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J Bacteriol. 2005 Jul;187(14):4853-64.

Global analysis of cellular factors and responses involved in Pseudomonas aeruginosa resistance to arsenite.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, OH 45267-0524, USA.


The impact of arsenite [As(III)] on several levels of cellular metabolism and gene regulation was examined in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. P. aeruginosa isogenic mutants devoid of antioxidant enzymes or defective in various metabolic pathways, DNA repair systems, metal storage proteins, global regulators, or quorum sensing circuitry were examined for their sensitivity to As(III). Mutants lacking the As(III) translocator (ArsB), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catabolite repression control protein (Crc), or glutathione reductase (Gor) were more sensitive to As(III) than wild-type bacteria. The MICs of As(III) under aerobic conditions were 0.2, 0.3, 0.8, and 1.9 mM for arsB, sodA sodB, crc, and gor mutants, respectively, and were 1.5- to 13-fold less than the MIC for the wild-type strain. A two-dimensional gel/matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight analysis of As(III)-treated wild-type bacteria showed significantly (>40-fold) increased levels of a heat shock protein (IbpA) and a putative allo-threonine aldolase (GlyI). Smaller increases (up to 3.1-fold) in expression were observed for acetyl-coenzyme A acetyltransferase (AtoB), a probable aldehyde dehydrogenase (KauB), ribosomal protein L25 (RplY), and the probable DNA-binding stress protein (PA0962). In contrast, decreased levels of a heme oxygenase (HemO/PigA) were found upon As(III) treatment. Isogenic mutants were successfully constructed for six of the eight genes encoding the aforementioned proteins. When treated with sublethal concentrations of As(III), each mutant revealed a marginal to significant lag period prior to resumption of apparent normal growth compared to that observed in the wild-type strain. Our results suggest that As(III) exposure results in an oxidative stress-like response in P. aeruginosa, although activities of classic oxidative stress enzymes are not increased. Instead, relief from As(III)-based oxidative stress is accomplished from the collective activities of ArsB, glutathione reductase, and the global regulator Crc. SOD appears to be involved, but its function may be in the protection of superoxide-sensitive sulfhydryl groups.

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