Doctor of Philosophy, University of Colorado Denver (2010)
Manuel Amieva, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
The DosR regulon in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is involved in respiration-limiting conditions, its induction is controlled by two histidine kinases, DosS and DosT, and recent experimental evidence indicates DosS senses either molecular oxygen or a redox change. Under aerobic conditions, induction of the DosR regulon by DosS, but not DosT, was observed after the addition of ascorbate, a powerful cytochrome c reductant, demonstrating that DosS responds to a redox signal even in the presence of high oxygen tension. During hypoxic conditions, regulon induction was attenuated by treatment with compounds that occluded electron flow into the menaquinone pool or decreased the size of the menaquinone pool itself. Increased regulon expression during hypoxia was observed when exogenous menaquinone was added, demonstrating that the menaquinone pool is a limiting factor in regulon induction. Taken together, these data demonstrate that a reduced menaquinone pool directly or indirectly triggers induction of the DosR regulon via DosS. Biochemical analysis of menaquinones upon entry into hypoxic/anaerobic conditions demonstrated the disappearance of the unsaturated species and low-level maintenance of the mono-saturated menaquinone. Relative to the unsaturated form, an analog of the saturated form is better able to induce signaling via DosS and rescue inhibition of menaquinone synthesis and is less toxic. The menaquinone pool is central to the electron transport system (ETS) and therefore provides a mechanistic link between the respiratory state of the bacilli and DosS signaling. Although this report demonstrates that DosS responds to a reduced ETS, it does not rule out a role for oxygen in silencing signaling.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.00978-10
View details for Web of Science ID 000284690400016
View details for PubMedID 20952575
In Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the sensor kinases DosT and DosS activate the transcriptional regulator DosR, resulting in the induction of the DosR regulon, which is important for anaerobic survival and perhaps latent infection. The individual and collective roles of these sensors have been postulated biochemically, but their roles in vivo have remained unclear. This work demonstrates distinct and additive roles for each sensor during anaerobic dormancy. Both sensors are necessary for wild-type levels of DosR regulon induction, and concomitantly, full induction of the regulon is required for wild-type anaerobic survival. In the anaerobic model, DosT plays an early role, responding to hypoxia. DosT then induces the regulon and with it DosS, which sustains and further induces the regulon. DosT then loses its functionality as oxygen becomes limited, and DosS alone maintains induction of the genes from that point forward. Thus, M. tuberculosis has evolved a system whereby it responds to hypoxic conditions in a stepwise fashion as it enters an anaerobic state.
View details for DOI 10.1128/IAI.01449-08
View details for Web of Science ID 000268098400015
View details for PubMedID 19487478
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of tuberculosis, a disease that affects one-third of the world's population. The sole extant vaccine for tuberculosis is the live attenuated Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). We examined 13 representative BCG strains from around the world to ascertain their ability to express DosR-regulated dormancy antigens. These are known to be recognized by T cells of M. tuberculosis-infected individuals, especially those harboring latent infections. Differences in the expression of these antigens could be valuable for use as diagnostic markers to distinguish BCG vaccination from latent tuberculosis. We determined that all BCG strains were defective for the induction of two dormancy genes: narK2 (Rv1737c) and narX (Rv1736c). NarK2 is known to be necessary for nitrate respiration during anaerobic dormancy. Analysis of the narK2/X promoter region revealed a base substitution mutation in all tested BCG strains and M. bovis in comparison to the M. tuberculosis sequence. We also show that nitrate reduction by BCG strains during dormancy was greatly reduced compared to M. tuberculosis and varied between tested strains. Several dormancy regulon transcriptional differences were also identified among the strains, as well as variation in their growth and survival. These findings demonstrate defects in DosR regulon expression during dormancy and phenotypic variation between commonly used BCG vaccine strains.
View details for DOI 10.1128/IAI.01235-07
View details for Web of Science ID 000256128900034
View details for PubMedID 18362135