skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ser/Thr protein kinase B mediates an oxygen-dependent replication switch

In the majority of cases, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections are clinically latent, characterized by little or no bacterial replication and drug tolerance. Low oxygen tension is a major host factor inducing bacteriostasis, but the molecular mechanisms driving oxygen-dependent replication are poorly understood. Mtb encodes eleven serine/threonine protein kinases, a family of signaling molecules known to regulate similar replicative adaptations in other bacteria. 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 hypoxia. 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 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 ismore » 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.« less
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
40072; 47292; 400412000
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: PLoS Biology, 12(1):Article No. e1001746
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory