ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-060531-11
Mycobacterium marinum Erp Is a Virulence Determinant Required for Cell Wall Integrity and Intracellular Survival
Cosma, C.L., Klein, K., Kim, R., Beery, D., and Ramakrishnan, L.
Date: 2006
Source: Infection and Immunity   74(6): 3125-3133 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Cosma, Christine, Ramakrishnan, Lalita
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins/physiology*
  • Cell Wall
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian/microbiology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mycobacterium marinum/growth & development
  • Mycobacterium marinum/pathogenicity*
  • Permeability
  • Rana pipiens
  • Virulence
  • Zebrafish
PubMed: 16714540 Full text @ Infect. Immun.
The Mycobacterium tuberculosis exported repetitive protein (Erp) is a virulence determinant required for growth in cultured macrophages and in vivo. To better understand the role of Erp in Mycobacterium pathogenesis, we generated a mutation in the erp homologue of Mycobacterium marinum, a close genetic relative of M. tuberculosis. erp-deficient M. marinum was growth attenuated in cultured macrophage monolayers and during chronic granulomatous infection of leopard frogs, suggesting that Erp function is similarly required for the virulence of both M. tuberculosis and M. marinum. To pinpoint the step in infection at which Erp is required, we utilized a zebrafish embryo infection model that allows M. marinum infections to be visualized in real-time, comparing the erp-deficient strain to a DeltaRD1 mutant whose stage of attenuation was previously characterized in zebrafish embryos. A detailed microscopic examination of infected embryos revealed that bacteria lacking Erp were compromised very early in infection, failing to grow and/or survive upon phagocytosis by host macrophages. In contrast, DeltaRD1 mutant bacteria grow normally in macrophages but fail to induce host macrophage aggregation and subsequent cell-to-cell spread. Consistent with these in vivo findings, erp-deficient but not RD1-deficient bacteria exhibited permeability defects in vitro, which may be responsible for their specific failure to survive in host macrophages.