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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Siderophore-mediated iron metabolism in Staphylococcus aureus Kobylarz, Marek John


Staphylococcus aureus requires iron as a nutrient and uses uptake systems to extract iron from the human host. S. aureus produces the iron-chelating siderophore staphyloferrin B (SB) to scavenge for available iron under conditions of low iron stress. Upon iron-siderophore re-entry into the cell, iron is separated from the siderophore complex to initiate assimilation into metabolism. To gain insight into how SB biosynthesis is integrated into S. aureus central metabolism, the three SB precursor biosynthetic proteins, SbnA, SbnB, and SbnG, were biochemically characterized. SbnG is a citrate synthase analogous to the citrate synthase enzyme present in the TCA cycle. The crystal structure of SbnG was solved and superpositions with TCA cycle citrate synthases support a model for convergent evolution in the active site architecture and a conserved catalytic mechanism. Since L-Dap is an essential precursor for SB, the biosynthetic pathway for L-Dap was elucidated. A combination of X-ray crystallography, biochemical assays and biophysical techniques were used to delineate the reaction mechanisms for SbnA and SbnB, demonstrating that SbnA performs a β-replacement reaction using O-phospho-L-serine (OPS) and L-glutamate to produce N-(1-amino-1-carboxy-2-ethyl)-glutamic acid (ACEGA). Oxidative hydrolysis of ACEGA catalyzed by SbnB produces α-ketoglutarate and L-Dap. Detailed analysis of the substrate specificity of SbnA revealed that OPS binding and conversion to the PLP-α-aminoacrylate intermediate in SbnA induced a conformational change and formation of a second substrate binding pocket for L-glutamate. Furthermore, L-cysteine was identified as a competitive inhibitor of SbnA activity, revealing a link between iron uptake and the oxidative stress response in S. aureus. IruO was examined for its role in Fe(III)-siderophore reduction. Utilizing a combination of visible spectroscopy and enzyme kinetics, a mechanism for electron transfer was proposed. IruO was demonstrated to reduce iron bound hydroxamate-type siderophores to release Fe(II) using NADPH as the electron donor. Under anaerobic conditions, IruO formed a stable FAD semiquinone intermediate that mediates a single electron transfer from the FAD to the Fe(III)-siderophore complex. These studies have shown how SB precursors are synthesized and led to the development of models for SB biosynthesis integration into central metabolism under conditions of low iron stress.

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