Protein CoAlation and antioxidant function of coenzyme A in prokaryotic cells

Biochem J. 2018 Jun 6;475(11):1909-1937. doi: 10.1042/BCJ20180043.


In all living organisms, coenzyme A (CoA) is an essential cofactor with a unique design allowing it to function as an acyl group carrier and a carbonyl-activating group in diverse biochemical reactions. It is synthesized in a highly conserved process in prokaryotes and eukaryotes that requires pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), cysteine and ATP. CoA and its thioester derivatives are involved in major metabolic pathways, allosteric interactions and the regulation of gene expression. A novel unconventional function of CoA in redox regulation has been recently discovered in mammalian cells and termed protein CoAlation. Here, we report for the first time that protein CoAlation occurs at a background level in exponentially growing bacteria and is strongly induced in response to oxidizing agents and metabolic stress. Over 12% of Staphylococcus aureus gene products were shown to be CoAlated in response to diamide-induced stress. In vitro CoAlation of S. aureus glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase was found to inhibit its enzymatic activity and to protect the catalytic cysteine 151 from overoxidation by hydrogen peroxide. These findings suggest that in exponentially growing bacteria, CoA functions to generate metabolically active thioesters, while it also has the potential to act as a low-molecular-weight antioxidant in response to oxidative and metabolic stress.

Keywords: Gram-negative and -positive bacteria; coenzyme A; post-translational modification; redox signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Coenzyme A / genetics
  • Coenzyme A / metabolism*
  • Diamide / pharmacology
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Diamide
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases
  • Coenzyme A