The Moraxella catarrhalis nitric oxide reductase is essential for nitric oxide detoxification

Wei Wang, Traci Kinkel, Willm Martens-Habbena, David A. Stahl, Ferric C. Fang, Eric J. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Moraxella catarrhalis is a Gram-negative obligate aerobe that is an important cause of human respiratory tract infections. The M. catarrhalis genome encodes a predicted truncated denitrification pathway that reduces nitrate to nitrous oxide. We have previously shown that expression of both the M. catarrhalis aniA (encoding a nitrite reductase) and norB (encoding a putative nitric oxide reductase) genes is repressed by the transcriptional regulator NsrR under aerobic conditions and that M. catarrhalis O35E nsrR mutants are unable to grow in the presence of low concentrations of nitrite (W. Wang, et al., J. Bacteriol. 190:7762-7772, 2008). In this study, we constructed an M. catarrhalis norB mutant and showed that planktonic growth of this mutant is inhibited by low levels of nitrite, whether or not an nsrR mutation is present. To determine the importance of NorB in this truncated denitrification pathway, we analyzed the metabolism of nitrogen oxides by norB, aniA norB, and nsrR norB mutants. We found that norB mutants are unable to reduce nitric oxide and produce little or no nitrous oxide from nitrite. Furthermore, nitric oxide produced from nitrite by the AniA protein is bactericidal for a Moraxella catarrhalis O35E norB mutant but not for wild-type O35E bacteria under aerobic growth conditions in vitro, suggesting that nitric oxide catabolism in M. catarrhalis is accomplished primarily by the norB gene product. Measurement of bacterial protein S-nitrosylation directly implicates nitrosative stress resulting from AniA-dependent nitric oxide formation as a cause of the growth inhibition of norB and nsrR mutants by nitrite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2804-2813
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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