Image_2_The Influence of Blue Light and the BlsA Photoreceptor on the Oxidative Stress Resistance Mechanisms of Acinetobacter baumannii.tif (1.53 MB)
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posted on 24.03.2022, 06:03 authored by Mariah S. Squire, Hope A. Townsend, Luis A. Actis

Acinetobacter baumannii is a catalase-positive Gram-negative bacterial pathogen that causes severe infections among compromised patients. Among its noteworthy regulatory mechanisms, this microorganism regulates its lifestyle through the blue light using flavin (BLUF) protein BlsA. This protein regulates a diverse set of cellular processes that include, but are not limited to, motility, biofilm formation, phenylacetic acid metabolism, iron uptake, and catalase activity. We set out to determine how A. baumannii regulates catalase activity and other related oxidative stress phenotypes in response to light. Notably, because A. baumannii ATCC 17978 encodes four catalase homologs – which we refer to as KatA, KatE, KatE2, and KatG – we also aimed to show which of these enzymes exhibit light- and BlsA-dependent activity. Our work not only provides insight into the general function of all four catalase homologs and the impact of light on these functions, but also directly identifies KatE as a BlsA-regulated enzyme. We further demonstrate that the regulation of KatE by BlsA is dependent on a lysine residue that we previously demonstrated to be necessary for the regulation of surface motility. Furthermore, we show that BlsA’s five most-C-terminal residues – previously considered dispensable for BlsA’s overall function – are necessary for the light-independent and light-dependent regulation of catalase and superoxide dismutase activities, respectively. We hypothesize that these identified critical residues are necessary for BlsA’s interaction with protein partners including the transcriptional regulators Fur and BfmR. Together these data expand the understanding regarding how A. baumannii uses light as a signal to control oxidative stress resistance mechanisms that are critical for its pathophysiology.

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