Bacilli are ubiquitous low G+C environmental Gram-positive bacteria that produce a wide assortment of specialized small molecules. Although their natural product biosynthetic potential is high, robust molecular tools to support the heterologous expression of large biosynthetic gene clusters in Bacillus hosts are rare. Herein we adapt transformation-associated recombination (TAR) in yeast to design a single genomic capture and expression vector for antibiotic production in Bacillus subtilis. After validating this direct cloning plug-and-playa approach with surfactin, we genetically interrogated amicoumacin biosynthetic gene cluster from the marine isolate Bacillus subtilis 1779. Its heterologous expression allowed us to explore an unusual maturation process involving the N-acyl-asparagine pro-drug intermediates preamicoumacins, which are hydrolyzed by the asparagine-specific peptidase into the active component amicoumacin A. This work represents the first direct cloning based heterologous expression of natural products in the model organism B. subtilis and paves the way to the development of future genome mining efforts in this genus.
Marine organisms in intertidal zones are subjected to periodical fluctuations and wave activities. To understand how microbes in intertidal biofilms adapt to the stresses, the microbial metagenomes of biofilms from intertidal and subtidal zones were compared. The genes responsible for resistance to metal ion and oxidative stresses were enriched in both 6-day and 12-day intertidal biofilms, including genes associated with secondary metabolism, inorganic ion transport and metabolism, signal transduction and extracellular polymeric substance metabolism. In addition, these genes were more enriched in 12-day than 6-day intertidal biofilms. We hypothesize that a complex signaling network is used for stress tolerance and propose a model illustrating the relationships between these functions and environmental metal ion concentrations and oxidative stresses. These findings show that bacteria use diverse mechanisms to adapt to intertidal zones and indicate that the community structures of intertidal biofilms are modulated by metal ion and oxidative stresses.
Thalassospiramides comprise a large family of lipopeptide natural products produced by Thalassospira and Tistrella marine bacteria. Here we provide further evidence of their nanomolar inhibitory activity against the human calpain 1 protease. Analysis of structure-activity relationship data supported our hypothesis that the rigid 12-membered ring containing an α,β-unsaturated carbonyl moiety is the pharmacologically active functional group, in contrast to classic electrophilic "warheads" in known calpain inhibitors. Using a combination of chemical modifications, mass spectrometric techniques, site-directed mutagenesis, and molecular modeling, we show the covalent binding of thalassospiramide's α,β-unsaturated carbonyl moiety to the thiol group of calpain's catalytic Cys115 residue by a Michael 1,4-addition reaction. As nanomolar calpain inhibitors with promising selectivity and low toxicity from natural sources are rare, we consider thalassospiramides as promising drug leads.
Kim, Jin Young; Adinolfi, Valerio; Sutherland, Brandon R; Voznyy, Oleksandr; Kwon, S Joon; Kim, Tae Wu; Kim, Jeongho; Ihee, Hyotcherl; Kemp, Kyle; Adachi, Michael; Yuan, Mingjian; Kramer, Illan J.; Zhitomirsky, David; Hoogland, Sjoerd; Sargent, Edward H.(Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2015-07-13)[Article]
Centrifugal casting of composites and ceramics has been widely employed to improve the mechanical and thermal properties of functional materials. This powerful method has yet to be deployed in the context of nanoparticles--yet size-effect tuning of quantum dots is among their most distinctive and application-relevant features. Here we report the first gradient nanoparticle films to be constructed in a single step. By creating a stable colloid of nanoparticles that are capped with electronic-conduction-compatible ligands we were able to leverage centrifugal casting for thin-films devices. This new method, termed centrifugal colloidal casting, is demonstrated to form films in a bandgap-ordered manner with efficient carrier funnelling towards the lowest energy layer. We constructed the first quantum-gradient photodiode to be formed in a single deposition step and, as a result of the gradient-enhanced electric field, experimentally measured the highest normalized detectivity of any colloidal quantum dot photodetector.
Methylation of DNA CpG sites is a major mechanism of epigenetic gene silencing and plays important roles in cell division, development and carcinogenesis. One of its regulators is the 64-residue C-terminal Transcriptional Repressor Domain (the TRD) of MBD1, which recruits several repressor proteins such as MCAF1, HDAC3 and MPG that are essential for the gene silencing. Using NMR spectroscopy, we have characterized the solution structure of the C-terminus of MBD1 (MBD1-c, residues D507 to Q605), which included the TRD (A529 to P592). Surprisingly, the MBD1-c is intrinsically disordered. Despite its lack of a tertiary folding, MBD1-c could still bind to different partner proteins in a selective manner. MPG and MCAF1Δ8 showed binding to both the N-terminal and C-terminal residues of MBD1-c but HDAC3 preferably bound to the C-terminal region. This study reveals how MBD1-c discriminates different binding partners, and thus, expands our understanding of the mechanisms of gene regulation by MBD1.
The carbonized PAF-1 derivatives formed by high-temperature KOH activation showed a unique bimodal microporous structure located at 0.6 nm and 1.2 nm and high surface area. These robust micropores were confirmed by nitrogen sorption experiment and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen sorption experiments indicated that these novel porous carbon materials have significant gas sorption abilities in both low-pressure and high-pressure environments. Moreover the methane storage ability of K-PAF-1-750 is among the best at 35 bars, and its low-pressure gas adsorption abilities are also comparable to the best porous materials in the world. Combined with excellent physicochemical stability, these materials are very promising for industrial applications such as carbon dioxide capture and high-density clean energy storage.
The Red Sea Atlantis II brine pool is an extreme environment that displays multiple harsh conditions such as high temperature, high salinity and high concentrations of multiple, toxic heavy metals. The survival of microbes in such an environment by utilizing resistant enzymes makes them an excellent source of extremophilic enzymes. We constructed a fosmid metagenomic library using DNA isolated from the deepest and most secluded layer of this pool. We report the isolation and biochemical characterization of an unusual esterase: EstATII. EstATII is thermophilic (optimum temperature, 65 C), halotolerant (maintains its activity in up to 4.5â€...M NaCl) and maintains at least 60% of its activity in the presence of a wide spectrum of heavy metals. The combination of biochemical characteristics of the Red Sea Atlantis II brine pool esterase, i.e., halotolerance, thermophilicity and resistance to heavy metals, makes it a potentially useful biocatalyst.
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