Background: Using Bacillus anthracis as a model gram-positive bacterium, we investigated the effects of host protein S-nitrosylation during bacterial infection. B. anthracis possesses a bacterial nitric oxide synthase (bNOS) that is important for its virulence and survival. However, the role of S-nitrosylation of host cell proteins during B. anthracis infection has not been determined.
Methods: Nitrosoproteomic analysis of human small airway epithelial cells (HSAECs) infected with toxigenic B. anthracis Sterne was performed, identifying peroxiredoxin 1 (Prx1) as one predominant target. Peroxidase activity of Prx during infection was measured using 2-Cys-Peroxiredoxin activity assay. Chaperone activity of S-nitrosylated Prx1 was measured by insulin aggregation assay, and analysis of formation of multimeric species using Native PAGE. Griess assay and DAF-2DA fluorescence assay were used to measure NO production. Cell viability was measured using the Alamar Blue assay and the ATPlite assay (Perkin Elmer).
Results: S-nitrosylation of Prx1 in Sterne-infected HSAECs leads to a decrease in its peroxidase activity while enhancing its chaperone function. Treatment with bNOS inhibitor, or infection with bNOS deletion strain, reduces S-nitrosylation of Prx1 and decreases host cell survival. Consistent with this, siRNA knockdown of Prx1 lowers bNOS-dependent protection of HSAEC viability.
Conclusions: Anthrax infection results in S-nitrosylation of multiple host proteins, including Prx1. The nitrosylation-dependent decrease in peroxidase activity of Prx1 and increase in its chaperone activity is one factor contributing to enhancing infected cell viability.
General significance: These results provide a new venue of mechanistic investigation for inhalational anthrax that could lead to novel and potentially effective countermeasures.
Keywords: Bacillus anthracis; Nitric oxide synthase; Peroxiredoxin 1.
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