Zinc limitation in Klebsiella pneumoniae profiled by quantitative proteomics influences transcriptional regulation and cation transporter-associated capsule production.


Sukumaran A(1), Pladwig S(1), Geddes-McAlister J(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada.
(2)Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada. [Email]


BACKGROUND: Microbial organisms encounter a variety of environmental conditions, including changes to metal ion availability. Metal ions play an important role in many biological processes for growth and survival. As such, microbes alter their cellular protein levels and secretion patterns in adaptation to a changing environment. This study focuses on Klebsiella pneumoniae, an opportunistic bacterium responsible for nosocomial infections. By using K. pneumoniae, we aim to determine how a nutrient-limited environment (e.g., zinc depletion) modulates the cellular proteome and secretome of the bacterium. By testing virulence in vitro, we provide novel insight into bacterial responses to limited environments in the presence of the host. RESULTS: Analysis of intra- and extracellular changes identified 2380 proteins from the total cellular proteome (cell pellet) and 246 secreted proteins (supernatant). Specifically, HutC, a repressor of the histidine utilization operon, showed significantly increased abundance under zinc-replete conditions, which coincided with an expected reduction in expression of genes within the hut operon from our validating qRT-PCR analysis. Additionally, we characterized a putative cation transport regulator, ChaB that showed significantly higher abundance under zinc-replete vs. -limited conditions, suggesting a role in metal ion homeostasis. Phenotypic analysis of a chaB deletion strain demonstrated a reduction in capsule production, zinc-dependent growth and ion utilization, and reduced virulence when compared to the wild-type strain. CONCLUSIONS: This is first study to comprehensively profile the impact of zinc availability on the proteome and secretome of K. pneumoniae and uncover a novel connection between zinc transport and capsule production in the bacterial system.