April 21, 2020  |  

A Novel Bacteriophage Exclusion (BREX) System Encoded by the pglX Gene in Lactobacillus casei Zhang.

The bacteriophage exclusion (BREX) system is a novel prokaryotic defense system against bacteriophages. To our knowledge, no study has systematically characterized the function of the BREX system in lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus casei Zhang is a probiotic bacterium originating from koumiss. By using single-molecule real-time sequencing, we previously identified N6-methyladenine (m6A) signatures in the genome of L. casei Zhang and a putative methyltransferase (MTase), namely, pglX This work further analyzed the genomic locus near the pglX gene and identified it as a component of the BREX system. To decipher the biological role of pglX, an L. casei Zhang pglX mutant (?pglX) was constructed. Interestingly, m6A methylation of the 5′-ACRCAG-3′ motif was eliminated in the ?pglX mutant. The wild-type and mutant strains exhibited no significant difference in morphology or growth performance in de Man-Rogosa-Sharpe (MRS) medium. A significantly higher plasmid acquisition capacity was observed for the ?pglX mutant than for the wild type if the transformed plasmids contained pglX recognition sites (i.e., 5′-ACRCAG-3′). In contrast, no significant difference was observed in plasmid transformation efficiency between the two strains when plasmids lacking pglX recognition sites were tested. Moreover, the ?pglX mutant had a lower capacity to retain the plasmids than the wild type, suggesting a decrease in genetic stability. Since the Rebase database predicted that the L. casei PglX protein was bifunctional, as both an MTase and a restriction endonuclease, the PglX protein was heterologously expressed and purified but failed to show restriction endonuclease activity. Taken together, the results show that the L. casei Zhang pglX gene is a functional adenine MTase that belongs to the BREX system.IMPORTANCELactobacillus casei Zhang is a probiotic that confers beneficial effects on the host, and it is thus increasingly used in the dairy industry. The possession of an effective bacterial immune system that can defend against invasion of phages and exogenous DNA is a desirable feature for industrial bacterial strains. The bacteriophage exclusion (BREX) system is a recently described phage resistance system in prokaryotes. This work confirmed the function of the BREX system in L. casei and that the methyltransferase (pglX) is an indispensable part of the system. Overall, our study characterizes a BREX system component gene in lactic acid bacteria. Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.

April 21, 2020  |  

Sensitivity to the two peptide bacteriocin plantaricin EF is dependent on CorC, a membrane-bound, magnesium/cobalt efflux protein.

Lactic acid bacteria produce a variety of antimicrobial peptides known as bacteriocins. Most bacteriocins are understood to kill sensitive bacteria through receptor-mediated disruptions. Here, we report on the identification of the Lactobacillus plantarum plantaricin EF (PlnEF) receptor. Spontaneous PlnEF-resistant mutants of the PlnEF-indicator strain L. plantarum NCIMB 700965 (LP965) were isolated and confirmed to maintain cellular ATP levels in the presence of PlnEF. Genome comparisons resulted in the identification of a single mutated gene annotated as the membrane-bound, magnesium/cobalt efflux protein CorC. All isolates contained a valine (V) at position 334 instead of a glycine (G) in a cysteine-ß-synthase domain at the C-terminal region of CorC. In silico template-based modeling of this domain indicated that the mutation resides in a loop between two ß-strands. The relationship between PlnEF, CorC, and metal homeostasis was supported by the finding that PlnEF-resistance was lost when PlnEF was applied together with high concentrations of Mg2+ , Co2+ , Zn2+ , or Cu2+ . Lastly, PlnEF sensitivity was increased upon heterologous expression of LP965 corC but not the G334V CorC mutant in the PlnEF-resistant strain Lactobacillus casei BL23. These results show that PlnEF kills sensitive bacteria by targeting CorC. © 2019 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

April 21, 2020  |  

Genome-wide systematic identification of methyltransferase recognition and modification patterns.

Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation patterns using single molecule real-time DNA sequencing has boosted the number of publicly available methylomes. However, there is a lack of tools coupling methylation patterns and the corresponding methyltransferase genes. Here we demonstrate a high-throughput method for coupling methyltransferases with their respective motifs, using automated cloning and analysing the methyltransferases in vectors carrying a strain-specific cassette containing all potential target sites. To validate the method, we analyse the genomes of the thermophile Moorella thermoacetica and the mesophile Acetobacterium woodii, two acetogenic bacteria having substantially modified genomes with 12 methylation motifs and a total of 23 methyltransferase genes. Using our method, we characterize the 23 methyltransferases, assign motifs to the respective enzymes and verify activity for 11 of the 12 motifs.

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