NYMC Faculty Publications


Role of Peroxiredoxin of the AhpC/TSA Family in Antioxidant Defense Mechanisms of Francisella tularensis

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Publication Date

March 2019


Microbiology and Immunology


Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative, facultative intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of a lethal human disease known as tularemia. Due to its extremely high virulence and potential to be used as a bioterror agent, F. tularensis is classified by the CDC as a Category A Select Agent. As an intracellular pathogen, F. tularensis during its intracellular residence encounters a number of oxidative and nitrosative stresses. The roles of the primary antioxidant enzymes SodB, SodC and KatG in oxidative stress resistance and virulence of F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) have been characterized in previous studies. However, very fragmentary information is available regarding the role of peroxiredoxin of the AhpC/TSA family (annotated as AhpC) of F. tularensis SchuS4; whereas the role of AhpC of F. tularensis LVS in tularemia pathogenesis is not known. This study was undertaken to exhaustively investigate the role of AhpC in oxidative stress resistance of F. tularensis LVS and SchuS4. We report that AhpC of F. tularensis LVS confers resistance against a wide range of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, and serves as a virulence factor. In highly virulent F. tularensis SchuS4 strain, AhpC serves as a key antioxidant enzyme and contributes to its robust oxidative and nitrosative stress resistance, and intramacrophage survival. We also demonstrate that there is functional redundancy among primary antioxidant enzymes AhpC, SodC, and KatG of F. tularensis SchuS4. Collectively, this study highlights the differences in antioxidant defense mechanisms of F. tularensis LVS and SchuS4.