Transfer of a point mutation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis inhA resolves the target of isoniazid.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.
Nature Medicine (Impact Factor: 28.05). 10/2006; 12(9):1027-9. DOI: 10.1038/nm1466
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Isoniazid is one of the most effective antituberculosis drugs, yet its precise mechanism of action is still controversial. Using specialized linkage transduction, a single point mutation allele (S94A) within the putative target gene inhA was transferred in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The inhA(S94A) allele was sufficient to confer clinically relevant levels of resistance to isoniazid killing and inhibition of mycolic acid biosynthesis. This resistance correlated with the decreased binding of the INH-NAD inhibitor to InhA, as shown by enzymatic and X-ray crystallographic analyses, and establishes InhA as the primary target of isoniazid action in M. tuberculosis.

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    ABSTRACT: The cell envelope of Mycobacterium tuberculosis contains glycans and lipids of peculiar structure that play prominent roles in the biology and pathogenesis of tuberculosis. Consequently, the chemical structure and biosynthesis of the cell wall have been intensively investigated in order to identify novel drug targets. Here, we report the validation of the phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannosyltransferase PimA as a vital function for M. tuberculosis in vitro and in vivo. PimA initiates the biosynthesis of phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannosides by transferring a mannosyl residue from GDP-Man to phosphatidyl-myo-inositol on the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane. To prove the essential nature of pimA in M. tuberculosis, we constructed a pimA conditional mutant by using the TetR-Pip OFF system and showed that downregulation of PimA expression caused cidality in batch cultures. Consistent with the biochemical reaction catalyzed by PimA, this phenotype was associated with markedly reduced levels of phosphatidyl-myo-inositol dimannosides, essential structural components of the mycobacterial cell envelope. In addition, the requirement of PimA for viability was clearly demonstrated during macrophage infection and in two different mouse models of infection, where a dramatic decrease in viable counts was observed upon silencing of the gene. Notably, depletion of PimA resulted in complete clearance of the mouse lungs during both the acute and chronic phases of infection. Altogether, the experimental data highlight the importance of the phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannoside biosynthetic pathway for M. tuberculosis and confirm PimA as a novel target for future drug discovery programs.
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