Penghui He, Shiying Hu, Yongjia Zhang, Zhengwei Xiang, Zheng Zhang, Dong Wang, Shouwen Chen

A new ROS response factor YvmB protects Bacillus licheniformis against oxidative stress under adverse environment

  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology

ABSTRACT Bacillus spp., a class of aerobic bacteria, is widely used as a biocontrol microbe in the world. However, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) will accumulate once the aerobic bacteria are exposed to environmental stresses, which can decrease cell activity or lead to cell death. Hydroxyl radical (·OH), the strongest oxide in the ROS, can damage DNA directly, which is generated through Fenton Reaction by H 2 O 2 and free iron. Here, we proved that the synthesis of pulcherriminic acid (PA), an iron chelator produced by Bacillus spp., could reduce DNA damage to protect cells from oxidative stress by sequestrating excess free iron, which enhanced the cell survival rates in stressful conditions (salt, antibiotic, and high temperature). It was worth noting that the synthesis of PA was found to be increased under oxidative stress. Thus, we demonstrated that the YvmB, a direct negative regulator of PA synthesis cluster yvmC-cypX , could be oxidized at cysteine residue (C57) to form a dimer losing the DNA-binding activity, which led to an improvement in PA production. Collectively, our findings highlight that YvmB senses ROS to regulate PA synthesis is one of the evolved proactive defense systems in bacteria against adverse environments. IMPORTANCE Under environment stress, the electron transfer chain will be perturbed resulting in the accumulation of H 2 O 2 and rapidly transform to ·OH through Fenton Reaction. How do bacteria deal with oxidative stress? At present, several iron chelators have been reported to decrease the ·OH generation by sequestrating iron, while how bacteria control the synthesis of iron chelators to resist oxidative stress is still unclear. Our study found that the synthesis of iron chelator PA is induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which means that the synthesis of iron chelator is a proactive defense mechanism against environment stress. Importantly, YvmB is the first response factor found to protect cells by reducing the ROS generation, which present a new perspective in antioxidation studies.

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