Roles of Staphylococcus aureus Mnh1 and Mnh2 antiporters in salt tolerance, alkali tolerance, and pathogenesis

Manisha Vaish, Alexa Price-Whelan, Tamara Reyes-Robles, Jun Liu, Amyeo Jereen, Stephanie Christi, Francis Alonzo, Meredith A. Benson, Victor J. Torres, Terry A. Krulwicha

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16 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus aureus has three types of cation/proton antiporters. The type 3 family includes two multisubunit Na+/H+ (Mnh) antiporters, Mnh1 and Mnh2. These antiporters are clusters of seven hydrophobic membrane-bound protein subunits. Mnh antiporters play important roles in maintaining cytoplasmic pH in prokaryotes, enabling their survival under extreme environmental stress. In this study, we investigated the physiological roles and catalytic properties of Mnh1 and Mnh2 in S. aureus. Both Mnh1 and Mnh2 were cloned separately into a pGEM3Z+ vector in the antiporter-deficient KNabc Escherichia coli strain. The catalytic properties of the antiporters were measured in everted (inside out) vesicles. The Mnh1 antiporter exhibited a significant exchange of Na+/H+ cations at pH 7.5. Mnh2 showed a significant exchange of both Na+/H+ and K+/H+ cations, especially at pH 8.5. Under elevated salt conditions, deletion of the mnhA1 gene resulted in a significant reduction in the growth rate of S. aureus in the range of pH 7.5 to 9. Deletion of mnhA2 had similar effects but mainly in the range of pH 8.5 to 9.5. Double deletion of mnhA1 and mnhA2 led to a severe reduction in the S. aureus growth rate mainly at pH values above 8.5. The effects of functional losses of both antiporters in S. aureus were also assessed via their support of virulence in a mouse in vivo infection model. Deletion of the mnhA1 gene led to a major loss of S. aureus virulence in mice, while deletion of mnh2 led to no change in virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00611-17
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Mnh1
  • Mnh2
  • Multisubunit cation/proton antiporter I
  • Pathogenesis
  • Staphylococcus aureus


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