While only a subset of Vibrio cholerae strains are human diarrheal pathogens, all are aquatic organisms. In this environment, they often persist in close association with arthropods. In the intestinal lumen of the model arthropod Drosophila melanogaster, methionine and methionine sulfoxide decrease susceptibility to V. cholerae infection. In addition to its structural role in proteins, methionine participates in the methionine cycle, which carries out synthetic and regulatory methylation reactions. It is, therefore, essential for the growth of both animals and bacteria. Methionine is scarce in some environments, and the facile conversion of free methionine to methionine sulfoxide in oxidizing environments interferes with its utilization. To ensure an adequate supply of methionine, the genomes of most organisms encode multiple high-affinity uptake pathways for methionine as well as multiple methionine sulfoxide reductases, which reduce free and protein-associated methionine sulfoxide to methionine. To explore the role of methionine uptake and reduction in V. cholerae colonization of the arthropod intestine, we mutagenized the two high-affinity methionine transporters and five methionine sulfoxide reductases encoded in the V. cholerae genome. We show that MsrC is the sole methionine sulfoxide reductase active on free methionine sulfoxide. Furthermore, in the absence of methionine synthesis, high-affinity methionine uptake but not reduction is essential for V. cholerae colonization of the Drosophila intestine. These findings allow us to place a lower limit of 0.05 mM and an upper limit of 0.5 mM on the methionine concentration in the Drosophila intestine.
A community of commensal microbes, known as the intestinal microbiota, resides within the gastrointestinal tract of animals and plays a role in maintenance of host metabolic homeostasis and resistance to pathogen invasion. Enteroendocrine cells, which are relatively rare in the intestinal epithelium, have evolved to sense and respond to these commensal microbes. Specifically, they express G-protein-coupled receptors and functional innate immune signaling pathways that recognize products of microbial metabolism and microbe-associated molecular patterns, respectively. Here we review recent evidence from Drosophila melanogaster that microbial cues recruit antimicrobial, mechanical, and metabolic branches of the enteroendocrine innate immune system and argue that this response may play a role not only in maintaining host metabolic homeostasis but also in intestinal resistance to invasion by bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens.