ABSTRACT: Viable cells of Micrococcus luteus secrete a factor, which promotes the resuscitation and growth of dormant, nongrowing cells of the same organism. The resuscitation-promoting factor (Rpf) is a protein, which has been purified to homogeneity. In picomolar concentrations, it increases the viable cell count of dormant M. luteus cultures at least 100-fold and can also stimulate the growth of viable cells. Rpf also stimulates the growth of several other high G+C Gram-positive organisms, including Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium bovis (BCG), Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium smegmatis, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Similar genes are widely distributed among high G+C Gram-positive bacteria; genome sequencing has uncovered examples in Mycobacterium leprae and Mb. tuberculosis and others have been detected by hybridization in Mb. smegmatis, Corynebacterium glutamicum, and Streptomyces spp. The mycobacterial gene products may provide different targets for the detection and control of these important pathogens. This report is thus a description of a proteinaceous autocrine or paracrine bacterial growth factor or cytokine.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Resuscitation promoting factors (RPF) are secreted proteins involved in reactivation of dormant actinobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. They have been considered as prospective targets for the development of new anti-tuberculosis drugs preventing reactivation of dormant tubercle bacilli, generally associated with latent tuberculosis. However, no inhibitors of Rpf activity have been reported so far. The goal of this study was to find low molecular weight compounds inhibiting the enzymatic and biological activities of Rpfs.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>Here we describe a novel class of 2-nitrophenylthiocyanates (NPT) compounds that inhibit muralytic activity of Rpfs with IC(50) 1-7 microg/ml. Fluorescence studies revealed interaction of active NPTs with the internal regions of the Rpf molecule. Candidate inhibitors of Rpf enzymatic activity showed a bacteriostatic effect on growth of Micrococcus luteus (in which Rpf is essential for growth protein) at concentrations close to IC(50). The candidate compounds suppressed resuscitation of dormant ("non-culturable") cells of M. smegmatis at 1 microg/ml or delayed resuscitation of dormant M. tuberculosis obtained in laboratory conditions at 10 microg/ml. However, they did not inhibit growth of active mycobacteria under these concentrations.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>NPT are the first example of low molecular weight compounds that inhibit the enzymatic and biological activities of Rpf proteins.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), is an extraordinarily successful pathogen of humankind. It has been estimated that up to one-third of the world's population is infected with M. tuberculosis, and this population is an important reservoir for disease reactivation. Resuscitation promoting factor (Rpf) is a secretory protein, which was first reported in Micrococcus luteus. There are five functionally redundant Rpf-like proteins found in M. tuberculosis. Rpf promotes the resuscitation of dormant bacilli to yield normal, viable colony forming bacteria. All Rpfs share a conserved domain of about 70 amino acids and possess a lysozyme-like activity. The structural studies of the conserved domain suggest that Rpfs could be considered as a c-type lysozyme and lytic transglycosylases. Recently a novel class of nitrophenylthiocyanates (NPT) inhibitors of the muralytic activity of Rpf were reported which opens a new approach in the study of cell-wall hydrolyzing enzymes. This review describes molecular and structural studies conducted on Rpf proteins, their role in the resuscitation of dormant bacteria, in the reactivation of latent infection and identification of low molecular weight inhibitors of resuscitation promoting factors.
Project description:One third of the world population carries a latent tuberculosis (TB) infection, which may reactivate leading to active disease. Although TB latency has been known for many years it remains poorly understood. In particular, substances of host origin, which may induce the resuscitation of dormant mycobacteria, have not yet been described. In vitro models of dormant ("non-culturable") cells of Mycobacterium smegmatis (mc(2)155) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv were used. We found that the resuscitation of dormant M. smegmatis and M. tuberculosis cells in liquid medium was stimulated by adding free unsaturated fatty acids (FA), including arachidonic acid, at concentrations of 1.6-10 µM. FA addition enhanced cAMP levels in reactivating M. smegmatis cells and exogenously added cAMP (3-10 mM) or dibutyryl-cAMP (0.5-1 mM) substituted for FA, causing resuscitation of M. smegmatis and M. tuberculosis dormant cells. A M. smegmatis null-mutant lacking MSMEG_4279, which encodes a FA-activated adenylyl cyclase (AC), could not be resuscitated by FA but it was resuscitated by cAMP. M. smegmatis and M. tuberculosis cells hyper-expressing AC were unable to form non-culturable cells and a specific inhibitor of AC (8-bromo-cAMP) prevented FA-dependent resuscitation. RT-PCR analysis revealed that rpfA (coding for resuscitation promoting factor A) is up-regulated in M. smegmatis in the beginning of exponential growth following the cAMP increase in lag phase caused by FA-induced cell activation. A specific Rpf inhibitor (4-benzoyl-2-nitrophenylthiocyanate) suppressed FA-induced resuscitation. We propose a novel pathway for the resuscitation of dormant mycobacteria involving the activation of adenylyl cyclase MSMEG_4279 by FAs resulted in activation of cellular metabolism followed later by increase of RpfA activity which stimulates cell multiplication in exponential phase. The study reveals a probable role for lipids of host origin in the resuscitation of dormant mycobacteria, which may function during the reactivation of latent TB.
Project description:Resuscitation promoting factors (Rpfs) are the proteins involved in the process of reactivation of the dormant cells of mycobacteria. Recently a new class of nitrophenylthiocyanates (NPTs), capable of inhibiting the biological and enzymatic activities of Rpfs has been discovered. In the current study the inhibitory properties of the compounds containing both nitro and thiocyanate groups alongside with the compounds with the modified number and different spatial location of the substituents are compared.New benzoylphenyl thiocyanates alongside with nitrophenylthiocyanates were tested in the enzymatic assay of bacterial peptidoglycan hydrolysis as well as against strains of several actinobacteria (Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis) on in-lab developed models of resuscitation of the dormant forms.Introduction of the additional nitro and thiocyanate groups to the benzophenone scaffold did not influence the inhibitory activity of the compounds. Removal of the nitro groups analogously did not impair the functional properties of the molecules. Among the tested compounds two molecules without nitro group: 3-benzoylphenyl thiocyanate and 4-benzoylphenyl thiocyanate demonstrated the maximum activity in both enzymatic assay (inhibition of the Rpf-mediated peptidoglycan hydrolysis) and in the resuscitation assay of the dormant M. tuberculosis cells.The current study demonstrates dispensability of the nitro group in the NPT's structure for inhibition of the enzymatic and biological activities of the Rpf protein molecules. These findings provide new prospects in anti-TB drug discovery especially in finding of molecular scaffolds effective for the latent infection treatment.
Project description:Resuscitation-promoting factors (Rpfs) have previously been shown to act as growth-stimulatory molecules via their lysozyme-like activity on peptidoglycan in the bacterial cell wall. In this study, we investigated the ability of Mycobacterium smegmatis strains lacking rpf genes to form biofilms and tested their susceptibilities to cell wall-targeting agents. M. smegmatis contains four distinct rpf homologues, namely, MSMEG_5700 (rpfA), MSMEG_5439 (rpfB), MSMEG_4640 (rpfE2), and MSMEG_4643 (rpfE). During axenic growth of the wild-type strain, all four mRNA transcripts were expressed to various degrees, but the expression of MSMEG_4643 was significantly greater during exponential growth. Similarly, all rpf mRNA transcripts could be detected in biofilms grown for 7, 14, and 28 days, with MSMEG_4643 expressed at the highest abundance after 7 days. In-frame unmarked deletion mutants (single and combinatorial) were generated and displayed altered colony morphologies and the inability to form typical biofilms. Moreover, any strain lacking rpfA and rpfB simultaneously exhibited increased susceptibility to rifampin, vancomycin, and SDS. Exogenous Rpf supplementation in the form of culture filtrate failed to restore biofilm formation. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis of peptidoglycan (PG) suggested a reduction in 4-3 cross-linked PG in the ?rpfABEE2 mutant strain. In addition, the level of PG-repeat units terminating in 1,6-anhydroMurNAc appeared to be significantly reduced in the quadruple rpf mutant. Collectively, our data have shown that Rpfs play an important role in biofilm formation, possibly through alterations in PG cross-linking and the production of signaling molecules.IMPORTANCE The cell wall of pathogenic mycobacteria is composed of peptidoglycan, arabinogalactan, mycolic acids, and an outer capsule. This inherent complexity renders it resistant to many antibiotics. Consequently, its biosynthesis and remodeling during growth directly impact viability. Resuscitation-promoting factors (Rpfs), enzymes with lytic transglycosylase activity, have been associated with the revival of dormant cells and subsequent resumption of vegetative growth. Mycobacterium smegmatis, a soil saprophyte and close relative of the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, encodes four distinct Rpfs. Herein, we assessed the relationship between Rpfs and biofilm formation, which is used as a model to study drug tolerance and bacterial signaling in mycobacteria. We demonstrated that progressive deletion of rpf genes hampered the development of biofilms and reduced drug tolerance. These effects were accompanied by a reduction in muropeptide production and altered peptidoglycan cross-linking. Collectively, these observations point to an important role for Rpfs in mycobacterial communication and drug tolerance.
Project description:Tuberculosis is a major infectious disease that requires prolonged chemotherapy with a combination of four drugs. Here we present data suggesting that treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, and Mycobacterium smegmatis, a model organism widely used for the screening of antituberculosis agents, with first-line drugs resulted in the generation of substantial populations that could be recovered only by the addition of a culture supernatant from growing mycobacteria. These bacilli failed to grow in standard media, resulting in significant underestimation of the numbers of viable mycobacteria in treated samples. We generated M. smegmatis strains overexpressing M. tuberculosis resuscitation-promoting factors (Rpfs) and demonstrated their application for the detection of Rpf-dependent mycobacteria generated after drug exposure. Our data offer novel opportunities for validation of the sterilizing activity of antituberculosis agents.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Resuscitation promoting factor proteins (Rpfs) are peptidoglycan glycosidases capable of resuscitating dormant mycobacteria, and have been found to play a role in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. However, the specific roles and localisation of each of the 5 Rpfs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis remain mostly unknown. In this work our aim was to construct fluorescent fusions of M. tuberculosis Rpf proteins as tools to investigate their function.<h4>Results</h4>We found that Rpf-fusions to the fluorescent protein mCherry are functional and able to promote cell growth under different conditions. However, fusions to Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (EGFP) were non-functional in the assays used and none were secreted into the extracellular medium, which suggests Rpfs may be secreted via the Sec pathway. No specific cellular localization was observed for either set of fusions using time-lapse video microscopy.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We present the validation and testing of five M. tuberculosis Rpfs fused to mCherry, which are functional in resuscitation assays, but do not show any specific cellular localisation under the conditions tested. Our results suggest that Rpfs are likely to be secreted via the Sec pathway. We propose that such mCherry fusions will be useful tools for the further study of Rpf localisation, individual expression, and function.
Project description:Tuberculosis (TB) remains a leading killer among infectious diseases of humans worldwide. Delayed diagnosis is a crucial problem in global TB control programs. Bacteriological methods currently used to diagnose TB in endemic countries take up to 8 weeks, which poses a significant delay in starting antibiotic therapy. The presence of a heterogeneous population of <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i>, the causative agent of TB, is among the reasons for delayed diagnosis by bacteriological methods. Previously, it has been shown that mycobacterial resuscitation-promoting factors (RPFs), a family of proteins secreted by actively growing bacteria into the media, are capable of activating the growth of dormant bacteria, thus enhancing the detection of bacilli in the sputum of confirmed TB cases. However, the variability in bacterial resuscitation by RPF in the sputum of suspected pulmonary TB cases that showed differential smear and/or culture positivity during diagnosis has not been fully explored. Here, we report the presence of non-replicating bacteria in the sputum of suspected TB cases that show differential growth response to RPF treatment. Using crude and recombinant RPF treatment, we show improved sensitivity and reduced time to detect bacilli in the sputum samples of smear-positive/culture-negative or smear-negative/culture-negative cases. We also report the phenotypic heterogeneity in the RPF responsiveness among Mtb strains using an <i>in vitro</i> dormancy model. Our findings have implications for improving the bacteriological diagnostic modalities currently used to diagnose TB in endemic countries.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis contains five resuscitation-promoting factor (Rpf)-like proteins, RpfA-E, that are implicated in resuscitation of this organism from dormancy via a mechanism involving hydrolysis of the peptidoglycan by Rpfs and partnering proteins. In this study, the rpfA-E genes were shown to be collectively dispensable for growth of M. tuberculosis in broth culture. The defect in resuscitation of multiple mutants from a 'non-culturable' state induced by starvation under anoxia was reversed by genetic complementation or addition of culture filtrate from wild-type organisms confirming that the phenotype was associated with rpf-like gene loss and that the 'non-culturable' cells of the mutant strains were viable. Other phenotypes uncovered by sequential deletion mutagenesis revealed a functional differentiation within this protein family. The quintuple mutant and its parent that retained only rpfD displayed delayed colony formation and hypersensitivity to detergent, effects not observed for mutants retaining only rpfE or rpfB. Furthermore, mutants retaining rpfD or rpfE were highly attenuated for growth in mice with the latter persisting better than the former in late-stage infection. In conjunction, these results are indicative of a hierarchy in terms of function and/or potency with the Rpf family, with RpfB and RpfE ranking above RpfD.
Project description:The Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine is the only tuberculosis (TB) vaccine available, yet it provides limited protection against pulmonary TB in adults and fails to protect against TB reactivation. We hypothesized that immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis "resuscitation-promoting factors" (Rpfs), which are small bacterial proteins that promote proliferation of dormant mycobacteria, may be relevant in the human immune response to M. tuberculosis. In previous unpublished work, we found that Rpfs Rv0867c and Rv2389c induced gamma interferon (IFN-?) production in the blood of TB patients' healthy household contacts in several different African populations. Here we examine these two dominant Rpf antigens in more detail and define the nature of the responding T-cell subsets. Multiparameter cytokine profiling showed that Rv2389c and, to a lesser extent, Rv0867c were recognized by mycobacterium-responsive healthy Dutch individuals; peptide-scanning revealed several epitopes, including a single immunodominant epitope in Rv2389c. Rv0867c and, to a lesser extent, Rv2389c Rpf-specific T-cell responses were maintained for decades in long-term M. tuberculosis nonprogressors. Prominent Rv0867c-specific double- and single-cytokine-producing CD8(+) T-cell subset responses were found, including a large population of CD8(+) effector memory and effector T-cell subsets. We conclude that M. tuberculosis Rpf antigens are important targets in the human immune response to M. tuberculosis and represent interesting TB vaccine candidate antigens.