Applying molecular and phenotypic screening assays to identify efficient quorum quenching lactonases
Quorum sensing (QS) is a molecular communication system used by microorganisms to adopt behaviors in a cell density-dependent manner. Lactonase enzymes, able to hydrolyze the signal molecules acyl-homoserine lactones (AHL) can counteract QS-mediated virulence in Gram-negative bacteria. Optimizing lactonases activity or specificity for AHL through enzyme engineering approaches is thus highly attractive to increase protective effect. However, only a limited number of screening methods have been developed to handle and evaluate AHL-degrading enzyme libraries. Here, a series of screening procedures were developed to identify improved lactonases using two previously reported enzymes as benchmarks, namely SsoPox and GcL. Specifically, molecular screenings using six different AHL and based on two reporter strains; i.e., Chromobacterium violaceum CV026 and Pseudomonas putida KS35, are reported. In addition, three phenotype-based screenings aiming to evaluate the ability of enzymes to quench a
Enzymatic Decontamination of G-Type, V-Type and Novichok Nerve Agents
Organophosphorus nerve agents (OPNAs) are highly toxic compounds inhibiting cholinergic enzymes in the central and autonomic nervous systems and neuromuscular junctions, causing severe intoxications in humans. Medical countermeasures and efficient decontamination solutions are needed to counteract the toxicity of a wide spectrum of harmful OPNAs including G, V and Novichok agents. Here, we describe the use of engineered OPNA-degrading enzymes for the degradation of various toxic agents including insecticides, a series of OPNA surrogates, as well as real chemical warfare agents (cyclosarin, sarin, soman, tabun, VX, A230, A232, A234). We demonstrate that only two enzymes can degrade most of these molecules at high concentrations (25 mM) in less than 5 minutes. Using surface assays adapted from NATO AEP-65 guidelines, we further show that enzyme-based solutions can decontaminate 97.6% and 99.4% of 10 g∙m−² of soman- and VX-contaminated surfaces, respectively. Finally, we demonstrate
Disrupting quorum sensing alters social interactions in Chromobacterium violaceum
Quorum sensing (QS) is a communication system used by bacteria to coordinate a wide panel of biological functions in a cell density-dependent manner. The Gram-negative Chromobacterium violaceum has previously been shown to use an acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL)-based QS to regulate various behaviors, including the production of proteases, hydrogen cyanide, or antimicrobial compounds such as violacein. By using combined metabolomic and proteomic approaches, we demonstrated that QS modulates the production of antimicrobial and toxic compounds in C. violaceum ATCC 12472. We provided the first evidence of anisomycin antibiotic production by this strain as well as evidence of its regulation by QS and identified new AHLs produced by C. violaceum ATCC 12472. Furthermore, we demonstrated that targeting AHLs with lactonase leads to major QS disruption yielding significant molecular and phenotypic changes. These modifications resulted in drastic changes in social interactions between C. violaceum
Engineering acyl-homoserine lactone-interfering enzymes toward bacterial control
Enzymes able to degrade or modify acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) have drawn considerable interest for their ability to interfere with the bacterial communication process referred to as quorum sensing. Many proteobacteria use AHL to coordinate virulence and biofilm formation in a cell density–dependent manner; thus, AHL-interfering enzymes constitute new promising antimicrobial candidates. Among these, lactonases and acylases have been particularly studied. These enzymes have been isolated from various bacterial, archaeal, or eukaryotic organisms and have been evaluated for their ability to control several pathogens. Engineering studies on these enzymes were carried out and successfully modulated their capacity to interact with specific AHL, increase their catalytic activity and stability, or enhance their biotechnological potential. In this review, special attention is paid to the screening, engineering, and applications of AHL-modifying enzymes. Prospects and future opportunities a
Lactonase Specificity Is Key to Quorum Quenching in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
The human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa orchestrates the expression of many genes in a cell density-dependent manner by using quorum sensing (QS). Two acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) are involved in QS circuits and contribute to the regulation of virulence factors production, biofilm formation, and antimicrobial sensitivity. Disrupting QS, a strategy referred to as quorum quenching (QQ) can be achieved using exogenous AHL-degrading lactonases. However, the importance of enzyme specificity on quenching efficacy has been poorly investigated. Here, we used two lactonases both targeting the signal molecules N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C12 HSL) and butyryl-homoserine lactone (C4 HSL) albeit with different efficacies on C4 HSL. Interestingly, both lactonases similarly decreased AHL concentrations and comparably impacted the expression of AHL-based QS genes. However, strong variations were observed in Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) regulation depending
Steady-State Kinetics of Enzyme-Catalyzed Hydrolysis of Echothiophate, a P–S Bonded Organophosphorus as Monitored by Spectrofluorimetry
Enzyme-catalyzed hydrolysis of echothiophate, a P–S bonded organophosphorus (OP) model, was spectrofluorimetrically monitored, using Calbiochem Probe IV as the thiol reagent. OP hydrolases were: the G117H mutant of human butyrylcholinesterase capable of hydrolyzing OPs, and a multiple mutant of Brevundimonas diminuta phosphotriesterase, GG1, designed to hydrolyze a large spectrum of OPs at high rate, including V agents. Molecular modeling of interaction between Probe IV and OP hydrolases (G117H butyrylcholinesterase, GG1, wild types of Brevundimonas diminuta and Sulfolobus solfataricus phosphotriesterases, and human paraoxonase-1) was performed. The high sensitivity of the method allowed steady-state kinetic analysis of echothiophate hydrolysis by highly purified G117H butyrylcholinesterase concentration as low as 0.85 nM. Hydrolysis was michaelian with Km = 0.20 ± 0.03 mM and kcat = 5.4 ± 1.6 min−1. The GG1 phosphotriesterase hydrolyzed echothiophate with a high efficiency (Km =
Enzymatic decontamination of paraoxon-ethyl limits long-term effects in planarians
Organophosphorus compounds (OP) are highly toxic molecules used as insecticides that inhibit cholinesterase enzymes involved in neuronal transmission. The intensive use of OP for vector control and agriculture has led to environmental pollutions responsible for severe intoxications and putative long-term effects on humans and wild animals. Many in vivo models were studied over the years to assess OP acute toxicity, but the long-term effects are poorly documented. Planarian, a freshwater flatworm having a cholinergic system, has emerged as a new original model for addressing both toxicity and developmental perturbations. We used Schmidtea mediterranea planarians to evaluate long-term effects of paraoxon-ethyl at two sublethal concentrations over three generations. Toxicity, developmental perturbations and disruption of behavior were rapidly observed and higher sensitivity to paraoxon-ethyl of next generations was noticed suggesting that low insecticide doses can induce transgenerational
Quorum Quenching Lactonase Strenghtens Bacteriophage and Antibiotic Arsenal Against Pseudomonas aeruginosa Clinical Isolates
Many bacteria use quorum sensing (QS), a bacterial communication system based on the diffusion and perception of small signaling molecules, to synchronize their behavior in a cell-density dependent manner. QS regulates the expression of many genes associated with virulence factor production and biofilm formation. This latter is known to be involved in antibiotic and phage resistance mechanisms. Therefore, disrupting QS, a strategy known as quorum quenching (QQ), appears to be an interesting way to reduce bacterial virulence and increase antibiotic and phage treatment efficiency. In this study, the ability of the QQ enzyme SsoPox-W263I, a lactonase able to degrade acyl-homoserine lactones, was investigated for quenching both virulence and biofilm formation in clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from diabetic foot ulcers, as well as in the PA14 model strain. These strains were further evolved to resist to bacteriophage cocktails. Overall, 10 antibiotics or bacteriophage resistant
Planarian, an emerging animal model for toxicology studies
Since a few decades, a new invertebrate animal model has emerged in toxicology studies: the planarian. This non-parasitic flatworm, from phylum Platyhelminthes, has an amazing regenerative capacity and has been described as “immortal under the edge of the knife” in 1814 by Dalyell. This formidable capacity is due to the abundance of stem cells called neoblasts, allowing for a tiny fragment equivalent to 1/279th of the size of the planarian to generate a whole animal. The planarian has also a human-like nervous system with several neurotransmitters and has been used to evaluate developmental perturbations and neurotoxicity. This review summarizes the main planarian toxicology studies and highlights the potential of this original animal model for research.
Lactonase SsoPox modulates CRISPR-Cas expression in Gram-negative proteobacteria using AHL-based Quorum Sensing systems
Quorum sensing (QS) is a molecular communication system that bacteria use to harmonize the regulation of genes in a cell density-dependent manner. In proteobacteria, QS is involved, among others, in virulence, biofilm formation or CRISPR-Cas gene regulation. Here, we report for the first time the effect of a QS-interfering enzyme to alter the regulation of CRISPR-Cas systems in model and clinical strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as in the marine bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum CV12472. The expression of CRISPR-Cas genes decreased in most cases suggesting that enzymatic disruption of QS is promising for modulating phage-bacteria interactions.
Organophosphorus poisoning: Towards enzymatic treatments
Organophosphorus compounds (OP) are toxic molecules developed as insecticides and chemical warfare nerve agents (CWNAs). Most OP are neurotoxic and act as nervous system disruptors by blocking cholinergic transmission. They are therefore responsible for many poisonings worldwide. OP toxicity may result either from acute or chronic exposure, and their poisoning effect were evaluated using several animal models. These latter were also used for evaluating the efficacy of antidotes. Strategies based on enzymes that can trap (stoichiometric bioscavengers) or degrade (catalytic bioscavengers) OP, were particularly studied since they allow effective decontamination, without toxicity or environmental impact. This review summarizes the results obtained in vivo with enzymes through three levels: prophylaxis, treatment and external decontamination. The efficiency of enzymatic treatments in different animal models is presented and the relevance of these models is also discussed for a better extrap
Evaluation of a robust engineered enzyme towards organophosphorus insecticide bioremediation using planarians as biosensors
Organophosphorus compounds (OPs) are neurotoxic molecules developed as insecticides and chemical warfare nerve agents (CWNAs). They are covalent inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a key enzyme in central and peripheral nervous systems and are responsible for numerous poisonings worldwide. Many animal models have been studied over the years but finding a suitable in vivo model to account for both acute toxicity and long-term exposure remains a topical issue. Recently, an emerging aquatic animal model harboring a mammalian-like cholinergic nervous system, the freshwater planarian from Platyhelminthes, has been used to investigate neurotoxicity and developmental disruption.
Given the tremendous toxicity of OPs, various bioremediation strategies have been considered over the years to counter their poisonous effects. Among these, enzymes have been particularly highlighted as they can degrade OPs in a fast, non toxic and environmentally friendly manner. In this article we investigat
Quorum sensing and quorum quenching: how to disrupt bacterial communication to inhibit virulence?
Most bacteria use a communication system known as quorum sensing which relies on the secretion and perception of small molecules called autoinducers enabling bacteria to adapt their behavior according to the population size and synchronize the expression of genes involved in virulence, antimicrobial resistance and biofilm formation. Methods have emerged to inhibit bacterial communication and limit their noxious traits. Chemical inhibitors, sequestering antibodies and degrading enzymes have been developed and proved efficient to decrease bacterial virulence both in vitro and in vivo. This strategy, named quorum quenching, also showed synergistic effects with traditional antibacterial treatments by increasing bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics. Thereby quorum quenching constitutes an interesting therapeutic strategy to fight against bacterial infections and limit the consequences of antibiotic resistance.
Organophosphorus poisoning in animals and enzymatic antidotes
Organophosphorus compounds (OPs) are neurotoxic molecules developed as pesticides and chemical warfare nerve agents (CWNAs). Most of them are covalent inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a key enzyme in nervous systems, and are therefore responsible for numerous poisonings around the world. Many animal models have been studied over the years in order to decipher the toxicity of OPs and to provide insights for therapeutic and decontamination purposes. Environmental impact on wild animal species has been analyzed to understand the consequences of OP uses in agriculture. In complement, various laboratory models, from invertebrates to aquatic organisms, rodents and primates, have been chosen to study chronic and acute toxicity as well as neurobehavioral impact, immune response, developmental disruption, and other pathological signs. Several decontamination approaches were developed to counteract the poisoning effects of OPs. Among these, enzyme-based strategies are particularly attr
Empêcher les bactéries de communiquer : diviser pour mieux soigner
Le quorum sensing (QS) est un système de communication utilisé par de nombreuses bactéries pour synchroniser leur comportement à la densité de population. Pour cela, elles sécrètent et détectent des molécules médiatrices, appelées auto-inducteurs (AI), dont la concentration dans l’environnement augmente proportionnellement au nombre de bactéries. Le QS induit des changements physiologiques et phénotypiques majeurs tels que l’induction de la virulence et la formation de biofilm. Le biofilm constitue un environnement défavorable à l’action des antibiotiques et aux traitements anti-microbiens et favorise l’apparition de résistance. La perturbation du QS, appelée Quorum Quenching (QQ), est une stratégie employée par les microorganismes eux-mêmes pour empêcher la mise en place de certains comportements de groupe. Deux stratégies ont été principalement décrites : l’utilisation d’inhibiteurs du Quorum Sensing (QSI) et d’enzyme à activité Quorum Quenchi
Interference in Bacterial Quorum Sensing: A Biopharmaceutical Perspective
Numerous bacteria utilize molecular communication systems referred to as quorum sensing (QS) to synchronize the expression of certain genes regulating, among other aspects, the expression of virulence factors and the synthesis of biofilm. To achieve this process, bacteria use signaling molecules, known as autoinducers (AIs), as chemical messengers to share information. Naturally occurring strategies that interfere with bacterial signaling have been extensively studied in recent years, examining their potential to control bacteria. To interfere with QS, bacteria use quorum sensing inhibitors (QSIs) to block the action of AIs and quorum quenching (QQ) enzymes to degrade signaling molecules. Recent studies have shown that these strategies are promising routes to decrease bacterial pathogenicity and decrease biofilms, potentially enhancing bacterial susceptibility to antimicrobial agents including antibiotics and bacteriophages. The efficacy of QSIs and QQ enzymes has been demonstrated in
Rational engineering of a native hyperthermostable lactonase into a broad spectrum phosphotriesterase
The redesign of enzyme active sites to alter their function or specificity is a difficult yet appealing challenge. Here we used a structure-based design approach to engineer the lactonase SsoPox from Sulfolobus solfataricus into a phosphotriesterase. The five best variants were characterized and their structure was solved. The most active variant, αsD6 (V27A-Y97W-L228M-W263M) demonstrates a large increase in catalytic efficiencies over the wild-type enzyme, with increases of 2,210-fold, 163-fold, 58-fold, 16-fold against methyl-parathion, malathion, ethyl-paraoxon, and methyl-paraoxon, respectively. Interestingly, the best mutants are also capable of degrading fensulfothion, which is reported to be an inhibitor for the wild-type enzyme, as well as others that are not substrates of the starting template or previously reported W263 mutants. The broad specificity of these engineered variants makes them promising candidates for the bioremediation of organophosphorus compounds. Analysis of
Enzymatic degradation of organophosphorus insecticides decreases toxicity in planarians and enhances survival
Organophosphorus insecticides (OPs) are toxic compounds used for agricultural purposes and responsible for severe types of contamination worldwide. OPs may also induce chronic deleterious effects and developmental disruption. Finding remediation strategies is a major concern to diminish their impact on environment and human health. Enzymes have emerged as a promising eco-friendly route for decontaminating OPs. The enzyme SsoPox from the archaea Sulfolobus solfataricus has been particularly studied, considering both its tremendous stability and phosphotriesterase activity. However, the toxicity of the degradation products generated through enzyme hydrolysis has been poorly investigated. To address both neurotoxicity and developmental perturbation, freshwater planarians from Platyhelminthes were considered to evaluate the impact of OP and degradation product exposure. Planarians have a large proportion of stem cells that give them an unconventional capacity for regeneration. OPs were fou
Decontamination of organophosphorus compounds: Towards new alternatives
Organophosphorus coumpounds (OP) are toxic chemicals mainly used for agricultural purpose such as insecticides and were also developed and used as warfare nerve agents. OP are inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase, a key enzyme involved in the regulation of the central nervous system. Chemical, physical and biological approaches have been considered to decontaminate OP. This review summarizes the current and emerging strategies that are investigated to tackle this issue with a special emphasis on enzymatic remediation methods. During the last decade, many studies have been dedicated to the development of biocatalysts for OP removal. Among these, recent reports have pointed out the promising enzyme SsoPox isolated from the archaea Sulfolobus solfataricus. Considering both its intrinsic stability and activity, this hyperthermostable enzyme is highly appealing for the decontamination of OP.
Effect of Quorum Quenching Lactonase in Clinical Isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Comparison with Quorum Sensing Inhibitors
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram negative pathogenic bacterium involved in many human infections including otitis, keratitis, pneumonia, and diabetic foot ulcers. P. aeruginosa uses a communication system, referred to as quorum sensing (QS), to adopt a group behavior by synchronizing the expression of certain genes. Among the regulated traits, secretion of proteases or siderophores, motility and biofilm formation are mainly involved in the pathogenicity. Many efforts have been dedicated to the development of quorum sensing inhibitors (QSI) and quorum quenching (QQ) agents to disrupt QS. QQ enzymes have been particularly considered as they may act in a catalytic way without entering the cell. Here we focus on the lactonase SsoPox which was previously investigated for its ability to degrade the signaling molecules, acyl-homoserine lactones, in particular on the engineered variant SsoPox-W263I. We highlight the potential of SsoPox-W263I to inhibit the virulence of 51 clinical P. aeruginos
Harnessing hyperthermostable lactonase from Sulfolobus solfataricus for biotechnological applications
Extremozymes have gained considerable interest as they could meet industrial requirements. Among these, SsoPox is a hyperthermostable enzyme isolated from the archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus.This enzyme is a lactonase catalyzing the hydrolysis of acyl-homoserine lactones; these molecules are involved in Gram-negative bacterial communication referred to as quorum sensing. SsoPox exhibits promiscuous phosphotriesterase activity for the degradation of organophosphorous chemicals including insecticides and chemical warfare agents. Owing to its bi-functional catalytic abilities as well as its intrinsic stability, SsoPox is appealing for many applications, having potential uses in the agriculture, defense, food and health industries. Here we investigate the biotechnological properties of the mutant SsoPox-W263I, a variant with increased lactonase and phosphotriesterase activities. We tested enzyme resistance against diverse process-like and operating conditions such as heat resistance conta
Enzymes for disrupting bacterial communication, an alternative to antibiotics?
Quorum sensing (QS) is used by bacteria to communicate and synchronize their actions according to the cell density. In this way, they produce and secrete in the surrounding environment small molecules dubbed autoinducers (AIs) that regulate the expression of certain genes. The phenotypic traits regulated by QS are diverse and include pathogenicity, biofilm formation or resistance to anti-microbial treatments. The strategy, aiming at disrupting QS, known as quorum quenching (QQ), has emerged to counteract bacterial virulence and involves QS-inhibitors (QSI) or QQ-enzymes degrading AIs. Differently from antibiotics, QQ aims at blocking cell signaling and does not alter bacterial survival. This considerably decreases the selection pressure as compared to bactericide treatments and may reduce the occurrence of resistance mechanisms. QQ-enzymes are particularly appealing as they may disrupt molecular QS-signal without entering the cell and in a catalytic way. This review covers several aspe
Biotechnological applications of quorum quenching enzymes
Numerous bacteria use quorum sensing (QS) to synchronize their behavior and monitor their population density. They use signaling molecules known as autoinducers (AI's) that are synthesized and secreted into their local environment to regulate QS-dependent gene expression. Among QS-regulated pathways, biofilm formation and virulence factor secretion are particularly problematic as they are involved in surface-attachment, antimicrobial agent resistance, toxicity, and pathogenicity. Targeting QS represents a promising strategy to inhibit undesirable bacterial traits. This strategy, referred to as quorum quenching (QQ), includes QS-inhibitors and QQ enzymes. These approaches are appealing because they do not directly challenge bacterial survival, and consequently selection pressure may be low, yielding a lower occurrence of resistance. QQ enzymes are particularly promising because they act extracellularly to degrade AI's and can be used in catalytic quantities. This review draws an overvie
Current and emerging strategies for organophosphate decontamination: special focus on hyperstable enzymes
Organophosphorus chemicals are highly toxic molecules mainly used as pesticides. Some of them are banned warfare nerve agents. These compounds are covalent inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase, a key enzyme in central and peripheral nervous systems. Numerous approaches, including chemical, physical, and biological decontamination, have been considered for developing decontamination methods against organophosphates (OPs). This work is an overview of both validated and emerging strategies for the protection against OP pollution with special attention to the use of decontaminating enzymes. Considerable efforts have been dedicated during the past decades to the development of efficient OP degrading biocatalysts. Among these, the promising biocatalyst SsoPox isolated from the archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus is emphasized in the light of recently published results. This hyperthermostable enzyme appears to be particularly attractive for external decontamination purposes with regard to both its
Differential Active Site Loop Conformations Mediate Promiscuous Activities in the Lactonase SsoPox
Enzymes are proficient catalysts that enable fast rates of Michaelis-complex formation, the chemical step and products release. These different steps may require different conformational states of the active site that have distinct binding properties. Moreover, the conformational flexibility of the active site mediates alternative, promiscuous functions. Here we focused on the lactonase SsoPox from Sulfolobus solfataricus. SsoPox is a native lactonase endowed with promiscuous phosphotriesterase activity. We identified a position in the active site loop (W263) that governs its flexibility, and thereby affects the substrate specificity of the enzyme. We isolated two different sets of substitutions at position 263 that induce two distinct conformational sampling of the active loop and characterized the structural and kinetic effects of these substitutions. These sets of mutations selectively and distinctly mediate the improvement of the promiscuous phosphotriesterase and oxo-lactonase act
Characterisation of the organophosphate hydrolase catalytic activity of SsoPox
SsoPox is a lactonase endowed with promiscuous phosphotriesterase activity isolated from Sulfolobus solfataricus that belongs to the Phosphotriesterase-Like Lactonase family. Because of its intrinsic thermal stability, SsoPox is seen as an appealing candidate as a bioscavenger for organophosphorus compounds. A comprehensive kinetic characterisation of SsoPox has been performed with various phosphotriesters (insecticides) and phosphodiesters (nerve agent analogues) as substrates. We show that SsoPox is active for a broad range of OPs and remains active under denaturing conditions. In addition, its OP hydrolase activity is highly stimulated by anionic detergent at ambient temperature and exhibits catalytic efficiencies as high as kcat/KM of 105 M−1s−1 against a nerve agent analogue. The structure of SsoPox bound to the phosphotriester fensulfothion reveals an unexpected and non-productive binding mode. This feature suggests that SsoPox's active site is sub-optimal for phosphotriest