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Leibig, M, Liebeke, M, Mader, D, Lalk, M, Peschel, A and Götz, F (2011) Pyruvate formate lyase acts as a formate supplier for metabolic processes during anaerobiosis in Staphylococcus aureus. J. Bacteriol. 193:952-62
Previous studies demonstrated an upregulation of pyruvate formate lyase (Pfl) and NAD-dependent formate dehydrogenase (Fdh) in Staphylococcus aureus biofilms. To investigate their physiological role, we constructed fdh and pfl deletion mutants (Δfdh and Δpfl). Although formate dehydrogenase activity in the fdh mutant was lost, it showed little phenotypic alterations under oxygen-limited conditions. In contrast, the pfl mutant displayed pleiotropic effects and revealed the importance of formate production for anabolic metabolism. In the pfl mutant, no formate was produced, glucose consumption was delayed, and ethanol production was decreased, whereas acetate and lactate production were unaffected. All metabolic alterations could be restored by addition of formate or complementation of the Δpfl mutant. In compensation reactions, serine and threonine were consumed better by the Δpfl mutant than by the wild type, suggesting that their catabolism contributes to the refilling of formyl-tetrahydrofolate, which acts as a donor of formyl groups in, e.g., purine and protein biosynthesis. This notion was supported by reduced production of formylated peptides by the Δpfl mutant compared to that of the parental strain, as demonstrated by weaker formyl-peptide receptor 1 (FPR1)-mediated activation of leukocytes with the mutant. FPR1 stimulation could also be restored either by addition of formate or by complementation of the mutation. Furthermore, arginine consumption and arc operon transcription were increased in the Δpfl mutant. Unlike what occurred with the investigated anaerobic conditions, a biofilm is distinguished by nutrient, oxygen, and pH gradients, and we thus assume that Pfl plays a significant role in the anaerobic layer of a biofilm. Fdh might be critical in (micro)aerobic layers, as formate oxidation is correlated with the generation of NADH/H(+), whose regeneration requires respiration.
Acetyltransferases/genetics; Acetyltransferases/metabolism; Anaerobiosis; Bacterial Proteins/genetics; Bacterial Proteins/metabolism; Biofilms; Formate Dehydrogenases/genetics; Formate Dehydrogenases/metabolism; Formates/metabolism; Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial; NAD/metabolism; Staphylococcus aureus/enzymology; Staphylococcus aureus/genetics; Staphylococcus aureus/physiology