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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Constraints-based analysis identifies NAD+ recycling through metabolic reprogramming in antibiotic resistant Chromobacterium violaceum


In the post genomic era, high throughput data augment stoichiometric flux balance models to compute accurate metabolic flux states, growth and energy phenotypes. Investigating altered metabolism in the context of evolved resistant genotypes potentially provide simple strategies to overcome drug resistance and induce susceptibility to existing antibiotics. A genome-scale metabolic model (GSMM) for Chromobacterium violaceum, an opportunistic human pathogen, was reconstructed using legacy data. Experimental constraints were used to represent antibiotic susceptible and resistant populations. Model predictions were validated using growth and respiration data successfully. Differential flux distribution and metabolic reprogramming were identified as a response to antibiotics, chloramphenicol and streptomycin. Streptomycin resistant populations (StrpR) redirected tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle flux through the glyoxylate shunt. Chloramphenicol resistant populations (ChlR) resorted to overflow metabolism producing acetate and formate. This switch to fermentative metabolism is potentially through excess reducing equivalents and increased NADH/NAD ratios. Reduced proton gradients and changed Proton Motive Force (PMF) induced by antibiotics were also predicted and verified experimentally using flow cytometry based membrane potential measurements. Pareto analysis of NADH and ATP maintenance showed the decoupling of electron transfer and ATP synthesis in StrpR. Redox homeostasis and NAD+ cycling through rewiring metabolic flux was implicated in re-sensitizing antibiotic resistant C. violaceum. These approaches can be used to probe metabolic vulnerabilities of resistant pathogens. On the verge of a post-antibiotic era, we foresee a critical need for systems level understanding of pathogens and host interaction to extend shelf life of antibiotics and strategize novel therapies.

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