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Mycobacterium tuberculosis Transcription Factor EmbR Regulates the Expression of Key Virulence Factors That Aid in Ex Vivo and in Vivo Survival

Kumar, S and Khan, MZ and Khandelwal, N and Chongtham, C and Singha, B and Dabla, A and Behera, D and Singh, A and Gopal, B and Arimbasseri, GA and Kamat, SS and Nandicoori, VK (2022) Mycobacterium tuberculosis Transcription Factor EmbR Regulates the Expression of Key Virulence Factors That Aid in Ex Vivo and in Vivo Survival. In: mBio, 13 (3).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1128/mbio.03836-21


Mycobacterium tuberculosis encodes;200 transcription factors that modulate gene expression under different microenvironments in the host. Even though high-throughput chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) studies have identified the regulatory network for;80 of transcription factors, many transcription factors remain uncharacterized. EmbR is one such transcription factor whose in vivo regulon and biological function are yet to be elucidated. Previous in vitro studies suggested that phosphorylation of EmbR by PknH upregulates the embCAB operon. Using a gene replacement mutant of embR, we investigated its role in modulating cellular morphology, antibiotic resistance, and survival in the host. Contrary to the prevailing hypothesis, under normal growth conditions, EmbR is neither phosphorylated nor impacted by ethambutol resistance through the regulation of the embCAB operon. The embR deletion mutant displayed attenuated M. tuberculosis survival in vivo. RNA-seq analysis suggested that EmbR regulates operons involved in the secretion pathway, lipid metabolism, virulence, and hypoxia, including well-known hypoxia-inducible genes devS and hspX. Lipidome analysis revealed that EmbR modulates levels of all lysophospholipids, several phospholipids, and M. tuberculosis-specific lipids, which is more pronounced under hypoxic conditions. We found that the EmbR mutant is hypersusceptible to hypoxic stress, and RNA sequencing performed under hypoxic conditions indicated that EmbR majorly regulates genes involved in response to acidic pH, hypoxia, and fatty acid metabolism. We observed condition-specific phosphorylation of EmbR, which contributes to EmbR-mediated transcription of several essential genes, ensuring enhanced survival. Collectively, the study establishes EmbR as a key modulator of hypoxic response that facilitates mycobacterial survival in the host.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: mBio
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Authors.
Keywords: bacterial protein; transcription factor; virulence factor, gene expression regulation; genetics; human; hypoxia; metabolism; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; tuberculosis, Bacterial Proteins; Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial; Humans; Hypoxia; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Transcription Factors; Tuberculosis; Virulence Factors
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Biophysics Unit
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 09:07
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 09:07
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/76624

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