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Endogenous nitric oxide protects bacteria against a wide spectrum of antibiotics

Gusarov, Ivan; Shatalin, Konstantin; Starodubtseva, Marina; Nudler, Evgeny
Bacterial nitric oxide synthases (bNOS) are present in many Gram-positive species and have been demonstrated to synthesize NO from arginine in vitro and in vivo. However, the physiological role of bNOS remains largely unknown. We show that NO generated by bNOS increases the resistance of bacteria to a broad spectrum of antibiotics, enabling the bacteria to survive and share habitats with antibiotic-producing microorganisms. NO-mediated resistance is achieved through both the chemical modification of toxic compounds and the alleviation of the oxidative stress imposed by many antibiotics. Our results suggest that the inhibition of NOS activity may increase the effectiveness of antimicrobial therapy
PMID: 19745150
ISSN: 1095-9203
CID: 102402

Bacillus anthracis-derived nitric oxide is essential for pathogen virulence and survival in macrophages

Shatalin, Konstantin; Gusarov, Ivan; Avetissova, Ekaterina; Shatalina, Yelena; McQuade, Lindsey E; Lippard, Stephen J; Nudler, Evgeny
Phagocytes generate nitric oxide (NO) and other reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in large quantities to combat infecting bacteria. Here, we report the surprising observation that in vivo survival of a notorious pathogen-Bacillus anthracis-critically depends on its own NO-synthase (bNOS) activity. Anthrax spores (Sterne strain) deficient in bNOS lose their virulence in an A/J mouse model of systemic infection and exhibit severely compromised survival when germinating within macrophages. The mechanism underlying bNOS-dependent resistance to macrophage killing relies on NO-mediated activation of bacterial catalase and suppression of the damaging Fenton reaction. Our results demonstrate that pathogenic bacteria use their own NO as a key defense against the immune oxidative burst, thereby establishing bNOS as an essential virulence factor. Thus, bNOS represents an attractive antimicrobial target for treatment of anthrax and other infectious diseases
PMID: 18215992
ISSN: 1091-6490
CID: 75858

Monitoring of gene knockouts: genome-wide profiling of conditionally essential genes

Smith, Lisa K; Gomez, Maria J; Shatalin, Konstantin Y; Lee, Hyunwoo; Neyfakh, Alexander A
We have developed a new microarray-based genetic technique, named MGK (Monitoring of Gene Knockouts), for genome-wide identification of conditionally essential genes. MGK identified bacterial genes that are critical for fitness in the absence of aromatic amino acids, and was further applied to identify genes whose inactivation causes bacterial cell death upon exposure to the bacteriostatic antibiotic chloramphenicol. Our findings suggest that MGK can serve as a robust tool in functional genomics studies
PMID: 17519022
ISSN: 1474-7596
CID: 79457

Comparative genomics of NAD biosynthesis in cyanobacteria

Gerdes, Svetlana Y; Kurnasov, Oleg V; Shatalin, Konstantin; Polanuyer, Boris; Sloutsky, Roman; Vonstein, Veronika; Overbeek, Ross; Osterman, Andrei L
Biosynthesis of NAD(P) cofactors is of special importance for cyanobacteria due to their role in photosynthesis and respiration. Despite significant progress in understanding NAD(P) biosynthetic machinery in some model organisms, relatively little is known about its implementation in cyanobacteria. We addressed this problem by a combination of comparative genome analysis with verification experiments in the model system of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803. A detailed reconstruction of the NAD(P) metabolic subsystem using the SEED genomic platform ( helped us accurately annotate respective genes in the entire set of 13 cyanobacterial species with completely sequenced genomes available at the time. Comparative analysis of operational variants implemented in this divergent group allowed us to elucidate both conserved (de novo and universal pathways) and variable (recycling and salvage pathways) aspects of this subsystem. Focused genetic and biochemical experiments confirmed several conjectures about the key aspects of this subsystem. (i) The product of the slr1691 gene, a homolog of Escherichia coli gene nadE containing an additional nitrilase-like N-terminal domain, is a NAD synthetase capable of utilizing glutamine as an amide donor in vitro. (ii) The product of the sll1916 gene, a homolog of E. coli gene nadD, is a nicotinic acid mononucleotide-preferring adenylyltransferase. This gene is essential for survival and cannot be compensated for by an alternative nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)-preferring adenylyltransferase (slr0787 gene). (iii) The product of the slr0788 gene is a nicotinamide-preferring phosphoribosyltransferase involved in the first step of the two-step non-deamidating utilization of nicotinamide (NMN shunt). (iv) The physiological role of this pathway encoded by a conserved gene cluster, slr0787-slr0788, is likely in the recycling of endogenously generated nicotinamide, as supported by the inability of this organism to utilize exogenously provided niacin. Positional clustering and the co-occurrence profile of the respective genes across a diverse collection of cellular organisms provide evidence of horizontal transfer events in the evolutionary history of this pathway
PMID: 16585762
ISSN: 0021-9193
CID: 90735

Efficient gene inactivation in Bacillus anthracis

Shatalin, Konstantin Y; Neyfakh, Alex A
A procedure for high-efficiency gene inactivation in Bacillus anthracis has been developed. It is based on a highly temperature-sensitive plasmid vector carrying kanamycin resistance cassette surrounded by DNA fragments flanking the desired insertion site. The approach was tested by constructing glutamate racemase E1 (racE1), glutamate racemase E2 (racE2) and comEC knock-out mutants of B. anthracis strain DeltaANR. Allelic replacements were observed at high frequencies, ranging from approximately 0.5% for racE2 up to 50% for racE1 and comEC. The system can be used for genetic validation of potential drug targets
PMID: 15837388
ISSN: 0378-1097
CID: 90736

Sensing small molecules by nascent RNA: a mechanism to control transcription in bacteria

Mironov, Alexander S; Gusarov, Ivan; Rafikov, Ruslan; Lopez, Lubov Errais; Shatalin, Konstantin; Kreneva, Rimma A; Perumov, Daniel A; Nudler, Evgeny
Thiamin and riboflavin are precursors of essential coenzymes-thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN)/flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), respectively. In Bacillus spp, genes responsible for thiamin and riboflavin biosynthesis are organized in tightly controllable operons. Here, we demonstrate that the feedback regulation of riboflavin and thiamin genes relies on a novel transcription attenuation mechanism. A unique feature of this mechanism is the formation of specific complexes between a conserved leader region of the cognate RNA and FMN or TPP. In each case, the complex allows the termination hairpin to form and interrupt transcription prematurely. Thus, sensing small molecules by nascent RNA controls transcription elongation of riboflavin and thiamin operons and possibly other bacterial operons as well
PMID: 12464185
ISSN: 0092-8674
CID: 48122

From genetic footprinting to antimicrobial drug targets: examples in cofactor biosynthetic pathways

Gerdes, Svetlana Y; Scholle, Michael D; D'Souza, Mark; Bernal, Axel; Baev, Mark V; Farrell, Michael; Kurnasov, Oleg V; Daugherty, Matthew D; Mseeh, Faika; Polanuyer, Boris M; Campbell, John W; Anantha, Shubha; Shatalin, Konstantin Y; Chowdhury, Shamim A K; Fonstein, Michael Y; Osterman, Andrei L
Novel drug targets are required in order to design new defenses against antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Comparative genomics provides new opportunities for finding optimal targets among previously unexplored cellular functions, based on an understanding of related biological processes in bacterial pathogens and their hosts. We describe an integrated approach to identification and prioritization of broad-spectrum drug targets. Our strategy is based on genetic footprinting in Escherichia coli followed by metabolic context analysis of essential gene orthologs in various species. Genes required for viability of E. coli in rich medium were identified on a whole-genome scale using the genetic footprinting technique. Potential target pathways were deduced from these data and compared with a panel of representative bacterial pathogens by using metabolic reconstructions from genomic data. Conserved and indispensable functions revealed by this analysis potentially represent broad-spectrum antibacterial targets. Further target prioritization involves comparison of the corresponding pathways and individual functions between pathogens and the human host. The most promising targets are validated by direct knockouts in model pathogens. The efficacy of this approach is illustrated using examples from metabolism of adenylate cofactors NAD(P), coenzyme A, and flavin adenine dinucleotide. Several drug targets within these pathways, including three distantly related adenylyltransferases (orthologs of the E. coli genes nadD, coaD, and ribF), are discussed in detail
PMID: 12142426
ISSN: 0021-9193
CID: 90737