Biosensors have emerged as a valuable tool with high specificity and sensitivity for fast and reliable detection of hazardous substances in drinking water. Numerous substances have been addressed using synthetic biology approaches. However, many proposed biosensors are based on living, genetically modified organisms and are therefore limited in shelf life, usability and biosafety. We addressed these issues by the construction of an extensible, cell-free biosensor. Storage is possible through freeze drying on paper. Following the addition of an aqueous sample, a highly efficient cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) reaction is initiated. Specific allosteric transcription factors modulate the expression of ‘superfolder’ green fluorescent protein (sfGFP) depending on the presence of the substance of interest. The resulting fluorescence intensities are analyzed with a conventional smartphone accompanied by simple and cheap light filters. An ordinary differential equitation (ODE) model of the biosensors was developed, which enabled prediction and optimization of performance. With an optimized cell-free biosensor based on the Shigella flexneri MerR transcriptional activator, detection of 6 μg/L Hg(II) ions in water was achieved. Furthermore, a completely new biosensor for the detection of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a substance used as date-rape drug, was established by employing the naturally occurring transcriptional repressor BlcR from Agrobacterium tumefaciens .
A gram-negative colonizer of the oral cavity, Fusobacterium nucleatum not only interacts with many pathogens in the oral microbiome but also has the ability to spread to extraoral sites including placenta and amniotic fluid, promoting preterm birth. To date, however, the molecular mechanism of interspecies interactions—termed coaggregation—by F. nucleatum and how coaggregation affects bacterial virulence remain poorly defined. Here, we employed genome-wide transposon mutagenesis to uncover fusobacterial coaggregation factors, revealing the intertwined function of a two-component signal transduction system (TCS), named CarRS, and a lysine metabolic pathway in regulating the critical coaggregation factor RadD. Transcriptome analysis shows that CarR modulates a large regulon including radD and lysine metabolic genes, such as kamA and kamD, the expression of which are highly up-regulated in the ΔcarR mutant. Significantly, the native culture medium of ΔkamA or ΔkamD mutants builds up abundant amounts of free lysine, which blocks fusobacterial coaggregation with streptococci. Our demonstration that lysine-conjugated beads trap RadD from the membrane lysates suggests that lysine utilizes RadD as its receptor to act as a metabolic inhibitor of coaggregation. Lastly, using a mouse model of preterm birth, we show that fusobacterial virulence is significantly attenuated with the ΔkamA and ΔcarR mutants, in contrast to the enhanced virulence phenotype observed upon diminishing RadD (ΔradD or ΔcarS mutant). Evidently, F. nucleatum employs the TCS CarRS and environmental lysine to modulate RadD-mediated interspecies interaction, virulence, and nutrient acquisition to thrive in the adverse environment of oral biofilms and extraoral sites.
BackgroundThe human pathogen Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the causative agent of diphtheria. In the 1990s a large diphtheria outbreak in Eastern Europe was caused by the strain C. diphtheriae NCTC 13129. Although the genome was sequenced more than a decade ago, not much is known about its transcriptome. Our aim was to use transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) to close this knowledge gap and gain insights into the transcriptional landscape of a C. diphtheriae tox+ strain.ResultsWe applied two different RNA-Seq techniques, one to retrieve 5′-ends of primary transcripts and the other to characterize the whole transcriptional landscape in order to gain insights into various features of the C. diphtheriae NCTC 13129 transcriptome. By examining the data we identified 1656 transcription start sites (TSS), of which 1202 were assigned to genes and 454 to putative novel transcripts. By using the TSS data promoter regions recognized by the housekeeping sigma factor σA and its motifs were analyzed in detail, revealing a well conserved −10 but an only weakly conserved −35 motif, respectively. Furthermore, with the TSS data 5’-UTR lengths were explored. The observed 5’-UTRs range from zero length (leaderless transcripts), which make up 20% of all genes, up to over 450 nt long leaders, which may harbor regulatory functions. The C. diphtheriae transcriptome consists of 471 operons which are further divided into 167 sub-operon structures. In a differential expression analysis approach, we discovered that genetic disruption of the iron-sensing transcription regulator DtxR, which controls expression of diphtheria toxin (DT), causes a strong influence on general gene expression. Nearly 15% of the genome is differentially transcribed, indicating that DtxR might have other regulatory functions in addition to regulation of iron metabolism and DT. Furthermore, our findings shed light on the transcriptional landscape of the DT encoding gene tox and present evidence for two tox antisense RNAs, which point to a new way of transcriptional regulation of toxin production.ConclusionsThis study presents extensive insights into the transcriptome of C. diphtheriae and provides a basis for future studies regarding gene characterization, transcriptional regulatory networks, and regulation of the tox gene in particular.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (10.1186/s12864-018-4481-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Magnetosomes have emerged as a model system to study prokaryotic organelles and a source of biocompatible magnetic nanoparticles for various biomedical applications. However, the lack of knowledge about the transcriptional organization of magnetosome gene clusters has severely impeded the engineering, manipulation, and transfer of this highly complex biosynthetic pathway into other organisms.
F. nucleatum colonizes various human tissues, including oral cavity, placenta, and colon. How this obligate anaerobe withstands oxidative stress in host immune cells has not been described.
Controlled RNA degradation is a crucial process in bacterial cell biology for maintaining proper transcriptome homeostasis and adaptation to changing environments. mRNA turnover in many Gram-positive bacteria involves a specialized ribonuclease called RNase J (RnJ). To date, however, nothing is known about this process in the diphtheria-causative pathogen Corynebacterium diphtheriae, nor is known the identity of this ribonuclease in this organism. Here, we report that C. diphtheriae DIP1463 encodes a predicted RnJ homolog, comprised of a conserved N-terminal β-lactamase domain, followed by β-CASP and C-terminal domains. A recombinant protein encompassing the β-lactamase domain alone displays 5′-exoribonuclease activity, which is abolished by alanine-substitution of the conserved catalytic residues His186 and His188. Intriguingly, deletion of DIP1463/rnj in C. diphtheriae reduces bacterial growth and generates cell shape abnormality with markedly augmented cell width. Comparative RNA-seq analysis revealed that RnJ controls a large regulon encoding many factors predicted to be involved in biosynthesis, regulation, transport, and iron acquisition. One upregulated gene in the ∆rnj mutant is ftsH, coding for a membrane protease (FtsH) involved in cell division, whose overexpression in the wild-type strain also caused cell-width augmentation. Critically, the ∆rnj mutant is severely attenuated in virulence in a Caenorhabditis elegans model of infection, while the FtsH-overexpressing and toxin-less strains exhibit full virulence as the wild-type strain. Evidently, RNase J is a key ribonuclease in C. diphtheriae that post-transcriptionally influences the expression of numerous factors vital to corynebacterial cell physiology and virulence. Our findings have significant implications for basic biological processes and mechanisms of corynebacterial pathogenesis.
Three novel corynebacterial species were isolated from soil sampled at a paddock in Vilsendorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The strains were coccoid or irregular rod-shaped, catalase-positive and pale white to yellow-orange in colour. By whole genome sequencing and comparison of the 16S rRNA genes as well as the whole genome structure, it was shown that all three strains represent novel species of the family Corynebacteriaceae , order Corynebacteriales , class Actinobacteria . This project describes the isolation, identification, sequencing, and phenotypic characterization of the three novel Corynebacterium species. We propose the names Corynebacterium kalinowskii sp. nov. (DSM 110639T=LMG 31801T), Corynebacterium comes sp. nov. (DSM 110640T=LMG 31802T), and Corynebacterium occultum sp. nov. (DSM 110642T=LMG 31803T).
Background One of the most complex prokaryotic organelles are magnetosomes, which are formed by magnetotactic bacteria as sensors for navigation in the Earth’s magnetic field. In the alphaproteobacterium Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense magnetosomes consist of chains of magnetite crystals (Fe3O4) that under microoxic to anoxic conditions are biomineralized within membrane vesicles. To form such an intricate structure, the transcription of > 30 specific structural genes clustered within the genomic magnetosome island (MAI) has to be coordinated with the expression of an as-yet unknown number of auxiliary genes encoding several generic metabolic functions. However, their global regulation and transcriptional organization in response to anoxic conditions most favorable for magnetite biomineralization are still unclear. Results Here, we compared transcriptional profiles of anaerobically grown magnetosome forming cells with those in which magnetosome biosynthesis has been suppressed by aerobic condition. Using whole transcriptome shotgun sequencing, we found that transcription of about 300 of the > 4300 genes was significantly enhanced during magnetosome formation. About 40 of the top upregulated genes are directly or indirectly linked to aerobic and anaerobic respiration (denitrification) or unknown functions. The mam and mms gene clusters, specifically controlling magnetosome biosynthesis, were highly transcribed, but constitutively expressed irrespective of the growth condition. By Cappable-sequencing, we show that the transcriptional complexity of both the MAI and the entire genome decreased under anaerobic conditions optimal for magnetosome formation. In addition, predominant promoter structures were highly similar to sigma factor σ70 dependent promoters in other Alphaproteobacteria. Conclusions Our transcriptome-wide analysis revealed that magnetite biomineralization relies on a complex interplay between generic metabolic processes such as aerobic and anaerobic respiration, cellular redox control, and the biosynthesis of specific magnetosome structures. In addition, we provide insights into global regulatory features that have remained uncharacterized in the widely studied model organism M. gryphiswaldense, including a comprehensive dataset of newly annotated transcription start sites and genome-wide operon detection as a community resource (GEO Series accession number GSE197098).
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