Identification and characterization of a novel serine protease, VvpS, that contains two functional domains and is essential for autolysis of Vibrio vulnificus

Moon Sub Lim, Jeong A. Kim, Jong Gyu Lim, Byoung Sik Kim, Kwang Cheol Jeong, Kyu Ho Lee, Sang Ho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about the molecular mechanism for autolysis of Gram-negative bacteria. In the present study, we identified the vvpS gene encoding a serine protease, VvpS, from Vibrio vulnificus, a Gram-negative food-borne pathogen. The amino acid sequence predicted that VvpS consists of two functional domains, an N-terminal protease catalytic domain (PCD) and a C-terminal carbohydrate binding domain (CBD). A null mutation of vvpS significantly enhanced viability during stationary phase, as measured by enumerating CFU and differentially staining viable cells. The vvpS mutant reduced the release of cytoplasmic MathematicalPi-Four.-1.H9252-galactosidase and high-molecular-weight extracellular chromosomal DNA into the culture supernatants, indicating that VvpS contributes to the autolysis of V. vulnificus during stationary phase. VvpS is secreted via a type II secretion system (T2SS), and it exerts its effects on autolysis through intracellular accumulation during stationary phase. Consistent with this, a disruption of the T2SS accelerated intracellular accumulation of VvpS and thereby the autolysis of V. vulnificus. VvpS also showed peptidoglycan-hydrolyzing activity, indicating that the autolysis of V. vulnificus is attributed to the self-digestion of the cell wall by VvpS. The functions of the VvpS domains were assessed by C-terminal deletion analysis and demonstrated that the PCD indeed possesses a proteolytic activity and that the CBD is required for hydrolyzing peptidoglycan effectively. Finally, the vvpS mutant exhibited reduced virulence in the infection of mice. In conclusion, VvpS is a serine protease with a modular structure and plays an essential role in the autolysis and pathogenesis of V. vulnificus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3722-3732
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume193
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

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