Expression of Aeromonas caviae ST pyruvate dehydrogenase complex components mediate tellurite resistance in Escherichia coli

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Feb 27;380(1):148-52. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.01.078. Epub 2009 Jan 23.


Potassium tellurite (K(2)TeO(3)) is harmful to most organisms and specific mechanisms explaining its toxicity are not well known to date. We previously reported that the lpdA gene product of the tellurite-resistant environmental isolate Aeromonas caviae ST is involved in the reduction of tellurite to elemental tellurium. In this work, we show that expression of A. caviae ST aceE, aceF, and lpdA genes, encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase, dihydrolipoamide transacetylase, and dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase, respectively, results in tellurite resistance and decreased levels of tellurite-induced superoxide in Escherichia coli. In addition to oxidative damage resulting from tellurite exposure, a metabolic disorder would be simultaneously established in which the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex would represent an intracellular tellurite target. These results allow us to widen our vision regarding the molecular mechanisms involved in bacterial tellurite resistance by correlating tellurite toxicity and key enzymes of aerobic metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aeromonas / enzymology*
  • Aeromonas / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex / genetics
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex / metabolism*
  • Tellurium / toxicity*


  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex
  • potassium tellurate(IV)
  • Tellurium