Biotin-mediated growth and gene expression in Staphylococcus aureus is highly responsive to environmental biotin

Jiulia Satiaputra, Bart A. Eijkelkamp, Christopher A. McDevitt, Keith E. Shearwin, Grant W. Booker, Steven W. Polyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Biotin (Vitamin B7) is a critical enzyme co-factor in metabolic pathways important for bacterial survival. Biotin is obtained either from the environment or by de novo synthesis, with some bacteria capable of both. In certain species, the bifunctional protein BirA plays a key role in biotin homeostasis as it regulates expression of biotin biosynthetic enzymes in response to biotin demand and supply. Here, we compare the effect of biotin on the growth of two bacteria that possess a bifunctional BirA, namely Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Unlike E. coli that could fulfill its biotin requirements through de novo synthesis, S. aureus showed improved growth rates in media supplemented with 10 nM biotin. S. aureus also accumulated more radiolabeled biotin from the media highlighting its ability to efficiently scavenge exogenous material. These data are consistent with S. aureus colonizing low biotin microhabitats. We also demonstrate that the S. aureus BirA protein is a transcriptional repressor of BioY, a subunit of the biotin transporter, and an operon containing yhfT and yhfS, the products of which have a putative role in fatty acid homeostasis. Increased expression of bioY is proposed to help cue S. aureus for efficient scavenging in low biotin environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3793-3803
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotin
  • Biotin protein ligase
  • BirA
  • Gene expression/regulation
  • Staphylococcus aureus


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