Streptococcus pyogenes can support or inhibit growth of Haemophilus influenzae by supplying or restricting extracellular NAD+

Hyunju Lee, Rebecca J. Edgar, Ian J. Lichtenstein, Jorge J. Velarde, Natalia Korotkova, Michael R. Wessels

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1 Scopus citations


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential co-factor for cellular metabolism and serves as a substrate in enzymatic processes. NAD+ is produced by de novo synthesis or salvage pathways in nearly all bacterial species. Haemophilus influenzae lacks the capacity for de novo synthesis, so it is dependent on import of NAD+ from the external environment or salvage biosynthetic pathways for recycling of NAD+ precursors and breakdown products. However, the actual sources of NAD+ utilized by H. influenzae in the respiratory tract are not well defined. In this study, we found that a variety of bacteria, including species found in the upper airway of humans, released NAD+ that was readily detectable in extracellular culture fluid, and which supported growth of H. influenzae in vitro. By contrast, certain strains of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus or GAS) inhibited growth of H. influenzae in vitro by secreting NAD+-glycohydrolase (NADase), which degraded extracellular NAD+. Conversely, GAS strains that lacked enzymatically active NADase released extracellular NAD+, which could support H. influenzae growth. Our results suggest that many bacterial species, including normal flora of the upper airway, release NAD+ into the environment. GAS is distinctive in its ability to both release and degrade NAD+. Thus, colonization of the airway with H. influenzae may be promoted or restricted by co-colonization with GAS in a strain-specific manner that depends, respectively, on release of NAD+ or secretion of active NADase. We suggest that, in addition to its role as a cytotoxin for host cells, NADase may serve a separate function by restricting growth of H. influenzae in the human respiratory tract.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0270697
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9 September
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2022 Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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