Bio: Beatriz Lara is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topics: Epsilon antitoxin. The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 1 publications receiving 65 citations.
Topics: Epsilon antitoxin
TL;DR: In vivo studies reveal a short halflife of the antitoxin and a long lifetime of the ζ toxin and when transcriptiontranslation of a plasmid containing the and ζ genes was inhibited, cell death was observed after a short lag phase that correlates with the disappearance of the protein from the background.
Abstract: Streptococcus pyogenes pSM19035-encoded epsilon (10.7 kDa) and zeta (32.4 kDa) proteins are necessary to secure stable plasmid inheritance in bacteria, with zeta acting as toxin that kills plasmid-deprived cells and epsilon as an antitoxin that neutralises the activity of zeta. The epsilon and zeta proteins co-purify as a stable complex that, according to analytical ultracentrifugation and gel filtration, exists as epsilon2zeta2 heterotetramer in solution. Co-crystals of the epsilon2zeta2 complex contain epsilon and zeta in 1:1 molar ratio. Unfolding studies monitoring circular dichroic and fluorescence changes show that the zeta protein has a significantly lower thermodynamic stability than the epsilon protein both in free state and in the complex. Proteolytic studies indicate that zeta protein is more stable in the epsilon2zeta2 complex than in the free state. In vivo studies reveal a short half-life of the epsilon antitoxin (-18 min) and a long lifetime of the zeta toxin (>60 min). When transcription-translation of a plasmid containing the epsilon and zeta genes was inhibited, cell death was observed after a short lag phase that correlates with the disappearance of the epsilon protein from the background.
TL;DR: Evidence now indicates that toxin–antitoxin loci provide a control mechanism that helps free-living prokaryotes cope with nutritional stress.
Abstract: Although toxin-antitoxin gene cassettes were first found in plasmids, recent database mining has shown that these loci are abundant in free-living prokaryotes, including many pathogenic bacteria. For example, Mycobacterium tuberculosis has 38 chromosomal toxin-antitoxin loci, including 3 relBE and 9 mazEF loci. RelE and MazF are toxins that cleave mRNA in response to nutritional stress. RelE cleaves mRNAs that are positioned at the ribosomal A-site, between the second and third nucleotides of the A-site codon. It has been proposed that toxin-antitoxin loci function in bacterial programmed cell death, but evidence now indicates that these loci provide a control mechanism that helps free-living prokaryotes cope with nutritional stress.
TL;DR: The dissection of the interaction of the toxins with intracellular targets and the elucidation of the tertiary structures of toxin-antitoxin complexes have provided exciting insights into toxin-antsitoxin behavior.
Abstract: Antibiotic resistance, virulence, and other plasmids in bacteria use toxin-antitoxin gene pairs to ensure their persistence during host replication. The toxin-antitoxin system eliminates plasmid-free cells that emerge as a result of segregation or replication defects and contributes to intra- and interspecies plasmid dissemination. Chromosomal homologs of toxin-antitoxin genes are widely distributed in pathogenic and other bacteria and induce reversible cell cycle arrest or programmed cell death in response to starvation or other adverse conditions. The dissection of the interaction of the toxins with intracellular targets and the elucidation of the tertiary structures of toxin-antitoxin complexes have provided exciting insights into toxin-antitoxin behavior.
TL;DR: Toxin–antitoxin systems are small genetic elements composed of a toxin gene and its cognate antitoxin and their potential to combat viral infection may aid in controlling infectious diseases.
Abstract: Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are small genetic elements composed of a toxin gene and its cognate antitoxin. The toxins of all known TA systems are proteins while the antitoxins are either proteins or non-coding RNAs. Based on the molecular nature of the antitoxin and its mode of interaction with the toxin the TA modules are currently grouped into five classes. In general, the toxin is more stable than the antitoxin but the latter is expressed to a higher level. If supply of the antitoxin stops, for instance under special growth conditions or by plasmid loss in case of plasmid encoded TA systems, the antitoxin is rapidly degraded and can no longer counteract the toxin. Consequently, the toxin becomes activated and can act on its cellular targets. Typically, TA toxins act on crucial cellular processes including translation, replication, cytoskeleton formation, membrane integrity, and cell wall biosynthesis. TA systems and their components are also versatile tools for a multitude of purposes in basic research and biotechnology. Currently, TA systems are frequently used for selection in cloning and for single protein expression in living bacterial cells. Since several TA toxins exhibit activity in yeast and mammalian cells they may be useful for applications in eukaryotic systems. TA modules are also considered as promising targets for the development of antibacterial drugs and their potential to combat viral infection may aid in controlling infectious diseases.
TL;DR: TAs also play important roles in bacterial persistence, biofilm formation and multidrug tolerance, and have considerable potential both as new components of the genetic toolbox and as targets for novel antibacterial drugs.
Abstract: Genes for toxin-antitoxin (TA) complexes are widespread in prokaryote genomes, and species frequently possess tens of plasmid and chromosomal TA loci. The complexes are categorized into three types based on genetic organization and mode of action. The toxins universally are proteins directed against specific intracellular targets, whereas the antitoxins are either proteins or small RNAs that neutralize the toxin or inhibit toxin synthesis. Within the three types of complex, there has been extensive evolutionary shuffling of toxin and antitoxin genes leading to considerable diversity in TA combinations. The intracellular targets of the protein toxins similarly are varied. Numerous toxins, many of which are sequence-specific endoribonucleases, dampen protein synthesis levels in response to a range of stress and nutritional stimuli. Key resources are conserved as a result ensuring the survival of individual cells and therefore the bacterial population. The toxin effects generally are transient and reversible permitting a set of dynamic, tunable responses that reflect environmental conditions. Moreover, by harboring multiple toxins that intercede in protein synthesis in response to different physiological cues, bacteria potentially sense an assortment of metabolic perturbations that are channeled through different TA complexes. Other toxins interfere with the action of topoisomersases, cell wall assembly, or cytoskeletal structures. TAs also play important roles in bacterial persistence, biofilm formation and multidrug tolerance, and have considerable potential both as new components of the genetic toolbox and as targets for novel antibacterial drugs.
TL;DR: It is demonstrated in vitro that zeta toxins in general phosphorylate the ubiquitous peptidoglycan precursor uridine diphosphate-N-acetylglucosamine (UNAG) and that this activity is counteracted by binding of antitoxin, the first crystal structure of a zeta toxin bound to its substrate.
Abstract: Most genomes of bacteria contain toxin–antitoxin (TA) systems. These gene systems encode a toxic protein and its cognate antitoxin. Upon antitoxin degradation, the toxin induces cell stasis or death. TA systems have been linked with numerous functions, including growth modulation, genome maintenance, and stress response. Members of the epsilon/zeta TA family are found throughout the genomes of pathogenic bacteria and were shown not only to stabilize resistance plasmids but also to promote virulence. The broad distribution of epsilon/zeta systems implies that zeta toxins utilize a ubiquitous bacteriotoxic mechanism. However, whereas all other TA families known to date poison macromolecules involved in translation or replication, the target of zeta toxins remained inscrutable. We used in vivo techniques such as microscropy and permeability assays to show that pneumococcal zeta toxin PezT impairs cell wall synthesis and triggers autolysis in Escherichia coli. Subsequently, we demonstrated in vitro that zeta toxins in general phosphorylate the ubiquitous peptidoglycan precursor uridine diphosphate-N-acetylglucosamine (UNAG) and that this activity is counteracted by binding of antitoxin. After identification of the product we verified the kinase activity in vivo by analyzing metabolite extracts of cells poisoned by PezT using high pressure liquid chromatograpy (HPLC). We further show that phosphorylated UNAG inhibitis MurA, the enzyme catalyzing the initial step in bacterial peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Additionally, we provide what is to our knowledge the first crystal structure of a zeta toxin bound to its substrate. We show that zeta toxins are novel kinases that poison bacteria through global inhibition of peptidoglycan synthesis. This provides a fundamental understanding of how epsilon/zeta TA systems stabilize mobile genetic elements. Additionally, our results imply a mechanism that connects activity of zeta toxin PezT to virulence of pneumococcal infections. Finally, we discuss how phosphorylated UNAG likely poisons additional pathways of bacterial cell wall synthesis, making it an attractive lead compound for development of new antibiotics.