Lack of glyoxylate shunt dysregulates iron homeostasis in pseudomonas aeruginosa

Sunhee Ha, Bora Shin, Woojun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The aceA and glcB genes, encoding isocitrate lyase (ICL) and malate synthase, respectively, are not in an operon in many bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, unlike in Escherichia coli. Here, we show that expression of aceA in P. aeruginosa is specifically upregulated under H2O2-induced oxidative stress and under iron-limiting conditions. In contrast, the addition of exogenous redox active compounds or antibiotics increases the expression of glcB. The transcriptional start sites of aceA under iron-limiting conditions and in the presence of iron were found to be identical by 5′ RACE. Interestingly, the enzymatic activities of ICL and isocitrate dehydrogenase had opposite responses under different iron conditions, suggesting that the glyoxylate shunt (GS) might be important under iron-limiting conditions. Remarkably, the intracellular iron concentration was lower while the iron demand was higher in the GS-activated cells growing on acetate compared to cells growing on glucose. Absence of GS dysregulated iron homeostasis led to changes in the cellular iron pool, with higher intracellular chelatable iron levels. In addition, GS mutants were found to have higher cytochrome c oxidase activity on iron-supplemented agar plates of minimal media, which promoted the growth of the GS mutants. However, deletion of the GS genes resulted in higher sensitivity to a high concentration of H2O2, presumably due to iron-mediated killing. In conclusion, the GS system appears to be tightly linked to iron homeostasis in the promotion of P. aeruginosa survival under oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000623
Pages (from-to)587-599
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobiology (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant (NRF-2017R1A2B4005838 to WP) of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF). WP and BS were supported by a Korea University grant (K1625751).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors.


  • Bacteria
  • Gene expression
  • Glyoxylate bypass
  • Iron
  • Oxidative stress
  • TCA cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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