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Microbiology. 2013 Sep;159(Pt 9):1986-1999. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.068585-0. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Reversible acetylation regulates acetate and propionate metabolism in Mycobacterium smegmatis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Carbon metabolic pathways are important to the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis. However, extremely little is known about metabolic regulation in mycobacteria. There is growing evidence for lysine acetylation being a mechanism of regulating bacterial metabolism. Lysine acetylation is a post-translational modification in which an acetyl group is covalently attached to the side chain of a lysine residue. This modification is mediated by acetyltransferases, which add acetyl groups, and deacetylases, which remove the acetyl groups. Here we set out to test whether lysine acetylation and deacetylation impact acetate metabolism in the model mycobacteria Mycobacterium smegmatis, which possesses 25 candidate acetyltransferases and 3 putative lysine deacetylases. Using mutants lacking predicted acetyltransferases and deacetylases we showed that acetate metabolism in M. smegmatis is regulated by reversible acetylation of acetyl-CoA synthetase (Ms-Acs) through the action of a single pair of enzymes: the acetyltransferase Ms-PatA and the sirtuin deacetylase Ms-SrtN. We also confirmed that the role of Ms-PatA in regulating Ms-Acs regulation depends on cAMP binding. We additionally demonstrated a role for Ms-Acs, Ms-PatA and Ms-SrtN in regulating the metabolism of propionate in M. smegmatis. Finally, along with Ms-Acs, we identified a candidate propionyl-CoA synthetase, Ms5404, as acetylated in whole-cell lysates. This work lays the foundation for studying the regulatory circuit of acetylation and deacetylation in the cellular context of mycobacteria.

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