Protein and small-molecule acylation reactions are widespread in nature. Many of the enzymes catalyzing acylation reactions belong to the Gcn5-related N-acetyltransferase (GNAT; PF00583) family, named after the yeast Gcn5 protein. The genome of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium LT2 encodes 26 GNATs, 11 of which have no known physiological role. Here, we provide in vivo and in vitro evidence for the role of the MddA (methionine derivative detoxifier; formerly YncA) GNAT in the detoxification of oxidized forms of methionine, including methionine sulfoximine (MSX) and methionine sulfone (MSO). MSX and MSO inhibited the growth of an S. enterica ΔmddA strain unless glutamine or methionine was present in the medium. We used an in vitro spectrophotometric assay and mass spectrometry to show that MddA acetylated MSX and MSO. An mddA(+) strain displayed biphasic growth kinetics in the presence of MSX and glutamine. Deletion of two amino acid transporters (GlnHPQ and MetNIQ) in a ΔmddA strain restored growth in the presence of MSX. Notably, MSO was transported by GlnHPQ but not by MetNIQ. In summary, MddA is the mechanism used by S. enterica to respond to oxidized forms of methionine, which MddA detoxifies by acetyl coenzyme A-dependent acetylation.
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