Disruption of mycobactin biosynthesis leads to attenuation of mycobacterium tuberculosis for growth and virulence

P. Vineel Reddy, Rupangi Verma Puri, Priyanka Chauhan, Ritika Kar, Akshay Rohilla, Aparna Khera, Anil K. Tyagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. Low iron availability in the host upregulates the mbt gene cluster of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is responsible for mycobactin biosynthesis. However, the biological significance of mycobactins in the growth of this pathogen and in disease progression has not been elucidated.Methods. We have disrupted the mbtE gene (Rv2380c) in the mbt cluster to evaluate the importance of mycobactin biosynthesis in the growth and virulence of M. tuberculosis.Results. The mbtE mutant (MtbΔmbtE) was unable to synthesize mycobactins, displayed an altered colony morphology, and was attenuated for growth in broth culture and in macrophages. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that MtbΔmbtE displayed an altered cell wall permeability. The growth characteristics and colony morphology of MtbΔmbtE were similar to wild type when the medium was supplemented with mycobactins or when MtbΔmbtE was genetically complemented with the mbtE gene. Moreover, guinea pigs infected with MtbΔmbtE exhibited a significantly reduced bacillary load and histopathological damage in the organs, in comparison to M. tuberculosis-infected animals.Conclusions. This study highlights the importance of mycobactins in the growth and virulence of M. tuberculosis and establishes the enzymes of mycobactin biosynthesis as novel targets for the development of therapeutic interventions against tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1255-1265
Number of pages11
JournalJournal Infectious Diseases
Volume208
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

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