Inactivation of tesA reduces cell wall lipid production and increases drug susceptibility in mycobacteria.
ABSTRACT: Phthiocerol dimycocerosates (PDIMs) and phenolic glycolipids (PGLs) are structurally related lipids noncovalently bound to the outer cell wall layer of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium leprae, and several opportunistic mycobacterial human pathogens. PDIMs and PGLs are important effectors of virulence. Elucidation of the biosynthesis of these complex lipids will not only expand our understanding of mycobacterial cell wall biosynthesis, but it may also illuminate potential routes to novel therapeutics against mycobacterial infections. We report the construction of an in-frame deletion mutant of tesA (encoding a type II thioesterase) in the opportunistic human pathogen Mycobacterium marinum and the characterization of this mutant and its corresponding complemented strain control in terms of PDIM and PGL production. The growth and antibiotic susceptibility of these strains were also probed and compared with the parental wild-type strain. We show that deletion of tesA leads to a mutant that produces only traces of PDIMs and PGLs, has a slight growth yield increase and displays a substantial hypersusceptibility to several antibiotics. We also provide a robust model for the three-dimensional structure of M. marinum TesA (TesAmm) and demonstrate that a Ser-to-Ala substitution in the predicted catalytic Ser of TesAmm renders a mutant that recapitulates the phenotype of the tesA deletion mutant. Overall, our studies demonstrate a critical role for tesA in mycobacterial biology, advance our understanding of the biosynthesis of an important group of polyketide synthase-derived mycobacterial lipids, and suggest that drugs aimed at blocking PDIM and/or PGL production might synergize with antibiotic therapy in the control of mycobacterial infections.
Project description:Phthiocerol dimycocerosates (PDIMs) and structurally related phenolic glycolipids (PGLs) are complex cell wall lipids unique to pathogenic mycobacteria. While these lipids have been extensively studied in recent years, there are conflicting reports on some aspects of their biosynthesis and on the role of PDIMs and especially PGLs in virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This has been complicated by the natural deficiency of PGLs in many clinical strains of M. tuberculosis and the frequent loss of PDIMs in laboratory M. tuberculosis strains. In this study, we isolated seven mutants of Mycobacterium marinum deficient in PDIMs and/or PGLs in which multiple genes of the PDIM/PGL biosynthetic locus were disrupted by transposon insertion. Zebrafish infection experiments showed that M. marinum strains lacking one or both of these lipids were avirulent, suggesting that both PDIMs and PGLs are required for virulence. We also found that these strains were hypersensitive to antibiotics and exhibited increased cell wall permeability. Our studies provide new insights into the biosynthesis of PDIMs/PGLs and may help us to understand the role of PDIMs and PGLs in M. tuberculosis virulence.
Project description:Phenolic glycolipids (PGLs) are polyketide synthase-derived glycolipids unique to pathogenic mycobacteria. PGLs are found in several clinically relevant species, including various Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains, Mycobacterium leprae, and several nontuberculous mycobacterial pathogens, such as M. marinum. Multiple lines of investigation implicate PGLs in virulence, thus underscoring the relevance of a deep understanding of PGL biosynthesis. We report mutational and biochemical studies that interrogate the mechanism by which PGL biosynthetic intermediates (p-hydroxyphenylalkanoates) synthesized by the iterative polyketide synthase Pks15/1 are transferred to the noniterative polyketide synthase PpsA for acyl chain extension in M. marinum. Our findings support a model in which the transfer of the intermediates is dependent on a p-hydroxyphenylalkanoyl-AMP ligase (FadD29) acting as an intermediary between the iterative and the noniterative synthase systems. Our results also establish the p-hydroxyphenylalkanoate extension ability of PpsA, the first-acting enzyme of a multisubunit noniterative polyketide synthase system. Notably, this noniterative system is also loaded with fatty acids by a specific fatty acyl-AMP ligase (FadD26) for biosynthesis of phthiocerol dimycocerosates (PDIMs), which are nonglycosylated lipids structurally related to PGLs. To our knowledge, the partially overlapping PGL and PDIM biosynthetic pathways provide the first example of two distinct, pathway-dedicated acyl-AMP ligases loading the same type I polyketide synthase system with two alternate starter units to produce two structurally different families of metabolites. The studies reported here advance our understanding of the biosynthesis of an important group of mycobacterial glycolipids.
Project description:Phthiocerol dimycocerosates (PDIMs) are a class of mycobacterial lipids that promote virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium marinum. It has recently been shown that PDIMs work in concert with the M. tuberculosis Type VII secretion system ESX-1 to permeabilize the phagosomal membranes of infected macrophages. As the zebrafish-M. marinum model of infection has revealed the critical role of PDIM at the host-pathogen interface, we set to determine if PDIMs contributed to phagosomal permeabilization in M. marinum. Using an ?mmpL7 mutant defective in PDIM transport, we find the PDIM-ESX-1 interaction to be conserved in an M. marinum macrophage infection model. However, we find PDIM and ESX-1 mutants differ in their degree of defect, with the PDIM mutant retaining more membrane damaging activity. Using an in vitro hemolysis assay-a common surrogate for cytolytic activity, we find that PDIM and ESX-1 differ in their contributions: the ESX-1 mutant loses hemolytic activity while PDIM retains it. Our observations confirm the involvement of PDIMs in phagosomal permeabilization in M. marinum infection and suggest that PDIM enhances the membrane disrupting activity of pathogenic mycobacteria and indicates that the role they play in damaging phagosomal and red blood cell membranes may differ.
Project description:Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an attenuated strain of Mycobacterium bovis, is the only vaccine available for tuberculosis (TB) control. BCG comprises a number of substrains that exhibit genetic and biochemical differences. Whether and how these differences affect BCG efficacy remain unknown. Compared to other BCG strains, BCG-Japan, -Moreau, and -Glaxo are defective in the production of phthiocerol dimycocerosates (PDIMs) and phenolic glycolipids (PGLs), two lipid virulence factors. To determine if the loss of PDIMs/PGLs affects BCG efficacy, we constructed a PDIM/PGL-deficient strain of BCG-Pasteur by deleting fadD28, and compared virulence, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy in animal models. SCID mouse infection experiments showed that ?fadD28 was more attenuated than wild type (WT). The ?fadD28 and WT strains induced equivalent levels of antigen specific IFN-? by CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells; however, ?fadD28 was less effective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis challenge in both BALB/c mice and guinea pigs. These results indicate that the loss of PIDMs/PGLs reduces the virulence and protective efficacy of BCG. Since the loss of PDIMs/PGLs occurs naturally in a subset of BCG strains, it also suggests that these strains may have been over-attenuated, which compromises their effectiveness. Our finding has important implications for current BCG programs and future vaccine development.
Project description:The evolutionary survival of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the cause of human tuberculosis, depends on its ability to invade the host, replicate, and transmit infection. At its initial peripheral infection site in the distal lung airways, M. tuberculosis infects macrophages, which transport it to deeper tissues. How mycobacteria survive in these broadly microbicidal cells is an important question. Here we show in mice and zebrafish that M. tuberculosis, and its close pathogenic relative Mycobacterium marinum, preferentially recruit and infect permissive macrophages while evading microbicidal ones. This immune evasion is accomplished by using cell-surface-associated phthiocerol dimycoceroserate (PDIM) lipids to mask underlying pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). In the absence of PDIM, these PAMPs signal a Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent recruitment of macrophages that produce microbicidal reactive nitrogen species. Concordantly, the related phenolic glycolipids (PGLs) promote the recruitment of permissive macrophages through a host chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2)-mediated pathway. Thus, we have identified coordinated roles for PDIM, known to be essential for mycobacterial virulence, and PGL, which (along with CCR2) is known to be associated with human tuberculosis. Our findings also suggest an explanation for the longstanding observation that M. tuberculosis initiates infection in the relatively sterile environment of the lower respiratory tract, rather than in the upper respiratory tract, where resident microflora and inhaled environmental microbes may continually recruit microbicidal macrophages through TLR-dependent signalling.
Project description:The fatty acid biosynthesis (FAS-II) pathway in Mycobacterium tuberculosis generates long chain fatty acids that serve as the precursors to mycolic acids, essential components of the mycobacterial cell wall. Enzymes in the FAS-II pathway are thought to form one or more noncovalent multi-enzyme complexes within the cell, and a bacterial two-hybrid screen was used to search for missing components of the pathway and to furnish additional data on interactions involving these enzymes in vivo. Using the FAS-II beta-ketoacyl synthase, KasA, as bait, an extensive bacterial two-hybrid screen of a M. tuberculosis genome fragment library unexpectedly revealed a novel interaction between KasA and PpsB as well as PpsD, two polyketide modules involved in the biosynthesis of the virulence lipid phthiocerol dimycocerosate (PDIM). Sequence analysis revealed that KasA interacts with PpsB and PpsD in the region of the acyl carrier domain of each protein, raising the possibility that lipids could be transferred between the FAS-II and PDIM biosynthetic pathways. Subsequent studies utilizing purified proteins and radiolabeled lipids revealed that fatty acids loaded onto PpsB were transferred to KasA and also incorporated into long chain fatty acids synthesized using a Mycobacterium smegmatis lysate. These data suggest that in addition to producing PDIMs, the growing phthiocerol product can also be shuttled into the FAS-II pathway via KasA as an entry point for further elongation. Interactions between these biosynthetic pathways may exist as a simple means to increase mycobacterial lipid diversity, enhancing functionality and the overall complexity of the cell wall.
Project description:Several Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains, Mycobacterium leprae, and other mycobacterial pathogens produce a group of small-molecule virulence factors called phenolic glycolipids (PGLs). PGLs play key roles in pathogenicity and host-pathogen interaction. Thus, elucidation of the PGL biosynthetic pathway will not only expand our understanding of natural product biosynthesis, but may also illuminate routes to novel therapeutics to afford alternative lines of defense against mycobacterial infections. In this study, we report an investigation of the enzymatic requirements for the production of long-chain p-hydroxyphenylalkanoate intermediates of PGL biosynthesis. We demonstrate a functional cooperation between a coenzyme A-independent stand-alone didomain initiation module (FadD22) and a 6-domain reducing iterative type I polyketide synthase (Pks15/1) for production of p-hydroxyphenylalkanoate intermediates in in vitro and in vivo FadD22-Pks15/1 reconstituted systems. Our results suggest that Pks15/1 is an iterative type I polyketide synthase with a relaxed control of catalytic cycle iterations, a mechanistic property that explains the origin of a characteristic alkyl chain length variability seen in mycobacterial PGLs. The FadD22-Pks15/1 reconstituted systems lay an initial foundation for future efforts to unveil the mechanism of iterative catalysis control by which the structures of the final products of Pks15/1 are defined, and to scrutinize the functional partnerships of the FadD22-Pks15/1 system with downstream enzymes of the PGL biosynthetic pathway.
Project description:Both phthiocerol/phthiodiolone dimycocerosate (PDIM) and phenolic glycolipids are abundant virulent lipids in the cell wall of various pathogenic mycobacteria, which can synthesize a wide range of complex high-molecular-mass lipids. In this article, we describe linear ion-trap MS(n) mass spectrometric approach for structural study of PDIMs, which were desorbed as the [M + Li](+) and [M + NH(4)](+) ions by ESI. We also applied charge-switch strategy to convert the mycocerosic acid substituents to their N-(4-aminomethylphenyl) pyridinium (AMPP) derivatives and analyzed them as M (+) ions, following alkaline hydrolysis of the PDIM to release mycocerosic acids. The structural information from MS(n) on the [M + Li](+) and [M + NH(4)](+) molecular species and on the M (+) ions of the mycocerosic acid-AMPP derivative affords realization of the complex structures of PDIMs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis biofilm, differentiation of phthiocerol and phthiodiolone lipid families and complete structure identification, including the phthiocerol and phthiodiolone backbones, and the mycocerosic acid substituents, including the locations of their multiple methyl side chains, can be achieved.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mt) produces complex virulence-enhancing lipids with scaffolds consisting of phthiocerol and phthiodiolone dimycocerosate esters (PDIMs). Sequence analysis suggested that PapA5, a so-called polyketide-associated protein (Pap) encoded in the PDIM synthesis gene cluster, as well as PapA5 homologs found in Mt and other species, are a subfamily of acyltransferases. Studies with recombinant protein confirmed that PapA5 is an acyltransferase [corrected]. Deletion analysis in Mt demonstrated that papA5 is required for PDIM synthesis. We propose that PapA5 catalyzes diesterification of phthiocerol and phthiodiolone with mycocerosate. These studies present the functional characterization of a Pap and permit inferences regarding roles of other Paps in the synthesis of complex lipids, including the antibiotic rifamycin.
Project description:Phenolic glycolipids (PGLs) are polyketide-derived virulence factors produced by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. leprae, and other mycobacterial pathogens. We have combined bioinformatic, genetic, biochemical, and chemical biology approaches to illuminate the mechanism of chain initiation required for assembly of the p-hydroxyphenyl-polyketide moiety of PGLs. Our studies have led to the identification of a stand-alone, didomain initiation module, FadD22, comprised of a p-hydroxybenzoic acid adenylation domain and an aroyl carrier protein domain. FadD22 forms an acyl-S-enzyme covalent intermediate in the p-hydroxyphenyl-polyketide chain assembly line. We also used this information to develop a small-molecule inhibitor of PGL biosynthesis. Overall, these studies provide insights into the biosynthesis of an important group of small-molecule mycobacterial virulence factors and support the feasibility of targeting PGL biosynthesis to develop new drugs to treat mycobacterial infections.