- The entomopathogenic bacterial endosymbionts Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus: convergent lifestyles from divergent genomes (2011)
- Members of the genus Xenorhabdus are entomopathogenic bacteria that associate with nematodes. The nematode-bacteria pair infects and kills insects, with both partners contributing to insect pathogenesis and the bacteria providing nutrition to the nematode from available insect-derived nutrients. The nematode provides the bacteria with protection from predators, access to nutrients, and a mechanism of dispersal. Members of the bacterial genus Photorhabdus also associate with nematodes to kill insects, and both genera of bacteria provide similar services to their different nematode hosts through unique physiological and metabolic mechanisms. We posited that these differences would be reflected in their respective genomes. To test this, we sequenced to completion the genomes of Xenorhabdus nematophila ATCC 19061 and Xenorhabdus bovienii SS-2004. As expected, both Xenorhabdus genomes encode many anti-insecticidal compounds, commensurate with their entomopathogenic lifestyle. Despite the similarities in lifestyle between Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus bacteria, a comparative analysis of the Xenorhabdus, Photorhabdus luminescens, and P. asymbiotica genomes suggests genomic divergence. These findings indicate that evolutionary changes shaped by symbiotic interactions can follow different routes to achieve similar end points.
- Synthesis of szentiamide, a depsipeptide from entomopathogenic Xenorhabdus szentirmaii with activity against Plasmodium falciparum (2012)
- The synthesis of the recently characterized depsipeptide szentiamide (1), which is produced by the entomopathogenic bacterium Xenorhabdus szentirmaii, is described. Whereas no biological activity was previously identified for 1, the material derived from the efficient synthesis enabled additional bioactivity tests leading to the identification of a notable activity against insect cells and Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria.
- Diversity of Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus spp. and Their Symbiotic Entomopathogenic Nematodes from Thailand (2012)
- Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus spp. are bacterial symbionts of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs). In this study, we isolated and characterized Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus spp. from across Thailand together with their associated nematode symbionts, and characterized their phylogenetic diversity. EPNs were isolated from soil samples using a Galleria-baiting technique. Bacteria from EPNs were cultured and genotyped based on recA sequence. The nematodes were identified based on sequences of 28S rDNA and internal transcribed spacer regions. A total of 795 soil samples were collected from 159 sites in 13 provinces across Thailand. A total of 126 EPNs isolated from samples taken from 10 provinces were positive for Xenorhabdus (n = 69) or Photorhabdus spp. (n = 57). Phylogenetic analysis separated the 69 Xenorhabdus isolates into 4 groups. Groups 1, 2 and 3 consisting of 52, 13 and 1 isolates related to X. stockiae, and group 4 consisting of 3 isolates related to X. miraniensis. The EPN host for isolates related to X. stockiae was S. websteri, and for X. miraniensis was S. khoisanae. The Photorhabdus species were identified as P. luminescens (n = 56) and P. asymbiotica (n = 1). Phylogenenic analysis divided P. luminescens into five groups. Groups 1 and 2 consisted of 45 and 8 isolates defined as subspecies hainanensis and akhurstii, respectively. One isolate was related to hainanensis and akhurstii, two isolates were related to laumondii, and one isolate was the pathogenic species P. asymbiotica subsp. australis. H. indica was the major EPN host for Photorhabdus. This study reveals the genetic diversity of Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus spp. and describes new associations between EPNs and their bacterial symbionts in Thailand.
- Cytosolic re-localization and optimization of valine synthesis and catabolism enables increased isobutanol production with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (2012)
- Background: The branched chain alcohol isobutanol exhibits superior physicochemical properties as an alternative biofuel. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae naturally produces low amounts of isobutanol as a by-product during fermentations, resulting from the catabolism of valine. As S. cerevisiae is widely used in industrial applications and can easily be modified by genetic engineering, this microorganism is a promising host for the fermentative production of higher amounts of isobutanol. Results: Isobutanol production could be improved by re-locating the valine biosynthesis enzymes Ilv2, Ilv5 and Ilv3 from the mitochondrial matrix into the cytosol. To prevent the import of the three enzymes into yeast mitochondria, N-terminally shortened Ilv2, Ilv5 and Ilv3 versions were constructed lacking their mitochondrial targeting sequences. SDS-PAGE and immunofluorescence analyses confirmed expression and re-localization of the truncated enzymes. Growth tests or enzyme assays confirmed enzymatic activities. Isobutanol production was only increased in the absence of valine and the simultaneous blockage of the mitochondrial valine synthesis pathway. Isobutanol production could be even more enhanced after adapting the codon usage of the truncated valine biosynthesis genes to the codon usage of highly expressed glycolytic genes. Finally, a suitable ketoisovalerate decarboxylase, Aro10, and alcohol dehydrogenase, Adh2, were selected and overexpressed. The highest isobutanol titer was 0.63 g/L at a yield of nearly 15 mg per g glucose. Conclusion: A cytosolic isobutanol production pathway was successfully established in yeast by re-localization and optimization of mitochondrial valine synthesis enzymes together with overexpression of Aro10 decarboxylase and Adh2 alcohol dehydrogenase. Driving forces were generated by blocking competition with the mitochondrial valine pathway and by omitting valine from the fermentation medium. Additional deletion of pyruvate decarboxylase genes and engineering of co-factor imbalances should lead to even higher isobutanol production.
- Optical mapping as a routine tool for bacterial genome sequence finishing (2007)
- Background: In sequencing the genomes of two Xenorhabdus species, we encountered a large number of sequence repeats and assembly anomalies that stalled finishing efforts. This included a stretch of about 12 Kb that is over 99.9% identical between the plasmid and chromosome of X. nematophila. Results: Whole genome restriction maps of the sequenced strains were produced through optical mapping technology. These maps allowed rapid resolution of sequence assembly problems, permitted closing of the genome, and allowed correction of a large inversion in a genome assembly that we had considered finished. Conclusion: Our experience suggests that routine use of optical mapping in bacterial genome sequence finishing is warranted. When combined with data produced through 454 sequencing, an optical map can rapidly and inexpensively generate an ordered and oriented set of contigs to produce a nearly complete genome sequence assembly.
- Identification and isolation of insecticidal oxazoles from Pseudomonas spp. (2012)
- Two new and five known oxazoles were identified from two different Pseudomonas strains in addition to the known pyrones pseudopyronine A and B. Labeling experiments confirmed their structures and gave initial evidence for a novel biosynthesis pathway of these natural oxazoles. In order to confirm their structure, they were synthesized, which also allowed tests of their bioactivity. Additionally, the bioactivities of the synthesis intermediates were also investigated revealing interesting biological activities for several compounds despite their overall simple structures.
- The Janthinobacterium sp. HH01 genome encodes a homologue of the V. cholerae CqsA and L. pneumophila LqsA autoinducer synthases (2013)
- Janthinobacteria commonly form biofilms on eukaryotic hosts and are known to synthesize antibacterial and antifungal compounds. Janthinobacterium sp. HH01 was recently isolated from an aquatic environment and its genome sequence was established. The genome consists of a single chromosome and reveals a size of 7.10 Mb, being the largest janthinobacterial genome so far known. Approximately 80% of the 5,980 coding sequences (CDSs) present in the HH01 genome could be assigned putative functions. The genome encodes a wealth of secretory functions and several large clusters for polyketide biosynthesis. HH01 also encodes a remarkable number of proteins involved in resistance to drugs or heavy metals. Interestingly, the genome of HH01 apparently lacks the N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL)-dependent signaling system and the AI-2-dependent quorum sensing regulatory circuit. Instead it encodes a homologue of the Legionella- and Vibrio-like autoinducer (lqsA/cqsA) synthase gene which we designated jqsA. The jqsA gene is linked to a cognate sensor kinase (jqsS) which is flanked by the response regulator jqsR. Here we show that a jqsA deletion has strong impact on the violacein biosynthesis in Janthinobacterium sp. HH01 and that a jqsA deletion mutant can be functionally complemented with the V. cholerae cqsA and the L. pneumophila lqsA genes.
- The Expression of stlA in Photorhabdus luminescens Is Controlled by Nutrient Limitation (2013)
- Photorhabdus is a genus of Gram-negative entomopathogenic bacteria that also maintain a mutualistic association with nematodes from the family Heterorhabditis. Photorhabdus has an extensive secondary metabolism that is required for the interaction between the bacteria and the nematode. A major component of this secondary metabolism is a stilbene molecule, called ST. The first step in ST biosynthesis is the non-oxidative deamination of phenylalanine resulting in the production of cinnamic acid. This reaction is catalyzed by phenylalanine-ammonium lyase, an enzyme encoded by the stlA gene. In this study we show, using a stlA-gfp transcriptional fusion, that the expression of stlA is regulated by nutrient limitation through a regulatory network that involves at least 3 regulators. We show that TyrR, a LysR-type transcriptional regulator that regulates gene expression in response to aromatic amino acids in E. coli, is absolutely required for stlA expression. We also show that stlA expression is modulated by σS and Lrp, regulators that are implicated in the regulation of the response to nutrient limitation in other bacteria. This work is the first that describes pathway-specific regulation of secondary metabolism in Photorhabdus and, therefore, our study provides an initial insight into the complex regulatory network that controls secondary metabolism, and therefore mutualism, in this model organism.