Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Microbiology. 2012 Sep;158(Pt 9):2363-71. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.060095-0. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Natural insertion of the bro-1 β-lactamase gene into the gatCAB operon affects Moraxella catarrhalis aspartyl-tRNA(Asn) amidotransferase activity.

Author information

Département de Biochimie, de Microbiologie et de Bio-informatique, Université Laval, QC G1V 0A6, Canada.


Only about half of bacterial species use an asparaginyl-tRNA synthetase (AsnRS) to attach Asn to its cognate tRNA(Asn). Other bacteria, including the human pathogen Moraxella catarrhalis, a causative agent of otitis media, lack a gene encoding AsnRS, and form Asn-tRNA(Asn) by an indirect pathway catalysed by two enzymes: first, a non-discriminating aspartyl-tRNA synthetase (ND-AspRS) catalyses the formation of aspartyl-tRNA(Asn) (Asp-tRNA(Asn)); then, a tRNA-dependent amidotransferase (GatCAB) transamidates this 'incorrect' product into Asn-tRNA(Asn). As M. catarrhalis has a Gln-tRNA synthetase, its GatCAB functions as an Asp-tRNA(Asn) amidotransferase. This pathogen rapidly evolved to about 90 % ampicillin resistance worldwide by insertion of a bro-1 β-lactamase gene within the gatCAB operon. Comparison of the GatCAB subunits from bro-1 β-lactamase-positive and bro-negative strains showed that the laterally transferred bro-1 gene, inserted into the gatCAB operon, affected the C-terminal sequence of GatA. The identity between the C-terminal sequences of GatA(wt) (residues 479-491) and of GatA(BRO-1) (residues 479-492) was about 36 %, whereas the rest of the GatA sequence was relatively conserved. The characterization of these two distinct GatCABs as well as the hybrid GatCAB containing GatA(1-478)(wt)(479-492)(BRO-1) and truncated GatCAB enzymes of M. catarrhalis showed that the substitution in GatA(wt) of residues 479-492 of GatA(BRO-1) causes increased specificity for glutamine, and decreased specificity for Asp-tRNA(Asn) in the transamidation reaction. We conclude that the bro gene insertion has altered the kinetic parameters of Asp-tRNA(Asn) amidotransferase, and we propose a model for gatA evolution after the insertion of bro-1 at the carboxyl end of gatA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Ingenta plc
    Loading ...
    Support Center