Analysis and Molecular Characterization of an Unusual Copper Inducible Homeostasis Mechanism in Pseudomonas putida KT2440
Committee ChairRensing, Christopher
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this research was to identify and characterize novel molecular mechanisms in copper homeostasis. Pseudomonas putida KT2440 is a soil bacterium studied for its potential use in bioremediation of soils contaminated with aromatic organic contaminants. The cinAQ operon was analyzed. cinAQ is transcribed in presence of copper. The product of cinA is a periplasmic azurin-like protein with a methionine and histidine rich region, characterized by a high redox potential (456 ±4 mV). CinQ was shown to be a pyridine nucleotide-dependent nitrile oxidoreductase that catalyzes the reduction of preQ₀ to preQ₁, the first committed step in the biosynthetic pathway leading to the production of the unusual nucleotide queuosine. Gene disruption of cinQ in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 and in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 did not result in a significant increase in copper sensitivity on disk assays. Furthermore, a P. putida KT2440 cinA mutant also did not present a greater sensitivity to copper on disk assays while cinA mutants in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 presented increased toxicity to copper compared to the wild-type. CinA is by sequence similarity proposed to be an electron shuttle, and was shown to be upregulated in the presence of copper. Increasing CinA levels in the periplasm after copper stress may represent a mechanism used to regenerate the multicopper oxidase CopA (involved in Cu(I) to Cu(II) oxidation). Alternatively, CinA could act as an electron shuttle that takes part in an alternative electron transport chain once redox active copper is available, or it could represent a periplasmic copper chaperon. CinQ is involved in the biosynthesis of the rare hyper-modified nucleotide queuosine, found in the wobble position of several tRNAs, and required to avoid the readthrough of the stop codon UAG. Transcription of cinAQ was shown to be under the control of the two component system CinR-CinS. CinS is a histidine kinase, with a sensor domain located in the periplasm. CinR is the cognate response regulator that activates transcription of genes upon phosphorylation from CinS. The CinR-CinS two component system was shown to be responsive to 0.5 LM copper. CinS displayed very high metal specificity and elicited a response only in the presence of copper and silver, but not other metals. Modeling of the CinS protein structure, performed using Swiss Model and using the periplasmic sensor DcuS from Escherichia coli as a template, identified a potential copper binding site, containing H37 and H147. Sequence alignment of copper sensing histidine kinases further identified other conserved residues in the periplasmic domain. Site-Directed Mutagenesis was used to generate CinS mutants that were tested for their ability to activate the cinAQ promoter in presence of Cu. When challenged with copper CinS mutant H37R and H147R had an almost 10 fold reduction in copper sensitivity compared to the wild-type, indicating a possible role in Cu coordination. Other CinS mutants responded similarly to the wild-type in the presence of 10 μM of Cu.
Degree ProgramSoil, Water & Environmental Science