Open Access Open Badges Research article

The role of short-chain dehydrogenase/oxidoreductase, induced by salt stress, on host interaction of B. pseudomallei

Pornpan Pumirat1, Usa Boonyuen2, Muthita Vanaporn1, Peechanika Pinweha3, Sarunporn Tandhavanant14, Sunee Korbsrisate3 and Narisara Chantratita14*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

2 Department of Molecular Tropical Medicine and Genetics, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

3 Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand

4 Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-1

Published: 2 January 2014



Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, a frequently occurring disease in northeastern Thailand, where soil and water high in salt content are common. Using microarray analysis, we previously showed that B. pseudomallei up-regulated a short-chain dehydrogenase/oxidoreductase (SDO) under salt stress. However, the importance of SDO in B. pseudomallei infection is unknown. This study aimed to explore the function of B. pseudomallei SDO, and to investigate its role in interactions between B. pseudomallei and host cells.


Bioinformatics analysis of B. pseudomallei SDO structure, based on homology modeling, revealed a NAD+ cofactor domain and a catalytic triad containing Ser149, Tyr162, and Lys166. This is similar to Bacillus megaterium glucose 1-dehydrogenase. To investigate the role of this protein, we constructed a B. pseudomallei SDO defective mutant, measured glucose dehydrogenase (GDH) activity, and tested the interactions with host cells. The B. pseudomallei K96243 wild type exhibited potent GDH activity under condition containing 300 mM NaCl, while the mutant showed activity levels 15 times lower. Both invasion into the A549 cell line and early intracellular survival within the J774A.1 macrophage cell were impaired in the mutant. Complementation of SDO was able to restore the mutant ability to produce GDH activity, invade epithelial cells, and survive in macrophages.


Our data suggest that induced SDO activity during salt stress may facilitate B. pseudomallei invasion and affect initiation of successful intracellular infection. Identifying the role of B. pseudomallei SDO provides a better understanding of the association between bacterial adaptation and pathogenesis in melioidosis.