Methionine sulphoxide reductase maintains adhesin function during oxidative stress. Using Streptococcus gordonii as a model, we now show the mechanistic basis of adhesin maintenance provided by MsrA. In biofilms, S. gordonii selectively expresses the msrA gene. When the wild-type strain was grown with exogenous hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), msrA-specific mRNA expression significantly increased, while acid production was unaffected. In the presence of H(2)O(2), a msrA-deletion mutant (ΔMsrA) showed a 6 h delay in lag phase growth, a 30% lower yield of H(2)O(2), significantly greater inhibition by H(2)O(2) on agar plates (reversed by complementation), 30% less adhesion to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite, 87% less biofilm formation and an altered electrophoretic pattern of SspAB protein adhesins. Using mass spectrometry, methionine residues in the Met-rich central region of SspB were shown to be oxidized by H(2)O(2) and reduced by MsrA. In intact wild-type cells, MsrA colocalized with a cell wall-staining dye, and MsrA was detected in both cell wall and cytosolic fractions. To maintain normal adhesion and biofilm function of S. gordonii in response to exogenous oxidants therefore msrA is upregulated, methionine oxidation of adhesins and perhaps other proteins is reversed, and adhesion and biofilm formation is maintained.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.