H2S and reactive sulfur signaling at the host bacterial pathogen interface [Gene Regulation]

July 22nd, 2020 by Brenna J.C. Walsh, David P. Giedroc

Bacterial pathogens that cause invasive disease in the vertebrate host must adapt to host efforts to cripple their viability. Major host insults are reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species as well as cellular stress induced by antibiotics. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is emerging as an important player in cytoprotection against these stressors, which may well be attributed to downstream more oxidized sulfur species termed reactive sulfur species (RSS). In this review, we summarize recent work that suggests that H2S/RSS impacts bacterial survival in infected cells and animals. We discuss the mechanisms of biogenesis and clearance of RSS in the context of a bacterial H2S/RSS homeostasis model, and the bacterial transcriptional regulatory proteins that act as “sensors” of cellular RSS that maintain H2S/RSS homeostasis. In addition, we cover fluorescence imaging- and mass spectrometry-based approaches used to detect and quantify RSS in bacterial cells. Lastly, we discuss proteome persulfidation (S-sulfuration) as potential mediators of H2S/RSS signaling in bacteria in the context of the writer-reader-eraser paradigm, and progress toward ascribing regulatory significance to this widespread post-translational modification.