MmpL11 protein transports mycolic acid-containing lipids to the mycobacterial cell wall and contributes to biofilm formation in Mycobacterium smegmatis.
ABSTRACT: A growing body of evidence indicates that MmpL (mycobacterial membrane protein large) transporters are dedicated to cell wall biosynthesis and transport mycobacterial lipids. How MmpL transporters function and the identities of their substrates have not been fully elucidated. We report the characterization of Mycobacterium smegmatis MmpL11. We showed previously that M. smegmatis lacking MmpL11 has reduced membrane permeability that results in resistance to host antimicrobial peptides. We report herein the further characterization of the M. smegmatis mmpL11 mutant and identification of the MmpL11 substrates. We found that biofilm formation by the M. smegmatis mmpL11 mutant was distinct from that by wild-type M. smegmatis. Analysis of cell wall lipids revealed that the mmpL11 mutant failed to export the mycolic acid-containing lipids monomeromycolyl diacylglycerol and mycolate ester wax to the bacterial surface. In addition, analysis of total lipids indicated that the mycolic acid-containing precursor molecule mycolyl phospholipid accumulated in the mmpL11 mutant compared with wild-type mycobacteria. MmpL11 is encoded at a chromosomal locus that is conserved across pathogenic and nonpathogenic mycobacteria. Phenotypes of the M. smegmatis mmpL11 mutant are complemented by the expression of M. smegmatis or M. tuberculosis MmpL11, suggesting that MmpL11 plays a conserved role in mycobacterial cell wall biogenesis.
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: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:The mycobacterial cell wall is a chemically complex array of molecular entities that dictate the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Biosynthesis and maintenance of this dynamic entity in mycobacterial physiology is still poorly understood. Here we demonstrate a requirement for M. tuberculosis MmpL11 in the maintenance of the cell wall architecture and stability in response to surface stress. In the presence of a detergent like Tyloxapol, a mmpL11 deletion mutant suffered from a severe growth attenuation as a result of altered membrane polarity, permeability and severe architectural damages. This mutant failed to tolerate permissible concentrations of cis-fatty acids suggesting its increased sensitivity to surface stress, evident as smaller colonies of the mutant outgrown from lipid rich macrophage cultures. Additionally, loss of MmpL11 led to an altered cellular fatty acid flux in the mutant: reduced incorporation into membrane cardiolipin was associated with an increased flux into the cellular triglyceride pool. This increase in storage lipids like triacyl glycerol (TAG) was associated with the altered metabolic state of higher dormancy-associated gene expression and decreased sensitivity to frontline TB drugs. This study provides a detailed mechanistic insight into the function of mmpL11 in stress adaptation of mycobacteria.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis mycobacterial membrane protein large (MmpL) proteins are important in substrate transport across the inner membrane. Here, we show that MmpL proteins are classified into two phylogenetic clusters, where MmpL cluster II contains three soluble domains (D1, D2, and D3) and has two full-length members, MmpL3 and MmpL11. Significantly, MmpL3 is currently the most druggable M. tuberculosis target. We have solved the 2.4-Å MmpL11-D2 crystal structure, revealing structural homology to periplasmic porter subdomains of RND (multidrug) transporters. The resulting predicted cluster II MmpL membrane topology has D1 and D2 residing, and possibly interacting, within the periplasm. Crosslinking and biolayer interferometry experiments confirm that cluster II D1 and D2 bind with weak affinities, and guided D1-D2 heterodimeric model assemblies. The predicted full-length MmpL3 and MmpL11 structural models reveal key substrate binding and transport residues, and may serve as templates to set the stage for in silico anti-tuberculosis drug development.
Project description:The cell walls of mycobacteria form an exceptional permeability barrier, and they are essential for virulence. They contain extractable lipids and long-chain mycolic acids that are covalently linked to peptidoglycan via an arabinogalactan network. The lipids were thought to form an asymmetrical bilayer of considerable thickness, but this could never be proven directly by microscopy or other means. Cryo-electron tomography of unperturbed or detergent-treated cells of Mycobacterium smegmatis embedded in vitreous ice now reveals the native organization of the cell envelope and its delineation into several distinct layers. The 3D data and the investigation of ultrathin frozen-hydrated cryosections of M. smegmatis, Myobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin, and Corynebacterium glutamicum identified the outermost layer as a morphologically symmetrical lipid bilayer. The structure of the mycobacterial outer membrane necessitates considerable revision of the current view of its architecture. Conceivable models are proposed and discussed. These results are crucial for the investigation and understanding of transport processes across the mycobacterial cell wall, and they are of particular medical relevance in the case of pathogenic mycobacteria.
Project description:Integral membrane transporters of the Mycobacterial Membrane Protein Large (MmpL) family and their interactome play important roles in the synthesis and export of mycobacterial outer membrane lipids. Despite the current interest in the mycolic acid transporter, MmpL3, from the perspective of drug discovery, the nature and biological significance of its interactome remain largely unknown. We here report on a genome-wide screening by two-hybrid system for MmpL3 binding partners. While a surprisingly low number of proteins involved in mycolic acid biosynthesis was found to interact with MmpL3, numerous enzymes and transporters participating in the biogenesis of peptidoglycan, arabinogalactan and lipoglycans, and the cell division regulatory protein, CrgA, were identified among the hits. Surface plasmon resonance and co-immunoprecipitation independently confirmed physical interactions for three proteins in vitro and/or in vivo. Results are in line with the focal localization of MmpL3 at the poles and septum of actively-growing bacilli where the synthesis of all major constituents of the cell wall core are known to occur, and are further suggestive of a role for MmpL3 in the coordination of new cell wall deposition during cell septation and elongation. This novel aspect of the physiology of MmpL3 may contribute to the extreme vulnerability and high therapeutic potential of this transporter.
Project description:Mycolic acids are the hallmark of the cell envelope in mycobacteria, which include the important human pathogens Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae Mycolic acids are very long C60-C90 α-alkyl β-hydroxy fatty acids having a variety of functional groups on their hydrocarbon chain that define several mycolate types. Mycobacteria also produce an unusually large number of putative epoxide hydrolases, but the physiological functions of these enzymes are still unclear. Here, we report that the mycobacterial epoxide hydrolase EphD is involved in mycolic acid metabolism. We found that orthologs of EphD from M. tuberculosis and M. smegmatis are functional epoxide hydrolases, cleaving a lipophilic substrate, 9,10-cis-epoxystearic acid, in vitro and forming a vicinal diol. The results of EphD overproduction in M. smegmatis and M. bovis BCG Δhma strains producing epoxymycolic acids indicated that EphD is involved in the metabolism of these forms of mycolates in both fast- and slow-growing mycobacteria. Moreover, using MALDI-TOF-MS and 1H NMR spectroscopy of mycolic acids and lipids isolated from EphD-overproducing M. smegmatis, we identified new oxygenated mycolic acid species that accumulated during epoxymycolate depletion. Disruption of the ephD gene in M. tuberculosis specifically impaired the synthesis of ketomycolates and caused accumulation of their precursor, hydroxymycolate, indicating either direct or indirect involvement of EphD in ketomycolate biosynthesis. Our results clearly indicate that EphD plays a role in metabolism of oxygenated mycolic acids in mycobacteria.
Project description:Mycolic acids represent a major constituent of the mycobacterial cell wall complex, which provides the first line of defense against potentially lethal environmental conditions. Slow-growing pathogenic mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis modify their mycolic acids by cyclopropanation, whereas fast-growing saprophytic species such as Mycobacterium smegmatis do not, suggesting that this modification may be associated with an increase in oxidative stress experienced by the slow-growing species. We have demonstrated the transformation of the distal cis double bond in the major mycolic acid of M. smegmatis to a cis-cyclopropane ring upon introduction of cosmid DNA from M. tuberculosis. This activity was localized to a single gene (cma1) encoding a protein that was 34% identical to the cyclopropane fatty acid synthase from Escherichia coli. Adjacent regions of the DNA sequence encode open reading frames that display homology to other fatty acid biosynthetic enzymes, indicating that some of the genes required for mycolic acid biosynthesis may be clustered in this region. M. smegmatis overexpressing the cma1 gene product significantly resist killing by hydrogen peroxide, suggesting that this modification may be an important adaptation of slow-growing mycobacteria to oxidative stress.
Project description:The highly complex and unique mycobacterial cell wall is critical to the survival of Mycobacteria in host cells. However, the biosynthetic pathways responsible for its synthesis are, in general, incompletely characterized. Rv3802c from Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a partially characterized phospholipase/thioesterase encoded within a genetic cluster dedicated to the synthesis of core structures of the mycobacterial cell wall, including mycolic acids and arabinogalactan. Enzymatic assays performed with purified recombinant proteins Rv3802c and its close homologs from Mycobacterium smegmatis (MSMEG_6394) and Corynebacterium glutamicum (NCgl2775) show that they all have significant lipase activities that are inhibited by tetrahydrolipstatin, an anti-obesity drug that coincidently inhibits mycobacterial cell wall biosynthesis. The crystal structure of MSMEG_6394, solved to 2.9 ? resolution, revealed an ?/? hydrolase fold and a catalytic triad typically present in esterases and lipases. Furthermore, we demonstrate direct evidence of gene essentiality in M. smegmatis and show the structural consequences of loss of MSMEG_6394 function on the cellular integrity of the organism. These findings, combined with the predicted essentiality of Rv3802c in M. tuberculosis, indicate that the Rv3802c family performs a fundamental and indispensable lipase-associated function in mycobacteria.