Given the effects of nitric oxide (NO) on amino acid biosynthetic pathways and the intimate relationship of DksA with amino acid synthesis and transport, we tested whether DksA contributes to the resistance of Salmonella to reactive nitrogen species (RNS). Our studies show that the zinc finger predicted to position DksA in the secondary channel of the RNA polymerase is essential for the resistance of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium to RNS in a murine model of systemic salmonellosis.
Despite exhibiting auxotrophies for various amino acids, ΔdksA mutant Salmonella strains regain virulence in mice lacking inducible NO synthase (iNOS). DksA is also important for growth of this intracellular pathogen in the presence of NO congeners generated by iNOS during the innate response of murine macrophages. Accordingly, dksA mutant Salmonella strains are hypersusceptible to chemically generated NO, a phenotype that can be prevented by adding amino acids.
The DksA-dependent antinitrosative defenses do not rely on the Hmp flavohemoprotein that detoxifies NO to NO(3)(-) and appear to operate independently of the ppGpp alarmone.
Our investigations are consistent with a model by which NO produced in the innate response to Salmonella exerts considerable pressure on amino acid biosynthesis.
The cytotoxicity of NO against Salmonella amino acid biosynthetic pathways is antagonized in great part by the DksA-dependent regulation of amino acid biosynthesis and transport.