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      Aerobic Vitamin B 12 Biosynthesis Is Essential for Pseudomonas aeruginosa Class II Ribonucleotide Reductase Activity During Planktonic and Biofilm Growth

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          Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major pathogenic bacterium in chronic infections and is a model organism for studying biofilms. P. aeruginosa is considered an aerobic bacterium, but in the presence of nitrate, it also grows in anaerobic conditions. Oxygen diffusion through the biofilm generates metabolic and genetic diversity in P. aeruginosa growth, such as in ribonucleotide reductase activity. These essential enzymes are necessary for DNA synthesis and repair. Oxygen availability determines the activity of the three-ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) classes. Class II and III RNRs are active in the absence of oxygen; however, class II RNRs, which are important in P. aeruginosa biofilm growth, require a vitamin B 12 cofactor for their enzymatic activity. In this work, we elucidated the conditions in which class II RNRs are active due to vitamin B 12 concentration constraints (biosynthesis or environmental availability). We demonstrated that increased vitamin B 12 levels during aerobic, stationary and biofilm growth activate class II RNR activity. We also established that the cobN gene is essentially responsible for B 12 biosynthesis under planktonic and biofilm growth. Our results unravel the mechanisms of dNTP synthesis by P. aeruginosa during biofilm growth, which appear to depend on the bacterial strain (laboratory-type or clinical isolate).

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          Most cited references 35

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          Physiological heterogeneity in biofilms.

          Biofilms contain bacterial cells that are in a wide range of physiological states. Within a biofilm population, cells with diverse genotypes and phenotypes that express distinct metabolic pathways, stress responses and other specific biological activities are juxtaposed. The mechanisms that contribute to this genetic and physiological heterogeneity include microscale chemical gradients, adaptation to local environmental conditions, stochastic gene expression and the genotypic variation that occurs through mutation and selection. Here, we discuss the processes that generate chemical gradients in biofilms, the genetic and physiological responses of the bacteria as they adapt to these gradients and the techniques that can be used to visualize and measure the microscale physiological heterogeneities of bacteria in biofilms.
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            Quantification of biofilm structures by the novel computer program COMSTAT.

            The structural organization of four microbial communities was analysed by a novel computer program, COMSTAT, which comprises ten features for quantifying three-dimensional biofilm image stacks. Monospecies biofilms of each of the four bacteria, Pseudomonas: putida, P. aureofaciens, P. fluorescens and P. aeruginosa, tagged with the green fluorescent protein (GFP) were grown in flow chambers with a defined minimal medium as substrate. Analysis by the COMSTAT program of four variables describing biofilm structure - mean thickness, roughness, substratum coverage and surface to volume ratio - showed that the four Pseudomonas: strains represent different modes of biofilm growth. P. putida had a unique developmental pattern starting with single cells on the substratum growing into micro-colonies, which were eventually succeeded by long filaments and elongated cell clusters. P. aeruginosa colonized the entire substratum, and formed flat, uniform biofilms. P. aureofaciens resembled P. aeruginosa, but had a stronger tendency to form micro-colonies. Finally, the biofilm structures of P. fluorescens had a phenotype intermediate between those of P. putida and P. aureofaciens. Analysis of biofilms of P. aureofaciens growing on 0.03 mM, 0.1 mM or 0.5 mM citrate minimal media showed that mean biofilm thickness increased with increasing citrate concentration. Moreover, biofilm roughness increased with lower citrate concentrations, whereas surface to volume ratio increased with higher citrate concentrations.
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              Cobalamin (coenzyme B12): synthesis and biological significance.

              This review examines deoxyadenosylcobalamin (Ado-B12) biosynthesis, transport, use, and uneven distribution among living forms. We describe how genetic analysis of enteric bacteria has contributed to these issues. Two pathways for corrin ring formation have been found-an aerobic pathway (in P. denitrificans) and an anaerobic pathway (in P. shermanii and S. typhimurium)-that differ in the point of cobalt insertion. Analysis of B12 transport in E. coli reveals two systems: one (with two proteins) for the outer membrane, and one (with three proteins) for the inner membrane. To account for the uneven distribution of B12 in living forms, we suggest that the B12 synthetic pathway may have evolved to allow anaerobic fermentation of small molecules in the absence of an external electron acceptor. Later, evolution of the pathway produced siroheme, (allowing use of inorganic electron acceptors), chlorophyll (O2 production), and heme (aerobic respiration). As oxygen became a larger part of the atmosphere, many organisms lost fermentative functions and retained dependence on newer, B12 functions that did not involve fermentation. Paradoxically, Salmonella spp. synthesize B12 only anaerobically but can use B12 (for degradation of ethanolamine and propanediol) only with oxygen. Genetic analysis of the operons for these degradative functions indicate that anaerobic degradation is important. Recent results suggest that B12 can be synthesized and used during anaerobic respiration using tetrathionate (but not nitrate or fumarate) as an electron acceptor. The branch of enteric taxa from which Salmonella spp. and E. coli evolved appears to have lost the ability to synthesize B12 and the ability to use it in propanediol and glycerol degradation. Salmonella spp., but not E. coli, have acquired by horizontal transfer the ability to synthesize B12 and degrade propanediol. The acquired ability to degrade propanediol provides the selective force that maintains B12 synthesis in this group.

                Author and article information

                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                15 May 2018
                : 9
                Bacterial Infections and Antimicrobial Therapies, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology , Barcelona, Spain
                Author notes

                Edited by: Ivan Mijakovic, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

                Reviewed by: Paraskevi Papaioannidou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; Dinesh Sriramulu, Shres Consultancy (Life Sciences), India

                *Correspondence: Eduard Torrents etorrents@

                This article was submitted to Microbial Physiology and Metabolism, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Copyright © 2018 Crespo, Blanco-Cabra and Torrents.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 37, Pages: 10, Words: 6302
                Funded by: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad 10.13039/501100003329
                Award ID: BIO2015-63557-R
                Funded by: Departament d'Innovació, Universitats i Empresa, Generalitat de Catalunya 10.13039/501100002943
                Award ID: 2014 SGR01260
                Funded by: “la Caixa” Foundation 10.13039/100010434
                Funded by: European Institute of Innovation and Technology 10.13039/501100000811
                Original Research


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