Document Type


Date of Original Version



Cell & Molecular Biology


Host-derived glutathione (GSH) is an essential source of cysteine for the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis. In a comprehensive transposon insertion sequencing screen, we identified several F. tularensis genes that play central and previously unappreciated roles in the utilization of GSH during the growth of the bacterium in macrophages. We show that one of these, a gene we named dptA, encodes a proton-dependent oligopeptide transporter that enables growth of the organism on the dipeptide Cys-Gly, a key breakdown product of GSH generated by the enzyme γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT). Although GGT was thought to be the principal enzyme involved in GSH breakdown in F. tularensis, our screen identified a second enzyme, referred to as ChaC, that is also involved in the utilization of exogenous GSH. However, unlike GGT and DptA, we show that the importance of ChaC in supporting intramacrophage growth extends beyond cysteine acquisition. Taken together, our findings provide a compendium of F. tularensis genes required for intracellular growth and identify new players in the metabolism of GSH that could be attractive targets for therapeutic intervention.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.