skip to main content

Title: Revisiting peptidoglycan sensing: interactions with host immunity and beyond
The interaction between host immunity and bacterial cells plays a pivotal role in a variety of human diseases. The bacterial cell wall component peptidoglycan (PG) is known to stimulate an immune response, which makes PG a distinctive recognition element for unveiling these complicated molecular interactions. Pattern recognition receptor (PRR) proteins are among the critical components of this system that initially recognize molecular patterns associated with microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. These molecular patterns are mostly embedded in the bacterial or fungal cell wall structure and can be released and presented to the immune system in various situations. Nonetheless, detailed knowledge of this recognition is limited due to the diversity among the PG polymer and its fragments; the subsequent responses by multiple hosts add more complexity. Here, we discuss how our understanding of the role and molecular mechanisms of the well-studied PRR, the NOD-like receptors (NLRs), in the human immune system has evolved in recent years. We highlight the instances of other classes of proteins with similar behavior in the recognition of PG that have been identified in other microorganisms such as yeasts. These proteins are particularly interesting because a network of cellular interactions exists between human host cells, bacteria and yeast as a part of the normal human flora. To support our understanding of these interactions, we provide insight into the chemist's toolbox of peptidoglycan probes that aid in the investigations of the behaviors of these proteins and other biological contexts relevant to the sensing and recognition of peptidoglycan. The importance of these interactions in human health for the development of biomarkers and biotherapy is highlighted.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Chemical Communications
Page Range / eLocation ID:
13313 to 13322
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Molecular-level understanding of nanomaterial interactions with bacterial cell surfaces can facilitate design of antimicrobial and antifouling surfaces and inform assessment of potential consequences of nanomaterial release into the environment. Here, we investigate the interaction of cationic nanoparticles with the main surface components of Gram-positive bacteria: peptidoglycan and teichoic acids. We employed intact cells and isolated cell walls from wild type Bacillus subtilis and two mutant strains differing in wall teichoic acid composition to investigate interaction with gold nanoparticles functionalized with cationic, branched polyethylenimine. We quantified nanoparticle association with intact cells by flow cytometry and determined sites of interaction by solid-state 31 P- and 13 C-NMR spectroscopy. We find that wall teichoic acid structure and composition were important determinants for the extent of interaction with cationic gold nanoparticles. The nanoparticles interacted more with wall teichoic acids from the wild type and mutant lacking glucose in its wall teichoic acids than those from the mutant having wall teichoic acids lacking alanine and exhibiting more restricted molecular motion. Our experimental evidence supports the interpretation that electrostatic forces contributed to nanoparticle–cell interactions and that the accessibility of negatively charged moieties in teichoic acid chains influences the degree of interaction. The approaches employed in this study can be applied to engineered nanomaterials differing in core composition, shape, or surface functional groups as well as to other types of bacteria to elucidate the influence of nanoparticle and cell surface properties on interactions with Gram-positive bacteria. 
    more » « less
  2. Plants have an innate immune system to fight off potential invaders that is based on the perception of nonself or modified-self molecules. Microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) are evolutionarily conserved microbial molecules whose extracellular detection by specific cell surface receptors initiates an array of biochemical responses collectively known as MAMP-triggered immunity (MTI). Well-characterized MAMPs include chitin, peptidoglycan, and flg22, a 22-amino acid epitope found in the major building block of the bacterial flagellum, FliC. The importance of MAMP detection by the plant immune system is underscored by the large diversity of strategies used by pathogens to interfere with MTI and that failure to do so is often associated with loss of virulence. Yet, whether or how MTI functions beyond pathogenic interactions is not well understood. Here we demonstrate that a community of root commensal bacteria modulates a specific and evolutionarily conserved sector of theArabidopsisimmune system. We identify a set of robust, taxonomically diverse MTI suppressor strains that are efficient root colonizers and, notably, can enhance the colonization capacity of other tested commensal bacteria. We highlight the importance of extracellular strategies for MTI suppression by showing that the type 2, not the type 3, secretion system is required for the immunomodulatory activity of one robust MTI suppressor. Our findings reveal that root colonization by commensals is controlled by MTI, which, in turn, can be selectively modulated by specific members of a representative bacterial root microbiota.

    more » « less

    Microbial and plant cell walls have been selected by the plant immune system as a source of microbe‐ and plant damage‐associated molecular patterns (MAMPs/DAMPs) that are perceived by extracellular ectodomains (ECDs) of plant pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) triggering immune responses. From the vast number of ligands that PRRs can bind, those composed of carbohydrate moieties are poorly studied, and only a handful of PRR/glycan pairs have been determined. Here we present a computational screening method, based on the first step of molecular dynamics simulation, that is able to predict putative ECD‐PRR/glycan interactions. This method has been developed and optimized with Arabidopsis LysM‐PRR members CERK1 and LYK4, which are involved in the perception of fungal MAMPs, chitohexaose (1,4‐β‐d‐(GlcNAc)6) and laminarihexaose (1,3‐β‐d‐(Glc)6). Ourin silicoresults predicted CERK1 interactions with 1,4‐β‐d‐(GlcNAc)6whilst discarding its direct binding by LYK4. In contrast, no direct interaction between CERK1/laminarihexaose was predicted by the model despite CERK1 being required for laminarihexaose immune activation, suggesting that CERK1 may act as a co‐receptor for its recognition. Thesein silicoresults were validated by isothermal titration calorimetry binding assays between these MAMPs and recombinant ECDs‐LysM‐PRRs. The robustness of the developed computational screening method was further validated by predicting that CERK1 does not bind the DAMP 1,4‐β‐d‐(Glc)6(cellohexaose), and then probing that immune responses triggered by this DAMP were not impaired in the Arabidopsiscerk1mutant. The computational predictive glycan/PRR binding method developed here might accelerate the discovery of protein–glycan interactions and provide information on immune responses activated by glycoligands.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Plant pathogens use effector proteins to target host processes involved in pathogen perception, immune signalling, or defence outputs. Unlike foliar pathogens, it is poorly understood how root‐invading pathogens suppress immunity. The Avr2 effector from the tomato root‐ and xylem‐colonizing pathogenFusarium oxysporumsuppresses immune signalling induced by various pathogen‐associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). It is unknown how Avr2 targets the immune system. TransgenicAVR2 Arabidopsis thalianaphenocopies mutants in which the pattern recognition receptor (PRR) co‐receptor BRI1‐ASSOCIATED RECEPTOR KINASE (BAK1) or its downstream signalling kinase BOTRYTIS‐INDUCED KINASE 1 (BIK1) are knocked out. We therefore tested whether these kinases are Avr2 targets. Flg22‐induced complex formation of the PRR FLAGELLIN SENSITIVE 2 and BAK1 occurred in the presence and absence of Avr2, indicating that Avr2 does not affect BAK1 function or PRR complex formation. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays showed that Avr2 and BIK1 co‐localize in planta. Although Avr2 did not affect flg22‐induced BIK1 phosphorylation, mono‐ubiquitination was compromised. Furthermore, Avr2 affected BIK1 abundance and shifted its localization from nucleocytoplasmic to the cell periphery/plasma membrane. Together, these data imply that Avr2 may retain BIK1 at the plasma membrane, thereby suppressing its ability to activate immune signalling. Because mono‐ubiquitination of BIK1 is required for its internalization, interference with this process by Avr2 could provide a mechanistic explanation for the compromised BIK1 mobility upon flg22 treatment. The identification of BIK1 as an effector target of a root‐invading vascular pathogen identifies this kinase as a conserved signalling component for both root and shoot immunity.

    more » « less
  5. Sloan Siegrist, M. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The Agrobacterium growth pole ring (GPR) protein forms a hexameric ring at the growth pole (GP) that is essential for polar growth. GPR is large (2,115 amino acids) and contains 1,700 amino acids of continuous α-helices. To dissect potential GPR functional domains, we created deletions of regions with similarity to human apolipoprotein A-IV (396 amino acids), itself composed of α-helical domains. We also tested deletions of the GPR C terminus. Deletions were inducibly expressed as green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion proteins and tested for merodiploid interference with wild-type (WT) GPR function, for partial function in cells lacking GPR, and for formation of paired fluorescent foci (indicative of hexameric rings) at the GP. Deletion of domains similar to human apolipoprotein A-IV in GPR caused defects in cell morphology when expressed in trans to WT GPR and provided only partial complementation to cells lacking GPR. Agrobacterium -specific domains A-IV-1 and A-IV-4 contain predicted coiled coil (CC) regions of 21 amino acids; deletion of CC regions produced severe defects in cell morphology in the interference assay. Mutants that produced the most severe effects on cell shape also failed to form paired polar foci. Modeling of A-IV-1 and A-IV-4 reveals significant similarity to the solved structure of human apolipoprotein A-IV. GPR C-terminal deletions profoundly blocked complementation. Finally, peptidoglycan (PG) synthesis is abnormally localized circumferentially in cells lacking GPR. The results support the hypothesis that GPR plays essential roles as an organizing center for membrane and PG synthesis during polar growth. IMPORTANCE Bacterial growth and division are extensively studied in model systems ( Escherichia coli , Bacillus subtilis , and Caulobacter crescentus ) that grow by dispersed insertion of new cell wall material along the length of the cell. An alternative growth mode—polar growth—is used by some Actinomycetales and Proteobacteria species. The latter phylum includes the family Rhizobiaceae , in which many species, including Agrobacterium tumefaciens , exhibit polar growth. Current research aims to identify growth pole (GP) factors. The Agrobacterium growth pole ring (GPR) protein is essential for polar growth and forms a striking hexameric ring structure at the GP. GPR is long (2,115 amino acids), and little is known about regions essential for structure or function. Genetic analyses demonstrate that the C terminus of GPR, and two internal regions with homology to human apolipoproteins (that sequester lipids), are essential for GPR function and localization to the GP. We hypothesize that GPR is an organizing center for membrane and cell wall synthesis during polar growth. 
    more » « less