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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01311

GlnR-mediated regulation of short-chain fatty acid assimilation in Mycobacterium smegmatis

  • 1East China University of Science and Technology, China

Assimilation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) plays an important role in the survival and lipid biosynthesis of Mycobacteria. However, regulation of this process has not been thoroughly described. In the present work, we demonstrate that GlnR as a well-known nitrogen-sensing regulator transcriptionally modulates the AMP-forming propionyl-CoA synthetase (MsPrpE), and acetyl-CoA synthetases (MsAcs) is associated with SCFAs assimilation in Mycobacterium smegmatis, a model Mycobacterium. GlnR can directly activate the expression of MsprpE and Msacs by binding to their promoter regions based upon sensed nitrogen starvation in the host. Moreover, GlnR can activate the expression of lysine acetyltransferase encoding Mspat, which significantly decreases the activity of MsPrpE and MsAcs through increased acylation. Next, growth curves and resazurin assay show that GlnR can further regulate the growth of M. smegmatis on different SCFAs to control the viability. These results demonstrate that GlnR-mediated regulation of SCFA assimilation in response to the change of nitrogen signal serves to control the survival of M. smegmatis. These findings provide insights into the survival and nutrient utilization mechanisms of Mycobacteria in their host, which may enable new strategies in drug discovery for the control of tuberculosis.

Keywords: propionyl-CoA/acetyl-CoA synthetase, GlnR, short-chain fatty acid, nitrogen metabolism, post-translational modification, Acylation

Received: 28 Mar 2018; Accepted: 29 May 2018.

Edited by:

Jörg Stülke, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany

Reviewed by:

Harold J. Schreier, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, United States
Airat R. Kayumov, Kazan Federal University, Russia  

Copyright: © 2018 Liu, Shen, Liu and Ye. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Weibing Liu, East China University of Science and Technology, Meilong Rd. 130, Shanghai, 200237, Please Select, China, lwb@ecust.edu.cn
Prof. Bangce Ye, East China University of Science and Technology, Meilong Rd. 130, Shanghai, 200237, Please Select, China, bcye@ecust.edu.cn