Functional characterization of Yersinia pestis aerobic glycerol metabolism

Stephan P. Willias, Sadhana Chauhan, Vladimir L. Motin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Yersinia pestis biovar Orientalis isolates have lost the capacity to ferment glycerol. Herein we provide experimental validation that a 93bp in-frame deletion within the glpD gene encoding the glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase present in all biovar Orientalis strains is sufficient to disrupt aerobic glycerol fermentation. Furthermore, the inability to ferment glycerol is often insured by a variety of additional mutations within the glpFKX operon which prevents glycerol internalization and conversion to glycerol-3-phosphate. The physiological impact of functional glpFKX in the presence of dysfunctional glpD was assessed. Results demonstrate no change in growth kinetics at 26°C and 37°C. Mutants deficient in glpD displayed decreased intracellular accumulation of glycerol-3-phosphate, a characterized inhibitor of cAMP receptor protein (CRP) activation. Since CRP is rigorously involved in global regulation Y.pestis virulence, we tested a possible influence of a single glpD mutation on virulence. Nonetheless, subcutaneous and intranasal murine challenge was not impacted by glycerol metabolism. As quantified by crystal violet assay, biofilm formation of the glpD-deficient KIM6+ mutant was mildly repressed; whereas, chromosomal restoration of glpD in CO92 resulted in a significant increase in biofilm formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Biofilm
  • GlpD
  • GlpFKX
  • Glycerol
  • Yersinia pestis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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