The study of bacterial cell biology is limited by difficulties in visualizing cellular structures at high spatial resolution within their native milieu. Here, we visualize Bacillus subtilis sporulation using cryo-electron tomography coupled with cryo-focused ion beam milling, allowing the reconstruction of native-state cellular sections at molecular resolution. During sporulation, an asymmetrically-positioned septum generates a larger mother cell and a smaller forespore. Subsequently, the mother cell engulfs the forespore. We show that the septal peptidoglycan is not completely degraded at the onset of engulfment. Instead, the septum is uniformly and only slightly thinned as it curves towards the mother cell. Then, the mother cell membrane migrates around the forespore in tiny finger-like projections, whose formation requires the mother cell SpoIIDMP protein complex. We propose that a limited number of SpoIIDMP complexes tether to and degrade the peptidoglycan ahead of the engulfing membrane, generating an irregular membrane front.
The authors have created a library of B. subtilis tomograms accessible at: villalab.ucsd.edu/research/engulfment. We have also deposited three representative tilt-series to Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB) in the form of 4x binned tomograms. The IDs are EMD-20335, EMD-20336, EMD-20337 for Figure 1D,F,H respectively.
- Elizabeth Villa
- Kit Pogliano
- Elizabeth Villa
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Tâm Mignot, CNRS-Aix Marseille University, France
© 2019, Khanna 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.
Neutrophils are essential for host defense against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). The neuro-repellent, SLIT2, potently inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis, and might, therefore, be expected to impair antibacterial responses. We report here that, unexpectedly, neutrophils exposed to the N-terminal SLIT2 (N-SLIT2) fragment kill extracellular S. aureus more efficiently. N-SLIT2 amplifies reactive oxygen species production in response to the bacteria by activating p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase that in turn phosphorylates NCF1, an essential subunit of the NADPH oxidase complex. N-SLIT2 also enhances the exocytosis of neutrophil secondary granules. In a murine model of S. aureus skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI), local SLIT2 levels fall initially but increase subsequently, peaking at 3 days after infection. Of note, the neutralization of endogenous SLIT2 worsens SSTI. Temporal fluctuations in local SLIT2 levels may promote neutrophil recruitment and retention at the infection site and hasten bacterial clearance by augmenting neutrophil oxidative burst and degranulation. Collectively, these actions of SLIT2 coordinate innate immune responses to limit susceptibility to S. aureus.
Diverse chemical modifications fine-tune the function and metabolism of tRNA. Although tRNA modification is universal in all kingdoms of life, profiles of modifications, their functions, and physiological roles have not been elucidated in most organisms including the human pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis. To identify physiologically important modifications, we surveyed the tRNA of Mtb, using tRNA sequencing (tRNA-seq) and genome-mining. Homology searches identified 23 candidate tRNA modifying enzymes that are predicted to create 16 tRNA modifications across all tRNA species. Reverse transcription-derived error signatures in tRNA-seq predicted the sites and presence of nine modifications. Several chemical treatments prior to tRNA-seq expanded the number of predictable modifications. Deletion of Mtb genes encoding two modifying enzymes, TruB and MnmA, eliminated their respective tRNA modifications, validating the presence of modified sites in tRNA species. Furthermore, the absence of mnmA attenuated Mtb growth in macrophages, suggesting that MnmA-dependent tRNA uridine sulfation contributes to Mtb intracellular growth. Our results lay the foundation for unveiling the roles of tRNA modifications in Mtb pathogenesis and developing new therapeutics against tuberculosis.