Journal of bacteriology

Protection from oxidative stress relies mainly on derepression of OxyR-dependent KatB and Dps in Shewanella oneidensis.

PMID 24214945


Shewanella thrives in redox-stratified environments where accumulation of H2O2 becomes inevitable because of the chemical oxidation of reduced metals, sulfur species, or organic molecules. As a research model, the representative species Shewanella oneidensis has been extensively studied for its response to various stresses. However, little progress has been made toward an understanding of the physiological and genetic responses of this bacterium to oxidative stress, which is critically relevant to its application as a dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium. In this study, we systematically investigated the mechanism underlying the response to H2O2 at cellular, genomic, and molecular levels. Using transcriptional profiling, we found that S. oneidensis is hypersensitive to H2O2 in comparison with Escherichia coli, and well-conserved defense genes such as ahpCF, katB, katG, and dps appear to form the first line of defense, whereas iron-sulfur-protecting proteins may not play a significant role. Subsequent identification and characterization of an analogue of the E. coli oxyR gene revealed that S. oneidensis OxyR is the master regulator that mediates the bacterial response to H2O2-induced oxidative stress by directly repressing or activating the defense genes. The sensitivity of S. oneidensis to H2O2 is likely attributable to the lack of an inducible manganese import mechanism during stress. To cope with stress, major strategies that S. oneidensis adopts include rapid removal of the oxidant and restriction of intracellular iron concentrations, both of which are achieved predominantly by derepression of the katB and dps genes.