A computational knowledge-base elucidates the response of <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> to different media types

by Yara Seif, Jonathan M. Monk, Nathan Mih, Hannah Tsunemoto, Saugat Poudel, Cristal Zuniga, Jared Broddrick, Karsten Zengler, Bernhard O. Palsson

S. aureus is classified as a serious threat pathogen and is a priority that guides the discovery and development of new antibiotics. Despite growing knowledge of S. aureus metabolic capabilities, our understanding of its systems-level responses to different media types remains incomplete. Here, we develop a manually reconstructed genome-scale model (GEM-PRO) of metabolism with 3D protein structures for S. aureus USA300 str. JE2 containing 854 genes, 1,440 reactions, 1,327 metabolites and 673 3-dimensional protein structures. Computations were in 85% agreement with gene essentiality data from random barcode transposon site sequencing (RB-TnSeq) and 68% agreement with experimental physiological data. Comparisons of computational predictions with experimental observations highlight: 1) cases of non-essential biomass precursors; 2) metabolic genes subject to transcriptional regulation involved in Staphyloxanthin biosynthesis; 3) the essentiality of purine and amino acid biosynthesis in synthetic physiological media; and 4) a switch to aerobic fermentation upon exposure to extracellular glucose elucidated as a result of integrating time-course of quantitative exo-metabolomics data. An up-to-date GEM-PRO thus serves as a knowledge-based platform to elucidate S. aureus’ metabolic response to its environment.

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