A novel role for the glutamate decarboxylase system in Listeria monocytogenes; protection against oxidative stress.


Department of Food & Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [Email]


The GAD system is widely present in several types of organisms and is known to play an important role in bacterial acid tolerance. There is only one account of this system playing a role in oxidative stress in bacteria and one in yeasts. Here we show for first time that it affects the oxidative stress resistance of a Gram-positive bacterium, (L. monocytogenes, tested in three strains; 10403S, EGD-e, and LO28). We found a statistically significant reduction in survival after H2O2 exposure in ΔgadD3 and ΔgadD2 of EGD-e and in ΔgadD1 of LO28. Furthermore, we observed a lag phase prolongation in ΔgadD3 of 10403S and EGD-e and a larger inhibition zone in disk diffusion assay for ΔgadD1 and ΔgadD3 of EGD-e upon H2O2 exposure. All GAD genes playing a role in oxidative stress resistance are part of GADi system and this occurs partly through catalase activity, while the most potent GADe system plays no role. The latter effects could occur through the GABA shunt, but we show here that mutants in succinate semialdehyde dehydrogenase do not show a phenotype suggesting that either effects are through the GABA transaminase or, this pathway is not involved. Our study highlights for first time the role of the GAD system in oxidative stress resistance of a Gram-positive bacterium, which could be used in Food Hurdle Technology to eliminate pathogens such as L. monocytogenes, while it gives an insight on the general mechanism.

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