Lourenço, Marta; Ramiro, Ricardo S; Güleresi, Daniela; Barroso-Batista, João; Xavier, Karina B; Gordo, Isabel; Sousa, Ana
The relative role of drift versus selection underlying the evolution of bacterial species within the gut microbiota remains poorly understood. The large sizes of bacterial populations in this environment suggest that even adaptive mutations with weak effects, thought to be the most frequently occurring, could substantially contribute to a rapid pace of evolutionary change in the gut. We followed the emergence of intra-species diversity in a commensal Escherichia coli strain that previously acquired an adaptive mutation with strong effect during one week of colonization of the mouse gut. Following this first step, which consisted of inactivating a metabolic operon, one...
Valente, Rita S.; Xavier, Karina B.
Pectobacterium wasabiae (previously known as Erwinia carotovora) is an important plant pathogen that regulates the production of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes through an N-acyl homoserine lactone-based quorum sensing system and through the GacS/GacA two-component system (also known as ExpS/ExpA). At high cell density, activation of GacS/GacA induces the expression of RsmB, a noncoding RNA that is essential for the activation of virulence in this bacterium. A genetic screen to identify regulators of RsmB revealed that mutants defective in components of a putative Trk potassium transporter (trkH and trkA) had decreased rsmB expression. Further analysis of these mutants showed that changes...
Nadal Jimenez, P.; Koch, G.; Thompson, J. A.; Xavier, K. B.; Cool, R. H.; Quax, W. J.
Cell-to-cell communication is a major process that allows bacteria to sense and coordinately react to the fluctuating conditions of the surrounding environment. In several pathogens, this process triggers the production of virulence factors and/or a switch in bacterial lifestyle that is a major determining factor in the outcome and severity of the infection. Understanding how bacteria control these signaling systems is crucial to the development of novel antimicrobial agents capable of reducing virulence while allowing the immune system of the host to clear bacterial infection, an approach likely to reduce the selective pressures for development of resistance. We provide here...
Trindade, S.; Sousa, A.; Xavier, KB.; Dionisio, F.; Ferreira, MG.; Gordo, I.
The evolution of multiple antibiotic resistance is an increasing global problem. Resistance mutations are known to impair fitness, and the evolution of resistance to multiple drugs depends both on their costs individually and on how they interact-epistasis. Information on the level of epistasis between antibiotic resistance mutations is of key importance to understanding epistasis amongst deleterious alleles, a key theoretical question, and to improving public health measures. Here we show that in an antibiotic-free environment the cost of multiple resistance is smaller than expected, a signature of pervasive positive epistasis among alleles that confer resistance to antibiotics. Competition assays reveal...
Diaz, Z.; Xavier, KB.; Miller, ST.
Many bacteria produce and respond to the quorum sensing signal autoinducer-2 (AI-2). Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium are among the species with the lsr operon, an operon containing AI-2 transport and processing genes that are up regulated in response to AI-2. One of the Lsr proteins, LsrF, has been implicated in processing the phosphorylated form of AI-2. Here, we present the structure of LsrF, unliganded and in complex with two phospho-AI-2 analogues, ribose-5-phosphate and ribulose-5-phosphate. The crystal structure shows that LsrF is a decamer of (alpha beta)(8)-barrels that exhibit a previously unseen N-terminal domain swap and have high structural homology...