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0 Q&A 3072 Views Jan 20, 2021

Cyclic diguanylate monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a second messenger signaling molecule that drives the transition from planktonic to the biofilm mode of growth in many bacterial species. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has at least two surface sensing systems that produce c-di-GMP in response to surface attachment, the Wsp and Pil-Chp systems. We recently used a plasmid-based c-di-GMP reporter (pPcdrA::gfp) to describe how the Wsp system generates heterogeneity in surface sensing, resulting in two physiologically distinct subpopulations of cells during early biofilm formation. One subpopulation has elevated c-di-GMP and produces biofilm matrix, serving as the founders of initial microcolonies. The other subpopulation has low c-di-GMP and engages in surface motility, allowing for exploration of the surface. Here, we describe the protocol for a key experiment to confirm our initial observation of c-di-GMP heterogeneity during surface sensing: the use of flow-assisted cell sorting (FACS) to isolate subpopulations of cells with high and low c-di-GMP reporter activity, followed by quantitative Reverse Transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) of genes that are known to be transcriptionally regulated in response to cellular c-di-GMP levels (pelA, pslA). This protocol can be adapted by others to isolate subpopulations of high- and low- c-di-GMP P. aeruginosa cells that are genetically identical, but phenotypically distinct for future experiments examining specific mRNA transcripts as we did or, presumably, for additional applications like RNAseq, proteomics, or TNseq.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 2564 Views Jan 5, 2021

All living cells use cyclic nucleotides as second messengers for signal sensing and transduction. Cyclic di-3′,5′-adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) is primarily involved in the control of bacterial and euryarcheal osmoadaptation and is produced by diadenylate cyclases from two molecules of ATP. Specific phosphodiesterases hydrolyze c-di-AMP to the linear phosphoadenylate adenosine 5′-pApA or to AMP. Different methods including high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and ion exchange chromatography (IEX) can be used to determine activities of c-di-AMP-synthesizing and degrading enzymes. Here, we describe in detail the TLC and IEX methods adapted for characterization of the diadenylate cyclase DisA and the phosphodiesterase AtaC from Streptomyces venezuelae. TLC allows quick and easy separation of radioactive-labeled substrates and products, while IEX avoids utilization of potentially hazardous radioactive substrates and can be used as a good substitute if an HPLC system is not available. Unlike in TLC assays, samples cannot be analyzed in parallel by using the IEX assay, thus it is more time consuming.

0 Q&A 2911 Views Oct 20, 2020
Ascorbic acid (AsA) and gluthathione (GSH) are two key components of the antioxidant machinery of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. The cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 presents both compounds in different concentrations (AsA, 20-100 μM and GSH, 2-5 mM). Therefore, it is important to have precise and sensitive methods to determine the redox status in the cell and to detect variations in this antioxidants. In this protocol, we describe an improved method to estimate the content of both antioxidants (in their reduced and oxidized forms) from the same sample obtained from liquid cultures of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.
0 Q&A 6645 Views Mar 5, 2018
Cyclic di-guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a ubiquitous second messenger that regulates distinct aspects of bacterial physiology. It is synthesized by diguanylate cyclases (DGCs) and hydrolyzed by phosphodiesterases (PDEs). To date, the activities of DGC and PDE are commonly assessed by phenotypic assays, mass spectrometry analysis of intracellular c-di-GMP concentration, or riboswitch-based fluorescent biosensors. However, some of these methods require cutting-edge equipment, which might not be available in every laboratory. Here, we report a new simple, convenient and cost-effective system to assess the function of DGCs and PDEs in E. coli. This system utilizes the high specificity of a riboswitch to c-di-GMP and its ability to regulate the expression of a downstream β-galactosidase reporter gene in response to c-di-GMP concentrations. In this protocol, we delineate the construction of this system and its use to assess the activity of DGC and PDE enzymes.
0 Q&A 7806 Views Jul 5, 2017
The cell-to-cell communication and division of labour that occurs inside a beneficial biofilm produce significant differences in gene expression compared with the gene expression pattern of cells grew under planktonic conditions. In this sense, the levels of NO (nitric oxide) and CSF (Competence Sporulation Stimulating Factor) produced in Bacillus subtilis cultures have been measured only under planktonic growth conditions. We sought to determine whether NO and/or CSF production is affected in B. subtilis cells that develop as a biofilm. To measure the production levels of the two prolongevity molecules, we grew B. subtilis cells under planktonic and biofilm supporting condition.
0 Q&A 7659 Views Jul 20, 2016
Mycobacterial genomes encode a plethora of genes that are involved in the synthesis, utilization and degradation of cAMP. The genome of M. tuberculosis H37Rv, for example, encodes 16 adenylyl cyclases and 10 genes harbouring the cyclic nucleotide-binding (CNB) domain (Shenoy and Visweswariah, 2006). Cyclic AMP is efficiently secreted by mycobacteria, and cytosolic as well as extracellular levels of cAMP can reach hundreds of micromolar. We have recently reported that an abundantly expressed universal stress protein (USP; Rv1636 in M. tuberculosis H37Rv and MSMEG_3811 in M. smegmatis, respectively) binds cAMP (Banerjee et al., 2015). Given the number of cAMP-binding proteins present in mycobacteria, it is expected that a significant fraction of intracellular cAMP may be bound to protein. The methods typically employed to measure cAMP are radioimmunoassay (RIA) and ELISA. However, these procedures include prior acidification of samples that would dissociate cAMP ‘bound’ to protein, and therefore represent the ‘total’ cAMP present in the sample. In this protocol, we describe a method to separate the fraction of cAMP ‘bound’ to protein from what is ‘free’ or not associated with protein. This is performed by subjecting the cytosolic fraction or the culture supernatant to filtration through a membrane with a 3 kDa cut-off. Only ‘free’ cAMP is able to pass through the membrane. Therefore, cAMP concentrations in the filtrate represent the ‘free’ cAMP in the sample. Cyclic AMP levels in the original cytosolic fraction or the culture supernatant represent the ‘total’ cAMP concentration. Subtracting the ‘free’ from the ‘total’ provides the amount of cAMP bound to protein.
0 Q&A 8292 Views Jul 20, 2016
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a highly-reactive radical gas that can modify a variety of cellular targets in both eukaryotes and bacteria. NO is produced endogenously by a wide variety of organisms: For example, as a cell-signaling molecule in mammals and bacteria via nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzymes, and as a product of denitrification. As such, it is of great benefit to NO researchers to be able to sensitively detect intracellular NO and stable reactive nitrogen species (RNS) derived from NO. To this end, a protocol for fluorescent detection of intracellular NO/RNS in biofilm cultures of the Gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus has been optimized using the commercially-available cell-permeable fluorescent stain 4-Amino-5-Methylamino-2’,7’-Difluorofluorescein Diacetate (DAF-FM diacetate). This compound diffuses into cells and intracellular cleavage by esterase enzymes liberates weakly-fluorescent DAF-FM, which reacts with NO or other specific RNS to become highly fluorescent (Kojima et al., 1999). Although quantification of fluorescence is performed using a fluorescent plate reader, it is envisioned that this protocol could be adapted for intracellular NO/RNS imaging of S. aureus biofilms by confocal microscopy. Likewise, this technique could be optimized for the detection of intracellular NO/RNS in other growth conditions (i.e., planktonic cultures) and/or in other bacteria/archaea.
0 Q&A 11804 Views Apr 20, 2016
Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is a ubiquitous secondary signaling molecule, commonly associated with many bacterial processes, including the regulation of virulence factors, such as biofilms, pellicles and motility (Wolfgang, 2003). The quantity of available cAMP is controlled by the interplay between the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to cAMP by adenylyl cyclases, and the degradation of cAMP by phosphodiesterase (McDonough et al., 2012). Adequate quantification of cAMP levels within a bacterial cell is an important step in identifying the impact that secondary signaling molecules play on the regulatory pathway within the cell. The principle of this method is to measure total cAMP levels within a bacterial cell, using crude bacterial whole cell lysate. The Cyclic AMP XPTM Assay kit used in this protocol was originally designed to be used for determining the level of cAMP in eukaryotic cells, however, the antibodies used in coating the wells will react with cAMP from any species and thus can be used for determining levels in bacterial cells. The measurement of cAMP in prokaryotic cells described here is a simple and cost effective method of producing quantifiable results.
0 Q&A 10617 Views Feb 5, 2015
Cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) is a ubiquitous second messenger that regulates many processes in bacteria including biofilm formation, motility, and virulence (Hengge, 2009). Analysis of c-di-GMP binding properties of bacterial proteins is an important step to characterize c-di-GMP signaling pathways. C-di-GMP binds numerous proteins such as transcription factors, enzymes, and multimeric protein complexes (Hickman and Harwood, 2008, Ryjenkov et al., 2006, Weinhouse et al., 1997). The c-di-GMP binding assay described here is a relatively simple and cost effective method to characterize c-di-GMP binding to a protein using [32P]-labeled c-di-GMP. Radiolabeled c-di-GMP is readily synthesized with a purified GGDEF enzyme [such as WspR from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa)] and [32P]-GTP (Srivastava et al., 2013). After incubation of the labeled c-di-GMP with the protein of interest in solution, the resulting mixture is filtered through a nitrocellulose protein binding membrane. The amount of labeled c-di-GMP that is retained on the membrane indicates the interaction between the signal and protein. The specificity of c-di-GMP binding can be tested by competing with unlabeled c-di-GMP or other nucleotides such as GTP in the reaction. By examining binding of a fixed protein concentration to increasing concentrations of c-di-GMP, this method is able to determine the dissociation constant of c-di-GMP-protein interaction.

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