The outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria serves as a selective permeability barrier that allows entry of essential nutrients while excluding toxic compounds, including antibiotics. The OM is asymmetric and contains an outer leaflet of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) or lipooligosaccharides (LOS) and an inner leaflet of glycerophospholipids (GPL). We screened Acinetobacter baumannii transposon mutants and identified a number of mutants with OM defects, including an ABC transporter system homologous to the Mla system in E. coli. We further show that this opportunistic, antibiotic-resistant pathogen uses this multicomponent protein complex and ATP hydrolysis at the inner membrane to promote GPL export to the OM. The broad conservation of the Mla system in Gram-negative bacteria suggests the system may play a conserved role in OM biogenesis. The importance of the Mla system to Acinetobacter baumannii OM integrity and antibiotic sensitivity suggests that its components may serve as new antimicrobial therapeutic targets.
The cryo-EM map has been deposited in the Electron Microscopy Data Bank with accession code EMD-8738 (8.7 Å map). The coordinates for the MlaBDEF model have been deposited to PDB, accession code 6IC4.
- Samuel I Miller
- Justin M Kollman
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Tâm Mignot, Aix Marseille University-CNRS UMR7283, France
© 2019, Kamischke et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
African trypanosomes evade host immune clearance by antigenic variation, causing persistent infections in humans and animals. These parasites express a homogeneous surface coat of variant surface glycoproteins (VSGs). They transcribe one out of hundreds of VSG genes at a time from telomeric expression sites (ESs) and periodically change the VSG expressed by transcriptional switching or recombination. The mechanisms underlying the control of VSG switching and its developmental silencing remain elusive. We report that telomeric ES activation and silencing entail an on/off genetic switch controlled by a nuclear phosphoinositide signaling system. This system includes a nuclear phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphatase (PIP5Pase), its substrate PI(3,4,5)P3, and the repressor-activator protein 1 (RAP1). RAP1 binds to ES sequences flanking VSG genes via its DNA binding domains and represses VSG transcription. In contrast, PI(3,4,5)P3 binds to the N-terminus of RAP1 and controls its DNA binding activity. Transient inactivation of PIP5Pase results in the accumulation of nuclear PI(3,4,5)P3, which binds RAP1 and displaces it from ESs, activating transcription of silent ESs and VSG switching. The system is also required for the developmental silencing of VSG genes. The data provides a mechanism controlling reversible telomere silencing essential for the periodic switching in VSG expression and its developmental regulation.
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