Flexible nitrogen utilisation by the metabolic generalist pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosisMore about Open Access at the Crick
Authors listAleksandra Agapova Agnese Serafini Michael Petridis Debbie M Hunt Acely Garza-Garcia Charles D Sohaskey Luiz Pedro Carvalho
Bacterial metabolism is fundamental to survival and pathogenesis. We explore how utilises amino acids as nitrogen sources, using a combination of bacterial physiology and stable isotope tracing coupled to mass spectrometry metabolomics methods. Our results define core properties of the nitrogen metabolic network from , such as: (i) the lack of homeostatic control of certain amino acid pool sizes; (ii) similar rates of utilisation of different amino acids as sole nitrogen sources; (iii) improved nitrogen utilisation from amino acids compared to ammonium; and (iv) co-metabolism of nitrogen sources. Finally, we discover that alanine dehydrogenase is involved in ammonium assimilation in , in addition to its essential role in alanine utilisation as a nitrogen source. This study represents the first in-depth analysis of nitrogen source utilisation by and reveals a flexible metabolic network with characteristics that are likely a product of evolution in the human host.