate immunity protein demonstrate that requirements to maintain protection from Tae activity may be a significant constraint on the mutational landscape of tae1 toxicity in the wild. In total, our work reveals that Tae diversification has likely been shaped by multiple independent pressures to maintain interactions with binding partners that vary across bacterial species and conditions.

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.79796

    View details for PubMedID 35762582

  • c-di-AMP Accumulation Impairs Muropeptide Synthesis in Listeria monocytogenes JOURNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY Massa, S. M., Sharma, A., Siletti, C., Tu, Z., Godfrey, J. J., Gutheil, W. G., Huynh, T. N. 2020; 202 (24)


    Cyclic di-AMP (c-di-AMP) is an essential and ubiquitous second messenger among bacteria. c-di-AMP regulates many cellular pathways through direct binding to several molecular targets in bacterial cells. c-di-AMP depletion is well known to destabilize the bacterial cell wall, resulting in increased bacteriolysis and enhanced susceptibility to cell wall targeting antibiotics. Using the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes as a model, we found that c-di-AMP accumulation also impaired cell envelope integrity. An L. monocytogenes mutant deleted for c-di-AMP phosphodiesterases (pdeA pgpH mutant) exhibited a 4-fold increase in c-di-AMP levels and several cell wall defects. For instance, the pdeA pgpH mutant was defective for the synthesis of peptidoglycan muropeptides and was susceptible to cell wall-targeting antimicrobials. Among different muropeptide precursors, we found that the pdeA pgpH strain was particularly impaired in the synthesis of d-Ala-d-Ala, which is required to complete the pentapeptide stem associated with UDP-N-acetylmuramic acid (MurNAc). This was consistent with an increased sensitivity to d-cycloserine, which inhibits the d-alanine branch of peptidoglycan synthesis. Finally, upon examining d-Ala:d-Ala ligase (Ddl), which catalyzes the conversion of d-Ala to d-Ala-d-Ala, we found that its activity was activated by K+ Based on previous reports that c-di-AMP inhibits K+ uptake, we propose that c-di-AMP accumulation impairs peptidoglycan synthesis, partially through the deprivation of cytoplasmic K+ levels, which are required for cell wall-synthetic enzymes.IMPORTANCE The bacterial second messenger c-di-AMP is produced by a large number of bacteria and conditionally essential to many species. Conversely, c-di-AMP accumulation is also toxic to bacterial physiology and pathogenesis, but its mechanisms are largely undefined. We found that in Listeria monocytogenes, elevated c-di-AMP levels diminished muropeptide synthesis and increased susceptibility to cell wall-targeting antimicrobials. Cell wall defects might be an important mechanism for attenuated virulence in bacteria with high c-di-AMP levels.

    View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.00307-20

    View details for Web of Science ID 000594237800008

    View details for PubMedID 33020220

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7685554