Anaerobic gene expression in Staphylococcus aureus

J Bacteriol. 2007 Jun;189(11):4275-89. doi: 10.1128/JB.00081-07. Epub 2007 Mar 23.


An investigation of gene expression in Staphylococcus aureus after a switch from aerobic to anaerobic growth was initiated by using the proteomic and transcriptomic approaches. In the absence of external electron acceptors like oxygen or nitrate, an induction of glycolytic enzymes was observed. At the same time the amount of tricarboxylic acid cycle enzymes was very low. NAD is regenerated by mixed acid and butanediol fermentation, as indicated by an elevated synthesis level of fermentation enzymes like lactate dehydrogenases (Ldh1 and Ldh2), alcohol dehydrogenases (AdhE and Adh), alpha-acetolactate decarboxylase (BudA1), acetolactate synthase (BudB), and acetoin reductase (SACOL0111) as well as an accumulation of fermentation products as lactate and acetate. Moreover, the transcription of genes possibly involved in secretion of lactate (SACOL2363) and formate (SACOL0301) was found to be induced. The formation of acetyl-coenzyme A or acetyl-phosphate might be catalyzed by pyruvate formate lyase, whose synthesis was found to be strongly induced as well. Although nitrate was not present, the expression of genes related to nitrate respiration (NarH, NarI, and NarJ) and nitrate reduction (NirD) was found to be upregulated. Of particular interest, oxygen concentration might affect the virulence properties of S. aureus by regulating the expression of some virulence-associated genes such as pls, hly, splC and splD, epiG, and isaB. To date, the mechanism of anaerobic gene expression in S. aureus has not been fully characterized. In addition to srrA the mRNA levels of several other regulatory genes with yet unknown functions (e.g., SACOL0201, SACOL2360, and SACOL2658) were found to be upregulated during anaerobic growth, indicating a role in the regulation of anaerobic gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Citric Acid Cycle / genetics
  • Fermentation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / genetics
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Nitrates / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxygen / pharmacology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics


  • Acetates
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Nitrates
  • Lactic Acid
  • Glucose
  • Oxygen