Glutamate-dependent arginine biosynthesis requires the inactivation of spoVG, sarA, and ahrC in Staphylococcus aureus

Itidal Reslane, Luke D. Handke, Gabrielle F. Watson, Dhananjay Shinde, Jong Sam Ahn, Jennifer L. Endres, Fareha Razvi, Emily A. Gilbert, Kenneth W. Bayles, Vinai C. Thomas, McKenzie K. Lehman, Paul D. Fey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genome sequencing has demonstrated that Staphylococcus aureus encodes arginine biosynthetic genes argDCJBFGH synthesizing proteins that mediate arginine biosynthesis using glutamate as a substrate. Paradoxically, however, S. aureus does not grow in a defined, glutamate-replete medium lacking arginine and glucose (CDM-R). Studies from our laboratory have found that specific mutations are selected by S. aureus that facilitate growth in CDM-R. However, these selected mutants synthesize arginine utilizing proline as a substrate rather than glutamate. In this study, we demonstrate that the ectopic expression of the argDCJB operon supports the growth of S. aureus in CDM-R, thus documenting the functionality of this pathway. Furthermore, suppressor mutants of S. aureus JE2 putA::Tn, which is defective in synthesizing arginine from proline, were selected on CDM-R agar. Genome sequencing revealed that these mutants had compensatory mutations within both spoVG, encoding an ortholog of the Bacillus subtilis stage V sporulation protein, and sarA, encoding the staphylococcal accessory regulator. Transcriptional studies document that argD expression is significantly increased when JE2 spoVG sarA was grown in CDM-R. Lastly, we found that a mutation in ahrC was required to induce argD expression in JE2 spoVG sarA when grown in an arginine-replete medium (CDM), suggesting that AhrC also functions to repress argDCJB in an arginine-dependent manner. In conclusion, these data indicate that the argDCJB operon is functional when transcribed in vitro and that SNPs within potential putative regulatory proteins are required to alleviate the repression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • arginine biosynthesis
  • metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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