Stern, A M, et al., A Novel Protein Protects Bacterial Iron-Dependent Metabolism from Nitric Oxide. Journal of Bacteriology, 2013. 195(20): 4702-4708.
Reactive nitrogen species (RNS), in particular nitric oxide (NO), are toxic to bacteria, and bacteria have mechanisms to allow growth despite this stress. Understanding how bacteria interact with NO is essential to understanding bacterial physiology in many habitats, including pathogenesis; however, many targets of NO and enzymes involved in NO resistance remain uncharacterized. We performed for the first time a metabolomic screen on NO-treated and -untreated bacteria to define broadly the effects of NO on bacterial physiology, as well as to identify the function of NnrS, a previously uncharacterized enzyme involved in defense against NO. We found many known and novel targets of NO. We also found that iron-sulfur cluster enzymes were preferentially inhibited in a strain lacking NnrS due to the formation of iron-NO complexes. We then demonstrated that NnrS is particularly important for resistance to nitrosative stress under anaerobic conditions. Our data thus reveal the breadth of the toxic effects of NO on metabolism and identify the function of an important enzyme in alleviating this stress.