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Diederich, Ann-Kristin; Duda, Katarzyna A.; Romero-Saavedra, Felipe; Engel, Regina; Holst, Otto and Huebner, Johannes (2016): Deletion of fabN in Enterococcus faecalis results in unsaturated fatty acid auxotrophy and decreased release of inflammatory cytokines. In: Innate Immunity, Vol. 22, No. 4: pp. 284-293 [PDF, 459kB]


The Gram-positive bacterium Enterococcus faecalis can cause life-threatening infections and is resistant to several commonly used antibiotics. The type II fatty acid pathway in bacteria is discussed as a potential target for antimicrobial therapy. However, it was shown that inhibition or deletion of its enzymes can be rescued in Gram-positive bacteria by supplementation with fatty acids. Here we show that by deletion of the fabN gene, which is essential for unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) synthesis in E. faecalis, growth is impaired but can be rescued by supplementation with oleic acid or human serum. Nonetheless, we demonstrate alterations of the UFA profile after supplementation with oleic acid in the fabN mutant using a specific glycolipid. In addition, we demonstrate that cytokine release invitro is almost abolished after stimulation of mouse macrophages by the mutant in comparison to the wild type. The results indicate that fabN is not a suitable target for antimicrobials as UFA auxotrophy can be overcome. However, deletion of fabN resulted in a decreased inflammatory response indicating that fabN and resulting UFA synthesis are relevant for virulence.

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