Role of SpoIVA ATPase Motifs during Clostridioides difficile Sporulation
October 8, 2020
Hector Benito de la Puebla, David Giacalone, Alexei Cooper, Aimee Shen
The nosocomial pathogen Clostridioides difficile is a spore-forming obligate anaerobe that depends on its aerotolerant spore form to transmit infections. Functional spore formation depends on the assembly of a proteinaceous layer known as the coat around the developing spore. In C. difficile, coat assembly depends on the conserved spore protein SpoIVA and the clostridial-organism-specific spore protein SipL, which directly interact. Mutations that disrupt their interaction cause the coat to mislocalize and impair spore formation. In Bacillus subtilis, SpoIVA is an ATPase that uses ATP hydrolysis to drive its polymerization around the forespore. Loss of SpoIVA ATPase activity impairs B. subtilis SpoIVA encasement of the forespore and activates a quality control mechanism that eliminates these defective cells. Since this mechanism is lacking in C. difficile, we tested whether mutations in the C. difficile SpoIVA ATPase motifs impact functional spore formation. Disrupting C. difficile SpoIVA ATPase motifs resulted in phenotypes that were typically >104-fold less severe than the equivalent mutations in B. subtilis Interestingly, mutation of ATPase motif residues predicted to abrogate SpoIVA binding to ATP decreased the SpoIVA-SipL interaction, whereas mutation of ATPase motif residues predicted to disrupt ATP hydrolysis but maintain ATP binding enhanced the SpoIVA-SipL interaction. When a sipL mutation known to reduce binding to SpoIVA was combined with a spoIVA mutation predicted to prevent SpoIVA binding to ATP, spore formation was severely exacerbated. Since this phenotype is allele specific, our data imply that SipL recognizes the ATP-bound form of SpoIVA and highlight the importance of this interaction for functional C. difficile spore formation.IMPORTANCE The major pathogen Clostridioides difficile depends on its spore form to transmit disease. However, the mechanism by which C. difficile assembles spores remains poorly characterized. We previously showed that binding between the spore morphogenetic proteins SpoIVA and SipL regulates assembly of the protective coat layer around the forespore. In this study, we determined that mutations in the C. difficile SpoIVA ATPase motifs result in relatively minor defects in spore formation, in contrast with Bacillus subtilis Nevertheless, our data suggest that SipL preferentially recognizes the ATP-bound form of SpoIVA and identify a specific residue in the SipL C-terminal LysM domain that is critical for recognizing the ATP-bound form of SpoIVA. These findings advance our understanding of how SpoIVA-SipL interactions regulate C. difficile spore assembly.