Yuriko Takayama

Abstracts

2 Engineered Control of Bacterial Cell-to-Cell Signaling Using Cyclodextrin

Authors: Yuriko Takayama, Norihiro Kato

Abstract:

Quorum sensing (QS) is a cell-to-cell communication system in bacteria to regulate expression of target genes. In gram-negative bacteria, activation on QS is controlled by a concentration increase of N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL), which can diffuse in and out of the cell. Effective control of QS is expected to avoid virulence factor production in infectious pathogens, biofilm formation, and antibiotic production because various cell functions in gram-negative bacteria are controlled by AHL-mediated QS. In this research, we applied cyclodextrins (CDs) as artificial hosts for the AHL signal to reduce the AHL concentration in the culture broth below its threshold for QS activation. The AHL-receptor complex induced under the high AHL concentration activates transcription of the QS-target gene. Accordingly, artificial reduction of the AHL concentration is one of the effective strategies to inhibit the QS. A hydrophobic cavity of the CD can interact with the acyl-chain of the AHL due to hydrophobic interaction in aqueous media. We studied N-hexanoylhomoserine lactone (C6HSL)-mediated QS in Serratia marcescens; accumulation of C6HSL is responsible for regulation of the expression of pig cluster. Inhibitory effects of added CDs on QS were demonstrated by determination of prodigiosin amount inside cells after reaching stationary phase, because production of prodigiosin depends on the C6HSL-mediated QS. By adding approximately 6 wt% hydroxypropyl-β-CD (HP-β-CD) in Luria-Bertani (LB) medium prior to inoculation of S. maecescens AS-1, the intracellularly accumulated prodigiosin was drastically reduced to 7-10%, which was determined after the extraction of prodigiosin in acidified ethanol. The AHL retention ability of HP-β-CD was also demonstrated by Chromobacterium violacuem CV026 bioassay. The CV026 strain is an AHL-synthase defective mutant that activates QS solely by adding AHLs from outside of cells. A purple pigment violacein is induced by activation of the AHL-mediated QS. We demonstrated that the violacein production was effectively suppressed when the C6HSL standard solution was spotted on a LB agar plate dispersing CV026 cells and HP-β-CD. Physico-chemical analysis was performed to study the affinity between the immobilized CD and added C6HSL using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensor. The COOH-terminated self-assembled monolayer was prepared on a gold electrode of 27-MHz AT-cut quartz crystal. Mono(6-deoxy-6-N, N-diethylamino)-β-CD was immobilized on the electrode using water-soluble carbodiimide. The C6HSL interaction with the β-CD cavity was studied by injecting the C6HSL solution to a cup-type sensor cell filled with buffer solution. A decrement of resonant frequency (ΔFs) clearly showed the effective C6HSL complexation with immobilized β-CD and its stability constant for MBP-SpnR-C6HSL complex was on the order of 102 M-1. The CD has high potential for engineered control of QS because it is safe for human use.

Keywords: Intracellular Signaling, quorum sensing, cyclodextrin, acylhomoserine lactone

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1 Functional Switching of Serratia marcescens Transcriptional Regulator from Activator to Inhibitor of Quorum Sensing by Exogenous Addition

Authors: Norihiro Kato, Yuriko Takayama

Abstract:

Some gram-negative bacteria enable the simultaneous activation of gene expression involved in N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) dependent cell-to-cell communication system. Such regulatory system for the bacterial group behavior is termed as quorum sensing (QS) because a diffusible AHL signal can accumulate around the cell during the increase of the cell density and trigger activation of the sequential QS process. By blocking the QS, the expression of diverse genes related to infection, antibiotic production, and biofilm formation is inhibited. Conditioning of QS by regulation of the DNA-receptor-AHL interaction is a potential target for enhancing host defenses against pathogenicity. We focused on engineered application of transcriptional regulator SpnR produced in opportunistic human pathogen Serratia marcescens. The SpnR can interact with AHL signals at an N-terminal domain and also with a promoter region of a QS target gene at a C-terminal domain. As the initial process of the QS activation, the SpnR forms a complex with the AHL to enhance the expression of pig cluster; the SpnR normally acts as an activator for the expression of the QS-dependent gene. In this research, we attempt to artificially control QS by changing the role of SpnR. The QS-dependent prodigiosin production is expected to inhibit by externally added SpnR in the culture broth of AS-1 strain because the AHL concentration was kept below the threshold by AHL-SpnR complex formation. Maltose-binding protein (MBP)-tagged SpnR (MBP-SpnR) was overexpressed in Escherichia coli and purified using an affinity chromatography equipped with an amylose resin column. The specific interaction between AHL and MBP-SpnR was demonstrated by quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensor. AHL with amino end-group was coupled with COOH-terminated self-assembled monolayer prepared on a gold electrode of 27-MHz quartz crystal sensor using water-soluble carbodiimide. After the injection of MBP-SpnR into a cup-type sensor cell filled with the buffer solution, time course of resonant frequency change (ΔFs) was determined. A decrease of ΔFs clearly showed the uptake of MBP-SpnR onto the AHL-immobilized electrode. Furthermore, no binding affinity was observed after the heat-inactivation of MBP-SpnR at 80ºC. These results suggest that MBP-SpnR possesses a specific affinity for AHL. MBP-SpnR was added to the culture medium as an AHL trap to study inhibitory effects on intracellularly accumulated prodigiosin. With approximately 2 µM MBP-SpnR, the amount of prodigiosin induced was half that of the control without any additives. In conclusion, the function of SpnR could be switched by adding it to the cell culture. Exogenously added MBP-SpnR possesses high affinity for AHL derived from cells and acts as an inhibitor of AHL-mediated QS.

Keywords: Microbial Biotechnology, Intracellular Signaling, quorum sensing, transcriptional regulator

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