Journal of bacteriology

Ubiquitin activates patatin-like phospholipases from multiple bacterial species.

PMID 25404699


Phospholipase A2 enzymes are ubiquitously distributed throughout the prokaryotic and eukaryotic kingdoms and are utilized in a wide array of cellular processes and physiological and immunological responses. Several patatin-like phospholipase homologs of ExoU from Pseudomonas aeruginosa were selected on the premise that ubiquitin activation of this class of bacterial enzymes was a conserved process. We found that ubiquitin activated all phospholipases tested in both in vitro and in vivo assays via a conserved serine-aspartate catalytic dyad. Ubiquitin chains versus monomeric ubiquitin were superior in inducing catalysis, and ubiquitin-like proteins failed to activate phospholipase activity. Toxicity studies in a prokaryotic dual-expression system grouped the enzymes into high- and low-toxicity classes. Toxicity measured in eukaryotic cells also suggested a two-tiered classification but was not predictive of the severity of cellular damage, suggesting that each enzyme may correspond to unique properties perhaps based on its specific biological function. Additional studies on lipid binding preference suggest that some enzymes in this family may be differentially sensitive to phosphatidyl-4,5-bisphosphate in terms of catalytic activation enhancement and binding affinity. Further analysis of the function and amino acid sequences of this enzyme family may lead to a useful approach to formulating a unifying model of how these phospholipases behave after delivery into the cytoplasmic compartment.