Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) O157:H7 strain EDL933 harbors multiple prophage-associated open reading frames (orfs) in its genome, which are highly homologous to the chromosomal nanS gene. The latter is part of the nanCMS-operon, which is present in most E. coli strains and encodes an esterase, which is responsible for the mono-deacetylation of 5-N-acetyl-9-O-acetyl neuraminic acid (Neu5,9Ac2). Whereas one prophage-borne orf (z1466) has been characterized in previous studies, the functions of the other nanS-homologous orfs are unknown.In the current study, the nanS-homologous orfs of EDL933 were initially studied in silico Due to their homology to the chromosomal nanS gene and their location in prophage genomes, we designated them nanS-p, and numbered the different nanS-p alleles consecutively from 1-10. The two alleles nanS-p2 and nanS-p4 were selected for production of recombinant proteins, their enzymatic activities were investigated and differences in their temperature optima were found. Furthermore, a function of these enzymes in substrate utilization could be demonstrated using an E. coli C600?nanS mutant in a growth medium with Neu5,9Ac2 as carbon source and supplementation with the different recombinant NanS-p proteins. Moreover, generation of sequential deletion of all nanS-p alleles in strain EDL933, and subsequent growth experiments demonstrated a gene-dose-effect on the utilization of Neu5,9Ac2Since Neu5,9Ac2 is an important component of human and animal gut mucus, and the nutrient availability in the large intestine is limited, we hypothesize that the presence of multiple Neu5,9Ac2-esterases provides them a nutrient supply under certain conditions in the large intestine, even if particular prophages get lost.In this study, a group of homologous prophage-borne nanS-p alleles and two of the corresponding enzymes of enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) O157:H7 strain EDL933 are characterized that may be important to provide alternative genes for substrate utilization. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Journal: Applied and environmental microbiology