Foreign peptide triggers boost in pneumococcal metabolism and growth.

Nasher, Fauzy; Förster, Sunniva; Yildirim, Efe C; Grandgirard, Denis; Leib, Stephen; Heller, Manfred; Hathaway, Lucy (2018). Foreign peptide triggers boost in pneumococcal metabolism and growth. BMC microbiology, 18(1), p. 23. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12866-018-1167-y

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Nonencapsulated Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria are successful colonizers of the human nasopharynx and often possess genes aliB-like ORF 1 and 2 in place of capsule genes. AliB-like ORF 2 binds peptide FPPQSV, found in Prevotella species, resulting in enhanced colonization. How this response is mediated is so far unknown.


Here we show that the peptide increases expression of genes involved in release of host carbohydrates, carbohydrate uptake and carbohydrate metabolism. In particular, the peptide increased expression of 1,5-anhydro-D-fructose reductase, a metabolic enzyme of an alternative starch and glycogen degrading pathway found in many organisms, in both transcriptomic and proteomic data. The peptide enhanced pneumococcal growth giving a competitive advantage to a strain with aliB-like ORF 2, over its mutant lacking the gene. Possession of aliB-like ORF 2 did not affect release of inflammatory cytokine CXCL8 from epithelial cells in culture and the nonencapsulated wild type strain was not able to establish disease or inflammation in an infant rat model of meningitis.


We propose that AliB-like ORF 2 confers an advantage in colonization by enhancing carbohydrate metabolism resulting in a boost in growth. This may explain the widespread presence of aliB-like ORF 2 in the nonencapsulated pneumococcal population in the human nasopharynx.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Services > Core Facility Massenspektrometrie- und Proteomics-Labor
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Nasher, Fauzy Negiub Ali, Förster, Sunniva Marita, Yildirim, Efe Can, Grandgirard, Denis, Leib, Stephen, Heller, Manfred, Hathaway, Lucy Jane


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




BioMed Central




Tanya Karrer

Date Deposited:

17 Apr 2018 11:18

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:12

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Additional Information:

Fauzy Nasher and Sunniva Förster contributed equally to this work

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Nonencapsulated Peptide Proteome Streptococcus pneumoniae Transcriptome aliB-like ORF 2




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