[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the etiological agent of tuberculosis (TB), has the ability to persist in its human host for exceptionally long periods of time. However, little is known about the location of the bacilli in latently infected individuals. Long-term mycobacterial persistence in the lungs has been reported, but this may not sufficiently account for strictly extra-pulmonary TB, which represents 10-15% of the reactivation cases.
We applied in situ and conventional PCR to sections of adipose tissue samples of various anatomical origins from 19 individuals from Mexico and 20 from France who had died from causes other than TB. M. tuberculosis DNA could be detected by either or both techniques in fat tissue surrounding the kidneys, the stomach, the lymph nodes, the heart and the skin in 9/57 Mexican samples (6/19 individuals), and in 8/26 French samples (6/20 individuals). In addition, mycobacteria could be immuno-detected in perinodal adipose tissue of 1 out of 3 biopsy samples from individuals with active TB. In vitro, using a combination of adipose cell models, including the widely used murine adipose cell line 3T3-L1, as well as primary human adipocytes, we show that after binding to scavenger receptors, M. tuberculosis can enter within adipocytes, where it accumulates intracytoplasmic lipid inclusions and survives in a non-replicating state that is insensitive to the major anti-mycobacterial drug isoniazid.
Given the abundance and the wide distribution of the adipose tissue throughout the body, our results suggest that this tissue, among others, might constitute a vast reservoir where the tubercle bacillus could persist for long periods of time, and avoid both killing by antimicrobials and recognition by the host immune system. In addition, M. tuberculosis-infected adipocytes might provide a new model to investigate dormancy and to evaluate new drugs for the treatment of persistent infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Erp (exported repetitive protein) is a member of a mycobacterium-specific family of extracellular proteins. A hydrophobic region that is localized at the C-terminal domain and that represents a quarter of the protein is highly conserved across species. Here we show that this hydrophobic region is not essential for restoring the virulence and tissue damage of an erp::aph mutant strain of M. tuberculosis as assessed by bacterial counts and lung histology analysis in a mouse model of tuberculosis.
Infection and Immunity 05/2004; 72(4):2379-82. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis mutants unable to synthesize phthiocerol dimycocerosates (DIMs) was recently shown to be impaired in mouse lungs. However, the precise role of these molecules in the course of infection remained to be determined. Here, we provide evidence that the attenuation of a DIM-deficient strain takes place during the acute phase of infection in both lungs and spleen of mice, and that this attenuation results in part from the increased sensitivity of the mutant to the cidal activity of reactive nitrogen intermediates released by activated macrophages. We also show that the DIM-deficient mutant, the growth and survival of which were not impaired within resting macrophages and dendritic cells, induced these cells to secrete more tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interleukin (IL)-6 than the wild-type strain. Although purified DIM molecules by themselves had no effect on the activation of macrophages and dendritic cells in vitro, we found that the proper localization of DIMs in the cell envelope of M. tuberculosis is critical to their biological effects. Thus, our findings suggest that DIM production contributes to the initial growth of M. tuberculosis by protecting it from the nitric oxide-dependent killing of macrophages and modulating the early immune response to infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Erp (exported repetitive protein), also known as P36, Pirg and Rv3810, is a member of a mycobacteria-specific family of extracellular proteins. These proteins consist of three domains, the N- and C-terminal domains are similar in all mycobacterial species, however, the central domain contains a repeated PGLTS module and differs considerably between species. The erp knockout mutant of Mycobacterium tuberculosis displays very low levels of multiplication both in macrophage cell lines and in vivo in a mouse model of infection. The high interspecies variability of the central repeated region of the Erp protein led us to investigate whether these orthologous proteins were functionally equivalent in a mouse model of tuberculosis. We expressed a gene fusion with the erp gene of Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium leprae or M. tuberculosis in trans in an erp-M. tuberculosis mutant and found that these three alleles restored multiplication to similar levels in the spleen of infected mice. However, these alleles gave different levels of colonization in the lung, for the early time-points. Quantitative histological analyses of the lungs of infected animals showed that the nature of the erp allele strongly affected the number and the size of lung lesions, demonstrating the importance of surface determinants for virulence and tissue damage.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early interactions between lung dendritic cells (LDCs) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the etiological agent of tuberculosis, are thought to be critical for mounting a protective anti-mycobacterial immune response and for determining the outcome of infection. However, these interactions are poorly understood, at least at the molecular level. Here we show that M. tuberculosis enters human monocyte-derived DCs after binding to the recently identified lectin DC-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3 grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN). By contrast, complement receptor (CR)3 and mannose receptor (MR), which are the main M. tuberculosis receptors on macrophages (Mphis), appeared to play a minor role, if any, in mycobacterial binding to DCs. The mycobacteria-specific lipoglycan lipoarabinomannan (LAM) was identified as a key ligand of DC-SIGN. Freshly isolated human LDCs were found to express DC-SIGN, and M. tuberculosis-derived material was detected in CD14(-)HLA-DR(+)DC-SIGN(+) cells in lymph nodes (LNs) from patients with tuberculosis. Thus, as for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is captured by the same receptor, DC-SIGN-mediated entry of M. tuberculosis in DCs in vivo is likely to influence bacterial persistence and host immunity.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 02/2003; 197(1):121-7. · 13.21 Impact Factor