The Cell Wall Lipid PDIM Contributes to Phagosomal Escape and Host Cell Exit of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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TitleThe Cell Wall Lipid PDIM Contributes to Phagosomal Escape and Host Cell Exit of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsQuigley, J, V Hughitt, K, Velikovsky, CA, Mariuzza, RA, El-Sayed, NM, Briken, V
Date Published2017 Mar 07

The cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is composed of unique lipids that are important for pathogenesis. Indeed, the first-ever genetic screen in M. tuberculosis identified genes involved in the biosynthesis and transport of the cell wall lipid PDIM (phthiocerol dimycocerosates) as crucial for the survival of M. tuberculosis in mice. Here we show evidence for a novel molecular mechanism of the PDIM-mediated virulence in M. tuberculosis We characterized the DNA interaction and the regulon of Rv3167c, a transcriptional repressor that is involved in virulence regulation of M. tuberculosis, and discovered that it controls the PDIM operon. A loss-of-function genetic approach showed that PDIM levels directly correlate with the capacity of M. tuberculosis to escape the phagosome and induce host cell necrosis and macroautophagy. In conclusion, our study attributes a novel role of the cell wall lipid PDIM in intracellular host cell modulation, which is important for host cell exit and dissemination of M. tuberculosisIMPORTANCEMycobacterium tuberculosis is a major human pathogen that has coevolved with its host for thousands of years. The complex and unique cell wall of M. tuberculosis contains the lipid PDIM (phthiocerol dimycocerosates), which is crucial for virulence of the bacterium, but its function is not well understood. Here we show that PDIM expression by M. tuberculosis is negatively regulated by a novel transcriptional repressor, Rv3167c. In addition, we discovered that the escape of M. tuberculosis from its intracellular vacuole was greatly augmented by the presence of PDIM. The increased release of M. tuberculosis into the cytosol led to increased host cell necrosis. The discovery of a link between the cell wall lipid PDIM and a major pathogenesis pathway of M. tuberculosis provides important insights into the molecular mechanisms of host cell manipulation by M. tuberculosis.

Alternate JournalMBio
PubMed ID28270579
PubMed Central IDPMC5340868
Grant ListR56 AI114269 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
T32 GM080201 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States