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- Characterization of Broadly Conserved AvcID Toxin-Antitoxin System and Its Mechanism to Inhibit Phage by Disrupting Nucleotide Metabolism
- Hsueh, Brian Yifei
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
ABSTRACTCHARACTERIZATION OF BROADLY CONSERVED AVCID TOXIN-ANTITOXIN SYSTEM AND ITS MECHANISM TO INHIBIT PHAGE BY DISRUPTING NUCLEOTIDE METABOLISMByBrian Yifei HsuehThe prevalence of antiphage defense systems, which have recently been shown to be located on mobile genetic elements in bacteria, have sparked interest to understand the coevolutionary arms race of bacteria and bacteriophage (phage). Bacteria and phages have coexisted for billions of years, and phages are widely distributed in...
Show moreABSTRACTCHARACTERIZATION OF BROADLY CONSERVED AVCID TOXIN-ANTITOXIN SYSTEM AND ITS MECHANISM TO INHIBIT PHAGE BY DISRUPTING NUCLEOTIDE METABOLISMByBrian Yifei HsuehThe prevalence of antiphage defense systems, which have recently been shown to be located on mobile genetic elements in bacteria, have sparked interest to understand the coevolutionary arms race of bacteria and bacteriophage (phage). Bacteria and phages have coexisted for billions of years, and phages are widely distributed in different environmental niches populated by their bacterial hosts, including the human intestine and marine environment. The evolutionary pressure imposed by phages have led bacteria to evolve diverse strategic systems to protect themselves from phage predation, including CRISPR-Cas, restriction-modification, and abortive infection. Recent studies have begun to reveal that toxin-antitoxin (TA) system are associated with antiphage defense systems. Vibrio cholerae El Tor, the causative agent of current cholera pandemics, has acquired two unique genomic islands of unknown origins, known as Vibrio Seventh Pandemic Islands 1 & 2 (VSP-1 & 2). It is hypothesized that the acquisition of VSP islands increase environmental fitness of El Tor. While both islands encode approximately 36 open reading frames, yet many remain largely uncharacterized. In this work, I characterize a novel TA antiphage system encoded on VSP-1 of V. cholerae, here named AvcID. Chapter 2 describes the biological function of AvcD toxin by which it possesses deoxycytidylate deaminase (DCD) activity and produces dUMP as the final product. Further experiments identify the AvcI antitoxin as a small RNA and determine that it post-translationally inhibits the activity of AvcD. Moreover, AvcD consists of two domains—a N-terminal P-loop NTPase and a C-terminal DCD—and mutations in conserved features of each domain abrogate its activity. AvcD is widely conserved across kingdoms, and virtually all bacteria that encode AvcD also have AvcI homologs. Notably, chromosomal AvcID can solely be activated by transcriptional shutoff in V. cholerae, demonstrating that AvcID is a type III TA system. Unlike canonical type III TA systems, in which the toxin is an endoribonuclease, the AvcD toxin is a deaminase. Importantly, the AvcID system provides antiphage defense in Escherichia coli that lacks this system by corrupting nucleotides for phages to utilize to reduce coliphage replication efficiency. In Chapter 3, I explore the activation mechanism of the AvcID system as well as the consequences to phages after encountering AvcID. During infection, virtually all lytic phages induce transcription shutoff of the host by hijacking host transcription machinery to make virion progeny. I uncover that phage-induced transcriptional shutoff leads to turnover of labile AvcI antitoxin and concomitantly activates the deaminase activity of AvcD, leading to a disruption of nucleotide levels. This disruption of nucleotide levels is shown in both susceptible phages (ex. T5) and resistant phages (ex. T7). Through an unknown mechanism, AvcID also increases the abundance of defective phages that are susceptible to AvcID. In summary, this work has made contributions in the field of TA systems and its association with the antiphage defense paradigm by uncovering the biological function and mechanism in response to phage infection.