[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Mycobacterium tuberculosis senses and responds to the shifting and hostile landscape of the host. To characterize the underlying intertwined gene regulatory network governed by approximately 200 transcription factors of M. tuberculosis, we have assayed the global transcriptional consequences of overexpressing each transcription factor from an inducible promoter.ResultsWe cloned and overexpressed 206 transcription factors in M. tuberculosis to identify the regulatory signature of each. We identified 9,335 regulatory consequences of overexpressing each of 183 transcription factors, providing evidence of regulation for 70% of the M. tuberculosis genome. These transcriptional signatures agree well with previously described M. tuberculosis regulons. The number of genes differentially regulated by transcription factor overexpression varied from hundreds of genes to none, with the majority of expression changes repressing basal transcription. Exploring the global transcriptional maps of transcription factor overexpressing (TFOE) strains, we predicted and validated the phenotype of a regulator that reduces susceptibility to a first line anti-tubercular drug, isoniazid. We also combined the TFOE data with an existing model of M. tuberculosis metabolism to predict the growth rates of individual TFOE strains with high fidelity.Conclusion
This work has led to a systems-level framework describing the transcriptome of a devastating bacterial pathogen, characterized the transcriptional influence of nearly all individual transcription factors in M. tuberculosis, and demonstrated the utility of this resource. These results will stimulate additional systems-level and hypothesis-driven efforts to understand M. tuberculosis adaptations that promote disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Mycobacterium tuberculosis senses and responds to the shifting and hostile landscape of the host. To characterize the underlying intertwined gene regulatory network governed by approximately 200 transcription factors of M. tuberculosis, we have assayed the global transcriptional consequences of overexpressing each transcription factor from an inducible promoter.ResultsWe cloned and overexpressed 206 transcription factors in M. tuberculosis to identify the regulatory signature of each. We identified 9,335 regulatory consequences of overexpressing each of 183 transcription factors, providing evidence of regulation for 70% of the M. tuberculosis genome. These transcriptional signatures agree well with previously described M. tuberculosis regulons. The number of genes differentially regulated by transcription factor overexpression varied from hundreds of genes to none, with the majority of expression changes repressing basal transcription. Exploring the global transcriptional maps of transcription factor overexpressing (TFOE) strains, we predicted and validated the phenotype of a regulator that reduces susceptibility to a first line anti-tubercular drug, isoniazid. We also combined the TFOE data with an existing model of M. tuberculosis metabolism to predict the growth rates of individual TFOE strains with high fidelity.ConclusionThis work has led to a systems-level framework describing the transcriptome of a devastating bacterial pathogen, characterized the transcriptional influence of nearly all individual transcription factors in M. tuberculosis, and demonstrated the utility of this resource. These results will stimulate additional systems-level and hypothesis-driven efforts to understand M. tuberculosis adaptations that promote disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The innate immune response plays an important but unknown role in host defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). To define the function of innate immunity during tuberculosis, we evaluated MTB replication dynamics during murine infection. Our data show that the early pulmonary innate immune response limits MTB replication in a MyD88-dependent manner. Strikingly, we found that little MTB death occurs during the first two weeks of infection. In contrast, MTB deficient in the surface lipid phthiocerol dimycocerosate (PDIM) exhibited significant death rates and consequently total bacterial numbers were reduced. Host restriction of PDIM-deficient MTB was not alleviated by the absence of interferon-γ, iNOS, or the phagocyte oxidase subunit p47. Taken together, these data indicate that PDIM protects MTB from an early innate host response that is independent of IFN-γ, reactive nitrogen intermediates, and reactive oxygen species. By employing a pathogen replication tracking tool to evaluate MTB replication and death during infection, we identify both host and pathogen factors affecting the outcome of infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The resilience of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is largely due to its ability to effectively counteract and even take advantage of the hostile environments of a host. In order to accelerate the discovery and characterization of these adaptive mechanisms, we have mined a compendium of 2325 publicly available transcriptome profiles of MTB to decipher a predictive, systems-scale gene regulatory network model. The resulting modular organization of 98% of all MTB genes within this regulatory network was rigorously tested using two independently generated datasets: a genome-wide map of 7248 DNA-binding locations for 143 transcription factors (TFs) and global transcriptional consequences of overexpressing 206 TFs. This analysis has discovered specific TFs that mediate conditional co-regulation of genes within 240 modules across 14 distinct environmental contexts. In addition to recapitulating previously characterized regulons, we discovered 454 novel mechanisms for gene regulation during stress, cholesterol utilization and dormancy. Significantly, 183 of these mechanisms act uniquely under conditions experienced during the infection cycle to regulate diverse functions including 23 genes that are essential to host-pathogen interactions. These and other insights underscore the power of a rational, model-driven approach to unearth novel MTB biology that operates under some but not all phases of infection.
Nucleic Acids Research 09/2014; · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The flow of information from the outside to the inside of bacterial cells is largely directed by protein kinases. In addition to histidine/aspartate phosphorelays of two-component response regulators, recent work in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) reinforces the idea that phosphorylation on serine (Ser), threonine (Thr), and tyrosine (Tyr) is central to bacterial physiology and pathogenesis, and that the corresponding phosphosystems are highly similar to those in eukaryotes. In this way, eukaryotes are a useful guide to understanding Ser/Thr/Tyr phosphorylation (O-phosphorylation) in prokaryotes such as Mtb. However, as novel functions and components of bacterial O-phosphorylation are identified, distinct differences between pro- and eukaryotic phosphosignaling systems become apparent. The emerging picture of O-phosphorylation in Mtb is complicated, goes beyond the eukaryotic paradigms, and shows the limitations of viewing bacterial phosphosignaling within the confines of the “eukaryotic-like” model. Here, we summarize recent findings about Ser/Thr and the recently discovered Tyr phosphorylation pathways in Mtb, highlight the similarities and differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic O-phosphorylation, and pose additional questions about signaling components, pathway organization, and ultimately, the cellular roles of O-phosphorylation in Mtb physiology and pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we identified antifolates with potent, targeted activity against whole-cell Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of antifolate-treated cultures revealed metabolic disruption, including decreased pools of methionine and S-adenosylmethionine. Transcriptomic analysis highlighted altered regulation of genes involved in the biosynthesis and utilization of these two compounds. Supplementation with amino acids or S-adenosylmethionine was sufficient to rescue cultures from antifolate treatment. Instead of the "thymineless death" that characterizes folate pathway inhibition in a wide variety of organisms, these data suggest that MTB is vulnerable to a critical disruption of the reactions centered around S-adenosylmethionione, the activated methyl cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reversible protein phosphorylation determines growth and adaptive decisions in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). At least 11 two-component systems and 11 Ser/Thr protein kinases (STPKs) mediate phosphorylation on Asp, His, Ser, and Thr. In contrast, protein phosphorylation on Tyr has not been described previously in Mtb. Here, using a combination of phospho-enrichment and highly sensitive mass spectrometry, we show extensive protein Tyr phosphorylation of diverse Mtb proteins, including STPKs. Several STPKs function as dual-specificity kinases that phosphorylate Tyr in cis and in trans, suggesting that dual-specificity kinases have a major role in bacterial phospho-signaling. Mutation of a phosphotyrosine site of the essential STPK PknB reduces its activity in vitro and in live Mtb, indicating that Tyr phosphorylation has a functional role in bacterial growth. These data identify a previously unrecognized phosphorylation system in a human pathogen that claims ∼1.4 million lives every year.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 06/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The majority of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections are clinically latent, characterized by drug tolerance and little or no bacterial replication. Low oxygen tension is a major host factor inducing bacteriostasis, but the molecular mechanisms driving oxygen-dependent replication are poorly understood. Here, we tested the role of serine/threonine phosphorylation in the Mtb response to altered oxygen status, using an in vitro model of latency (hypoxia) and reactivation (reaeration). Broad kinase inhibition compromised survival of Mtb in reaeration. Activity-based protein profiling and genetic mutation identified PknB as the kinase critical for surviving hypoxia. Mtb replication was highly sensitive to changes in PknB levels in aerated culture, and even more so in hypoxia. A mutant overexpressing PknB specifically in hypoxia showed a 10-fold loss in viability and gross morphological defects in low oxygen conditions. In contrast, chemically reducing PknB activity during hypoxia specifically compromised resumption of growth during reaeration. These data support a model in which PknB activity is reduced to achieve bacteriostasis, and elevated when replication resumes. Together, these data show that phosphosignaling controls replicative transitions associated with latency and reactivation, that PknB is a major regulator of these transitions, and that PknB could provide a highly vulnerable therapeutic target at every step of the Mtb life cycle-active disease, latency, and reactivation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacteria are able to adapt to dramatically different microenvironments, but in many organisms, the signaling pathways, transcriptional programs, and downstream physiological changes involved in adaptation are not well-understood. Here, we discovered that osmotic stress stimulates a signaling network in Mycobacterium tuberculosis regulated by the eukaryotic-like receptor Ser/Thr protein kinase PknD. Expression of the PknD substrate Rv0516c was highly induced by osmotic stress. Furthermore, Rv0516c disruption modified peptidoglycan thickness, enhanced antibiotic resistance, and activated genes in the regulon of the alternative σ-factor SigF. Phosphorylation of Rv0516c regulated the abundance of EspA, a virulence-associated substrate of the type VII ESX-1 secretion system. These findings identify an osmosensory pathway orchestrated by PknD, Rv0516c, and SigF that enables adaptation to osmotic stress through cell wall remodeling and virulence factor production. Given the widespread occurrence of eukaryotic-like Ser/Thr protein kinases in bacteria, these proteins may play a broad role in bacterial osmosensing.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have taken the first steps towards a complete reconstruction of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis regulatory network based on ChIP-Seq and combined this reconstruction with system-wide profiling of messenger RNAs, proteins, metabolites and lipids during hypoxia and re-aeration. Adaptations to hypoxia are thought to have a prominent role in M. tuberculosis pathogenesis. Using ChIP-Seq combined with expression data from the induction of the same factors, we have reconstructed a draft regulatory network based on 50 transcription factors. This network model revealed a direct interconnection between the hypoxic response, lipid catabolism, lipid anabolism and the production of cell wall lipids. As a validation of this model, in response to oxygen availability we observe substantial alterations in lipid content and changes in gene expression and metabolites in corresponding metabolic pathways. The regulatory network reveals transcription factors underlying these changes, allows us to computationally predict expression changes, and indicates that Rv0081 is a regulatory hub.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The enzyme pantothenate synthetase, PanC, is an attractive drug target in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is essential for the in vitro growth of M. tuberculosis and for survival of the bacteria in the mouse model of infection. PanC is absent from mammals. We developed an enzyme-based assay to identify inhibitors of PanC, optimized it for high-throughput screening, and tested a large and diverse library of compounds for activity. Two compounds belonging to the same chemical class of 3-biphenyl-4- cyanopyrrole-2-carboxylic acids had activity against the purified recombinant protein, and also inhibited growth of live M. tuberculosis in manner consistent with PanC inhibition. Thus we have identified a new class of PanC inhibitors with whole cell activity that can be further developed.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e72786. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of new drug targets is vital for the advancement of drug discovery against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, especially given the increase of resistance worldwide to first- and second-line drugs. Because traditional target-based screening has largely proven unsuccessful for antibiotic discovery, we have developed a scalable platform for target identification in M. tuberculosis that is based on whole-cell screening, coupled with whole-genome sequencing of resistant mutants and recombineering to confirm. The method yields targets paired with whole-cell active compounds, which can serve as novel scaffolds for drug development, molecular tools for validation, and/or as ligands for co-crystallization. It may also reveal other information about mechanisms of action, such as activation or efflux. Using this method, we identified resistance-linked genes for eight compounds with anti-tubercular activity. Four of the genes have previously been shown to be essential: AspS, aspartyl-tRNA synthetase, Pks13, a polyketide synthase involved in mycolic acid biosynthesis, MmpL3, a membrane transporter, and EccB3, a component of the ESX-3 type VII secretion system. AspS and Pks13 represent novel targets in protein translation and cell-wall biosynthesis. Both MmpL3 and EccB3 are involved in membrane transport. Pks13, AspS, and EccB3 represent novel candidates not targeted by existing TB drugs, and the availability of whole-cell active inhibitors greatly increases their potential for drug discovery.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e75245. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of CD8(+) T cell antigens/epitopes expressed by human pathogens with large genomes is especially challenging, yet necessary for vaccine development. Immunity to tuberculosis, a leading cause of mortality worldwide, requires CD8(+) T cell immunity, yet the repertoire of CD8 antigens/epitopes remains undefined. We used integrated computational and proteomic approaches to screen 10% of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) proteome for CD8 Mtb antigens. We designed a weighting schema based upon a Multiple Attribute Decision Making:framework to select 10% of the Mtb proteome with a high probability of containing CD8(+) T cell epitopes. We created a synthetic peptide library consisting of 15-mers overlapping by 11 aa. Using the interferon-γ ELISPOT assay and Mtb-infected dendritic cells as antigen presenting cells, we screened Mtb-specific CD8(+) T cell clones restricted by classical MHC class I molecules (MHC class Ia molecules), that were isolated from Mtb-infected humans, against this library. Three novel CD8 antigens were unambiguously identified: the EsxJ family (Rv1038c, Rv1197, Rv3620c, Rv2347c, Rv1792), PE9 (Rv1088), and PE_PGRS42 (Rv2487c). The epitopes are B5701-restricted EsxJ24-34, B3905-restricted PE953-67, and B3514-restricted PE_PGRS4248-56, respectively. The utility of peptide libraries in identifying unknown epitopes recognized by classically restricted CD8(+) T cells was confirmed, which can be applied to other intracellular pathogens with large size genomes. In addition, we identified three novel Mtb epitopes/antigens that may be evaluated for inclusion in vaccines and/or diagnostics for tuberculosis.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e67016. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyzed whole genome-based transcriptional profiles of Mycobacterium tuberculosis subjected to prolonged hypoxia to guide the discovery of novel potential Ags, by a combined bioinformatic and empirical approach. We analyzed the fold induction of the 100 most highly induced genes at 7 d of hypoxia, as well as transcript abundance, peptide-binding prediction (ProPred) adjusted for population-specific MHC class II allele frequency, and by literature search. Twenty-six candidate genes were selected by this bioinformatic approach and evaluated empirically using IFN-γ and IL-2 ELISPOT using immunodominant Ags (Acr-1, CFP-10, ESAT-6) as references. Twenty-three of twenty-six proteins induced an IFN-γ response in PBMCs of persons with active or latent tuberculosis. Five novel immunodominant proteins-Rv1957, Rv1954c, Rv1955, Rv2022c, and Rv1471-were identified that induced responses similar to CFP-10 and ESAT-6 in both magnitude and frequency. IL-2 responses were of lower magnitude than were those of IFN-γ. Only moderate evidence of infection stage-specific recognition of Ags was observed. Reconciliation of bioinformatic and empirical hierarchies of immunodominance revealed that Ags could be predicted, providing transcriptomic data were combined with peptide-binding prediction adjusted by population-specific MHC class II allele frequency.
The Journal of Immunology 11/2012; · 5.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is a highly successful pathogen that infects over a billion people. As with most organisms, MTB adapts to stress by modifying its transcriptional profile. Remodeling of the transcriptome requires both altering the transcription rate and clearing away the existing mRNA through degradation, a process that can be directly regulated in response to stress. To understand better how MTB adapts to the harsh environs of the human host, we performed a global survey of the decay rates of MTB mRNA transcripts. Decay rates were measured for 2139 of the ∼4000 MTB genes, which displayed an average half-life of 9.5 min. This is nearly twice the average mRNA half-life of other prokaryotic organisms where these measurements have been made. The transcriptome was further stabilized in response to lowered temperature and hypoxic stress. The generally stable transcriptome described here, and the additional stabilization in response to physiologically relevant stresses, has far-ranging implications for how this pathogen is able to adapt in its human host.
Nucleic Acids Research 11/2012; · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whole-cell screening of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) remains a mainstay of drug discovery, but subsequent target elucidation often proves difficult. Conditional mutants that underexpress essential genes have been used to identify compounds with known mechanism of action by target-based whole-cell screening (TB-WCS). Here, the feasibility of TB-WCS in Mtb was assessed by generating mutants that conditionally express pantothenate synthetase (panC), diaminopimelate decarboxylase (lysA), and isocitrate lyase (icl1). The essentiality of panC and lysA, and conditional essentiality of icl1 for growth on fatty acids, was confirmed. Depletion of PanC and Icl1 rendered mutants hypersensitive to target-specific inhibitors. Stable reporter strains were generated for use in high-throughput screening, and their utility was demonstrated by identifying compounds that display greater potency against a PanC-depleted strain. These findings illustrate the power of TB-WCS as a tool for tuberculosis drug discovery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reduction of active disease by preventive therapy has the potential to make an important contribution towards the goal of tuberculosis (TB) elimination. This report summarises discussions amongst a Working Group convened to consider areas of research that will be important in optimising the design and delivery of preventative therapies. The Working Group met in Cape Town on 26th February 2012, following presentation of results from the GC11 Grand Challenges in Global Health project to discover drugs for latent TB.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Mycobacterium tuberculosis regulator DosR is induced by multiple stimuli including hypoxia, nitric oxide and redox stress. Overlap of these stimuli with conditions thought to promote latency in infected patients fuels a model in which DosR regulon expression is correlated with bacteriostasis in vitro and a proxy for latency in vivo. Here, we find that inducing the DosR regulon to wildtype levels in aerobic, replicating M. tuberculosis does not alter bacterial growth kinetics. We conclude that DosR regulon expression alone is insufficient for bacterial latency, but rather is expressed during a range of growth states in a dynamic environment.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35935. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis, is a bacterial pathogen that claims roughly 1.4 million lives every year. Current drug regimens are inefficient at clearing infection, requiring at least 6 months of chemotherapy, and resistance to existing agents is rising. There is an urgent need for new drugs that are more effective and faster acting. The folate pathway has been successfully targeted in other pathogens and diseases, but has not yielded a lead drug against tuberculosis. We developed a high-throughput screening assay against Mtb dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), a critical enzyme in the folate pathway, and screened a library consisting of 32,000 synthetic and natural product-derived compounds. One potent inhibitor containing a quinazoline ring was identified. This compound was active against the wild-type laboratory strain H37Rv (MIC(99) = 207 µM). In addition, an Mtb strain with artificially lowered DHFR levels showed increased sensitivity to this compound (MIC(99) = 70.7 µM), supporting that the inhibition was target-specific. Our results demonstrate the potential to identify Mtb DHFR inhibitors with activity against whole cells, and indicate the power of using a recombinant strain of Mtb expressing lower levels of DHFR to facilitate the discovery of antimycobacterial agents. With these new tools, we highlight the folate pathway as a potential target for new drugs to combat the tuberculosis epidemic.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e39961. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is estimated that one-third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Infection typically remains latent, but it can reactivate to cause clinical disease. The only vaccine, Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is largely ineffective, and ways to enhance its efficacy are being developed. Of note, the candidate booster vaccines currently under clinical development have been designed to improve BCG efficacy but not prevent reactivation of latent infection. Here, we demonstrate that administering a multistage vaccine that we term H56 in the adjuvant IC31 as a boost to vaccination with BCG delays and reduces clinical disease in cynomolgus macaques challenged with M. tuberculosis and prevents reactivation of latent infection. H56 contains Ag85B and ESAT-6, which are two of the M. tuberculosis antigens secreted in the acute phase of infection, and the nutrient stress-induced antigen Rv2660c. Boosting with H56/IC31 resulted in efficient containment of M. tuberculosis infection and reduced rates of clinical disease, as measured by clinical parameters, inflammatory markers, and improved survival of the animals compared with BCG alone. Boosted animals showed reduced pulmonary pathology and extrapulmonary dissemination, and protection correlated with a strong recall response against ESAT-6 and Rv2660c. Importantly, BCG/H56-vaccinated monkeys did not reactivate latent infection after treatment with anti-TNF antibody. Our results indicate that H56/IC31 boosting is able to control late-stage infection with M. tuberculosis and contain latent tuberculosis, providing a rationale for the clinical development of H56.
The Journal of clinical investigation 12/2011; 122(1):303-14. · 15.39 Impact Factor