Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Bacteriol. 2011 Apr;193(7):1643-52. doi: 10.1128/JB.01063-10. Epub 2011 Jan 21.

A selenium-dependent xanthine dehydrogenase triggers biofilm proliferation in Enterococcus faecalis through oxidant production.

Author information

  • 14000 Central Florida Blvd., Bldg. 20, Room 124, Orlando, FL 32816-2364, USA.


Selenium has been shown to be present as a labile cofactor in a small class of molybdenum hydroxylase enzymes in several species of clostridia that specialize in the fermentation of purines and pyrimidines. This labile cofactor is poorly understood, yet recent bioinformatic studies have suggested that Enterococcus faecalis could serve as a model system to better understand the way in which this enzyme cofactor is built and the role of these metalloenzymes in the physiology of the organism. An mRNA that encodes a predicted selenium-dependent molybdenum hydroxylase (SDMH) has also been shown to be specifically increased during the transition from planktonic growth to biofilm growth. Based on these studies, we examined whether this organism produces an SDMH and probed whether selenoproteins may play a role in biofilm physiology. We observed a substantial increase in biofilm density upon the addition of uric acid to cells grown in a defined culture medium, but only when molybdate (Mo) and selenite (Se) were also added. We also observed a significant increase in biofilm density in cells cultured in tryptic soy broth with 1% glucose (TSBG) when selenite was added. In-frame deletion of selD, which encodes selenophosphate synthetase, also blocked biofilm formation that occurred upon addition of selenium. Moreover, mutation in the gene encoding the molybdoenzyme (xdh) prevented the induction of biofilm proliferation upon supplementation with selenium. Tungstate or auranofin addition also blocked this enhanced biofilm density, likely through inhibition of molybdenum or selenium cofactor synthesis. A large protein complex labeled with (75)Se is present in higher concentrations in biofilms than in planktonic cells, and the same complex is formed in TSBG. Xanthine dehydrogenase activity correlates with the presence of this labile selenoprotein complex and is absent in a selD or an xdh mutant. Enhanced biofilm density correlates strongly with higher levels of extracellular peroxide, which is produced upon the addition of selenite to TSBG. Peroxide levels are not increased in either the selD or the xdh mutant upon addition of selenite. Extracellular superoxide production, a phenomenon well established to be linked to clinical isolates, is abolished in both mutant strains. Taken together, these data provide evidence that an SDMH is involved in biofilm formation in Enterococcus faecalis, contributing to oxidant production either directly or alternatively through its involvement in redox-dependent processes linked to oxidant production.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center