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    ABSTRACT: The proline-glutamic acid (PE) protein family of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) plays diverse roles in the pathogenesis and modulation of host immune responses. The uniqueness of conserved regions of PE proteins may be useful to test and validate their corresponding functions. Hence, the present study has been undertaken to demonstrate the role of PE3 (Rv0159c) for persistence, host immune response and immunoprophylaxis. We have expressed Mtb-specific PE3 gene in M. smegmatis (MS) and used the strain to infect J774A.1 macrophage cells and BALB/c mice. It was observed that during the infection, the MS expressing PE3 showed higher bacterial load when compared to infection with wild-type MS. In hypoxic condition, the expression level of PE3 gene was induced in Mtb, which further showed its relevance in the cell survival during hypoxia-induced persistence. The expression level of PE3 in Mtb was markedly induced during chronic stage of murine infection, which reiterated its importance in mycobacterial persistence in the host. The immunization of mice with recombinant PE3 protein stimulated the secretion of TNF, IL-6 and IL-2 cytokines and generated strong protective immunity against challenge with live mycobacteria, which was evidenced by decreased viable bacilli in the lungs, histopathological changes and increased survival of PE3 immunized mice. Conclusively, the results indicated that PE3 plays significant roles in mycobacterial persistence during infection, modulate host immune response and hence could be a prospective candidate for the development of subunit vaccine against tuberculosis.
    Medical Microbiology and Immunology 05/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: E. coli FadR, a GntR f amily of transcription factor, plays dual roles in fatty acid metabolism. FadR-DNA binding is inhibited by fatty acyl-CoAs, and thus FadR acts as a sensor of fatty acid level in bacteria. We have identified FadR binding sites in the upstream regions of genes showing altered expression after the disruption of fatty acids biosynthesis in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A FadR homolog in M. tuberculosis, Rv0494 was identified which binds to its operator in the upstream region of the kas operon. We show that the FadRMt (Rv0494) directly binds to long chain fatty acyl-CoA and that binding quenches the intrinsic fluorescence of the purified protein. The FadR-DNA binding can be impaired by long chain fatty acyl-CoA compounds. Overexpression of Rv0494 in Mycobacterium bovis BCG reduced the basal level expression of kas operon genes, thereby suggesting the repressor nature of this protein in FAS-II regulation. This is the first report of a GntR/FadR family protein as a fatty acid responsive transcriptional regulator in M. tuberculosis and suggests its possible role in the mycolic acid biosynthesis.
    Microbiology 03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The mycobacterial FASII multi-enzyme complex has been identified to be a target of Ser/Thr protein kinases (STPKs) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), with substrates, including the malonyl-CoA:ACP transacylase (FabD) and the β-ketoacyl-ACP synthases KasA and KasB. These proteins are phosphorylated by various kinases in vitro. The present study links the correlation of FASII pathway with serine threonine protein kinase of MTB. In the preliminary finding, we have shown that mycobacterial protein Rv3080c (PknK) phosphorylates FabD and the knockdown of PknK protein in mycobacteria down regulates FabD expression. This event leads to the differential inhibition of mycobacteria in the presence of isoniazid (INH), as the inhibition of growth of mycobacteria in the presence of INH is enhanced in PknK deficient mycobacteria.
    Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 11/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The proline-glutamic acid (PE) and proline-proline-glutamic acid (PPE) multi-gene families code for approximately 10 % of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) genome. These proteins are thought to be virulence factors that participate in impounding the host immune responses. While some members have been studied, the functions of most PE/PPE proteins are yet to be explored. The studies presented here have specifically characterized the roles of one of the PE proteins of Mtb, Rv0160c (PE4), in mycobacterial persistence and in prophylactic efficacy. We have expressed Rv0160c in a non-pathogenic fast-growing Mycobacterium smegmatis strain and demonstrated that the protein improves the survival of mycobacteria in macrophages and in mice. The protein has also shown its effect under physiological stress of bacteria, as evidenced by elevated expression in acidic and in hypoxic conditions. In mice, the level of Rv0160c was noticeably high during the chronic stage of tuberculosis. The seroreactivity of the protein against different categories of tuberculosis patients revealed a strong B-cell humoral response in freshly infected pulmonary tuberculosis patients. In mice, it exhibited increased IL-2, TNF, and IL-6 production. The antigenic properties of the protein directed towards the protective efficacy against the Mtb challenge. All together, our findings have identified Rv0160c as an in vivo expressed immunodominant antigen which plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of mycobacterial disease and could prove to be a good preventive antigen for tuberculosis.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 10/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Serine/threonine protein kinases (STPKs) are predominantly involved in growth, development, division, differentiation, and in regulating immune responses in mycobacteria. A wide variety of functions of mycobacterial STPKs persuade mycobacterial growth and further its survival in the hosts. The polymorphic studies have shown that a full length gene of Rv3080c (pknK) is present in the slow growing mycobacteria. The wild type Mycobacterium smegmatis containing only vector (M. smegmatis) and M. smegmatis containing Rv3080c (pknK) cloned in pMV261 vector (M. smegmatis::K) were cultured in different growth media. The studies have shown that M. smegmatis did not differ in the growth and in survival while a substantial reduction in the growth (four-ten-folds) and a significant delay in the colony formation were observed in M. smegmatis::K. In order to look for the stage specific and modulated expression of PknK, the study was comprehended to quantitate pknK transcripts at different phases of cultures. The mycobacterium, containing high copy number of pknK specific RNA was unable to multiply. The study thus highlights that Rv3080c is largely accountable for changing the fate of avirulent mycobacteria and hence the protein can be utilized as an important molecule to target pathogenesis.
    Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 06/2012; 369(1-2):67-74.
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    ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), is an extraordinarily successful pathogen of humankind. It has been estimated that up to one-third of the world's population is infected with M. tuberculosis, and this population is an important reservoir for disease reactivation. Resuscitation promoting factor (Rpf) is a secretory protein, which was first reported in Micrococcus luteus. There are five functionally redundant Rpf-like proteins found in M. tuberculosis. Rpf promotes the resuscitation of dormant bacilli to yield normal, viable colony forming bacteria. All Rpfs share a conserved domain of about 70 amino acids and possess a lysozyme-like activity. The structural studies of the conserved domain suggest that Rpfs could be considered as a c-type lysozyme and lytic transglycosylases. Recently a novel class of nitrophenylthiocyanates (NPT) inhibitors of the muralytic activity of Rpf were reported which opens a new approach in the study of cell-wall hydrolyzing enzymes. This review describes molecular and structural studies conducted on Rpf proteins, their role in the resuscitation of dormant bacteria, in the reactivation of latent infection and identification of low molecular weight inhibitors of resuscitation promoting factors.
    Indian Journal of Microbiology 06/2012; 52(2):114-21.
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    ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium fortuitum causes opportunist non-tubercular infection in humans. Chronic infection of M. fortuitum has been clinically documented and requires prolonged chemotherapy. The objectives of this study were to characterize acute and persistent infection of M. fortuitum in a murine infection model and to screen thiophene-containing trisubstituted methanes active against both acute and persistent infection. A murine infection model of M. fortuitum was used. Bacillary count, bioluminescence, disease symptoms, host immune response, drug susceptibility and mortality were measured. Reactivation of persistent bacilli was induced by dexamethasone. Trisubstituted methanes containing thiophene rings were synthesized and screened in vitro by agar dilution and BACTEC assay and in mice. Cytotoxicity was tested with Vero monkey kidney cells using a resazurin assay. The acute infection in mice was marked by a 3 log rise in viable counts, the appearance of disease symptoms and a rise in the Th1 immune response. Bacilli were susceptible to fluoroquinolones. This was followed by persistent infection, in which disappearance of disease symptoms, a decline in Th1 response and non-susceptibility to fluoroquinolones was observed. When the mice were immunocompromised on day 40 post-infection (persistent state) by dexamethasone, a rise in viable counts, symptoms and susceptibility to fluoroquinolones and a prominent Th1 response reappeared. Two lead compounds were found that cleared the mice of bacilli in acute infection and caused a 2.29-2.99 log reduction in cfu of persistent bacilli. The study established acute and persistent infection in mice and identified two promising anti-M. fortuitum compounds with a selectivity index >10.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 02/2012; 67(5):1188-97.
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    ABSTRACT: The nonadhesive mutant CD11 of Vibrio cholerae El Tor, defective in expression of mannose-sensitive haemagglutinin, lacks a protein when compared with its parent strain. Determination of the amino acid sequence revealed the identity of the protein as the product of VC1929, which is annotated to encode a protein, DctP, involved in the transport of C₄-dicarboxylates. We cloned the dctP gene in pUC19 vector and expressed it in mutant CD11. Expression of DctP in the resulting complemented strain restored virulence, adhesive and colonizing capabilities, mannose-sensitive haemagglutination (MSHA) and ability to grow in medium containing sialic acid as a sole carbon source. The mutation in CD11 was caused by insertion of an adenine nucleotide in the reading frame of dctP. Recombinant purified DctP protein showed MSHA of human red blood cells, and protected rabbits against infection by V. cholerae. The protein was localized in membrane and cell wall fractions. The mutant, recombinant CD11 expressing DctP and parent strains were grown in M9 minimal medium in the presence of various carbohydrates (glucose, malate, fumarate, succinate or N-acetylneuraminic acid). The mutant was unable to grow in minimal medium containing N-acetylneuraminic acid (sialic acid) as the sole carbon source whereas the recombinant and parent strains utilized all the sugars tested. It is concluded that DctP is a mannose-sensitive haemagglutinin and a virulence factor and is involved in the utilization of sialic acid.
    Microbiology 08/2011; 157(Pt 11):3180-6.
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    ABSTRACT: Dihydroxyacid dehydratase (DHAD), a key enzyme involved in branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) biosynthesis, catalyses the synthesis of 2-ketoacids from dihydroxyacids. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis, DHAD is encoded by gene Rv0189c, and it shares 40% amino acid sequence identity and conserved motifs with DHAD of Escherichia coli encoded by ilvD. In this study, Rv0189c was overexpressed in E. coli and the resultant protein was characterized as a homodimer (~155 kDa). Functional characterization of Rv0189c was established by biochemical testing and by genetic complementation of an intron-disrupted ilvD-auxotrophic mutant of E. coli to prototrophy. Growth of M. tuberculosis, E. coli BL21(DE3) and recombinant E. coli BL21(DE3) ΔilvD carrying Rv0189c was inhibited by transient nitric oxide (NO) exposure in minimal medium but growth was restored if the medium was supplemented with BCAA (isoleucine, leucine and valine). This suggested that inactivation of Rv0189c by NO probably inhibited bacterial growth. The role of Rv0189c in M. tuberculosis was elucidated by antisense and sense RNA constructs. Growth of M. tuberculosis transformed with a plasmid encoding antisense mRNA was markedly poor in the lungs of infected mice and in Middlebrook 7H9 broth compared to that of sense and vector-alone transformants, but growth was normal when the medium was supplemented with BCAA. Upregulation of Rv0189c was observed during the early exponential phase of growth, under acid stress and ex vivo, suggesting that Rv0189c has a role in the survival of M. tuberculosis during normal and stress conditions. It may be concluded that the DHAD encoded by Rv0189c is essential for the survival of M. tuberculosis and could be a potential drug/vaccine target, as it is absent in mammals.
    Microbiology 01/2011; 157(Pt 1):38-46.
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    ABSTRACT: Acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS) is a biosynthetic enzyme essential for de novo synthesis of branched-chain amino acids. The genome sequence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis revealed genes encoding four catalytic subunits, ilvB1 (Rv3003c), ilvB2 (Rv3470c), ilvG (Rv1820) and ilvX (Rv3509c), and one regulatory subunit, ilvN (Rv3002c), of AHAS. All these genes were found to be expressed in M. tuberculosis growing in vitro. Each AHAS subunit gene was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. AHAS activity of IlvB1 and IlvG was found in cell-free lysates and with recombinant purified proteins. Kinetic studies with purified IlvG revealed positive cooperativity towards substrate and cofactors. To understand the role of the catalytic subunits in the biology of M. tuberculosis, expression of AHAS genes was analysed in different physiological conditions. ilvB1, ilvB2 and ilvG were differentially expressed. The role of ilvB1 in persistence is known, but the upregulation of ilvB2 and ilvG in extended stationary phase, ex vivo, and in acid stress and hypoxic environments, suggests the relevance of AHAS enzymes in the metabolism and survival of M. tuberculosis by functioning as catabolic AHAS. These enzymes are therefore potential targets for drug development.
    Microbiology 09/2010; 157(Pt 1):29-37.
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