Mammalian Peptidoglycan Recognition Proteins (PGRPs) kill bacteria through induction of synergistic oxidative, thiol, and metal stress. PGRPs induce oxidative stress in bacteria through a block in the respiratory chain, which results in decreased respiration and incomplete reduction of oxygen (O2) to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In this study we identify the site of PGRP-induced generation of H2O2 in Escherichia coli. Tn-seq screening of E. coli Tn10 insertion library revealed that mutants in formate dehydrogenase (FDH) genes had the highest survival following PGRP treatment. Mutants lacking functional FDH-O had abolished PGRP-induced H2O2 production and the highest resistance to PGRP-induced killing, and formate enhanced PGRP-induced killing and H2O2 production in an FDH-dependent manner. Mutants in ubiquinone synthesis (but not menaquinone and demethylmenaquinone) and cytochrome bd-I (but not cytochromes bo3 and bd-II) also had completely abolished PGRP-induced H2O2 production and high resistance to PGRP-induced killing. Because electrons in the respiratory chain flow from dehydrogenases’ substrates through quinones and then cytochromes to O2, these results imply that the site of PGRP-induced incomplete reduction of O2 to H2O2 is downstream from dehydrogenases and ubiquinone at the level of cytochrome bd-I, which results in oxidative stress. These results reveal several essential steps in PGRP-induced bacterial killing.
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