A Manganese-independent Aldolase Enables Staphylococcus aureus To Resist Host-imposed Metal Starvation

Paola K. Párraga Solórzano, Talina S. Bastille, Jana N. Radin, Thomas E. Kehl-Fie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The preferred carbon source of Staphylococcus aureus and many other pathogens is glucose, and its consumption is critical during infection. However, glucose utilization increases the cellular demand for manganese, a nutrient sequestered by the host as a defense against invading pathogens. Therefore, bacteria must balance glucose metabolism with the increasing demand that metal-dependent processes, such as glycolysis, impose upon the cell. A critical regulator that enables S. aureus to resist nutritional immunity is the ArlRS two-component system. This work revealed that ArlRS regulates the expression of FdaB, a metal-independent fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase. Further investigation revealed that when S. aureus is metal-starved by the host, FdaB functionally replaces the metal-dependent isozyme FbaA, thereby allowing S. aureus to resist host-imposed metal starvation in culture. Although metal-dependent aldolases are canonically zinc-dependent, this work uncovered that FbaA requires manganese for activity and that FdaB protects S. aureus from manganese starvation. Both FbaA and FdaB contribute to the ability of S. aureus to cause invasive disease in wild-type mice. However, the virulence defect of a strain lacking FdaB was reversed in calprotectin-deficient mice, which have defects in manganese sequestration, indicating that this isozyme contributes to the ability of this pathogen to overcome manganese limitation during infection. Cumulatively, these observations suggest that the expression of the metal-independent aldolase FdaB allows S. aureus to alleviate the increased demand for manganese that glucose consumption imposes, and highlights the cofactor flexibility of even established metalloenzyme families. IMPORTANCE Staphylococcus aureus and other pathogens consume glucose during infection. Glucose utilization increases the demand for transition metals, such as manganese, a nutrient that the host limits as a defense mechanism against invading pathogens. Therefore, pathogenic bacteria must balance glucose and manganese requirements during infection. The two-component system ArlRS is an important regulator that allows S. aureus to adapt to both glucose and manganese starvation. Among the genes regulated by ArlRS is the metal-independent fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase fdaB, which functionally substitutes for the metal-dependent isoenzyme FbaA and enables S. aureus to survive host-imposed manganese starvation. Unexpectedly, and differing from most characterized metal-dependent aldolases, FbaA requires manganese for activity. Cumulatively, these findings reveal a new mechanism for overcoming nutritional immunity as well as the cofactor plasticity of even well-characterized metalloenzyme families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0322322
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 28 2023


  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • aldolase
  • calprotectin
  • manganese
  • nutritional immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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