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Characterisation of the key determinants of Phd antitoxin mediated Doc toxin inactivation in Salmonella

  • Vieira de Castro, G
  • Worm, D
  • Grabe, G
  • Rowan, F
  • Haggerty, L
  • Losada De La Lastra, A
  • Popescu, O
  • Helaine, S
  • Barnard, A
Publication Date
May 17, 2022
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository
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In the search for novel antimicrobial therapeutics, toxin-antitoxin (TA) modules are promising yet underexplored targets for overcoming antibiotic failure. The bacterial toxin Doc has been associated with the persistence of Salmonella in macrophages, enabling its survival upon antibiotic exposure. After developing a novel method to produce the recombinant toxin, we have used antitoxin-mimicking peptides to thoroughly investigate the mechanism by which its cognate antitoxin Phd neutralizes the activity of Doc. We reveal insights into the molecular detail of the Phd–Doc relationship and discriminate antitoxin residues that stabilize the TA complex from those essential for inhibiting the activity of the toxin. Coexpression of Doc and antitoxin peptides in Salmonella was able to counteract the activity of the toxin, confirming our in vitro results with equivalent sequences. Our findings provide key principles for the development of chemical tools to study and therapeutically interrogate this important class of protein–protein interactions.

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