ABSTRACT: 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:Following mycobacterial entry into macrophages the ESX-1 type VII secretion system promotes phagosomal permeabilization and type I IFN production, key features of tuberculosis pathogenesis. The current model states that the secreted substrate ESAT-6 is required for membrane permeabilization and that a subsequent passive leakage of extracellular bacterial DNA into the host cell cytosol is sensed by the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) and stimulator of IFN genes (STING) pathway to induce type I IFN production. We employed a collection of Mycobacterium marinum ESX-1 transposon mutants in a macrophage infection model and show that permeabilization of the phagosomal membrane does not require ESAT-6 secretion. Moreover, loss of membrane integrity is insufficient to induce type I IFN production. Instead, type I IFN production requires intact ESX-1 function and correlates with release of mitochondrial and nuclear host DNA into the cytosol, indicating that ESX-1 affects host membrane integrity and DNA release via genetically separable mechanisms. These results suggest a revised model for major aspects of ESX-1-mediated host interactions and put focus on elucidating the mechanisms by which ESX-1 permeabilizes host membranes and induces the type I IFN response, questions of importance for our basic understanding of mycobacterial pathogenesis and innate immune sensing.
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: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:A key to the pathogenic success of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis, is the capacity to survive within host macrophages. Although several factors required for this survival have been identified, a comprehensive knowledge of such factors and how they work together to manipulate the host environment to benefit bacterial survival are not well understood. To systematically identify Mtb factors required for intracellular growth, we screened an arrayed, non-redundant Mtb transposon mutant library by high-content imaging to characterize the mutant-macrophage interaction. Based on a combination of imaging features, we identified mutants impaired for intracellular survival. We then characterized the phenotype of infection with each mutant by profiling the induced macrophage cytokine response. Taking a systems-level approach to understanding the biology of identified mutants, we performed a multiparametric analysis combining pathogen and host phenotypes to predict functional relationships between mutants based on clustering. Strikingly, mutants defective in two well-known virulence factors, the ESX-1 protein secretion system and the virulence lipid phthiocerol dimycocerosate (PDIM), clustered together. Building upon the shared phenotype of loss of the macrophage type I interferon (IFN) response to infection, we found that PDIM production and export are required for coordinated secretion of ESX-1-substrates, for phagosomal permeabilization, and for downstream induction of the type I IFN response. Multiparametric clustering also identified two novel genes that are required for PDIM production and induction of the type I IFN response. Thus, multiparametric analysis combining host and pathogen infection phenotypes can be used to identify novel functional relationships between genes that play a role in infection.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is the causative agent of the infectious disease tuberculosis (TB), which is a leading cause of death worldwide. Approximately one fourth of the world's population is infected with Mtb. A major unresolved question is delineating the inducers of protective long-lasting immune response without inducing overt, lung inflammation. Previous studies have shown that the presence of inducible Bronchus-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (iBALT) correlate with protection from Mtb infection. In this study, we hypothesized that specific Mtb factors could influence the formation of iBALT, thus skewing the outcome of TB disease. We infected non-human primates (NHPs) with a transposon mutant library of Mtb, and identified specific Mtb mutants that were over-represented within iBALT-containing granulomas. A major pathway reflected in these mutants was Mtb cell wall lipid transport and metabolism. We mechanistically addressed the function of one such Mtb mutant lacking mycobacteria membrane protein large 7 (MmpL7), which transports phthiocerol dimycocerosate (PDIM) to the mycobacterial outer membrane (MOM). Accordingly, murine aerosol infection with the Mtb mutant ?mmpl7 correlated with increased iBALT-containing granulomas. Our studies showed that the ?mmpl7 mutant lacking PDIMs on the surface overexpressed diacyl trehaloses (DATs) in the cell wall, which altered the cytokine/chemokine production of epithelial and myeloid cells, thus leading to a dampened inflammatory response. Thus, this study describes an Mtb specific factor that participates in the induction of iBALT formation during TB by directly modulating cytokine and chemokine production in host cells.
Project description:Virulent mycobacteria utilize surface-exposed polyketides to interact with host cells, but the mechanism by which these hydrophobic molecules are transported across the cell envelope to the surface of the bacteria is poorly understood. Phthiocerol dimycocerosate (PDIM), a surface-exposed polyketide lipid necessary for Mycobacterium tuberculosis virulence, is the product of several polyketide synthases including PpsE. Transport of PDIM requires MmpL7, a member of the MmpL family of RND permeases. Here we show that a domain of MmpL7 biochemically interacts with PpsE, the first report of an interaction between a biosynthetic enzyme and its cognate transporter. Overexpression of the interaction domain of MmpL7 acts as a dominant negative to PDIM synthesis by poisoning the interaction between synthase and transporter. This suggests that MmpL7 acts in complex with the synthesis machinery to efficiently transport PDIM across the cell membrane. Coordination of synthesis and transport may not only be a feature of MmpL-mediated transport in M. tuberculosis, but may also represent a general mechanism of polyketide export in many different microorganisms.
Project description:Pathogenic mycobacteria encounter multiple environments during macrophage infection. Temporally, the bacteria are engulfed into the phagosome, lyse the phagosomal membrane, and interact with the cytosol before spreading to another cell. Virulence factors secreted by the mycobacterial ESX-1 (ESAT-6-system-1) secretion system mediate the essential transition from the phagosome to the cytosol. It was recently discovered that the ESX-1 system also regulates mycobacterial gene expression in Mycobacterium marinum (R. E. Bosserman, T. T. Nguyen, K. G. Sanchez, A. E. Chirakos, et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:E10772-E10781, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1710167114), a nontuberculous mycobacterial pathogen, and in the human-pathogenic species M. tuberculosis (A. M. Abdallah, E. M. Weerdenburg, Q. Guan, R. Ummels, et al., PLoS One 14:e0211003, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211003). It is not known how the ESX-1 system regulates gene expression. Here, we identify the first transcription factor required for the ESX-1-dependent transcriptional response in pathogenic mycobacteria. We demonstrate that the gene divergently transcribed from the whiB6 gene and adjacent to the ESX-1 locus in mycobacterial pathogens encodes a conserved transcription factor (MMAR_5438, Rv3863, now espM). We prove that EspM from both M. marinum and M. tuberculosis directly and specifically binds the whiB6-espM intergenic region. We show that EspM is required for ESX-1-dependent repression of whiB6 expression and for the regulation of ESX-1-associated gene expression. Finally, we demonstrate that EspM functions to fine-tune ESX-1 activity in M. marinum Taking the data together, this report extends the esx-1 locus, defines a conserved regulator of the ESX-1 virulence pathway, and begins to elucidate how the ESX-1 system regulates gene expression.IMPORTANCE Mycobacterial pathogens use the ESX-1 system to transport protein substrates that mediate essential interactions with the host during infection. We previously demonstrated that in addition to transporting proteins, the ESX-1 secretion system regulates gene expression. Here, we identify a conserved transcription factor that regulates gene expression in response to the ESX-1 system. We demonstrate that this transcription factor is functionally conserved in M. marinum, a pathogen of ectothermic animals; M. tuberculosis, the human-pathogenic species that causes tuberculosis; and M. smegmatis, a nonpathogenic mycobacterial species. These findings provide the first mechanistic insight into how the ESX-1 system elicits a transcriptional response, a function of this protein transport system that was previously unknown.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium marinum are thought to exert virulence, in part, through their ability to lyse host cell membranes. The type VII secretion system ESX-1 [6-kDa early secretory antigenic target (ESAT-6) secretion system 1] is required for both virulence and host cell membrane lysis. Both activities are attributed to the pore-forming activity of the ESX-1-secreted substrate ESAT-6 because multiple studies have reported that recombinant ESAT-6 lyses eukaryotic membranes. We too find ESX-1 of M. tuberculosis and M. marinum lyses host cell membranes. However, we find that recombinant ESAT-6 does not lyse cell membranes. The lytic activity previously attributed to ESAT-6 is due to residual detergent in the preparations. We report here that ESX-1-dependent cell membrane lysis is contact dependent and accompanied by gross membrane disruptions rather than discrete pores. ESX-1-mediated lysis is also morphologically distinct from the contact-dependent lysis of other bacterial secretion systems. Our findings suggest redirection of research to understand the mechanism of ESX-1-mediated lysis.
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: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.