Enterococcus faecalis uses a PTS permease and a host colonization-related ABC transporter for maltodextrin uptake.

Sauvageot N, Mokhtari A, Joyet P et al.

Normandie University, UNICAEN, U2RM Stress/Virulence, F-14000 Caen, France.

Journal of bacteriology. Feb 2017.

Maltodextrin is a mixture of maltooligosaccharides, which are produced by the degradation of starch or glycogen. They are mostly composed of α-1,4- and some α-1,6- linked glucose residues. Genes presumed to code for the Enterococcus faecalis maltodextrin transporter were induced during enterococcal infection. We therefore carried out a detailed study of maltodextrin transport in this organism. Depending on their length (3 to 7 glucose residues), E. faecalis takes up maltodextrins either via MalT, a maltose-specific permease of the phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP):carbohydrate phosphotransferase system (PTS), or the ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter MdxEFG/MsmX. Maltotriose, the smallest maltodextrin, is primarily transported by the PTS permease. A malT mutant therefore exhibits significantly reduced growth on maltose and maltotriose. The residual uptake of the trisaccharide is catalyzed by the ABC transporter, because a malT/mdxF double mutant no longer grows on maltotriose. The trisaccharide arrives as maltotriose-6″-P in the cell. MapP, which dephosphorylates maltose-6′ -P, also releases Pi from maltotriose-6″-P. Maltotetraose and longer maltodextrins are mainly (or exclusively) taken up via the ABC transporter, because inactivation of the membrane protein MdxF prevents growth on maltotetraose and longer maltodextrins up to at least maltoheptaose. E. faecalis also utilizes panose and isopanose and we show for the first time that in contrast to maltotriose its two isomers are primarily transported via the ABC transporter. We confirm that maltodextrin utilization via MdxEFG/MsmX affects the colonization capacity of E. faecalis, because inactivation of mdxF significantly reduced enterococcal colonization and/or survival in kidneys and liver of mice after intraperitoneal infection.IMPORTANCE Infections by enterococci, major health-care associated pathogens, are difficult to treat due to their increasing resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics and new strategies are urgently needed. A largely unexplored aspect is how these pathogens proliferate and which substrates they use in order to grow inside infected hosts. The use of maltodextrins as carbon and energy source was studied in Enterococcus faecalis and linked to its virulence. Our results demonstrate that E. faecalis can efficiently use glycogen degradation products. We show that depending on the length of the maltodextrins one of two different transporters is used: The maltose-PTS transporter MalT or the MdxEFG/MsmX ABC transporter. The latter takes up longer maltodextrins as well as complex molecules such as panose and isopanose.


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