Yersinia pestis YrbH is a multifunctional protein required for both 3-deoxy-D-manno-oct-2-ulosonic acid biosynthesis and biofilm formation.
Salmonella typhimurium (S. typhimurium) is an extremely dangerous foodborne bacterium that infects both animal and human subjects, causing fatal diseases around the world. Salmonella's robust virulence, antibiotic-resistant nature, and capacity to survive under harsh conditions are largely due to its ability to form resilient biofilms. Multiple genome-scale metabolic models have been developed to study the complex and diverse nature of this organism's metabolism; however, none of these models fully integrated the reactions and mechanisms required to study the influence of biofilm formation. This work developed a systems-level approach to study the adjustment of intracellular metabolism of S. typhimurium during biofilm formation. The most advanced metabolic reconstruction currently available, STM_v1.0, was 1st extended to include the formation of the extracellular biofilm matrix. Flux balance analysis was then employed to study the influence of biofilm formation on cellular growth rate and the production rates of biofilm components. With biofilm formation present, biomass growth was examined under nutrient rich and nutrient deficient conditions, resulting in overall growth rates of 0.8675 and 0.6238 h-1 respectively. Investigation of intracellular flux variation during biofilm formation resulted in the elucidation of 32 crucial reactions, and associated genes, whose fluxes most significantly adapt during the physiological response. Experimental data were found in the literature to validate the importance of these genes for the biofilm formation of S. typhimurium. This preliminary investigation on the adjustment of intracellular metabolism of S. typhimurium during biofilm formation will serve as a platform to generate hypotheses for further experimental study on the biofilm formation of this virulent bacterium.