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Structural basis for the O-acetyltransferase function of the extracytoplasmic domain of OatA from Staphylococcus aureus

Open AccessPublished:April 29, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA120.013108
      Many bacteria possess enzymes that modify the essential cell-wall polymer peptidoglycan by O-acetylation. This modification occurs in numerous Gram-positive pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a common cause of human infections. O-Acetylation of peptidoglycan protects bacteria from the lytic activity of lysozyme, a mammalian innate immune enzyme, and as such is important for bacterial virulence. The O-acetylating enzyme in Gram-positive bacteria, O-acetyltransferase A (OatA), is a two-domain protein consisting of an N-terminal integral membrane domain and a C-terminal extracytoplasmic domain. Here, we present the X-ray crystal structure at 1.71 Å resolution and the biochemical characterization of the C-terminal domain of S. aureus OatA. The structure revealed that this OatA domain adopts an SGNH-hydrolase fold and possesses a canonical catalytic triad. Site-specific replacement of active-site amino acids revealed the presence of a water-coordinating aspartate residue that limits esterase activity. This residue, although conserved in staphyloccocal OatA and most other homologs, is not present in the previously characterized streptococcal OatA. These results provide insights into the mechanism of acetyl transfer in the SGNH/GDSL hydrolase family and highlight important evolutionary differences between homologous OatA enzymes. Furthermore, this study enhances our understanding of PG O-acetyltransferases, which could guide the development of novel antibacterial drugs to combat infections with multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens.

      Introduction

      Antimicrobial resistance is one of the leading healthcare burdens of the century and is only predicted to worsen. Current projections predict that antimicrobial resistant infections will overtake cancer as a leading cause of death worldwide by 2050 (
      • Review on Antimicrobial Resistance
      ). Among the biggest threats is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Individuals infected with methicillin-resistant S. aureus are estimated to be 64% more likely to die than those infected with non–drug-resistant strains of S. aureus. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have highlighted the desperate need for the research and development of novel antimicrobials to combat multidrug-resistant infections (
      • World Health Organization
      ,
      • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      ). One approach researchers are taking is to search for ways to disarm bacteria with nontraditional therapeutic agents (
      • Rex J.H.
      • Fernandez Lynch H.
      • Cohen I.G.
      • Darrow J.J.
      • Outterson K.
      Non-traditional antibacterial agents.
      ). By targeting virulence factors that significantly contribute to the ability of a bacterium to colonize a host or cause infection, it will be possible to prevent infection without otherwise affecting survivability of the bacterium. It is thought that drugs targeting virulence factors may suffer less from the development of resistance (
      • Rex J.H.
      • Fernandez Lynch H.
      • Cohen I.G.
      • Darrow J.J.
      • Outterson K.
      Non-traditional antibacterial agents.
      ).
      The peptidoglycan (PG) layer of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria is an essential component of the cell envelope involved in shape determination and resisting turgor pressure. PG is composed of a glycan backbone consisting of alternating N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) and N-acetylmuramic acid (MurNAc) residues. Glycan chains are cross-linked by short peptides attached to MurNAc residues to form a mesh-like sacculus surrounding the cytoplasmic membrane. The importance of this macromolecule is highlighted by the number of antimicrobials that target PG and steps in its biosynthesis pathway.
      Lysozyme is a muramidase of the innate immune system that hydrolyzes the β-1,4-glycosidic bond between MurNAc and GlcNAc residues, causing bacterial cell lysis. Because of the unique nature of PG, released fragments serve as important recognition motifs for immune receptors, activating the immune response in the early stages of an infection (
      • Sorbara M.T.
      • Philpott D.J.
      Peptidoglycan: a critical activator of the mammalian immune system during infection and homeostasis.
      ). Many pathogens have therefore evolved a strategy to defend against the host immune system through modification to their PG.
      One such modification is O-acetylation of the C6-hydroxyl of MurNAc residues of PG, which sterically hinders binding of lysozyme (
      • Pushkaran A.C.
      • Nataraj N.
      • Nair N.
      • Götz F.
      • Biswas R.
      • Mohan C.G.
      Understanding the structure-function relationship of lysozyme resistance in Staphylococcus aureus by peptidoglycan O-acetylation using molecular docking, dynamics, and lysis assay.
      ,
      • Dupont C.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Dependence of lysozyme-catalysed solubilization of Proteus mirabilis peptidoglycan on the extent of O-acetylation.
      ). This modification is widespread among Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, but it is most predominant in pathogens (
      • Bera A.
      • Herbert S.
      • Jakob A.
      • Vollmer W.
      • Götz F.
      Why are pathogenic staphylococci so lysozyme resistant?: The peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase OatA is the major determinant for lysozyme resistance of Staphylococcus aureus.
      ,
      • Blundell J.K.
      • Smith G.J.
      • Perkins H.R.
      The peptidoglycan of Neisseria gonorrhoeae: O-acetyl groups and lysozyme sensitivity.
      ,
      • Crisóstomo M.I.
      • Vollmer W.
      • Kharat A.S.
      • Inhülsen S.
      • Gehre F.
      • Buckenmaier S.
      • Tomasz A.
      Attenuation of penicillin resistance in a peptidoglycan O-acetyl transferase mutant of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
      ,
      • Laaberki M.-H.
      • Pfeffer J.
      • Clarke A.J.
      • Dworkin J.
      O-Acetylation of peptidoglycan is required for proper cell separation and S-layer anchoring in Bacillus anthracis.
      ). Bera et al. (
      • Bera A.
      • Biswas R.
      • Herbert S.
      • Götz F.
      The presence of peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase in various staphylococcal species correlates with lysozyme resistance and pathogenicity.
      ) discovered that only pathogenic species of Staphylococcus produce O-acetylated PG, and they are resistant to lysozyme. The levels of PG O-acetylation can range from 20 to 80% depending on the organism, environmental conditions, and growth phase of the culture (
      • Clarke A.J.
      Extent of peptidoglycan O-acetylation in the tribe Proteeae.
      ,
      • Johannsen L.
      • Labischinski H.
      • Reinicke B.
      • Giesbrecht P.
      Changes in the chemical structure of walls of Staphylococcus aureus grown in the presence of chloramphenicol.
      ,
      • Swim S.C.
      • Gfell M.A.
      • Wilde 3rd, C.E.
      • Rosenthal R.S.
      Strain distribution in extents of lysozyme resistance and O-acetylation of gonococcal peptidoglycan determined by high-performance liquid chromatography.
      ). For example, the levels of PG O-acetylation increase by 10–40% as Enterococcus faecalis cells enter stationary the phase and a further 10–16% as the cells enter the viable but nonculturable state (
      • Pfeffer J.M.
      • Strating H.
      • Weadge J.T.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan O-acetylation and autolysin profile of Enterococcus faecalis in the viable but nonculturable state.
      ). In addition to providing resistance to lysozyme, PG O-acetylation has important implications in virulence, including increasing disease severity and downstream complications (
      • Baranwal G.
      • Mohammad M.
      • Jarneborn A.
      • Reddy B.R.
      • Golla A.
      • Chakravarty S.
      • Biswas L.
      • Götz F.
      • Shankarappa S.
      • Jin T.
      • Biswas R.
      Impact of cell wall peptidoglycan O-acetylation on the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus in septic arthritis.
      ,
      • Fleming T.J.
      • Wallsmith D.E.
      • Rosenthal R.S.
      Arthropathic properties of gonococcal peptidoglycan fragments: implications for the pathogenesis of disseminated gonococcal disease.
      ), conferring resistance to bacteriocins (
      • Aubry C.
      • Goulard C.
      • Nahori M.A.
      • Cayet N.
      • Decalf J.
      • Sachse M.
      • Boneca I.G.
      • Cossart P.
      • Dussurget O.
      OatA, a peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase involved in Listeria monocytogenes immune escape, is critical for virulence.
      ) and β-lactam antibiotics (
      • Crisóstomo M.I.
      • Vollmer W.
      • Kharat A.S.
      • Inhülsen S.
      • Gehre F.
      • Buckenmaier S.
      • Tomasz A.
      Attenuation of penicillin resistance in a peptidoglycan O-acetyl transferase mutant of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
      ), and influencing the immune response (
      • Aubry C.
      • Goulard C.
      • Nahori M.A.
      • Cayet N.
      • Decalf J.
      • Sachse M.
      • Boneca I.G.
      • Cossart P.
      • Dussurget O.
      OatA, a peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase involved in Listeria monocytogenes immune escape, is critical for virulence.
      ,
      • Sanchez M.
      • Kolar S.L.
      • Müller S.
      • Reyes C.N.
      • Wolf A.J.
      • Ogawa C.
      • Singhania R.
      • De Carvalho D.D.
      • Arditi M.
      • Underhill D.M.
      • Martins G.A.
      • Liu G.Y.
      O-Acetylation of peptidoglycan limits helper T cell priming and permits Staphylococcus aureus reinfection.
      ). PG O-acetylation is considered important for virulence in numerous pathogens such as S. aureus (
      • Bera A.
      • Herbert S.
      • Jakob A.
      • Vollmer W.
      • Götz F.
      Why are pathogenic staphylococci so lysozyme resistant?: The peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase OatA is the major determinant for lysozyme resistance of Staphylococcus aureus.
      ,
      • Baranwal G.
      • Mohammad M.
      • Jarneborn A.
      • Reddy B.R.
      • Golla A.
      • Chakravarty S.
      • Biswas L.
      • Götz F.
      • Shankarappa S.
      • Jin T.
      • Biswas R.
      Impact of cell wall peptidoglycan O-acetylation on the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus in septic arthritis.
      ,
      • Sanchez M.
      • Kolar S.L.
      • Müller S.
      • Reyes C.N.
      • Wolf A.J.
      • Ogawa C.
      • Singhania R.
      • De Carvalho D.D.
      • Arditi M.
      • Underhill D.M.
      • Martins G.A.
      • Liu G.Y.
      O-Acetylation of peptidoglycan limits helper T cell priming and permits Staphylococcus aureus reinfection.
      ), Streptococcus pneumoniae (
      • Crisóstomo M.I.
      • Vollmer W.
      • Kharat A.S.
      • Inhülsen S.
      • Gehre F.
      • Buckenmaier S.
      • Tomasz A.
      Attenuation of penicillin resistance in a peptidoglycan O-acetyl transferase mutant of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
      ), Listeria monocytogenes (
      • Aubry C.
      • Goulard C.
      • Nahori M.A.
      • Cayet N.
      • Decalf J.
      • Sachse M.
      • Boneca I.G.
      • Cossart P.
      • Dussurget O.
      OatA, a peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase involved in Listeria monocytogenes immune escape, is critical for virulence.
      ), Neisseria meningitidis (
      • Veyrier F.J.
      • Williams A.H.
      • Mesnage S.
      • Schmitt C.
      • Taha M.K.
      • Boneca I.G.
      De-O-acetylation of peptidoglycan regulates glycan chain extension and affects in vivo survival of Neisseria meningitidis.
      ), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (
      • Blundell J.K.
      • Smith G.J.
      • Perkins H.R.
      The peptidoglycan of Neisseria gonorrhoeae: O-acetyl groups and lysozyme sensitivity.
      ,
      • Fleming T.J.
      • Wallsmith D.E.
      • Rosenthal R.S.
      Arthropathic properties of gonococcal peptidoglycan fragments: implications for the pathogenesis of disseminated gonococcal disease.
      ), Helicobacter pylori (
      • Wang G.
      • Lo L.F.
      • Forsberg L.S.
      • Maier R.J.
      Helicobacter pylori peptidoglycan modifications confer lysozyme resistance and contribute to survival in the host.
      ), and E. faecalis (
      • Hébert L.
      • Courtin P.
      • Torelli R.
      • Sanguinetti M.
      • Chapot-Chartier M.-P.
      • Auffray Y.
      • Benachour A.
      Enterococcus faecalis constitutes an unusual bacterial model in lysozyme resistance.
      ).
      In Gram-positive bacteria, the enzyme responsible for PG O-acetylation is O-acetyltransferase A (OatA), first identified in S. aureus (
      • Bera A.
      • Herbert S.
      • Jakob A.
      • Vollmer W.
      • Götz F.
      Why are pathogenic staphylococci so lysozyme resistant?: The peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase OatA is the major determinant for lysozyme resistance of Staphylococcus aureus.
      ). Homologs of OatA have since been identified in S. pneumoniae (
      • Crisóstomo M.I.
      • Vollmer W.
      • Kharat A.S.
      • Inhülsen S.
      • Gehre F.
      • Buckenmaier S.
      • Tomasz A.
      Attenuation of penicillin resistance in a peptidoglycan O-acetyl transferase mutant of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
      ), L. monocytogenes (
      • Aubry C.
      • Goulard C.
      • Nahori M.A.
      • Cayet N.
      • Decalf J.
      • Sachse M.
      • Boneca I.G.
      • Cossart P.
      • Dussurget O.
      OatA, a peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase involved in Listeria monocytogenes immune escape, is critical for virulence.
      ), E. faecalis (
      • Hébert L.
      • Courtin P.
      • Torelli R.
      • Sanguinetti M.
      • Chapot-Chartier M.-P.
      • Auffray Y.
      • Benachour A.
      Enterococcus faecalis constitutes an unusual bacterial model in lysozyme resistance.
      ), Lactobacillus plantarum (
      • Bernard E.
      • Rolain T.
      • David B.
      • André G.
      • Dupres V.
      • Dufrêne Y.F.
      • Hallet B.
      • Chapot-Chartier M.P.
      • Hols P.
      Dual role for the O-acetyltransferase OatA in peptidoglycan modification and control of cell septation in Lactobacillus plantarum.
      ), Lactococcus lactis (
      • Veiga P.
      • Bulbarela-Sampieri C.
      • Furlan S.
      • Maisons A.
      • Chapot-Chartier M.-P.
      • Erkelenz M.
      • Mervelet P.
      • Noirot P.
      • Frees D.
      • Kuipers O.P.
      • Kok J.
      • Gruss A.
      • Buist G.
      • Kulakauskas S.
      SpxB regulates O-acetylation-dependent resistance of Lactococcus lactis peptidoglycan to hydrolysis.
      ), and several other Staphylococcus species (
      • Bera A.
      • Biswas R.
      • Herbert S.
      • Götz F.
      The presence of peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase in various staphylococcal species correlates with lysozyme resistance and pathogenicity.
      ). OatA is a bimodular protein consisting of an N-terminal acyltransferase 3 integral membrane domain and an extracellular C-terminal SGNH/GDSL-hydrolase domain. SGNH hydrolases are a large family of esterases and lipases that possess four consensus residues, Ser, Gly, Asn, and His, that comprise their active sites and are involved in their mechanism of action (
      • Akoh C.C.
      • Lee G.C.
      • Liaw Y.C.
      • Huang T.H.
      • Shaw J.F.
      GDSL family of serine esterases/lipases.
      ). The catalytic Ser of these enzymes is found in a GDSL sequence motif. The N-terminal domain of OatA is predicted to contain 11 transmembrane helices and is thought to shuttle acetyl groups across the cytoplasmic membrane to the C-terminal domain for their subsequent transfer onto PG (
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Clarke A.J.
      O-Acetylated peptidoglycan: controlling the activity of bacterial autolysins and lytic enzymes of innate immune systems.
      ). It is still unknown whether the two domains remain attached after translation; S. aureus OatA possesses a noncanonical signal peptidase site between the two domains, and the C-terminal domain alone has been detected in spent culture media (
      • Schallenberger M.A.
      • Niessen S.
      • Shao C.
      • Fowler B.J.
      • Romesberg F.E.
      Type I signal peptidase and protein secretion in Staphylococcus aureus.
      ).
      We recently described the crystal structure of the C-terminal domain of OatA from S. pneumoniae and experimentally confirmed the function of this domain as an O-acetyltransferase with a reaction mechanism involving a Ser-His-Asp catalytic triad (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ,
      • Sychantha D.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan modification by the catalytic domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae OatA follows a ping-pong bi-bi mechanism of action.
      ). Preliminary characterization of the C-terminal domain of S. aureus OatA was also performed, including identification of the putative catalytic triad residues. Furthermore, the substrate specificity of the C-terminal domains of S. pneumoniae and S. aureus OatA was investigated with regard to the stem peptide, and it was found that the enzymes had distinct preferences for muroglycans with tetra- and pentapeptide stems, respectively (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). Given that PG O-acetylation is a postbiosynthetic modification, occurring after incorporation of lipid II precursors into the pre-existing sacculus (
      • Gmeiner J.
      • Kroll H.-P.
      Murein biosynthesis and O-acetylation of N-acetylmuramic acid during the cell-division cycle of Proteus mirabilis.
      ,
      • Lear A.L.
      • Perkins H.R.
      O-Acetylation of peptidoglycan in Neisseria gonorrhoeae: investigation of lipid-linked intermediates and glycan chains newly incorporated into the cell wall.
      ,
      • Gmeiner J.
      • Sarnow E.
      Murein biosynthesis in synchronized cells of Proteus mirabilis: quantitative analysis of O-acetylated murein subunits and of chain terminators incorporated into the sacculus during the cell cycle.
      ,
      • Snowden M.A.
      • Perkins H.R.
      • Wyke A.W.
      • Hayes M.V.
      • Ward J.B.
      Cross-linking and O-acetylation of newly synthesized peptidoglycan in Staphylococcus aureus H.
      ), OatA must work intimately with the PG biosynthetic machinery. Here, we present the crystal structure of the C-terminal domain of S. aureus OatA and characterization of its mechanism of action as an O-acetyltransferase. Examination of the active center suggests that the staphylococcal enzyme, as well as those produced by most other Gram-positive pathogens, use a novel process for preventing simple hydrolysis of the acetyl-enzyme intermediate compared with the previously characterized streptococcal OatA.

      Results

      Crystallization and structure determination of SaOatAC

      Efforts to crystallize the engineered extracytoplasmic domain of S. aureus OatA, encompassing residues 445–601 (SaOatAC), were unsuccessful, despite the removal of potentially disordered regions that could hinder crystallization. This included significant truncation of the N-terminal interdomain-linker regions and two C-terminal lysine residues. To find additional areas of disorder, we analyzed the amino acid sequence of SaOatAC and found that it was enriched with residues of high conformational freedom (9.6% Lys and 5.1% Glu). Therefore, we used surface entropy reduction (
      • Goldschmidt L.
      • Cooper D.R.
      • Derewenda Z.S.
      • Eisenberg D.
      Toward rational protein crystallization: a web server for the design of crystallizable protein variants.
      ) in an effort to reduce surface disorder and promote crystallization of the domain. We identified three clusters of predicted high entropy surface residues: Lys464 and Lys465, Lys495 and Lys496, and Glu551 and Lys552, using the SERp server. Each residue in these cluster pairs was replaced with alanine residues to produce three new constructs for crystallization. The specific activities of the resultant SaOatAC variants were similar to WT enzyme (Table 1), and all three variants crystallized.
      Table 1Specific activities of SaOatAC variants
      Enzyme variantEsterase activity
      The reactions were conducted in 50 mm sodium phosphate at pH 7.0 for the first four variants and pH 6.5 for all others at 25 °C with 0.1 mm 4MU-Ac.
      Transferase activity
      The reactions were conducted in 50 mm sodium phosphate at pH 7.0 at 37 °C with 0.1 mm 4MU-Ac and 2 mm pentaacetyl-chitopentaose
      Tm
      The Tm values were determined for purified SaOatAC using the thermal shift assay with SYPRO Orange.
      Specific activityRelative activitySpecific activityRelative activity
      nmol min−1 mg−1%nmol min−1 mg−1%°C
      SaOatAC (WT)6.78 ± 0.13100
      K464A/K465A7.18 ± 0.090106
      K495A/K496A7.70 ± 0.04211457.35 ± 0.163
      E551A/K552A7.83 ± 0.057115
      SaOatAC (WT)4.88 ± 0.151000.49 ± 0.1910059.49 ± 0.025
      S453AND054.83 ± 0.233
      H578A0.120 ± 0.00342.0856.96 ± 0.086
      D575A0.060 ± 0.00331.0651.30 ± 0.234
      N507AND051.26 ± 0.053
      V475GND051.32 ± 0.057
      D457A18.5 ± 0.203924.25 ± 0.7386657.77 ± 0.310
      D457N18.1 ± 0.183853.25 ± 0.8066257.59 ± 0.376
      a The reactions were conducted in 50 mm sodium phosphate at pH 7.0 for the first four variants and pH 6.5 for all others at 25 °C with 0.1 mm 4MU-Ac.
      b The reactions were conducted in 50 mm sodium phosphate at pH 7.0 at 37 °C with 0.1 mm 4MU-Ac and 2 mm pentaacetyl-chitopentaose
      c The Tm values were determined for purified SaOatAC using the thermal shift assay with SYPRO Orange.
      (E551A/K552A)-SaOatAC crystallized only in the presence of zinc salts, so we suspected that Zn2+ ions were bound to the protein and well-ordered. Indeed, we detected an anomalous signal from protein-bound zinc, and this signal was sufficient for phase determination using single-wavelength anomalous dispersion (Zn-SAD) (Table 2). (E551A/K552A)-SaOatAC crystallized with a dimer in the asymmetric unit and contained three Zn2+ions, two of which are coordinated by the putative catalytic His and Asp residues at the dimer interface. We presume that these protein-bound Zn2+ ions are not biochemically relevant because they appear to distort the active site. This was supported by the observation that zinc, among other first-row transition metal cations, inhibits SaOatA catalysis in vitro (

      Kell, L. F., (2015) Investigation of novel inhibitory compounds of O-acetyltransferase A (OatA) from Staphylococcus aureus, Ph.D. thesis, University of Guelph.

      ). Diffraction data were therefore collected for a crystal of (K495A/K496A)-SaOatAC that grew in the absence of zinc, and the structure was solved by molecular replacement using the (E551A/K552A)-SaOatAC structure as a search model. This structure was determined to 1.71 Å resolution and refined to Rwork/Rfree values of 16.6%/19.6% (Table 2).
      Table 2Summary of data collection and refinement statistics
      (K495A/K496A)-SaOatAC(E551A/K552A)-SaOatAC
      Data collection
       BeamlineNSLS-II 17-ID2CLS 08B1-1
       Wavelength (Å)0.999611.28167
       Space groupP 21P 21 21 21
       Unit cell parameters
      a (Å)42.3539.51
      b (Å)61.3078.86
      c (Å)67.69106.59
      α (°)90.0090.00
      γ (°)90.0090.00
      β (°)100.9090.00
       Resolution range (last shell) (Å)28.78–1.71 (1.77–1.71)44.16–1.55 (1.61–1.55)
       Total no. reflections (last shell)71,747 (6748)574,457 (19,959)
       No. unique reflections (last shell)36,587 (3545)46,179 (2983)
       Redundancy (last shell)1.96 (1.90)12.43 (6.69
       Completeness (last shell) (%)99.36 (96.12)93.85 (68.8)
       Average II (last shell)17.32 (1.97)17.53 (4.11)
      Rmerge (last shell, %)
      Rmerge = ΣhklΣi|(Ii(hkl) − <I(hkl)>|/ΣhklΣiIi(hkl), where I is the intensity of the reflection hkl, Σhkl is the sum over all reflections, and Σi is the sum over i measurements of reflection hkl. <I(hkl)> is the mean value of I(hkl).
      0.02392 (0.4006)0.09615 (0.3412)
       CC½ (last shell)
      CC½ is the Pearson correlation coefficient calculated between two random half data sets. CC = Σ(x − <x>)(y − <y>)/[Σ(x − <x>)2Σ(y − <y>)2]½.
      0.999 (0.633)0.997 (0.97)
      Refinement
      Rwork/Rfree
      Rwork = Σhkl|Fobs − Fcalc|/Σhkl|Fobs|, where Fobs and Fcalc are the observed and calculated structure factors, respectively. Rfree was calculated identically except that all reflections belonged to a test set consisting of only 5% of the data, chosen at random.
      0.166/0.1960.1720/0.1923
       No. atoms26932840
      Protein24232450
      Water268389
      Ligand23
       Average B-factor (Å)31.8424.82
      Protein30.7423.41
      Water41.8833.73
      Ligand26.8518.46
       Root mean square0.0070.005
      Bond lengths (Å)
      Bond angles (°)0.820.73
       Ramachandran total (%)99.0198.04
      Favored
      Allowed0.991.96
       PDB entry6VJP6WN9
      a Rmerge = ΣhklΣi|(Ii(hkl) − <I(hkl)>|/ΣhklΣiIi(hkl), where I is the intensity of the reflection hkl, Σhkl is the sum over all reflections, and Σi is the sum over i measurements of reflection hkl. <I(hkl)> is the mean value of I(hkl).
      b CC½ is the Pearson correlation coefficient calculated between two random half data sets. CC = Σ(x − <x>)(y − <y>)/[Σ(x − <x>)2Σ(y − <y>)2]½.
      c Rwork = Σhkl|FobsFcalc|/Σhkl|Fobs|, where Fobs and Fcalc are the observed and calculated structure factors, respectively. Rfree was calculated identically except that all reflections belonged to a test set consisting of only 5% of the data, chosen at random.
      The overall structure of (K495A/K496A)-SaOatAC adopts an α/β-hydrolase fold with five parallel β-strands sandwiched between seven α-helices (Fig. 1). The asymmetric unit contains two molecules of the protein; however, size-exclusion chromatography revealed that SaOatAC is monomeric, and thus the dimeric conformation seen in the crystal is likely not physiologically relevant. A sodium ion was seen in the bend of α-helix 4 and β-strand 5, coordinated by three water molecules and the backbone carbonyl oxygens of Ala550, Arg553, and Val556. The putative catalytic triad Ser-His-Asp residues align within a shallow active site on the surface of the protein. In chain B, the catalytic His578 is found in two conformations, facing both toward and away from the active site (occupancies of 0.54 and 0.46, respectively), suggesting that His578 is inherently flexible (Fig. S1).
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Figure 1Structure of SaOatAC. A, cartoon representation of SaOatAC showing seven α-helices (white) and five β-sheets (blue) arranged in an α/β-hydrolase fold. The putative catalytic triad residues are illustrated as orange sticks. The sodium atom located between α-helix 4 and β-sheet 5 is indicated by a purple sphere. B, surface representation of SaOatAC showing the putative catalytic triad residues in orange in a shallow active-site depression.
      Searching for structural homologs with DALI revealed that SaOatAC most closely resembles the C-terminal domain of OatA from S. pneumoniae (SpOatAC) (PDB code 5UFY) (Fig. 2A). The SaOatAC structure is also homologous to numerous uncharacterized proteins proposed to belong to the SGNH/GDSL hydrolase family. Of the characterized proteins in the PDB database, aside from SpOatAC, SaOatAC most closely resembles Axe2, an acetylxylan esterase from Geobacillus stearothermophilus (PDB code 4JHL), a family 3 carbohydrate esterase from Clostridium thermocellum (PDB code 2VPT), and a family 3 carbohydrate esterase from Talaromyces cellulolyticus (PDB code 5B5S) (Fig. 2A). The most prominent difference between SaOatAC and its structural homologs is the geometry of the putative catalytic triad. The distances between Nδ1 of His578 and Oδ2 of Asp575 and between the ϵ2 of His578 and Oγ of Ser453 are 3.2 and 4.3 Å, respectively, which are significantly longer than in homologs (Fig. 2B). However, in the absence of a bound ligand, the crystal structure of SaOatAC could represent the inactive resting state of the enzyme and not the active conformation. Indeed, the dual conformations of His578 seen in chain B of the crystal structure suggests that His578 is flexible (Fig. S1), and the active site may undergo conformational changes during catalysis. Such conformational changes have been reported previously for SpOatAC and the PG esterase Ape1 (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ,
      • Williams A.H.
      • Veyrier F.J.
      • Bonis M.
      • Michaud Y.
      • Raynal B.
      • Taha M.-K.
      • White S.W.
      • Haouz A.
      • Boneca I.G.
      Visualization of a substrate-induced productive conformation of the catalytic triad of the Neisseria meningitidis peptidoglycan O-acetylesterase reveals mechanistic conservation in SGNH esterase family members.
      ).
      Figure thumbnail gr2
      Figure 2Structural comparison of SaOatAC to SGNH/GDSL hydrolase homologs. A, cartoon representation of SaOatAC (dark blue; PDB code 6VJP) overlaid with SpOatAC (pink; PDB code 5UFY), Axe2 from G. stearothermophilus (GsAxe2; gray; PDB code 4JHL), family 3 carbohydrate esterase from C. thermocellum (CtCes3; yellow; PDB code 2VPT), and family 3 carbohydrate esterase from T. cellulolyticus (TcCes3; pale blue; PDB code 5B5S). B, alignment of the conserved SGNH hydrolase block residues from the aforementioned structural homologs. C, block alignments comparing SaOatA, SpOatA, and SGNH hydrolase structural homologs. Catalytic triad and oxyanion hole residues are in red and blue, respectively, whereas the highly conserved Asp present in most OatA sequences except those of the streptococci node is in green. SaOatAC, PDB ID: 6VJP; SpOat-AC, PDB ID: 5UFY, RMSD: 1.8 Å over 179 equivalent Cα's, z-score: 20, 27% sequence identity; GsAxe2, PDB ID: 4JHL, RMSD: 2.2 Å over 146 equivalent Cα's, z-score: 16.5, 18% sequence identity; CtCes3, PDB ID: 2VPT, RMSD: 2.2 Å over 147 equivalent Cα's, z-score: 16.7, 14% sequence identity; TcCes3, PDB ID: 5B5S over 149 equivalent Cα's, RMSD: 2.2 Å, z-score: 16.4, 17% sequence identity.

      SaOatAC uses a Ser-His-Asp catalytic triad

      SGNH hydrolases are characterized by four consensus sequence blocks (I, II, III, and V) containing conserved residues, Ser, Gly, Asn, and His that, as noted above, give this family of enzymes their name (Ser454, Gly475, Asn507, and His578 in SaOatA) (
      • Akoh C.C.
      • Lee G.C.
      • Liaw Y.C.
      • Huang T.H.
      • Shaw J.F.
      GDSL family of serine esterases/lipases.
      ). Most SGNH hydrolases possess a catalytic triad consisting of a Ser from block I and an Asp and His from block V. The putative catalytic triad residues of SaOatAC, Ser453, His578, and Asp575 were previously replaced with Ala in a longer construct of the enzyme (SaOatA435–603) and assayed for activity using p-nitrophenyl-acetate (pNP-Ac) (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). We repeated these experiments using the new construct with 4-methylumbelliferyl-acetate (4MU-Ac) as substrate. The stability of all SaOatAC variants was verified by a thermal shift assay after purification. The (S453A)-SaOatAC variant had no detectable activity, whereas the (H578A)-SaOatAC and (D575A)-SaOatAC variants had 2.08% and 1.02% residual esterase activity, respectively (Table 1). As seen previously, WT SaOatAC displays very limited transferase activity toward chito-oligosaccharides as acceptors (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ), and as such, it was not possible to determine the rates of transfer for all SaOatAC variants. A qualitative analysis of any reaction products by LC-MS demonstrated that the truncated WT SaOatAC retained transferase activity; however, the sensitivity of the assay is not sufficient to discriminate between no transfer and limited transfer that may be seen with weakly active SaOatAC variants (Fig. S2).
      Most SGNH hydrolases employ a double-displacement reaction mechanism involving a covalent acyl-enzyme intermediate at the catalytic serine residue. Indeed, this reaction mechanism was recently confirmed for SpOatAC (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan modification by the catalytic domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae OatA follows a ping-pong bi-bi mechanism of action.
      ). We employed a similar strategy to unambiguously assign the role of the putative catalytic Ser453. We observed an accumulation of acetyl-SaOatAC intermediate by real-time analysis of a reaction with pNP-Ac as acetyl donor using LC-MS (Fig. 3A). SaOatAC had a molecular mass of 17,562 Da. After incubation with pNP-Ac for 15 min, we observed the appearance of multiply charged ions with a decovoluted molecular mass of 17,604 Da. The difference of 42 Da is consistent with the addition of an acetyl group. To identify the acetylated amino acid, we quenched an identical reaction mixture with acetone after 30 min of incubation and digested the recovered enzyme with trypsin. The resulting peptides were separated and analyzed by LC-MS/MS. We observed a pair of peptides, m/z 1117.59 and 1138.59, with an m/z difference of 42. The mass and fragmentation patterns of these parent ions correspond well with the native and acetylated forms, respectively, of the peptide 442AASSPLIGDSVMVDIGNVFTK464 (with Ser453 in bold) (Fig. 3B). Based on the MS/MS fragmentation pattern of the m/z 1138.59 parent ion, we were able to map the acetyl modification to Ser453. This m/z 1138.59 ion was not detected among the digestion products of the no-substrate control reaction.
      Figure thumbnail gr3
      Figure 3Direct observation of the acetyl-SaOatAC intermediate. A, SaOatAC was incubated with 1 mm pNP-Ac (red) or no substrate (black) and separated via reverse-phase LC-MS. The resulting mass spectra show the appearance of a peak with a mass increase of 42 Da after incubation with pNP-Ac, consistent with the formation of a covalent acetyl-enzyme intermediate. B, table showing the expected and observed ions for the fragmentation of an ion from a trypsin-digested reaction of SaOatAC with pNP-Ac. A reaction of SaOatAC with 1 mm pNP-Ac was quenched by the addition of cold acetone. The recovered protein was digested with trypsin, and the resultant peptides were separated by LC-MS/MS. The parent ion had an m/z of 1138.7, corresponding to the amino acid sequence shown. The fragmentation pattern was consistent with the acetylation of Ser453 (shown in red). The observed ions are noted in green or blue.

      SaOatAC possesses a typical three-component oxyanion hole

      In most SGNH hydrolases, the oxyanion hole is typically formed by three conserved hydrogen-bond donors: the backbone amide of the catalytic Ser of the block I consensus sequence, the backbone amide of Gly from block II, and the side-chain amide of Asn from block III. In SpOatAC, the block II Gly is replaced by a Ser, and the loop adopts a type I β-turn. In contrast, SaOatAC retains the Gly, and the loop adopts the typical type II β-turn seen in homologous SGNH esterases (Fig. 2B). The backbone amide of Gly476 in SaOatAC faces the active site and thus likely participates in stabilizing the transition state. Interestingly, the Nδ2 of block III Asn507 is only 3.1 Å away from the Oγ of Ser453, closer than typically seen in other SGNH hydrolases. We tested the importance of Asn507 in catalysis by its replacement with Ala. The (N507A)-SaOatAC variant had no detectable esterase activity toward 4MU-Ac, suggesting an important role in the catalytic mechanism (Table 1).
      We also previously proposed the importance of a (V/I)(G/S)(R/V) motif in the block II loop (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). In the resting-state structure of SpOatAC, a water molecule was observed coordinated by the backbone carbonyl of Val460 and the backbone carbonyl of Val462 (equivalent residues Val475 and Arg477 in SaOatAC) (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). In contrast, because of the opposite turn of the block II loop in SaOatAC, the carbonyl of Val475 does not face the active site, and no water molecule is seen coordinated at the active site in this position (Fig. 4 and Fig. S3). Nonetheless, Val475 is highly conserved among OatA homologs, and in accordance, we replaced Val475 with Gly and saw complete abolishment of esterase activity (Table 1).
      Figure thumbnail gr4
      Figure 4The active site of SaOatAC. A water molecule (red sphere) can be seen coordinated by the Oδ1 of Asp457, the backbone carbonyl of Ile577, and the Oγ of the catalytic Ser453.

      Conserved Asp457 limits esterase activity

      We observed a water molecule in the active site of SaOatAC coordinated by the Oδ1 of Asp457, the backbone carbonyl of Ile577, and the Oγ of the catalytic Ser453 that was not present in any of the structural esterase homologs or SpOatAC (Fig. 4). We investigated the role of the water molecule by substituting Asp457 with Ala and Asn. Surprisingly, the D457A and D457N variants of SaOatAC displayed a 4-fold increase in esterase activity and still maintained the ability to transfer to chito-oligosaccharides (Table 1). To investigate the prevalence of an Asp at this position in SGNH hydrolases/transferases, we analyzed sequences from 200 known and hypothetical OatA homologs from Gram-positive bacteria and characterized esterases from the SGNH hydrolase family. We found that an Asp is highly conserved in OatA homologs from the Staphyloccocus, Bacillus, Listeria, and Lactobacillus genera, among others (Fig. S4). In contrast, an Asp residue was not found at this position (catalytic Ser + 4) in any of the characterized SGNH hydrolases that naturally act as esterases (Fig. 2C). In most OatA homologs from Streptococcus species, an Arg residue is found in this position (Fig. S4). We propose that Asp457 is a conserved feature in many SGNH family transferases and serves as a sentry to limit esterase activity through the coordination of a water molecule that could otherwise approach an acetyl-enzyme intermediate. It was observed that transferase activity also increased with the replacement of Asp457 with Ala or Asn. The reason for this enhanced activity is not known, but it is possible that these replacements increase the accessibility of the pseudo-substrate chitooligosaccharides, in addition to water, used as acceptors for the in vitro assays of transferase activity.

      Discussion

      OatA belongs to the SGNH hydrolase family of enzymes along with numerous esterases with a wide range of substrate specificities. The mechanism by which OatA acts as a transferase was widely unknown until recently. The structure of SpOatAC elucidated structural features that distinguished it from SGNH hydrolase family esterases, including an inverted turn of the block II loop, a conserved valine in block II, a hydrophobic active site wall, and an atypical two-residue oxyanion hole (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). Unexpectedly, the active site of SaOatAC more closely resembles that of structurally homologous esterases than that of SpOatAC. SaOatAC has the conserved Gly in block II, and the loop adopts the typical type II β-turn seen in the homologous esterases. As a consequence, the water molecule that is coordinated by the backbone of Val460 in the block II sequence of SpOatAC in its resting state is not seen in the structure of SaOatAC. Furthermore, replacement of Val460 of SpOatAC with Gly or Ala increases esterase activity while resulting in loss of transferase activity (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). To explain this loss, it was proposed that Val460 may contribute to the effective binding of the carbohydrate acceptor. In contrast, a comparative replacement of the homologous Val in SaOatAC, Val475 resulted in a total loss of esterase activity. It is possible that replacement of Val475 with Gly in SaOatAC disrupts correct positioning of the block II loop, which may impact the ability of the backbone amide of Gly476 to stabilize the transition state; such stabilization of the transition state formed by SpOatAC does not appear to involve its block II loop (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ).
      A thorough kinetic analysis of SpOatAC confirmed that the enzyme employs a double-displacement reaction mechanism (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan modification by the catalytic domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae OatA follows a ping-pong bi-bi mechanism of action.
      ). Accordingly, we propose that SaOatAC follows a similar reaction mechanism (Fig. S5), wherein the carboxyl group of Asp575 forms a salt bridge with a nitrogen atom in the imidazole ring of His578, enabling His578 to deprotonate Ser453. The nucleophilic Ser453 attacks the carbonyl carbon of the acetyl donor, generating a tetrahedral transition state. Residues at the active center of the enzyme form an oxyanion hole that stabilizes the transition state, which then collapses into a covalently bound acetyl-enzyme intermediate. We were able to unequivocally identify Ser453 of SaOatAC as the site of acetylation (Fig. 3). The acetyl donor is released upon acquisition of a proton from His578. The glycan accepter, a MurNAc residue of the PG backbone, can then bind the active site cleft. His578, now acting as a base, abstracts a proton from the C6-OH of MurNAc, rendering the carbon atom nucleophilic and resulting in its attack on the carbonyl center of the acetyl-Ser453 intermediate. This leads to the formation of a second tetrahedral transition state, collapse of which results in the release of the O-acetylated product and free enzyme.
      We propose that the transition state is stabilized by the backbone amide of Ser453 in block I, the side-chain amide of Asn507 in block III, and the backbone amide of Gly476 in block II. The three-residue oxyanion hole is typical of SGNH hydrolases, but distinguishes SaOatAC from SpOatAC, which appears to employ an oxyanion hole formed of two residues (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). Replacement of the SpOatAC block III Asn491 with Ala gave 58% residual esterase activity (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). Further kinetic analysis suggested that Asn491 may play a larger role in substrate binding than in stabilization of the first transition state (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan modification by the catalytic domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae OatA follows a ping-pong bi-bi mechanism of action.
      ). In contrast, replacement of Asn507 of SaOatAC with Ala resulted in a complete loss of activity, suggesting that this residue may play a more critical role in SaOatAC. Absolute identification of oxyanion hole H-donors would require analysis of a ligand-bound structure, ideally with a covalently bound transition-state mimic. Such a structure was achieved for SpOatAC using the mechanistic inhibitor methanesulfonyl fluoride, forming a methylsulfonyl-adduct structure (PDB code 5UG1). Unfortunately, methanesulfonyl fluoride and related analogs do not significantly inhibit SaOatAC; thus a different transition state mimic will need to be found.
      Bioinformatic analysis shows that OatA homologs form two distinct clades, wherein the Streptococcus genus forms a phylogenetically separate clade to Staphylococcus, Bacillus, and other genera (Fig. S4). The differences that we have observed between the structures of S. pneumoniae and S. aureus OatA suggest that the enzymes from these clades may use different mechanisms to minimize, if not prevent, water from serving as the acetyl acceptor during their respective double-displacement reaction mechanisms. We previously noted the occurrence of a conserved Val/Ile adjacent to the oxyanion hole block III Asn in Streptococcus OatA homologs, proposing that this hydrophobic residue may stabilize carbohydrate acceptor substrates (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ). In contrast, in Staphylococcus and species from the same clade, this position is most commonly occupied by a Thr or Ser residue, which would not engage in the same hydrophobic interactions. We identified a water molecule coordinated by Asp457 in the structure of SaOatAC and determined that this residue played an important role in limiting the esterase activity of the enzyme, while maintaining transferase activity. This suggests that the two distinct clades of OatA homologs utilize different mechanisms to preclude water from their active site to catalyze efficient and nonwasteful transfer of acetyl groups to peptidoglycan only. Our data suggest that the coordination of a water molecule in the active site by Asp457 may be the method by which SaOatAC and the majority of OatA homologs belonging to the same phylogenetic clade favor transferase activity. Unfortunately, the absence of other OatA structures prevents us from verifying whether or not these structural features are conserved among homologs within the same clade. The reason for these differences also remains unknown. Perhaps the selective pressure for divergence into two clades was substrate specificity recognizing that the staphylococcal OatA O-acetylates MurNAc residues with pentapeptide stems, whereas the streptococcal enzyme has specificity for residues with tetrapeptide stems (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Little D.J.
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Robinson H.
      • Galley N.F.
      • Roper D.I.
      • Dowson C.G.
      • Howell P.L.
      • Clarke A.J.
      In vitro characterization of the antivirulence target of Gram-positive pathogens, peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase A (OatA).
      ).
      PG O-acetylation is a common modification employed by pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria as a means to evade the host innate immune system. Despite knowledge of the modification for decades, OatA from S. pneumoniae was the only PG O-acetylating enzyme from a Gram-positive bacteria characterized before this study. Our data reinforce the mechanism of action proposed for both S. pneumoniae OatAC and N. gonorrhoeae peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase B (PatB) (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan modification by the catalytic domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae OatA follows a ping-pong bi-bi mechanism of action.
      ,
      • Moynihan P.J.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Mechanism of action of peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferase B involves a Ser-His-Asp catalytic triad.
      ). We have previously validated SaOatAC and N. gonorrhoeae PatB as antibiotic targets with a high-throughput small-molecule screen (
      • Brott A.S.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Development of a high throughput screen for the identification of inhibitors of peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferases, new potential antibacterial targets.
      ). The structure of SaOatAC will assist in the design of anti-virulence drugs against OatA. Furthermore, our discovery of the differences between the active sites of S. pneumoniae and S. aureus OatAC is an important consideration in developing narrow- or broad-spectrum OatA inhibitors for the treatment of important human pathogens for which current antibacterial therapies are being threatened by multidrug resistance.

      Experimental procedures

      Cloning of C-terminal S. aureus oatA variants

      The generation of SaOatAC(445–601) possessing single site-specific amino acid replacements was achieved by site-directed mutagenesis. PCR products incorporating the desired mutations were obtained using KAPA HiFi polymerase with pDSAC71 (harboring oatAC encoding residues 445–601 of full-length S. aureus OatA) as template and the appropriate primers listed in Table S1. Following PCR amplification, the reaction was incubated with Dpn1 (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Mississauga, Canada) for 1 h at 37 °C, followed by transformation into Escherichia coli DH5α. The sequences of all resultant plasmids were verified before use.

      Overproduction and purification of SaOatAC

      The genes encoding SaOatAC(445–601) and variants were expressed in E. coli BL21 (DE3) transformed with pDSAC71, and the overproduced recombinant proteins were purified by a combination of affinity chromatography and gel filtration as previously described (
      • Brott A.S.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Development of a high throughput screen for the identification of inhibitors of peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferases, new potential antibacterial targets.
      ). Gel filtration buffer consisting of 50 mm Tris, pH 7.5, 150 mm NaCl was used when the protein was being purified for the purpose of crystallography. In all other instances, the gel filtration buffer consisted of 50 mm sodium phosphate, pH 6.5, 150 mm NaCl. Fresh immobilized metal affinity chromatography resin was used for each SaOatAC variant to prevent cross-contamination.
      The stability of each purified protein was assessed by SYPRO Orange thermal shift assay as a means to infer proper folding (
      • Huynh K.
      • Partch C.L.
      Analysis of protein stability and ligand interactions by thermal shift assay.
      ). Briefly, SaOatAC and variants were diluted to 5 μm in 50 mm sodium phosphate, pH 7.0, and mixed with 2× SYPRO Orange (Thermo Fisher Scientific) in 50-μl reactions. The melting temperature (Tm) of each protein was determined using a StepOnePlus real-time PCR machine using a temperature gradient of 4 to 95 °C over 60 min. The data were analyzed using the StepOnePlus software.

      Crystallization

      SaOatAC surface entropy variants were concentrated to 30 mg/ml by ultrafiltration using an Amicon Ultra-15 centrifugal filter (10-kDa molecular mass cutoff; Millipore) (4,000 × g, 4 °C). Commercial Midwest Center for Structural Genomics crystallization suite sparse matrix crystallization screens 1–4 (Microlytic North America Inc., Burlington, MA, USA) were prepared at room temperature with the E551A/K552A and K495A/K496A forms of SaOatAC. Crystallization screening by sitting-drop vapor diffusion was set up using a Gryphon robot (Art Robbins Instruments, Sunnyvale, CA, USA) with 1-μl protein drops and a protein-to-reservoir ratio of 1:1 for a final drop volume of 2 μl. Crystal trays were stored at 22 °C. Optimization of crystal conditions was performed to produce crystals of (E551A/K552A)-SaOatAC in 0.008 m zinc acetate, 20% PEG 3350, and crystals of (K495A/K496A)-SaOatAC in 27% PEG 6000, 0.015 m sodium citrate.

      X-ray diffraction data collection and structure determination

      Crystals were cryoprotected for 30 s in reservoir solution supplemented with 60% (v/v) ethylene glycol prior to vitrification in liquid nitrogen. Zn-SAD data for (E551A/K552A)-SaOatAC were collected on Beamline 08B1-1 at the Canadian Synchrotron Light Source (Saskatoon, Canada). Native data for (K495A/K496A)-SaOatAC were collected on Beamline 17-ID2 at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (Upton, NY). The data were indexed and scaled using HKL2000 (
      • Otwinowski Z.
      • Minor W.
      Processing of X-ray diffraction data collected in oscillation mode.
      ). Three zinc sites were located in the (E551A/K552A)-SaOatAC Zn-SAD data using HKL2MAP (
      • Pape T.
      • Schneider T.R.
      HKL2MAP: a graphical user interface for macromolecular phasing with SHELX programs.
      ), and density modified phases were calculated using SOLVE/RESOLVE (
      • Terwilliger T.C.
      Automated main-chain model building by template matching and iterative fragment extension.
      ). The resulting electron density map was of good quality and allowed for PHENIX AutoBuild (
      • Terwilliger T.C.
      • Grosse-Kunstleve R.W.
      • Afonine P.V.
      • Moriarty N.W.
      • Zwart P.H.
      • Hung L.W.
      • Read R.J.
      • Adams P.D.
      Iterative model building, structure refinement and density modification with the PHENIX AutoBuild wizard.
      ) to build 100% of the protein. Manual model building was done in COOT (
      • Emsley P.
      • Cowtan K.
      COOT: model-building tools for molecular graphics.
      ) alternated with refinement using PHENIX.REFINE (
      • Adams P.D.
      • Afonine P.V.
      • Bunkóczi G.
      • Chen V.B.
      • Echols N.
      • Headd J.J.
      • Hung L.-W.
      • Jain S.
      • Kapral G.J.
      • Grosse Kunstleve R.W.
      • McCoy A.J.
      • Moriarty N.W.
      • Oeffner R.D.
      • Read R.J.
      • Richardson D.C.
      • et al.
      The Phenix software for automated determination of macromolecular structures.
      ). The structure of native (K495A/K496A)-SaOatAC was determined by molecular replacement using PHENIX AutoMR (
      • Adams P.D.
      • Afonine P.V.
      • Bunkóczi G.
      • Chen V.B.
      • Echols N.
      • Headd J.J.
      • Hung L.-W.
      • Jain S.
      • Kapral G.J.
      • Grosse Kunstleve R.W.
      • McCoy A.J.
      • Moriarty N.W.
      • Oeffner R.D.
      • Read R.J.
      • Richardson D.C.
      • et al.
      The Phenix software for automated determination of macromolecular structures.
      ) with the zinc-incorporated derivative as the search model. Manual model building and refinement was carried out as described previously. All molecular models were generated using PyMOL.

      Steady-state kinetics of SaOatAC

      The specific activity of SaOatAC acting as an esterase and transferase was determined as previously described (
      • Brott A.S.
      • Jones C.S.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Development of a high throughput screen for the identification of inhibitors of peptidoglycan O-acetyltransferases, new potential antibacterial targets.
      ). Briefly, SaOatAC (5 μm) was incubated in 50 mm sodium phosphate, pH 6.5, at room temperature with 0.1 mm 4MU-Ac as substrate. For transferase assays, SaOatAC (5 μm) was incubated in 50 mm sodium phosphate, pH 6.5, at 37 °C with 0.1 mm 4MU-Ac as acetyl donor and 2 mm pentaacetyl-chitopentaose (Megazyme) as acetyl acceptor. Product release was monitored fluorometrically using a Synergy plate reader with excitation and emission wavelengths of 325 and 450 nm, respectively. Control reactions were performed using gel-filtration buffer in place of SaOatAC to account for spontaneous substrate hydrolysis. The rate of background hydrolysis was subtracted from the rate of reactions with enzyme to determine a rate of esterase activity. The rate of transfer was determined as the difference between the reaction rates with and without acceptor. Each reaction was performed in triplicate. Analyses and graphs were generated in GraphPad Prism 5.

      Qualitative analysis of SaOatAC transferase activity

      The ability of SaOatAC to transfer acetyl groups to chito-oligosaccharides was determined by qualitative end-point analysis by LC-MS/MS. SaOatAC (5 μm) was incubated with 0.1 mm 4MU-Ac and 1 mm pentaacetyl-chitopentaose (Megazyme) at 37 °C for 18 h. The reaction products were separated by LC-MS/MS using an Agilent 1200 HPLC system interfaced with an Agilent UHD 6520 Q-TOF mass spectrometer (Agilent Technologies Inc., Santa Clara, CA, USA) housed in the Mass Spectrometry Facility of the Advanced Analysis Centre of the University of Guelph. Data analysis was performed using Mass-Hunter qualitative analysis, version B.06.00 (Agilent).

      Trapping acetyl-SaOatAC intermediate

      Direct observation of the covalent acetyl-SaOatAC intermediate was achieved by real-time analysis of a reaction by LC-MS as previously described (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan modification by the catalytic domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae OatA follows a ping-pong bi-bi mechanism of action.
      ) with minor modifications. The reaction mixture consisted of 5 μm SaOatAC in 50 mm sodium phosphate, pH 6.5, with 1 mm pNP-Ac as acetyl donor and was incubated for 15 min in an MS-grade sample vial. A control reaction without pNP-Ac was also performed. The site of O-acetylation was identified by a tryptic digest of an acetone-quenched reaction mixture of SaOatAC with pNP-Ac, as previously described (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan modification by the catalytic domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae OatA follows a ping-pong bi-bi mechanism of action.
      ). In this case, the reaction mixture consisted of 5 μm SaOatAC in 50 mm sodium phosphate, pH 6.5, with 1 mm pNP-Ac, incubated for 30 min in an MS-grade sample vial. A control reaction without pNP-Ac was also performed. All samples and experiments were run as previously described (
      • Sychantha D.
      • Clarke A.J.
      Peptidoglycan modification by the catalytic domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae OatA follows a ping-pong bi-bi mechanism of action.
      ). Data analyses were performed using MassHunter qualitative analysis, version B.06.00 (Agilent).

      Other analytical procedures

      Nucleotide sequencing of PCR products and plasmids was performed by the Genomics Facility of the Advanced Analysis Center (University of Guelph). Protein concentrations were determined using the Pierce BCA protein assay kit with BSA serving as the standard. SDS-PAGE on 15% acrylamide gels was conducted by the method of Laemmli (
      • Laemmli U.K.
      Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4.
      ) with Coomassie Brilliant Blue staining. Surface entropy reduction analyses were conducted using the SERp server (
      • Goldschmidt L.
      • Cooper D.R.
      • Derewenda Z.S.
      • Eisenberg D.
      Toward rational protein crystallization: a web server for the design of crystallizable protein variants.
      ).

      Data availability

      The atomic coordinates and structure factors of the reported crystal structures have been deposited in the Protein Data Bank under codes 6VJP and 6WN9. The authors declare that all other data supporting the findings of this study are available within the paper and its supporting information.

      Acknowledgments

      We thank Bryan Fraser for excellent assistance with the production and purification of some of the OatAC variants and Dr. Natalie Bamford for X-ray diffraction data collection. The Life Science Biomedical Technology Research resource at National Synchrotron Light Source II is primarily supported by the NIGMS, National Institute of Health through Biomedical Technology Research Resource P41 Grant P41GM111244 and by Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research Grant KP1605010. Beamline 08B1-1 at the Canadian Light Source is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Research Council of Canada, the Province of Saskatchewan, Western Economic Diversification Canada, and the University of Saskatchewan.

      Supplementary Material

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