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Front Microbiol. 2015 Sep 2;6:921. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00921. eCollection 2015.

Nitric oxide as a regulator of B. anthracis pathogenicity.

Author information

1
National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease, College of Science, George Mason University, Manassas, VA USA ; Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, College of Science, George Mason University, Manassas, VA USA.
2
Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, College of Science, George Mason University, Manassas, VA USA.
3
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC USA.
4
National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease, College of Science, George Mason University, Manassas, VA USA.

Abstract

Nitric oxide (NO) is a key physiological regulator in eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. It can cause a variety of biological effects by reacting with its targets or/and indirectly inducing oxidative stress. NO can also be produced by bacteria including the pathogenic Bacillus anthracis; however, its role in the infectious process only begins to emerge. NO incapacitates macrophages by S-nitrosylating the intracellular proteins and protects B. anthracis from oxidative stress. It is also implicated in the formation of toxic peroxynitrite. In this study we further assessed the effects of B. anthracis NO produced by the NO synthase (bNOS) on bacterial metabolism and host cells in experiments with the bNOS knockout Sterne strain. The mutation abrogated accumulation of nitrite and nitrate as tracer products of NO in the culture medium and markedly attenuated growth in both aerobic and microaerobic conditions. The regulatory role of NO was also suggested by the abnormally high rate of nitrate denitrification by the mutant in the presence of oxygen. Anaerobic regulation mediated by NO was reflected in reduced fermentation of glucose by the mutant correlating with the reduced toxicity of bacteria toward host cells in culture. The toxic effect of NO required permeabilization of the target cells as well as the activity of fermentation-derived metabolite in the conditions of reduced pH. The host cells demonstrated increased phosphorylation of major survivor protein kinase AKT correlating with reduced toxicity of the mutant in comparison with Sterne. Our global proteomic analysis of lymph from the lymph nodes of infected mice harboring bacteria revealed numerous changes in the pattern and levels of proteins associated with the activity of bNOS influencing key cell physiological processes relevant to energy metabolism, growth, signal transduction, stress response, septic shock, and homeostasis. This is the first in vivo observation of the bacterial NO effect on the lymphatic system.

KEYWORDS:

anthrax; lymph node; nitric oxide; nitric oxide synthase; proteome

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