Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, is of zoonotic origin. Evolutionary analyses assessing whether coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 infected ancestral species of modern-day animal hosts could be useful in identifying additional reservoirs of potentially dangerous coronaviruses. We reasoned that if a clade of species has been repeatedly exposed to a virus, then their proteins relevant for viral entry may exhibit adaptations that affect host susceptibility or response. We perform comparative analyses across the mammalian phylogeny of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the cellular receptor for SARS-CoV-2, in order to uncover evidence for selection acting at its binding interface with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We uncover that in rodents there is evidence for adaptive amino acid substitutions at positions comprising the ACE2-spike interaction interface, whereas the variation within ACE2 proteins in primates and some other mammalian clades is not consistent with evolutionary adaptations. We also analyze aminopeptidase N (APN), the receptor for the human coronavirus 229E, a virus that causes the common cold, and find evidence for adaptation in primates. Altogether, our results suggest that the rodent and primate lineages may have had ancient exposures to viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E, respectively. Included in this repository are the instructions and corresponding code required to build the dataset and run the analysis in the manuscript.
Martin, Nicholas R; Blackman, Edith; Bratton, Benjamin P; Chase, Katelyn J; Bartlett, Thomas M; Gitai, Zemer
Bacterial species have diverse cell shapes that enable motility, colonization, and virulence. The cell wall defines bacterial shape and is primarily built by two cytoskeleton-guided synthesis machines, the elongasome and the divisome. However, the mechanisms producing complex shapes, like the curved-rod shape of Vibrio cholerae, are incompletely defined. Previous studies have reported that species-specific regulation of cytoskeleton-guided machines enables formation of complex bacterial shapes such as cell curvature and cellular appendages. In contrast, we report that CrvA and CrvB are sufficient to induce complex cell shape autonomously of the cytoskeleton in V. cholerae. The autonomy of the CrvAB module also enables it to induce curvature in the Gram-negative species Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Caulobacter crescentus, and Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Using inducible gene expression, quantitative microscopy, and biochemistry we show that CrvA and CrvB circumvent the need for patterning via cytoskeletal elements by regulating each other to form an asymmetrically-localized, periplasmic structure that directly binds to the cell wall. The assembly and disassembly of this periplasmic structure enables dynamic changes in cell shape. Bioinformatics indicate that CrvA and CrvB may have diverged from a single ancestral hybrid protein. Using fusion experiments in V. cholerae, we find that a synthetic CrvA/B hybrid protein is sufficient to induce curvature on its own, but that expression of two distinct proteins, CrvA and CrvB, promotes more rapid curvature induction. We conclude that morphological complexity can arise independently of cell shape specification by the core cytoskeleton-guided synthesis machines.
Martin, James K; Sheehan, Joseph P; Bratton, Benjamin P; Moore, Gabriel M; Mateus, André; Li, Sophia Hsin-Jung; Kim, Hahn; Rabinowitz, Joshua D; Typas, Athanasios; Savitski, Mikhail M; Wilson, Maxwell Z; Gitai, Zemer
The rise of antibiotic resistance and declining discovery of new antibiotics have created a global health crisis. Of particular concern, no new antibiotic classes have been approved for treating Gram-negative pathogens in decades. Here, we characterize a compound, SCH-79797, that kills both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria through a unique dual-targeting mechanism of action (MoA) with undetectably-low resistance frequencies. To characterize its MoA, we combined quantitative imaging, proteomic, genetic, metabolomic, and cell-based assays. This pipeline demonstrates that SCH-79797 has two independent cellular targets, folate metabolism and bacterial membrane integrity, and outperforms combination treatments in killing MRSA persisters. Building on the molecular core of SCH-79797, we developed a derivative, Irresistin-16, with increased potency and showed its efficacy against Neisseria gonorrheae in a mouse vaginal infection model. This promising antibiotic lead suggests that combining multiple MoAs onto a single chemical scaffold may be an underappreciated approach to targeting challenging bacterial pathogens.
Taylor, Jenny A.; Bratton, Benjamin P.; Sichel, Sophie R.; Blair, Kris M.; Jacobs, Holly M.; DeMeester, Kristen E.; Kuru, Erkin; Gray, Joe; Biboy, Jacob; VanNieuwenhze, Michael S.; Vollmer, Waldemar; Grimes, Catherine L.; Shaevitz, Joshua W.; Salama, Nina R.
Helical cell shape is necessary for efficient stomach colonization by Helicobacter pylori, but the molecular mechanisms for generating helical shape remain unclear. We show that the helical centerline pitch and radius of wild-type H. pylori cells dictate surface curvatures of considerably higher positive and negative Gaussian curvatures than those present in straight- or curved-rod bacteria. Quantitative 3D microscopy analysis of short pulses with either N-acetylmuramic acid or D-alanine metabolic probes showed that cell wall growth is enhanced at both sidewall curvature extremes. Immunofluorescence revealed MreB is most abundant at negative Gaussian curvature, while the bactofilin CcmA is most abundant at positive Gaussian curvature. Strains expressing CcmA variants with altered polymerization properties lose helical shape and associated positive Gaussian curvatures. We thus propose a model where CcmA and MreB promote PG synthesis at positive and negative Gaussian curvatures, respectively, and that this patterning is one mechanism necessary for maintaining helical shape.