Bacteroides fragilis can replicate in atmospheres containing ≤0.05% oxygen, but higher concentrations arrest growth by an unknown mechanism. Here we show that inactivation of a single gene, oxe (i.e., oxygen enabled) in B. fragilis allows for growth in concentrations as high as 2% oxygen while increasing the tolerance of this organism to room air. Known components of the oxidative stress response including the ahpC, kat, batA-E, and tpx genes were not individually important for microaerobic growth. However, a Δoxe strain scavenged H2O2 at a faster rate than WT, indicating that reactive oxygen species may play a critical role in limiting growth of this organism to low-oxygen environments. Clinical isolates of B. fragilis displayed a greater capacity for growth under microaerobic conditions than fecal isolates, with some encoding polymorphisms in oxe. Additionally, isolation of oxygen-enabled mutants of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron suggests that Oxe may mediate growth arrest of other anaerobes in oxygenated environments.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jul 24 2012|