In many organisms there is a balance between carbon and nitrogen metabolism. These observations extend to the nitrogen-fixing, nonsulfur purple bacteria, which have the classic family of P(II) regulators that coordinate signals of carbon and nitrogen status to regulate nitrogen metabolism. Curiously, these organisms also possess a reverse mechanism to regulate carbon metabolism based on cellular nitrogen status. In this work, studies in Rhodobacter sphaeroides firmly established that the activity of the enzyme that catalyses nitrogen fixation, nitrogenase, induces a signal that leads to repression of genes encoding enzymes of the Calvin–Benson–Bassham (CBB) CO2 fixation pathway. Additionally, genetic and metabolomic experiments revealed that NADH-activated phosphoribulokinase is an intermediate in the signalling pathway. Thus, nitrogenase activity appears to be linked to cbb gene repression through phosphoribulokinase.
The phage-shock protein (Psp) response is an extracytoplasmic response system that is vital for maintenance of the cytoplasmic membrane when the cell encounters stressful conditions. The paradigm of the Psp response has been established in Escherichia coli. The response has been shown to be important for survival during the stationary phase, maintenance of the proton motive force across membranes and implicated in virulence. In this study, we identified a putative PspA homologue in Burkholderia pseudomallei, annotated as BPSL2105. Similar to the induction of PspA in E. coli, the expression of B. pseudomallei BPSL2105 was induced by heat shock. Deletion of BPSL2105 resulted in a survival defect in the late stationary phase coincident with dramatic changes in the pH of the culture medium. The B. pseudomallei BPSL2105 deletion mutant also displayed reduced survival in macrophage infection – the first indication that the Psp response plays a role during intracellular pathogenesis in this species. The purified protein formed large oligomeric structures similar to those observed for the PspA protein of E. coli, and PspA homologues in Bacillus, cyanobacteria and higher plants, providing further evidence to support the identification of BPSL2105 as a PspA-like protein in B. pseudomallei.
Six Hyp maturation proteins (HypABCDEF) are conserved in micro-organisms that synthesize [NiFe]-hydrogenases (Hyd). Of these, the HypC chaperones interact directly with the apo-form of the catalytically active large subunit of Hyd enzymes and are believed to transfer the Fe(CN)2CO moiety of the bimetallic cofactor from the Hyp machinery to this large subunit. In E. coli, HypC is specifically required for maturation of Hyd-3 while its paralogue, HybG, is specifically required for Hyd-2 maturation; either HypC or HybG can mature Hyd-1. In this study, we demonstrate that the products of the hypABFCDE operon from the deeply branching hydrogen-dependent and obligate organohalide-respiring bacterium Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain CBDB1 were capable of maturing and assembling active Hyd-1, Hyd-2 and Hyd-3 in an E. coli hyp mutant. Maturation of Hyd-1 was less efficient, presumably because HypB of E. coli was necessary to restore optimal enzyme activity. In a reciprocal maturation study, the highly O2-sensitive H2-uptake HupLS [NiFe]-hydrogenase from D. mccartyi CBDB1 was also synthesized in an active form in E. coli. Together, these findings indicated that HypC from D. mccartyi CBDB1 exhibits promiscuity in its large subunit interaction in E. coli. Based on these findings, we generated amino acid variants of E. coli HybG capable of partial recovery of Hyd-3-dependent H2 production in a hypC hybG double null mutant. Together, these findings identify amino acid regions in HypC accessory proteins that specify interaction with the large subunits of hydrogenase and demonstrate functional compatibility of Hyp accessory protein machineries.
YajL is the closest prokaryotic homologue of Parkinson's disease-associated DJ-1, a protein of undefined function involved in the oxidative stress response. We reported recently that YajL and DJ-1 protect cells against oxidative stress-induced protein aggregation by acting as covalent chaperones for the thiol proteome, including the NuoG subunit of NADH dehydrogenase 1, and that NADH dehydrogenase 1 activity is negligible in the yajL mutant. We report here that this mutant compensates for low NADH dehydrogenase activity by utilizing NADH-independent alternative dehydrogenases, including pyruvate oxidase PoxB and d-amino acid dehydrogenase DadA, and mixed acid aerobic fermentations characterized by acetate, lactate, succinate and ethanol excretion. The yajL mutant has a low adenylate energy charge favouring glycolytic flux, and a high NADH/NAD ratio favouring fermentations over pyruvate dehydrogenase and the Krebs cycle. DNA array analysis showed upregulation of genes involved in glycolytic and pentose phosphate pathways and alternative respiratory pathways. Moreover, the yajL mutant preferentially catabolized pyruvate-forming amino acids over Krebs cycle-related amino acids, and thus the yajL mutant utilizes pyruvate-centred respiro-fermentative metabolism to compensate for the NADH dehydrogenase 1 defect and constitutes an interesting model for studying eukaryotic respiratory complex I deficiencies, especially those associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.