Date of Presentation

5-2-2019 12:00 AM

College

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

Poster Abstract

Recently, Ne-lysine acetylation was realized to be a prevalent bacterial post-translational modification (PTM), contrary to the historical notion that this was a rare occurrence. Acetylation can impact protein function in multiple ways, by modifying conformation, interactions, subcellular localization or activity. In bacteria, hundreds of proteins are known to be acetylated, including those involved essential processes such as DNA replication, nucleoid organization, translation, cell shape, central carbon metabolism, and even several virulence factors. Despite the growing recognition that numerous proteins are acetylated, the biological significance of the vast majority of these modifications in any bacteria remains largely unknown. Previously, we characterized the Bacillus subtilis acetylome and found that the essential histone-like protein HBsu contains seven novel acetylation sites in vivo. HBsu is a bacterial nucleoid-associated protein, which is largely responsible for chromosome compaction and the coordination of DNA processes. Despite the lack of sequence or structural homology, it is generally considered to be a functional homolog of eukaryotic histones. We investigated whether acetylation is a regulatory component of the function of HBsu in nucleoid compaction. Using mutations that mimic the acetylated and unacetylated forms of the protein, we showed that the inability to acetylate key HBsu lysine residues results in a more compacted nucleoid. We further investigated the mechanism of HBsu acetylation. By screening knockouts of the ~50 putative Gcn5-N-acetyltransferase (GNAT)-domain encoding genes in B. subtilis for their effects on DNA compaction, five candidates were identified that may encode transacetylases acting on HBsu. Genetic bypass experiments demonstrated that two of these, YfmK and YdgE, can acetylate HBsu and their potential sites of action on HBsu were identified. Additionally, purified YfmK was able to directly acetylate HBsu in vitro,suggesting that it is the second identified protein acetyltransferase in B. subtilis. We propose that at least one physiological function of the acetylation of HBsu at key lysine residues is to regulate nucleoid compaction, analogously to the role of histone acetylation in eukaryotes. With the alarming rise in antibiotic resistance, the need to develop novel therapeutics is critical. Bacterial protein acetylation represents a world of untapped potential that may uncover new drug targets to replace or supplement our antiquated antibiotic arsenal. With proper study, the enzymes involved in regulation (i.e. acetylases and deacetylases) or the acetylated form of a key protein (i.e. virulence factors, essential genes, etc.) may provide valuable, druggable targets. The targeting of bacterial protein acetylation is a practical option, as targeting enzymes involved in acetylation regulation has been successful in treatment of certain cancers, latent viral and fungal infections.

Keywords

Ne-lysine, acetylation, protein function, Bacillus subtilis, HBsu

Disciplines

Cell Biology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Microbiology

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May 2nd, 12:00 AM

YfmK is a Novel Nε-lysine Acetyltransferase that Directly Acetylates the Histone-like Protein HBsu in Bacillus Subtilis

Recently, Ne-lysine acetylation was realized to be a prevalent bacterial post-translational modification (PTM), contrary to the historical notion that this was a rare occurrence. Acetylation can impact protein function in multiple ways, by modifying conformation, interactions, subcellular localization or activity. In bacteria, hundreds of proteins are known to be acetylated, including those involved essential processes such as DNA replication, nucleoid organization, translation, cell shape, central carbon metabolism, and even several virulence factors. Despite the growing recognition that numerous proteins are acetylated, the biological significance of the vast majority of these modifications in any bacteria remains largely unknown. Previously, we characterized the Bacillus subtilis acetylome and found that the essential histone-like protein HBsu contains seven novel acetylation sites in vivo. HBsu is a bacterial nucleoid-associated protein, which is largely responsible for chromosome compaction and the coordination of DNA processes. Despite the lack of sequence or structural homology, it is generally considered to be a functional homolog of eukaryotic histones. We investigated whether acetylation is a regulatory component of the function of HBsu in nucleoid compaction. Using mutations that mimic the acetylated and unacetylated forms of the protein, we showed that the inability to acetylate key HBsu lysine residues results in a more compacted nucleoid. We further investigated the mechanism of HBsu acetylation. By screening knockouts of the ~50 putative Gcn5-N-acetyltransferase (GNAT)-domain encoding genes in B. subtilis for their effects on DNA compaction, five candidates were identified that may encode transacetylases acting on HBsu. Genetic bypass experiments demonstrated that two of these, YfmK and YdgE, can acetylate HBsu and their potential sites of action on HBsu were identified. Additionally, purified YfmK was able to directly acetylate HBsu in vitro,suggesting that it is the second identified protein acetyltransferase in B. subtilis. We propose that at least one physiological function of the acetylation of HBsu at key lysine residues is to regulate nucleoid compaction, analogously to the role of histone acetylation in eukaryotes. With the alarming rise in antibiotic resistance, the need to develop novel therapeutics is critical. Bacterial protein acetylation represents a world of untapped potential that may uncover new drug targets to replace or supplement our antiquated antibiotic arsenal. With proper study, the enzymes involved in regulation (i.e. acetylases and deacetylases) or the acetylated form of a key protein (i.e. virulence factors, essential genes, etc.) may provide valuable, druggable targets. The targeting of bacterial protein acetylation is a practical option, as targeting enzymes involved in acetylation regulation has been successful in treatment of certain cancers, latent viral and fungal infections.

 

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