A family of autocrine growth factors in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Galina V. Mukamolova, Obolbek A. Turapov, Danielle I. Young, Arseny S. Kaprelyants, Douglas B. Kell, Michael Young

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis and its close relative, Mycobacterium bovis (BCG) contain five genes whose predicted products resemble Rpf from Micrococcus luteus. Rpf is a secreted growth factor, active at picomolar concentrations, which is required for the growth of vegetative cells in minimal media at very low inoculum densities, as well as the resuscitation of dormant cells. We show here that the five cognate proteins from M. tuberculosis have very similar characteristics and properties to those of Rpf. They too stimulate bacterial growth at picomolar (and in some cases, subpicomolar) concentrations. Several lines of evidence indicate that they exert their activity from an extra-cytoplasmic location, suggesting that they are also involved in intercellular signalling. The five M. tuberculosis proteins show cross-species activity against M. luteus, Mycobacterium smegmatis and M. bovis (BCG). Actively growing cells of M. bovis (BCG) do not respond to these proteins, whereas bacteria exposed to a prolonged stationary phase do. Affinity-purified antibodies inhibit bacterial growth in vitro, suggesting that sequestration of these proteins at the cell surface might provide a means to limit or even prevent bacterial multiplication in vivo. The Rpf family of bacterial growth factors may therefore provide novel opportunities for preventing and controlling mycobacterial infections.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)623-635
    Number of pages12
    JournalMolecular Microbiology
    Volume46
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

    Keywords

    • Hormones Role: BSU (Biological study, unclassified), BIOL (Biological study) (autocrine; family of autocrine growth factors in Mycobacterium tuberculosis); Mycobacterium tuberculosis (family of autocrine growth factors in Mycobacterium tuberculosis); Micrococcus luteus; Mycobacterium BCG; Mycobacterium smegmatis (family of autocrine growth factors in Mycobacterium tuberculosis show cross-species activity)

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