Metabolic footprint analysis uncovers strain specific overflow metabolism and D-isoleucine production of Staphylococcus aureus COL and HG001

PLoS One. 2013 Dec 3;8(12):e81500. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081500. eCollection 2013.


During infection processes, Staphylococcus aureus is able to survive within the host and to invade tissues and cells. For studying the interaction between the pathogenic bacterium and the host cell, the bacterial growth behaviour and its metabolic adaptation to the host cell environment provides first basic information. In the present study, we therefore cultivated S. aureus COL and HG001 in the eukaryotic cell culture medium RPMI 1640 and analyzed the extracellular metabolic uptake and secretion patterns of both commonly used laboratory strains. Extracellular accumulation of D-isoleucine was detected starting during exponential growth of COL and HG001 in RPMI medium. This non-canonical D-amino acid is known to play a regulatory role in adaptation processes. Moreover, individual uptake of glucose, accumulation of acetate, further overflow metabolites, and intermediates of the branched-chain amino acid metabolism constitute unique metabolic footprints. Altogether these time-resolved footprint analyses give first metabolic insights into staphylococcal growth behaviour in a culture medium used for infection related studies.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Isoleucine / biosynthesis*
  • Phenotype
  • Phenylpropionates / metabolism
  • Species Specificity
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism*


  • Phenylpropionates
  • Isoleucine
  • Glutamine
  • 4-hydroxyphenyllactic acid
  • Carbon
  • Glucose

Grant support

This work was funded by a grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) within the SFB/TRR34. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.