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Int J Med Microbiol. 2014 May;304(3-4):490-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2014.02.010. Epub 2014 Mar 2.

Characterization of lactate utilization and its implication on the physiology of Haemophilus influenzae.

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Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, Humboldtstr. 50, 8010 Graz, Austria.
Insitute of Hygiene and Microbiology, University of Wuerzburg, Josef-Schneider Str. 2 E1, Wuerzburg 97080, Germany.
Department of Paediatrics, Oxford University Hospitals, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, United Kingdom.
Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, Humboldtstr. 50, 8010 Graz, Austria. Electronic address:


Haemophilus influenzae is a Gram-negative bacillus and a frequent commensal of the human nasopharynx. Earlier work demonstrated that in H. influenzae type b, l-lactate metabolism is associated with serum resistance and in vivo survival of the organism. To further gain insight into lactate utilization of the non-typeable (NTHi) isolate 2019 and laboratory prototype strain Rd KW20, deletion mutants of the l-lactate dehydrogenase (lctD) and permease (lctP) were generated and characterized. It is shown, that the apparent KM of l-lactate uptake is 20.1μM as determined for strain Rd KW20. Comparison of the COPD isolate NTHi 2019-R with the corresponding lctP knockout strain for survival in human serum revealed no lactate dependent serum resistance. In contrast, we observed a 4-fold attenuation of the mutant strain in a murine model of nasopharyngeal colonization. Characterization of lctP transcriptional control shows that the lactate utilization system in H. influenzae is not an inductor inducible system. Rather negative feedback regulation was observed in the presence of l-lactate and this is dependent on the ArcAB regulatory system. Additionally, for 2019 it was found that lactate may have signaling function leading to increased cell growth in late log phase under conditions where no l-lactate is metabolized. This effect seems to be ArcA independent and was not observed in strain Rd KW20. We conclude that l-lactate is an important carbon-source and may act as host specific signal substrate which fine tunes the globally acting ArcAB regulon and may additionally affect a yet unknown signaling system and thus may contribute to enhanced in vivo survival.


Colonization; Haemophilus influenzae; l-Lactate utilization; lctP

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