Identification of a functional toxin–antitoxin system located in the genomic island PYG1 of piezophilic hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus yayanosii
Toxin–antitoxin (TA) system is bacterial or archaeal genetic module consisting of toxin and antitoxin gene that be organized as a bicistronic operon. TA system could elicit programmed cell death, which is supposed to play important roles for the survival of prokaryotic population under various physiological stress conditions. The phage abortive infection system (AbiE family) belongs to bacterial type IV TA system. However, no archaeal AbiE family TA system has been reported so far. In this study, a putative AbiE TA system (PygAT), which is located in a genomic island PYG1 in the chromosome of Pyrococcus yayanosii CH1, was identified and characterized. In Escherichia coli, overexpression of the toxin gene pygT inhibited its growth while the toxic effect can be suppressed by introducing the antitoxin gene pygA in the same cell. PygAT also enhances the stability of shuttle plasmids with archaeal plasmid replication protein Rep75 in E. coli. In P. yayanosii, disruption of antitoxin gene pygA cause a significantly growth delayed under high hydrostatic pressure (HHP). The antitoxin protein PygA can specifically bind to the PygAT promoter region and regulate the transcription of pygT gene in vivo. These results show that PygAT is a functional TA system in P. yayanosii, and also may play a role in the adaptation to HHP environment.
KeywordsPyrococcus yayanosii Piezophilic hyperthermophile Toxin–antitoxin system Genomic island
ZL XX and JX designed the experiments; ZL and QHS performed the experiments; ZL, YZW and JX drafted the manuscript. All authors discussed and reviewed the manuscript.
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