Dynamic Metabolite Profiling in an Archaeon Connects Transcriptional Regulation to Metabolic Consequences
Previous work demonstrated that the TrmB transcription factor is responsible for regulating the expression of many enzyme-coding genes in the hypersaline-adapted archaeon Halobacterium salinarum via a direct interaction with a cis-regulatory sequence in their promoters. This interaction is abolished in the presence of glucose. Although much is known about the effects of TrmB at the transcriptional level, it remains unclear whether and to what extent changes in mRNA levels directly affect metabolite levels. In order to address this question, here we performed a high-resolution metabolite profiling time course during a change in nutrients using a combination of targeted and untargeted methods in wild-type and Delta trmB strain backgrounds. We found that TrmB-mediated transcriptional changes resulted in widespread and significant changes to metabolite levels across the metabolic network. Additionally, the pattern of growth complementation using various purines suggests that the mis-regulation of gluconeogenesis in the Delta trmB mutant strain in the absence of glucose results in low phosphoribosylpyrophosphate (PRPP) levels. We confirmed these low PRPP levels using a quantitative mass spectrometric technique and found that they are associated with a metabolic block in de novo purine synthesis, which is partially responsible for the growth defect of the Delta trmB mutant strain in the absence of glucose. In conclusion, we show how transcriptional regulation of metabolism affects metabolite levels and ultimately, phenotypes.