Coupling of Peptidoglycan Synthesis to Central Metabolism in Mycobacteria: Post-transcriptional Control of CwlM by Aconitase
journal contributionposted on 30.10.2020, 10:19 by Peter J Bancroft, Obolbek Turapov, Heena Jagatia, Kristine B Arnvig, Galina V Mukamolova, Jeffrey Green
Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes human tuberculosis, and a better understanding of its biology is required to identify vulnerabilities that might be exploited in developing new therapeutics. The iron-sulfur cluster of the essential M. tuberculosis central metabolic enzyme, aconitase (AcnA), disassembles when exposed to oxidative/nitrosative stress or iron chelators. The catalytically inactive apo-AcnA interacts with a sequence resembling an iron-responsive element (IRE) located within the transcript of another essential protein, CwlM, a regulator of peptidoglycan synthesis. A Mycobacterium smegmatis cwlM conditional mutant complemented with M. tuberculosis cwlM with a disrupted IRE is unable to recover from combinations of oxidative, nitrosative, and iron starvation stresses. An equivalent M. tuberculosis cwlM conditional mutant complemented with the cwlM gene lacking a functional IRE exhibits a growth defect in THP-1 macrophages. It appears that AcnA acts to couple peptidoglycan synthesis and central metabolism, and disruption of this coupling potentially leaves mycobacteria vulnerable to attack by macrophages.