Cadmium stress dictates central carbon flux and alters membrane composition in Streptococcus pneumoniae

Stephanie L. Neville, Bart A. Eijkelkamp, Amber Lothian, James C. Paton, Blaine R. Roberts, Jason W. Rosch, Christopher A. McDevitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Metal ion homeostasis is essential for all forms of life. However, the breadth of intracellular impacts that arise upon dysregulation of metal ion homeostasis remain to be elucidated. Here, we used cadmium, a non-physiological metal ion, to investigate how the bacterial pathogen, Streptococcus pneumoniae, resists metal ion stress and dyshomeostasis. By combining transcriptomics, metabolomics and metalloproteomics, we reveal that cadmium stress dysregulates numerous essential cellular pathways including central carbon metabolism, lipid membrane biogenesis and homeostasis, and capsule production at the transcriptional and/or functional level. Despite the breadth of cellular pathways susceptible to metal intoxication, we show that S. pneumoniae is able to maintain viability by utilizing cellular pathways that are predominately metal-independent, such as the pentose phosphate pathway to maintain energy production. Collectively, this work provides insight into the cellular processes impacted by cadmium and how resistance to metal ion toxicity is achieved in S. pneumoniae.

Original languageEnglish
Article number694
Number of pages15
JournalCommunications Biology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2020


  • metal ion homeostasis
  • cadmium stress
  • Bacterial pathogens
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • cellular processes


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