Itaconic Acid Inhibits Growth of a Pathogenic Marine Vibrio Strain: A Metabolomics Approach
The antimicrobial role of itaconic acid (ITA) has been recently discovered in mammalian cells. In our previous studies, we discovered that marine molluscs biosynthesise substantial quantities of ITA when exposed to marine pathogens, but its antimicrobial function to Vibrio bacteria is currently unknown. Thus, in this study, we used an untargeted gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) platform to identify metabolic changes of Vibrio sp. DO1 (V. corallyliticus/neptunius-like isolate) caused by ITA exposure. Vibrio sp. DO1 was cultured in Luria-Bertani broth supplemented with 3 mM sodium acetate and with different concentrations of ITA (0, 3 and 6 mM) for 24 h. The results showed that ITA completely inhibited Vibrio sp. growth at 6 mM and partially inhibited the bacterial growth at 3 mM. A principal component analysis (PCA) revealed a clear separation between metabolite profiles of Vibrio sp. DO1 in the 3 mM ITA treatment and the control, which were different in 25 metabolites. Among the altered metabolites, the accumulation of glyoxylic acid and other metabolites in glyoxylate cycle (cis-aconitic acid, isocitric acid and fumaric acid) together with the increase of isocitrate lyase (ICL) activity in the 3 mM ITA treatment compared to the control suggest that ITA inhibited Vibrio sp. growth via disruption of central carbon metabolism.