Biochimica et biophysica acta

A novel ATP-generating machinery to counter nitrosative stress is mediated by substrate-level phosphorylation.

PMID 25304769


It is well-known that elevated amounts of nitric oxide and other reactive nitrogen species (RNS) impact negatively on the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. These perturbations severely compromise O2-dependent energy production. While bacteria are known to adapt to RNS, a key tool employed by macrophages to combat infections, the exact mechanisms are unknown. The bacterium was cultured in a defined mineral medium and cell-free extracts obtained at the same growth phase were utilized for various biochemical studies Blue native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis followed by in-gel activity assays, high performance liquid chromatography and co-immunoprecipitaton are applied to investigate the effects of RNS on the model microbe Pseudomonas fluorescens. Citrate is channeled away from the tricarboxylic acid cycle using a novel metabolon consisting of citrate lyase (CL), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) and pyruvate phosphate dikinase (PPDK). This metabolic engine comprising three disparate enzymes appears to transiently assemble as a supercomplex aimed at ATP synthesis. The up-regulation in the activities of adenylate kinase (AK) and nucleoside diphosphate kinase (NDPK) ensured the efficacy of this ATP-making machine. Microbes may escape the effects of nitrosative stress by re-engineering metabolic networks in order to generate and store ATP anaerobically when the electron transport chain is defective. The molecular configuration described herein provides further understanding of how metabolism plays a key role in the adaptation to nitrosative stress and reveals novel targets that will inform the development of antimicrobial agents to counter RNS-resistant pathogens.