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The potential for redox-active metabolites (RAMs) to enhance or unlock anaerobic survival metabolisms in aerobes

Ciemniecki, John A. and Newman, Dianne K. (2020) The potential for redox-active metabolites (RAMs) to enhance or unlock anaerobic survival metabolisms in aerobes. Journal of Bacteriology, 202 (11). Art. No. e00797-19. ISSN 0021-9193. PMCID PMC7221258 . doi:10.1128/jb.00797-19.

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Classifying microorganisms as “obligate” aerobes has colloquially implied death without air, leading to the erroneous assumption that, without oxygen, they are unable to survive. However, over the past few decades, more than a few obligate aerobes have been found to possess anaerobic energy conservation strategies that sustain metabolic activity in the absence of growth or at very low growth rates. Similarly, studies emphasizing the aerobic prowess of certain facultative aerobes have sometimes led to underrecognition of their anaerobic capabilities. Yet an inescapable consequence of the affinity both obligate and facultative aerobes have for oxygen is that the metabolism of these organisms may drive this substrate to scarcity, making anoxic survival an essential skill. To illustrate this, we highlight the importance of anaerobic survival strategies for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptomyces coelicolor, representative facultative and obligate aerobes, respectively. Included among these strategies, we describe a role for redox-active secondary metabolites (RAMs), such as phenazines made by P. aeruginosa, in enhancing substrate-level phosphorylation. Importantly, RAMs are made by diverse bacteria, often during stationary phase in the absence of oxygen, and can sustain anoxic survival. We present a hypothesis for how RAMs may enhance or even unlock energy conservation pathways that facilitate the anaerobic survival of both RAM producers and nonproducers.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Ciemniecki, John A.0000-0003-2789-6700
Newman, Dianne K.0000-0003-1647-1918
Additional Information:© 2020 American Society for Microbiology. Accepted manuscript posted online 18 February 2020; Published 11 May 2020. We thank Megan Bergkessel, Elena Perry, Lev Tsypin, David Basta, and Chelsey VanDrisse for constructive feedback on the manuscript. J.A.C. is supported by an NIH Training Grant to Caltech’s BBE Division as well as by grants to D.K.N. from the NIH (1R01AI127850-01A1) and ARO (W911NF-17-1-0024).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIH Predoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Army Research Office (ARO)W911NF-17-1-0024
Subject Keywords:Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptomyces coelicolor, anaerobic metabolism, denitrification, fermentation, phenazines, secondary metabolites, survival physiology
Issue or Number:11
PubMed Central ID:PMC7221258
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200219-111358713
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:The Potential for Redox-Active Metabolites To Enhance or Unlock Anaerobic Survival.Metabolisms in Aerobes. John A. Ciemniecki, Dianne K. Newman. Journal of Bacteriology May 2020, 202 (11) e00797-19; DOI: 10.1128/JB.00797-19
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101377
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Feb 2020 19:22
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:02

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