Potassium uptake modulates Staphylococcus aureus metabolism

Casey M. Gries, Marat R. Sadykov, Logan L. Bulock, Sujata S. Chaudhari, Vinai C. Thomas, Jeffrey L. Bose, Kenneth W. Bayles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


As a leading cause of community-associated and nosocomial infections, Staphylococcus aureus requires sophisticated mechanisms that function to maintain cellular homeostasis in response to its exposure to changing environmental conditions. The adaptation to stress and maintenance of homeostasis depend largely on membrane activity, including supporting electrochemical gradients and synthesis of ATP. This is largely achieved through potassium (K+) transport, which plays an essential role in maintaining chemiosmotic homeostasis, affects antimicrobial resistance, and contributes to fitness in vivo. Here, we report that S. aureus Ktr-mediated K+ uptake is necessary for maintaining cytoplasmic pH and the establishment of a proton motive force. Metabolite analyses revealed that K+ deficiency affects both metabolic and energy states of S. aureus by impairing oxidative phosphorylation and directing carbon flux toward substrate-level phosphorylation. Taken together, these results underline the importance of K+ uptake in maintaining essential components of S. aureus metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00125-16
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Metabolism
  • Potassium transport
  • Staphylococcus aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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