Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is an extremely serious human respiratory pathogen that kills well over two million people annually worldwide. Multidrug resistance is increasing in S. pneumoniae clinical isolates at an alarming rate. Many clinically relevant antibiotics, including -lactams and vancomycin, target peptidoglycan (PG) biosynthesis. PG forms the major rigid structure in the cell wall that determines cell shape and size and serves as the scaffolding onto which other pneumococcal virulence factors are covalently attached, including capsule, teichoic acids, and sortase-transferred proteins. Despite its importance to physiology and pathogenesis, little is known about the supramolecular protein complexes that mediate PG biosynthesis on the cell surface of S. pneumoniae and other ellipsoid-shaped ovococcus Gram-positive pathogens. The long-term goal of this project is to fill in this major knowledge gap about the locations, interactions, regulatory dynamics, and functions of the supramolecular protein complexes that mediate pneumococcal PG biosynthesis. This proposal is based on a large body of new papers and unpublished data that demonstrates numerous unique and unexpected properties of PG biosynthesis in S. pneumoniae. PG biosynthesis is a broad topic that encompasses both PG synthesis and PG remodeling by hydrolysis. This five- year proposal consists of four synergistic Specific Aims that address some of the most important outstanding problems in ovococcus PG biosynthesis. These four Aims are conceptually linked to the central hypothesis that PG synthesis and PG remodeling enzymes function as dynamic supramolecular complexes, whose activities and interactions are choreographed with each other and with cell division.
These Aims were chosen, because they will yield fundamental principles about PG biosynthesis, are supported by strong new data, are experimentally tractable, feed into each other, and will have high impact on the field. Related Aims 1 and 2 will elucidate how penicillin binding proteins (PBPs) are localized, activated, and tied to stages of cell division through interactions with a small number of essential master organizer proteins.
Aim 3 will test the hypothesis that PG hydrolysis involved in PG remodeling is coupled directly to cell division.
Aim 4 will determine how PG hydrolases modulate the supply of PG pentapeptide substrates used by PBPs and whether PG peptides play roles in organizing PG synthesis. A comprehensive strategy that combines results from innovative genetic, biochemical, cell biology, and microscopic approaches with those from colonization and infection models will be used to meet these Aims for this primary bacterial pathogen. Results from this proposal will challenge and expand paradigms and models about PG biosynthesis in S. pneumoniae and other ovococcus pathogens. Since the cell surface is critical to pneumococcal virulence and extracytoplasmic proteins are accessible and druggable, there is an expectation that some of the critical PG synthesis and remodeling proteins studied in this proposal will emerge as new antibiotic and vaccine candidates.
The long-term goal of this project is to determine the locations, interactions, regulatory dynamics, and functions of the supramolecular protein complexes that mediate peptidoglycan (PG) biosynthesis on the cell surface of the serious human respiratory pathogen, Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). PG forms the major rigid structure in the cell wall that determines cell shape and size and serves as the scaffolding onto which other virulence factors are covalently attached, including capsule, teichoic acids, and sortase-transferred proteins. The four specific aims of this five-year proposal address some of the most important unresolved problems in PG biosynthesis in S. pneumoniae and other ovococcus pathogens and will likely provide new targets for antibiotic and vaccine development to combat resistance development in clinical strains.
|Tsui, Ho-Ching T; Boersma, Michael J; Vella, Stephen A et al. (2014) Pbp2x localizes separately from Pbp2b and other peptidoglycan synthesis proteins during later stages of cell division of Streptococcus pneumoniae?D39. Mol Microbiol 94:21-40|
|Sham, Lok-To; Jensen, Katelyn R; Bruce, Kevin E et al. (2013) Involvement of FtsE ATPase and FtsX extracellular loops 1 and 2 in FtsEX-PcsB complex function in cell division of Streptococcus pneumoniae D39. MBio 4:|
|Land, Adrian D; Tsui, Ho-Ching T; Kocaoglu, Ozden et al. (2013) Requirement of essential Pbp2x and GpsB for septal ring closure in Streptococcus pneumoniae D39. Mol Microbiol 90:939-55|