Mycobacterium tuberculosis employs various strategies to modulate host immune responses to facilitate its persistence in macrophages. The M. tuberculosis cell wall contains numerous glycoproteins with unknown roles in pathogenesis. Here, by using Concanavalin A and LC-MS analysis, we identified a novel mannosylated glycoprotein phosphoribosyltransferase, encoded by Rv3242c from M. tuberculosis cell walls. Homology modeling, bioinformatic analyses, and an assay of phosphoribosyltransferase activity in Mycobacterium smegmatis expressing recombinant Rv3242c (MsmRv3242c) confirmed the mass spectrometry data. Using Mycobacterium marinum-zebrafish and the surrogate MsmRv3242c infection models, we proved that phosphoribosyltransferase is involved in mycobacterial virulence. Histological and infection assays showed that the M. marinum mimG mutant, an Rv3242c orthologue in a pathogenic M. marinum strain, was strongly attenuated in adult zebrafish and also survived less in macrophages. In contrast, infection with wild type and the complemented &x25B5;mimG: Rv3242c M. marinum strains showed prominent pathological features, such as severe emaciation, skin lesions, hemorrhaging, and more zebrafish death. Similarly, recombinantMsmRv3242c bacteria showed increased invasion in non-phagocytic epithelial cells and longer intracellular survival in macrophages as compared with wild type and vector control M. smegmatis strains. Further mechanistic studies revealed that the Rv3242c- and mimG-mediated enhancement of intramacrophagic survival was due to inhibition of autophagy, reactive oxygen species, and reduced activities of superoxide dismutase and catalase enzymes. Infection with MsmRv3242c also activated the MAPK pathway, NF-κB, and inflammatory cytokines. In summary, we show that a novel mycobacterial mannosylated phosphoribosyltransferase acts as a virulence and immunomodulatory factor, suggesting that it may constitute a novel target for antimycobacterial drugs.
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© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.