An evolutionarily conserved N-terminal leucine is essential for MX1 GTPase antiviral activity against different families of RNA virusesMyxovirus resistance protein 1 (MX1) and MX2 are homologous, dynamin-like large GTPases, induced upon interferon exposure. Human MX1 (HsMX1) is known to inhibit many viruses, including influenza A virus, by likely acting at various steps of their life cycles. Despite decades of studies, the mechanism(s) of action with which MX1 proteins manage to inhibit target viruses is not fully understood. MX1 proteins are mechano-enzymes and share a similar organization to dynamin, with a GTPase domain and a carboxy-terminal stalk domain, connected by a bundle signaling element.
Toll-like receptor 4 and lipopolysaccharide from commensal microbes regulate Tembusu virus infectionUnlike most flaviviruses transmitted by arthropods, Tembusu virus (TMUV) is still active during winter and causes outbreaks in some areas, indicating vector-independent spread of the virus. Gastrointestinal transmission might be one of the possible routes of vector-free transmission, which also means that the virus has to interact with more intestinal bacteria. Here, we found evidence that TMUV indeed can transmit through the digestive tract. Interestingly, using an established TMUV disease model by oral gavage combined with an antibiotic treatment, we revealed that a decrease in intestinal bacteria significantly reduced local TMUV proliferation in the intestine, revealing that the bacterial microbiome is important in TMUV infection.
Ornate, large, extremophilic (OLE) RNA forms a kink turn necessary for OapC protein recognition and RNA functionOrnate, large, extremophilic (OLE) RNAs represent a class of noncoding RNAs prevalent in Gram-positive, extremophilic/anaerobic bacterial species. OLE RNAs (∼600 nt), whose precise biochemical functions remain mysterious, form an intricate secondary structure interspersed with regions of highly conserved nucleotides. In the alkali-halophilic bacterium Bacillus halodurans, OLE RNA is a component of a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex involving at least two proteins named OapA and OapB, but additional components may exist that could point to functional roles for the RNA.
Herpes simplex virus 1 protein pUL21 alters ceramide metabolism by activating the interorganelle transport protein CERTHerpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 dramatically alters the architecture and protein composition of cellular membranes during infection, but its effects upon membrane lipid composition remain unclear. HSV-1 pUL21 is a virus-encoded protein phosphatase adaptor that promotes dephosphorylation of multiple cellular and virus proteins, including the cellular ceramide (Cer) transport protein CERT. CERT mediates nonvesicular Cer transport from the endoplasmic reticulum to the trans-Golgi network, whereupon Cer is converted to sphingomyelin (SM) and other sphingolipids that play important roles in cellular proliferation, signaling, and membrane trafficking.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus capsid protein induces translational shutoff as revealed by its structural–biological analysisTick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is the most medically relevant tick-transmitted Flavivirus in Eurasia, targeting the host central nervous system and frequently causing severe encephalitis. The primary function of its capsid protein (TBEVC) is to recruit the viral RNA and form a nucleocapsid. Additional functionality of Flavivirus capsid proteins has been documented, but further investigation is needed for TBEVC. Here, we show the first capsid protein 3D structure of a member of the tick-borne flaviviruses group.
Inner membrane YfgM–PpiD heterodimer acts as a functional unit that associates with the SecY/E/G translocon and promotes protein translocationPpiD and YfgM are inner membrane proteins that are both composed of an N-terminal transmembrane segment and a C-terminal periplasmic domain. Escherichia coli YfgM and PpiD form a stable complex that interacts with the SecY/E/G (Sec) translocon, a channel that allows protein translocation across the cytoplasmic membrane. Although PpiD is known to function in protein translocation, the functional significance of PpiD–YfgM complex formation as well as the molecular mechanisms of PpiD–YfgM and PpiD/YfgM–Sec translocon interactions remain unclear.
Reconstitution of the SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleosome provides insights into genomic RNA packaging and regulation by phosphorylationThe nucleocapsid (N) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is responsible for compaction of the ∼30-kb RNA genome in the ∼90-nm virion. Previous studies suggest that each virion contains 35 to 40 viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complexes, or ribonucleosomes, arrayed along the genome. There is, however, little mechanistic understanding of the vRNP complex. Here, we show that N protein, when combined in vitro with short fragments of the viral genome, forms 15-nm particles similar to the vRNP structures observed within virions.
Isocitrate binds to the itaconic acid–responsive LysR-type transcriptional regulator RipR in Salmonella pathogenesisMacrophages produce itaconic acid in phagosomes in response to bacterial cell wall component lipopolysaccharide to eliminate invading pathogenic bacteria. Itaconic acid competitively inhibits the first enzyme of the bacterial glyoxylate cycle. To overcome itaconic acid stress, bacteria employ the bacterial LysR-type transcriptional regulator RipR. However, it remains unknown which molecule activates RipR in bacterial pathogenesis. In this study, we determined the crystal structure of the regulatory domain of RipR from the intracellular pathogen Salmonella.
Outer surface lipoproteins from the Lyme disease spirochete exploit the molecular switch mechanism of the complement protease C1sProteolytic cascades comprise several important physiological systems, including a primary arm of innate immunity called the complement cascade. To safeguard against complement-mediated attack, the etiologic agent of Lyme disease, Borreliella burgdorferi, produces numerous outer surface–localized lipoproteins that contribute to successful complement evasion. Recently, we discovered a pair of B. burgdorferi surface lipoproteins of the OspEF-related protein family—termed ElpB and ElpQ—that inhibit antibody-mediated complement activation.
Inositol phosphorylceramide synthase null Leishmania are viable and virulent in animal infections where salvage of host sphingomyelin predominatesMany pathogens synthesize inositol phosphorylceramide (IPC) as the major sphingolipid (SL), differing from the mammalian host where sphingomyelin (SM) or more complex SLs predominate. The divergence between IPC synthase and mammalian SL synthases has prompted interest as a potential drug target. However, in the trypanosomatid protozoan Leishmania, cultured insect stage promastigotes lack de novo SL synthesis (Δspt2-) and SLs survive and remain virulent, as infective amastigotes salvage host SLs and continue to produce IPC.
A dedicated C-6 β-hydroxyacyltransferase required for biosynthesis of the glycolipid anchor for Vi antigen capsule in typhoidal SalmonellaVi antigen is an extracellular polysaccharide produced by Salmonella enterica Typhi, Citrobacter freundii, and some soil bacteria belonging to the Burkholderiales. In Salmonella Typhi, Vi-antigen capsule protects the bacterium against host defenses, and the glycan is used in a current glycoconjugate vaccine to protect against typhoid. Vi antigen is a glycolipid assembled in the cytoplasm and translocated to the cell surface by an export complex driven by an ABC transporter. In Salmonella Typhi, efficient export and cell-surface retention of the capsule layer depend on a reducing terminal acylated-HexNAc moiety.
Serine 13 of the human cytomegalovirus viral cyclin-dependent kinase UL97 is required for regulatory protein 14-3-3 binding and UL97 stabilityThe human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) UL97 protein is a conserved herpesvirus protein kinase (CHPK) and a viral cyclin-dependent kinase (v-CDK). However, mechanisms regulating its activity in the context of infection are unknown. Here, we identified several cellular regulatory 14-3-3 proteins as UL97-interacting partners that promote UL97 stability. Humans are known to encode seven isoforms of 14-3-3 proteins (β, ε, η, γ, σ, θ, and ζ) that bind phosphoserines or phosphothreonines to impact protein structure, stability, activity, and localization.
SARS-CoV-2 hijacks macropinocytosis to facilitate its entry and promote viral spike–mediated cell-to-cell fusionRevealing the mechanisms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) entry and cell-to-cell spread might provide insights for understanding the underlying mechanisms of viral pathogenesis, tropism, and virulence. The signaling pathways involved in SARS-CoV-2 entry and viral spike–mediated cell-to-cell fusion remain elusive. In the current study, we found that macropinocytosis inhibitors significantly suppressed SARS-CoV-2 infection at both the entry and viral spike–mediated cell-to-cell fusion steps.
Coprinopsis cinerea dioxygenase is an oxygenase forming 10(S)-hydroperoxide of linoleic acid, essential for mushroom alcohol, 1-octen-3-ol, synthesis1-Octen-3-ol is a volatile oxylipin found ubiquitously in Basidiomycota and Ascomycota. The biosynthetic pathway forming 1-octen-3-ol from linoleic acid via the linoleic acid 10(S)-hydroperoxide was characterized 40 years ago in mushrooms, yet the enzymes involved are not identified. The dioxygenase 1 and 2 genes (Ccdox1 and Ccdox2) in the mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea contain an N-terminal cyclooxygenase-like heme peroxidase domain and a C-terminal cytochrome P450-related domain. Herein, we show that recombinant CcDOX1 is responsible for dioxygenation of linoleic acid to form the 10(S)-hydroperoxide, the first step in 1-octen-3-ol synthesis, whereas CcDOX2 conceivably forms linoleic acid 8-hydroperoxide.
The SET-domain protein CgSet4 negatively regulates antifungal drug resistance via the ergosterol biosynthesis transcriptional regulator CgUpc2aInvasive fungal infections, which pose a serious threat to human health, are increasingly associated with a high mortality rate and elevated health care costs, owing to rising resistance to current antifungals and emergence of multidrug-resistant fungal species. Candida glabrata is the second to fourth common cause of Candida bloodstream infections. Its high propensity to acquire resistance toward two mainstream drugs, azoles (inhibit ergosterol biosynthesis) and echinocandins (target cell wall), in clinical settings, and its inherent low azole susceptibility render antifungal therapy unsuccessful in many cases.
The Natural Product Domain Seeker version 2 (NaPDoS2) webtool relates ketosynthase phylogeny to biosynthetic functionThe Natural Product Domain Seeker (NaPDoS) webtool detects and classifies ketosynthase (KS) and condensation domains from genomic, metagenomic, and amplicon sequence data. Unlike other tools, a phylogeny-based classification scheme is used to make broader predictions about the polyketide synthase (PKS) and nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) genes in which these domains are found. NaPDoS is particularly useful for the analysis of incomplete biosynthetic genes or gene clusters, as are often observed in poorly assembled genomes and metagenomes, or when loci are not clustered, as in eukaryotic genomes.
A conserved loop sequence of the proteasome system depupylase Dop regulates substrate selectivity in Mycobacterium tuberculosisMycobacteria use a proteasome system that is similar to a eukaryotic proteasome but do not use ubiquitin to target proteins for degradation. Instead, mycobacteria encode a prokaryotic ubiquitin-like protein (Pup) that posttranslationally modifies proteins to mark them for proteolysis. Pupylation occurs on lysines of targeted proteins and is catalyzed by the ligase PafA. Like ubiquitylation, pupylation can be reversed by the depupylase Dop, which shares high structural similarity with PafA. Unique to Dop near its active site is a disordered loop of approximately 40 amino acids that is highly conserved among diverse dop-containing bacterial genera.
A defect in cell wall recycling confers antibiotic resistance and sensitivity in Staphylococcus aureusWalKR is a two-component system that is essential for viability in Gram-positive bacteria that regulates the all-important autolysins in cell wall homeostasis. Further investigation of this essential system is important for identifying ways to address antibiotic resistance. Here, we show that a T101M mutation in walR confers a defect in autolysis, a thickened cell wall, and decreased susceptibility to antibiotics that target lipid II cycle, a phenotype that is reminiscent of the clinical resistance form known as vancomycin intermediate-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Recognition of extracellular DNA by type IV pili promotes biofilm formation by Clostridioides difficileClostridioides difficile is a Gram-positive bacillus, which is a frequent cause of gastrointestinal infections triggered by the depletion of the gut microbiome. Because of the frequent recurrence of these infections after antibiotic treatment, mechanisms of C. difficile persistence and recurrence, including biofilm formation, are of increasing interest. Previously, our group and others found that type IV pili, filamentous helical appendages polymerized from protein subunits, promoted microcolony and biofilm formation in C. difficile.
AICAR transformylase/IMP cyclohydrolase (ATIC) is essential for de novo purine biosynthesis and infection by Cryptococcus neoformansThe fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is a leading cause of meningoencephalitis in the immunocompromised. As current antifungal treatments are toxic to the host, costly, limited in their efficacy, and associated with drug resistance, there is an urgent need to identify vulnerabilities in fungal physiology to accelerate antifungal discovery efforts. Rational drug design was pioneered in de novo purine biosynthesis as the end products of the pathway, ATP and GTP, are essential for replication, transcription, and energy metabolism, and the same rationale applies when considering the pathway as an antifungal target.
PrkA is an ATP-dependent protease that regulates sporulation in Bacillus subtilisIn Bacillus subtilis, sporulation is a sequential and highly regulated process. Phosphorylation events by histidine kinases are key points in the phosphorelay that initiates sporulation, but serine/threonine protein kinases also play important auxiliary roles in this regulation. PrkA has been proposed to be a serine protein kinase expressed during the initiation of sporulation and involved in this differentiation process. Additionally, the role of PrkA in sporulation has been previously proposed to be mediated via the transition phase regulator ScoC, which in turn regulates the transcriptional factor σK and its regulon.
Receptor-kinase EGFR-MAPK adaptor proteins mediate the epithelial response to Candida albicans via the cytolytic peptide toxin, candidalysinCandida albicans (C. albicans) is a dimorphic commensal human fungal pathogen that can cause severe oropharyngeal candidiasis (oral thrush) in susceptible hosts. During invasive infection, C. albicans hyphae invade oral epithelial cells (OECs) and secrete candidalysin, a pore-forming cytolytic peptide that is required for C. albicans pathogenesis at mucosal surfaces. Candidalysin is produced in the hyphal invasion pocket and triggers cell damage responses in OECs. Candidalysin also activates multiple MAPK-based signaling events that collectively drive the production of downstream inflammatory mediators that coordinate downstream innate and adaptive immune responses.
Identification and characterization of a novel hydroxylamine oxidase, DnfA, that catalyzes the oxidation of hydroxylamine to N2Nitrogen (N2) gas in the atmosphere is partially replenished by microbial denitrification of ammonia. Recent study has shown that Alcaligenes ammonioxydans oxidizes ammonia to dinitrogen via a process featuring the intermediate hydroxylamine, termed “Dirammox” (direct ammonia oxidation). However, the unique biochemistry of this process remains unknown. Here, we report an enzyme involved in Dirammox that catalyzes the conversion of hydroxylamine to N2. We tested previously annotated proteins involved in redox reactions, DnfA, DnfB, and DnfC, to determine their ability to catalyze the oxidation of ammonia or hydroxylamine.
A novel formamidase is required for riboflavin biosynthesis in invasive bacteriaBiosynthesis of riboflavin (RF), the precursor of the redox cofactors FMN and FAD, was thought to be well understood in bacteria, with all the pathway enzymes presumed to be known and essential. Our previous research has challenged this view by showing that, in the bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti, deletion of the ribBA gene encoding the enzyme that catalyzes the initial steps on the RF biosynthesis pathway only causes a reduction in flavin secretion rather than RF auxotrophy. This finding led us to hypothesize that RibBA participates in the biosynthesis of flavins destined for secretion, whereas S. meliloti has another enzyme that performs this function for internal cellular metabolism.
A newly identified flavoprotein disulfide reductase Har protects Streptococcus pneumoniae against hypothiocyanous acidHypothiocyanous acid (HOSCN) is an antimicrobial oxidant produced from hydrogen peroxide and thiocyanate anions by heme peroxidases in secretory fluids such as in the human respiratory tract. Some respiratory tract pathogens display tolerance to this oxidant, which suggests that there might be therapeutic value in targeting HOSCN defense mechanisms. However, surprisingly little is known about how bacteria protect themselves from HOSCN. We hypothesized that tolerant pathogens have a flavoprotein disulfide reductase that uses NAD(P)H to directly reduce HOSCN, similar to thioredoxin reductase in mammalian cells.