When microbes acquire new abilities through horizontal gene transfer, the genes and pathways must function under conditions with which they did not coevolve. If newly-acquired genes burden the host, effective use will depend on further evolutionary refinement of the recombinant strain. We used laboratory evolution to recapitulate this process of transfer and refinement, demonstrating that effective use of an introduced dichloromethane degradation pathway required one of several mutations to the bacterial host that are predicted to increase chloride efflux. We then used this knowledge to identify parallel, beneficial mutations that independently evolved in two natural dichloromethane-degrading strains. Finally, we constructed a synthetic mobile genetic element carrying both the degradation pathway and a chloride exporter, which preempted the adaptive process and directly enabled effective dichloromethane degradation across diverse Methylobacterium environmental isolates. Our results demonstrate the importance of post-transfer refinement in horizontal gene transfer, with potential applications in bioremediation and synthetic biology.
- Michael Laub, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
© 2014, Michener et al.
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Antibiotics of the β-lactam (penicillin) family inactivate target enzymes called D,D-transpeptidases or penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) that catalyze the last cross-linking step of peptidoglycan synthesis. The resulting net-like macromolecule is the essential component of bacterial cell walls that sustains the osmotic pressure of the cytoplasm. In Escherichia coli, bypass of PBPs by the YcbB L,D-transpeptidase leads to resistance to these drugs. We developed a new method based on heavy isotope labeling and mass spectrometry to elucidate PBP- and YcbB-mediated peptidoglycan polymerization. PBPs and YcbB similarly participated in single-strand insertion of glycan chains into the expanding bacterial side wall. This absence of any transpeptidase-specific signature suggests that the peptidoglycan expansion mode is determined by other components of polymerization complexes. YcbB did mediate β-lactam resistance by insertion of multiple strands that were exclusively cross-linked to existing tripeptide-containing acceptors. We propose that this undocumented mode of polymerization depends upon accumulation of linear glycan chains due to PBP inactivation, formation of tripeptides due to cleavage of existing cross-links by a β-lactam-insensitive endopeptidase, and concerted cross-linking by YcbB.
Malaria is caused by infection of the erythrocytes by the parasites Plasmodium. Inside the erythrocytes, the parasites multiply via schizogony, an unconventional cell division mode. The Inner Membrane Complex (IMC), an organelle located beneath the parasite plasma membrane, serving as the platform for protein anchorage, is essential for schizogony. So far, complete repertoire of IMC proteins and their localization determinants remain unclear. Here we used biotin ligase (TurboID)-based proximity labelling to compile the proteome of the schizont IMC of rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium yoelii. In total, 300 TurboID-interacting proteins were identified. 18 of 21 selected candidates were confirmed to localize in the IMC, indicating good reliability. In light of the existing palmitome of Plasmodium falciparum, 83 proteins of the P. yoelii IMC proteome are potentially palmitoylated. We further identified DHHC2 as the major resident palmitoyl-acyl-transferase of the IMC. Depletion of DHHC2 led to defective schizont segmentation and growth arrest both in vitro and in vivo. DHHC2 was found to palmitoylate two critical IMC proteins CDPK1 and GAP45 for their IMC localization. In summary, this study reports an inventory of new IMC proteins and demonstrates a central role of DHHC2 in governing IMC localization of proteins during the schizont development.