ABSTRACT The success of Mycobacterium tuberculosis as a human pathogen is due in part to its ability to survive stress conditions, such as hypoxia or nutrient deprivation, by entering nongrowing states. In these low-metabolism states, M. tuberculosis can tolerate antibiotics and develop genetically encoded antibiotic resistance, making its metabolic adaptation to stress crucial for survival. Numerous bacteria, including M. tuberculosis , have been shown to reduce their rates of mRNA degradation under growth limitation and stress. While the existence of this response appears to be conserved across species, the underlying bacterial mRNA stabilization mechanisms remain unknown. To better understand the biology of nongrowing mycobacteria, we sought to identify the mechanistic basis of mRNA stabilization in the nonpathogenic model Mycobacterium smegmatis . We found that mRNA half-life was responsive to energy stress, with carbon starvation and hypoxia causing global mRNA stabilization. This global stabilization was rapidly reversed when hypoxia-adapted cultures were reexposed to oxygen, even in the absence of new transcription. The stringent response and RNase levels did not explain mRNA stabilization, nor did transcript abundance. This led us to hypothesize that metabolic changes during growth cessation impact the activities of degradation proteins, increasing mRNA stability. Indeed, bedaquiline and isoniazid, twomore »
Trehalose Recycling Promotes Energy-Efficient Biosynthesis of the Mycobacterial Cell Envelope
ABSTRACT The mycomembrane layer of the mycobacterial cell envelope is a barrier to environmental, immune, and antibiotic insults. There is considerable evidence of mycomembrane plasticity during infection and in response to host-mimicking stresses. Since mycobacteria are resource and energy limited under these conditions, it is likely that remodeling has distinct requirements from those of the well-characterized biosynthetic program that operates during unrestricted growth. Unexpectedly, we found that mycomembrane remodeling in nutrient-starved, nonreplicating mycobacteria includes synthesis in addition to turnover. Mycomembrane synthesis under these conditions occurs along the cell periphery, in contrast to the polar assembly of actively growing cells, and both liberates and relies on the nonmammalian disaccharide trehalose. In the absence of trehalose recycling, de novo trehalose synthesis fuels mycomembrane remodeling. However, mycobacteria experience ATP depletion, enhanced respiration, and redox stress, hallmarks of futile cycling and the collateral dysfunction elicited by some bactericidal antibiotics. Inefficient energy metabolism compromises the survival of trehalose recycling mutants in macrophages. Our data suggest that trehalose recycling alleviates the energetic burden of mycomembrane remodeling under stress. Cell envelope recycling pathways are emerging targets for sensitizing resource-limited bacterial pathogens to host and antibiotic pressure. IMPORTANCE The glucose-based disaccharide trehalose is a stress protectant and carbon more »
- Hatfull, Graham F.
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- National Science Foundation
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