NPJ Syst Biol Appl. 2022 Oct 28;8(1):41. doi: 10.1038/s41540-022-00252-7.
Infections due to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae have recently emerged as one of the most urgent threats to hospitalized patients within the United States and Europe. By far the most common etiological agent of these infections is Klebsiella pneumoniae, frequently manifesting in hospital-acquired pneumonia with a mortality rate of ~50% even with antimicrobial intervention. We performed transcriptomic analysis of data collected previously from in vitro characterization of both laboratory and clinical isolates which revealed shifts in expression of multiple master metabolic regulators across isolate types. Metabolism has been previously shown to be an effective target for antibacterial therapy, and genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions (GENREs) have provided a powerful means to accelerate identification of potential targets in silico. Combining these techniques with the transcriptome meta-analysis, we generated context-specific models of metabolism utilizing a well-curated GENRE of K. pneumoniae (iYL1228) to identify novel therapeutic targets. Functional metabolic analyses revealed that both composition and metabolic activity of clinical isolate-associated context-specific models significantly differs from laboratory isolate-associated models of the bacterium. Additionally, we identified increased catabolism of L-valine in clinical isolate-specific growth simulations. These findings warrant future studies for potential efficacy of valine transaminase inhibition as a target against K. pneumoniae infection.