Zinc-dependent substrate-level phosphorylation powers <i>Salmonella</i> growth under nitrosative stress of the innate host response

by Liam Fitzsimmons, Lin Liu, Steffen Porwollik, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Prerak Desai, Timothy Tapscott, Calvin Henard, Michael McClelland, Andres Vazquez-Torres

The metabolic processes that enable the replication of intracellular Salmonella under nitrosative stress conditions engendered in the innate response of macrophages are poorly understood. A screen of Salmonella transposon mutants identified the ABC-type high-affinity zinc uptake system ZnuABC as a critical determinant of the adaptation of Salmonella to the nitrosative stress generated by the enzymatic activity of inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase of mononuclear phagocytic cells. NO limits the virulence of a znuB mutant in an acute murine model of salmonellosis. The ZnuABC transporter is crucial for the glycolytic function of fructose bisphosphate aldolase, thereby fueling growth of Salmonella during nitrosative stress produced in the innate response of macrophages. Our investigations demonstrate that glycolysis mediates resistance of Salmonella to the antimicrobial activity of NO produced in an acute model of infection. The ATP synthesized by substrate-level phosphorylation at the payoff phase of glycolysis and acetate fermentation powers the replication of Salmonella experiencing high levels of nitrosative stress. In contrast, despite its high potential for ATP synthesis, oxidative phosphorylation is a major target of inhibition by NO and contributes little to the antinitrosative defenses of intracellular Salmonella. Our investigations have uncovered a previously unsuspected conjunction between zinc homeostasis, glucose metabolism and cellular energetics in the adaptation of intracellular Salmonella to the reactive nitrogen species synthesized in the innate host response.

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