MdaB and NfrA, Two Novel Reductases Important in the Survival and Persistence of the Major Enteropathogen Campylobacter jejuni

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The paralogues RrpA and RrpB, which are members of the MarR family of DNA binding proteins, are important for the survival of the global bacterial foodborne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni under redox stress. We report that RrpA is a positive regulator of mdaB, encoding a flavin-dependent quinone reductase that contributes to the protection from redox stress mediated by structurally diverse quinones, while RrpB negatively regulates the expression of cj1555c (renamed nfrA for NADPH-flavin reductase A), encoding a flavin reductase. NfrA reduces riboflavin at a greater rate than its derivatives, suggesting that exogenous free flavins are the natural substrate. MdaB and NfrA both prefer NADPH as an electron donor. Cysteine substitution and posttranslational modification analyses indicated that RrpA and RrpB employ a cysteine-based redox switch. Complete genome sequence analyses revealed that mdaB is frequently found in Campylobacter and related Helicobacter spp., while nfrA is predominant in C. jejuni strains. Quinones and flavins are redox cycling agents secreted by a wide range of cell types that can form damaging superoxide by one-electron reactions. We propose a model for stress adaptation where MdaB and NfrA facilitate a two-electron reduction mechanism to the less toxic hydroquinones, thus aiding survival and persistence of this major pathogen.