The Ps and Qs of alarmone synthesis in Staphylococcus aureus

Autoři: Ning Yang aff001;  Shujie Xie aff001;  Nga-Yeung Tang aff001;  Mei Yee Choi aff001;  Ying Wang aff002;  Rory M. Watt aff001
Působiště autorů: Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China aff001;  Department of Virology, Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, Wuhan, Hubei, China aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article


During the stringent response, bacteria synthesize guanosine-3’,5’-bis(diphosphate) (ppGpp) and guanosine-5’-triphosphate 3’-diphosphate (pppGpp), which act as secondary messengers to promote cellular survival and adaptation. (p)ppGpp ‘alarmones’ are synthesized and/or hydrolyzed by proteins belonging to the RelA/SpoT Homologue (RSH) family. Many bacteria also encode ‘small alarmone synthetase’ (SAS) proteins (e.g. RelP, RelQ) which may also be capable of synthesizing a third alarmone: guanosine-5’-phosphate 3’-diphosphate (pGpp). Here, we report the biochemical properties of the Rel (RSH), RelP and RelQ proteins from Staphylococcus aureus (Sa-Rel, Sa-RelP, Sa-RelQ, respectively). Sa-Rel synthesized pppGpp more efficiently than ppGpp, but lacked the ability to produce pGpp. Sa-Rel efficiently hydrolyzed all three alarmones in a Mn(II) ion-dependent manner. The removal of the C-terminal regulatory domain of Sa-Rel increased its rate of (p)ppGpp synthesis ca. 10-fold, but had negligible effects on its rate of (pp)pGpp hydrolysis. Sa-RelP and Sa-RelQ efficiently synthesized pGpp in addition to pppGpp and ppGpp. The alarmone-synthesizing abilities of Sa-RelQ, but not Sa-RelP, were allosterically-stimulated by the addition of pppGpp, ppGpp or pGpp. The respective (pp)pGpp-synthesizing activities of Sa-RelP/Sa-RelQ were compared and contrasted with SAS homologues from Enterococcus faecalis (Ef-RelQ) and Streptococcus mutans (Sm-RelQ, Sm-RelP). Results indicated that EF-RelQ, Sm-RelQ and Sa-RelQ were functionally equivalent; but exhibited considerable variations in their respective biochemical properties, and the degrees to which alarmones and single-stranded RNA molecules allosterically modulated their respective alarmone-synthesizing activities. The respective (pp)pGpp-synthesizing capabilities of Sa-RelP and Sm-RelP proteins were inhibited by pGpp, ppGpp and pppGpp. Our results support the premise that RelP and RelQ proteins may synthesize pGpp in addition to (p)ppGpp within S. aureus and other Gram-positive bacterial species.

Klíčová slova:

Enterococcus faecalis – Hydrolysis – Oligomers – Recombinant proteins – Staphylococcus aureus – Streptococcus mutans – RNA synthesis – Enzyme kinetics


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