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Title: Initial Characterization of the Two ClpP Paralogs of Chlamydia trachomatis Suggests Unique Functionality for Each
ABSTRACT Members of Chlamydia are obligate intracellular bacteria that differentiate between two distinct functional and morphological forms during their developmental cycle, elementary bodies (EBs) and reticulate bodies (RBs). EBs are nondividing small electron-dense forms that infect host cells. RBs are larger noninfectious replicative forms that develop within a membrane-bound vesicle, termed an inclusion. Given the unique properties of each developmental form of this bacterium, we hypothesized that the Clp protease system plays an integral role in proteomic turnover by degrading specific proteins from one developmental form or the other. Chlamydia spp. have five uncharacterized clp genes, clpX , clpC , two clpP paralogs, and clpB . In other bacteria, ClpC and ClpX are ATPases that unfold and feed proteins into the ClpP protease to be degraded, and ClpB is a deaggregase. Here, we focused on characterizing the ClpP paralogs. Transcriptional analyses and immunoblotting determined that these genes are expressed midcycle. Bioinformatic analyses of these proteins identified key residues important for activity. Overexpression of inactive clpP mutants in Chlamydia spp. suggested independent function of each ClpP paralog. To further probe these differences, we determined interactions between the ClpP proteins using bacterial two-hybrid assays and native gel analysis of recombinant proteins. Homotypic more » interactions of the ClpP proteins, but not heterotypic interactions between the ClpP paralogs, were detected. Interestingly, protease activity of ClpP2, but not ClpP1, was detected in vitro . This activity was stimulated by antibiotics known to activate ClpP, which also blocked chlamydial growth. Our data suggest the chlamydial ClpP paralogs likely serve distinct and critical roles in this important pathogen. IMPORTANCE Chlamydia trachomatis is the leading cause of preventable infectious blindness and of bacterial sexually transmitted infections worldwide. Chlamydiae are developmentally regulated obligate intracellular pathogens that alternate between two functional and morphologic forms, with distinct repertoires of proteins. We hypothesize that protein degradation is a critical aspect to the developmental cycle. A key system involved in protein turnover in bacteria is the Clp protease system. Here, we characterized the two chlamydial ClpP paralogs by examining their expression in Chlamydia spp., their ability to oligomerize, and their proteolytic activity. This work will help understand the evolutionarily diverse Clp proteases in the context of intracellular organisms, which may aid in the study of other clinically relevant intracellular bacteria. « less
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Journal of Bacteriology
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National Science Foundation
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