MmpL genes are associated with mycolic acid metabolism in mycobacteria and corynebacteria.
ABSTRACT: Mycolic acids are vital components of the cell wall of the tubercle bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis and are required for viability and virulence. While mycolic acid biosynthesis is studied extensively, components involved in mycolate transport remain unidentified. We investigated the role of large membrane proteins encoded by mmpL genes in mycolic acid transport in mycobacteria and the related corynebacteria. MmpL3 was found to be essential in mycobacteria and conditional depletion of MmpL3 in Mycobacterium smegmatis resulted in loss of cell wall mycolylation, and of the cell wall-associated glycolipid, trehalose dimycolate. In parallel, an accumulation of trehalose monomycolate (TMM) was observed, suggesting that mycolic acids were transported as TMM. In contrast to mycobacteria, we found redundancy in the role of two mmpL genes, in Corynebacterium glutamicum; a complete loss of trehalose-associated and cell wall bound corynomycolates was observed in an NCgl0228-NCgl2769 double mutant, but not in individual single mutants. Our studies highlight the role of mmpL genes in mycolic acid metabolism and identify potential new targets for anti-TB drug development.
Project description:Mycolic acids are the signature lipid of mycobacteria and constitute an important physical component of the cell wall, a target of mycobacterium-specific antibiotics and a mediator of Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenesis. Mycolic acids are synthesized in the cytoplasm and are thought to be transported to the cell wall as a trehalose ester by the MmpL3 transporter, an antibiotic target for M. tuberculosis However, the mechanism by which mycolate synthesis is coupled to transport, and the full MmpL3 transport machinery, is unknown. Here, we identify two new components of the MmpL3 transport machinery in mycobacteria. The protein encoded by MSMEG_0736/Rv0383c is essential for growth of Mycobacterium smegmatis and M. tuberculosis and is anchored to the cytoplasmic membrane, physically interacts with and colocalizes with MmpL3 in growing cells, and is required for trehalose monomycolate (TMM) transport to the cell wall. In light of these findings, we propose MSMEG_0736/Rv0383c be named "TMM transport factor A", TtfA. The protein encoded by MSMEG_5308 also interacts with the MmpL3 complex but is nonessential for growth or TMM transport. However, MSMEG_5308 accumulates with inhibition of MmpL3-mediated TMM transport and stabilizes the MmpL3/TtfA complex, indicating that it may stabilize the transport system during stress. These studies identify two new components of the mycobacterial mycolate transport machinery, an emerging antibiotic target in M. tuberculosis IMPORTANCE The cell envelope of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes the disease tuberculosis, is a complex structure composed of abundant lipids and glycolipids, including the signature lipid of these bacteria, mycolic acids. In this study, we identified two new components of the transport machinery that constructs this complex cell wall. These two accessory proteins are in a complex with the MmpL3 transporter. One of these proteins, TtfA, is required for mycolic acid transport and cell viability, whereas the other stabilizes the MmpL3 complex. These studies identify two new components of the essential cell envelope biosynthetic machinery in mycobacteria.
Project description:The mycobacterial membrane protein large 3 (MmpL3) transporter is essential and required for shuttling the lipid trehalose monomycolate (TMM), a precursor of mycolic acid (MA)-containing trehalose dimycolate (TDM) and mycolyl arabinogalactan peptidoglycan (mAGP), in Mycobacterium species, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium smegmatis. However, the mechanism that MmpL3 uses to facilitate the transport of fatty acids and lipidic elements to the mycobacterial cell wall remains elusive. Here, we report 7 structures of the M. smegmatis MmpL3 transporter in its unbound state and in complex with trehalose 6-decanoate (T6D) or TMM using single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and X-ray crystallography. Combined with calculated results from molecular dynamics (MD) and target MD simulations, we reveal a lipid transport mechanism that involves a coupled movement of the periplasmic domain and transmembrane helices of the MmpL3 transporter that facilitates the shuttling of lipids to the mycobacterial cell wall.
Project description:The MmpL family of proteins translocates complex (glyco)lipids and siderophores across the cell envelope of mycobacteria and closely related Corynebacteriaceae and plays important roles in the biogenesis of the outer membrane of these organisms. Despite their significance in the physiology and virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and from the perspective of developing novel antituberculosis agents, little is known about their structure and mechanism of translocation. In this study, the essential mycobacterial mycolic acid transporter, MmpL3, and its orthologue in Corynebacterium glutamicum, CmpL1, were investigated as prototypical MmpL proteins to gain insight into the transmembrane topology, tertiary and quaternary structures, and functional regions of this transporter family. The combined genetic, biochemical, and biophysical studies indicate that MmpL3 and CmpL1 are structurally similar to Gram-negative resistance-nodulation and division efflux pumps. They harbor 12 transmembrane segments interrupted by two large soluble periplasmic domains and function as homotrimers to export long-chain (C22-C90) mycolic acids, possibly in their acetylated form, esterified to trehalose. The mapping of a number of functional residues within the middle region of the transmembrane domain of MmpL3 shows a striking overlap with mutations associated with resistance to MmpL3 inhibitors. The results suggest that structurally diverse inhibitors of MmpL3 all target the proton translocation path of the transporter and that multiresistance to these inhibitors is enabled by conformational changes in MmpL3.
Project description:SQ109, a 1,2-diamine related to ethambutol, is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of tuberculosis, but its mode of action remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that SQ109 disrupts cell wall assembly, as evidenced by macromolecular incorporation assays and ultrastructural analyses. SQ109 interferes with the assembly of mycolic acids into the cell wall core of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as bacilli exposed to SQ109 show immediate inhibition of trehalose dimycolate (TDM) production and fail to attach mycolates to the cell wall arabinogalactan. These effects were not due to inhibition of mycolate synthesis, since total mycolate levels were unaffected, but instead resulted in the accumulation of trehalose monomycolate (TMM), the precursor of TDM and cell wall mycolates. In vitro assays using purified enzymes showed that this was not due to inhibition of the secreted Ag85 mycolyltransferases. We were unable to achieve spontaneous generation of SQ109-resistant mutants; however, analogs of this compound that resulted in similar shutdown of TDM synthesis with concomitant TMM accumulation were used to spontaneously generate resistant mutants that were also cross-resistant to SQ109. Whole-genome sequencing of these mutants showed that these all had mutations in the essential mmpL3 gene, which encodes a transmembrane transporter. Our results suggest that MmpL3 is the target of SQ109 and that MmpL3 is a transporter of mycobacterial TMM.
Project description:The cell envelope of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is notable for the abundance of mycolic acids (MAs), essential to mycobacterial viability, and of other species-specific lipids. The mycobacterial cell envelope is extremely hydrophobic, which contributes to virulence and antibiotic resistance. However, exactly how fatty acids and lipidic elements are transported across the cell envelope for cell-wall biosynthesis is unclear. Mycobacterial membrane protein Large 3 (MmpL3) is essential and required for transport of trehalose monomycolates (TMMs), precursors of MA-containing trehalose dimycolates (TDM) and mycolyl arabinogalactan peptidoglycan, but the exact function of MmpL3 remains elusive. Here, we report a crystal structure of Mycobacterium smegmatis MmpL3 at a resolution of 2.59 Å, revealing a monomeric molecule that is structurally distinct from all known bacterial membrane proteins. A previously unknown MmpL3 ligand, phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), was discovered inside this transporter. We also show, via native mass spectrometry, that MmpL3 specifically binds both TMM and PE, but not TDM, in the micromolar range. These observations provide insight into the function of MmpL3 and suggest a possible role for this protein in shuttling a variety of lipids to strengthen the mycobacterial cell wall.
Project description:The mycobacterial cell wall is crucial to the host-pathogen interface, because it provides a barrier against antibiotics and the host immune response. In addition, cell wall lipids are mycobacterial virulence factors. The <i>m</i>ycobacterial <i>m</i>embrane <i>p</i>rotein <i>l</i>arge (MmpL) proteins are cell wall lipid transporters that are important for basic mycobacterial physiology and <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i> pathogenesis. MmpL3 and MmpL11 are conserved across pathogenic and nonpathogenic mycobacteria, a feature consistent with an important role in the basic physiology of the bacterium. MmpL3 is essential and transports trehalose monomycolate to the mycobacterial surface. In this report, we characterize the role of MmpL11 in <i>M. tuberculosis. M. tuberculosis</i><i>mmpL11</i> mutants have altered biofilms associated with lower levels of mycolic acid wax ester and long-chain triacylglycerols than those for wild-type bacteria. While the growth rate of the <i>mmpL11</i> mutant is similar to that of wild-type <i>M. tuberculosis</i> in macrophages, the mutant exhibits impaired survival in an <i>in vitro</i> granuloma model. Finally, we show that the survival or recovery of the <i>mmpL11</i> mutant is impaired when it is incubated under conditions of nutrient and oxygen starvation. Our results suggest that MmpL11 and its cell wall lipid substrates are important for survival in the context of adaptive immune pressure and for nonreplicating persistence, both of which are critically important aspects of <i>M. tuberculosis</i> pathogenicity.
Project description:The mycobacterial cell envelope is crucial to host-pathogen interactions as a barrier against antibiotics and the host immune response. In addition, cell envelope lipids are mycobacterial virulence factors. Cell envelope lipid biosynthesis is the target of a number of frontline tuberculosis treatments and has been the focus of much research. However, the transport mechanisms by which these lipids reach the mycomembrane remain poorly understood. Many envelope lipids are exported from the cytoplasm to the periplasmic space via the mycobacterial membrane protein large (MmpL) family of proteins. In other bacteria, lipoproteins can contribute to outer membrane biogenesis through direct binding of substrates and/or protein-protein associations with extracytoplasmic biosynthetic enzymes. In this report, we investigate whether the lipoprotein LpqN plays a similar role in mycobacteria. Using a genetic two-hybrid approach, we demonstrate that LpqN interacts with periplasmic loop domains of the MmpL3 and MmpL11 transporters that export mycolic acid-containing cell envelope lipids. We observe that LpqN also interacts with secreted cell envelope biosynthetic enzymes such as Ag85A via pulldown assays. The X-ray crystal structures of LpqN and LpqN bound to dodecyl-trehalose suggest that LpqN directly binds trehalose monomycolate, the MmpL3 and Ag85A substrate. Finally, we observe altered lipid profiles of the ?lpqN mutant during biofilm maturation, pointing toward a possible physiological role for the protein. The results of this study suggest that LpqN may act as a membrane fusion protein, connecting MmpL transporters with periplasmic proteins, and provide general insight into the role of lipoproteins in Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell envelope biogenesis.
Project description:New chemotherapeutics active against multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis are urgently needed. We report on the identification of an adamantyl urea compound that shows potent bactericidal activity against M. tuberculosis and a unique mode of action, namely the abolition of the translocation of mycolic acids from the cytoplasm, where they are synthesized to the periplasmic side of the plasma membrane and are in turn transferred onto cell wall arabinogalactan or used in the formation of virulence-associated, outer membrane, trehalose-containing glycolipids. Whole-genome sequencing of spontaneous-resistant mutants of M. tuberculosis selected in vitro followed by genetic validation experiments revealed that our prototype inhibitor targets the inner membrane transporter MmpL3. Conditional gene expression of mmpL3 in mycobacteria and analysis of inhibitor-treated cells validate MmpL3 as essential for mycobacterial growth and support the involvement of this transporter in the translocation of trehalose monomycolate across the plasma membrane.
Project description:MmpL3, a resistance-nodulation-division (RND) superfamily transporter, has been implicated in the formation of the outer membrane of Mycobacterium tuberculosis; specifically, MmpL3 is required for the export of mycolic acids in the form of trehalose monomycolates (TMM) to the periplasmic space or outer membrane of M. tuberculosis. Recently, seven series of inhibitors identified by whole-cell screening against M. tuberculosis, including the antituberculosis drug candidate SQ109, were shown to abolish MmpL3-mediated TMM export. However, this mode of action was brought into question by the broad-spectrum activities of some of these inhibitors against a variety of bacterial and fungal pathogens that do not synthesize mycolic acids. This observation, coupled with the ability of three of these classes of inhibitors to kill nonreplicating M. tuberculosis bacilli, led us to investigate alternative mechanisms of action. Our results indicate that the inhibitory effects of adamantyl ureas, indolecarboxamides, tetrahydropyrazolopyrimidines, and the 1,5-diarylpyrrole BM212 on the transport activity of MmpL3 in actively replicating M. tuberculosis bacilli are, like that of SQ109, most likely due to their ability to dissipate the transmembrane electrochemical proton gradient. In addition to providing novel insights into the modes of action of compounds reported to inhibit MmpL3, our results provide the first explanation for the large number of pharmacophores that apparently target this essential inner membrane transporter.
Project description:The unique architecture of the mycobacterial cell envelope plays an important role in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) pathogenesis. A critical protein in cell envelope biogenesis in mycobacteria, required for transport of precursors, trehalose monomycolates (TMMs), is the Mycobacterial membrane protein large 3 (MmpL3). Due to its central role in TMM transport, MmpL3 has been an attractive therapeutic target and a key target for several preclinical agents. In 2019, the first crystal structures of the MmpL3 transporter and its complexes with lipids and inhibitors were reported. These structures revealed several unique structural features of MmpL3 and provided invaluable information on the mechanism of TMM transport. This review aims to highlight the recent advances made in the function of MmpL3 and summarises structural findings. The overall goal is to provide a mechanistic perspective of MmpL3-mediated lipid transport and inhibition, and to highlight the prospects for potential antituberculosis therapies.