The widely conserved twin-arginine translocases (Tat) allow the transport of fully folded cofactor-containing proteins across biological membranes. In doing so, these translocases serve different biological functions ranging from energy conversion to cell division. In the Gram-positive soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis, the Tat machinery is essential for effective growth in media lacking iron or NaCl. It was previously shown that this phenomenon relates to the Tat-dependent export of the heme-containing peroxidase EfeB, which converts Fe2+ to Fe3+ at the expense of hydrogen peroxide. However, the reasons why the majority of tat mutant bacteria perish upon dilution in NaCl-deprived medium and how, after several hours, a sub-population adapts to this condition was unknown. Here we show that, upon growth in the absence of NaCl, the bacteria face two major problems, namely severe oxidative stress at the membrane and starvation leading to death. The tat mutant cells can overcome these challenges if they are fed with arginine, which implies that severe arginine depletion is a major cause of death and resumed arginine synthesis permits their survival. Altogether, our findings show that the Tat system of B. subtilis is needed to preclude severe oxidative stress and starvation upon sudden drops in the environmental Na+ concentration as caused by flooding or rain.
|Tijdschrift||Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Cell Research|
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||2|
|Status||Published - feb-2021|