CcpA Ensures Optimal Metabolic Fitness of Streptococcus pneumoniae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


In Gram-positive bacteria, the transcriptional regulator CcpA is at the core of catabolite control mechanisms. In the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae, links between CcpA and virulence have been established, but its role as a master regulator in different nutritional environments remains to be elucidated. Thus, we performed whole-transcriptome and metabolic analyses of S. pneumoniae D39 and its isogenic ccpA mutant during growth on glucose or galactose, rapidly and slowly metabolized carbohydrates presumably encountered by the bacterium in different host niches. CcpA affected the expression of up to 19% of the genome covering multiple cellular processes, including virulence, regulatory networks and central metabolism. Its prevalent function as a repressor was observed on glucose, but unexpectedly also on galactose. Carbohydrate-dependent CcpA regulation was also observed, as for the tagatose 6-phosphate pathway genes, which were activated by galactose and repressed by glucose. Metabolite analyses revealed that two pathways for galactose catabolism are functionally active, despite repression of the Leloir genes by CcpA. Surprisingly, galactose-induced mixed-acid fermentation apparently required CcpA, since genes involved in this type of metabolism were mostly under CcpA-repression. These findings indicate that the role of CcpA extends beyond transcriptional regulation, which seemingly is overlaid by other regulatory mechanisms. In agreement, CcpA influenced the level of many intracellular metabolites potentially involved in metabolic regulation. Our data strengthen the view that a true understanding of cell physiology demands thorough analyses at different cellular levels. Moreover, integration of transcriptional and metabolic data uncovered a link between CcpA and the association of surface molecules ( e. g. capsule) to the cell wall. Hence, CcpA may play a key role in mediating the interaction of S. pneumoniae with its host. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that S. pneumoniae optimizes basic metabolic processes, likely enhancing in vivo fitness, in a CcpA-mediated manner
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)e26707
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Cite this