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Summary

While many studies have explored the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, comparatively few have focused on its survival. Previously, we reported that endogenous phenazines support the anaerobic survival of P. aeruginosa, yet the physiological mechanism underpinning survival was unknown. Here, we demonstrate that phenazine redox cycling enables P. aeruginosa to oxidize glucose and pyruvate into acetate, which promotes survival by coupling acetate and ATP synthesis through the activity of acetate kinase. By measuring intracellular NAD(H) and ATP concentrations, we show that survival is correlated with ATP synthesis, which is tightly coupled to redox homeostasis during pyruvate fermentation but not during arginine fermentation. We also show that ATP hydrolysis is required to generate a proton-motive force using the ATP synthase complex during fermentation. Together, our results suggest that phenazines enable maintenance of the proton-motive force by promoting redox homeostasis and ATP synthesis. This work demonstrates the more general principle that extracellular redox-active molecules, such as phenazines, can broaden the metabolic versatility of microorganisms by facilitating energy generation.