Mycobacterium tuberculosis arrests host cycle at the G1/S transition to establish long term infection

Signals modulating the production of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) virulence factors essential for establishing long-term persistent infection are unknown. The WhiB3 redox regulator is known to regulate the production of Mtb virulence factors, however the mechanisms of this modulation are unknown. To advance our understanding of the mechanisms involved in WhiB3 regulation, we performed Mtb in vitro, intraphagosomal and infected host expression analyses. Our Mtb expression analyses in conjunction with extracellular flux analyses demonstrated that WhiB3 maintains bioenergetic homeostasis in response to available carbon sources found in vivo to establish Mtb infection. Our infected host expression analysis indicated that WhiB3 is involved in regulation of the host cell cycle. Detailed cell-cycle analysis revealed that Mtb infection inhibited the macrophage G1/S transition, and polyketides under WhiB3 control arrested the macrophages in the G0-G1 phase. Notably, infection with the Mtb whiB3 mutant or polyketide mutants had little effect on the macrophage cell cycle and emulated the uninfected cells. This suggests that polyketides regulated by Mtb WhiB3 are responsible for the cell cycle arrest observed in macrophages infected with the wild type Mtb. Thus, our findings demonstrate that Mtb WhiB3 maintains bioenergetic homeostasis to produce polyketide and lipid cyclomodulins that target the host cell cycle. This is a new mechanism whereby Mtb modulates the immune system by altering the host cell cycle to promote long-term persistence. This new knowledge could serve as the foundation for new host-directed therapeutic discovery efforts that target the host cell cycle.

Cumming BM, Rahman MA, Lamprecht DA, Rohde KH, Saini V, Adamson JH, Russell DG, Steyn AJC
PLOS Pathogens
Publication Date: 
May, 2017
IBN number: