D-serine transporter in Staphylococcus saprophyticus identified

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Among staphylococci Staphylococcus saprophyticus is the only species that is typically uropathogenic and an important cause of urinary tract infections in young women. The amino acid D-serine occurs in relatively high concentrations in human urine and has a bacteriostatic or toxic effect on many bacteria. In uropathogenic Escherichia coli and S. saprophyticus, the amino acid regulates the expression of virulence factors and can be used as a nutrient. The ability of uropathogens to respond to or to metabolize D-serine has been suggested as a factor that enables colonization of the urinary tract. Until now nothing is known about D-serine transport in S.saprophyticus. We generated mutants of putative transporter genes in S.saprophyticus 7108 that show homology to the D-serine transporter cycA of E. coli and tested them in a D-serine depletion assay to analyze the D-serine uptake rate of the cells. The mutant of SPP1070 showed a strong decrease in D-serine uptake. Therefore, SSP1070 was identified as a major D-serine transporter in S. saprophyticus 7108 and was named D-serine transporter A (DstA). D-serine caused a prolonged lag phase of S. saprophyticus in a chemically defined medium. This negative effect was dependent on the presence of DstA.

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