Formaldehyde-responsive proteins, TtmR and EfgA, reveal a tradeoff between formaldehyde resistance and efficient transition to methylotrophy in Methylorubrum extorquens [article]

Jannell V Bazurto, Eric L. Bruger, Jessica A. Lee, Leah B. Lambert, Christopher J Marx
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
For bacteria to thrive they must be well-adapted to their environmental niche, which may involve specialized metabolism, timely adaptation to shifting environments, and/or the ability to mitigate numerous stressors. These attributes are highly dependent on cellular machinery that can sense both the external and intracellular environment. Methylorubrum extorquens is an extensively studied facultative methylotroph, an organism that can use single-carbon compounds as their sole source of carbon
more » ... energy. In methylotrophic metabolism, carbon flows through formaldehyde as a central metabolite; thus, formaldehyde is both an obligate metabolite and a metabolic stressor. Via the one-carbon dissimilation pathway, free formaldehyde is rapidly incorporated by formaldehyde activating enzyme (Fae), which is constitutively expressed at high levels. In the presence of elevated formaldehyde levels, a recently identified formaldehyde-sensing protein, EfgA, induces growth arrest. Herein, we describe TtmR, a formaldehyde-responsive transcription factor that, like EfgA, modulates formaldehyde resistance. TtmR is a member of the MarR family of transcription factors and impacts the expression of 75 genes distributed throughout the genome, many of which are transcription factors and/or involved in stress response, including efgA. Notably, when M. extorquens is adapting its metabolic network during the transition to methylotrophy, efgA and ttmR mutants experience an imbalance in formaldehyde production and a notable growth delay. Although methylotrophy necessitates that M. extorquens maintain a relatively high level of formaldehyde tolerance, this work reveals a tradeoff between formaldehyde resistance and the efficient transition to methylotrophic growth and suggests that TtmR and EfgA play a pivotal role in maintaining this balance.
doi:10.1101/2020.10.19.346494 fatcat:3zkbw7syfvbplkibw6jstsqkjm