Mycobacterium abscessus (Mabs) is a rapidly growing Mycobacterium and an emerging pathogen in humans. Transitioning from a smooth (S) high-glycopeptidolipid (GPL) producer to a rough (R) low-GPL producer is associated with increased virulence in zebrafish, which involves the formation of massive serpentine cords, abscesses, and rapid larval death. Generating a cord-deficient Mabs mutant would allow us to address the contribution of cording in the physiopathological signs of the R variant. Herein, a deletion mutant of MAB-4780, encoding a dehydratase, distinct from the β-hydroxyacyl-ACP dehydratase HadABC complex, was constructed in the R morphotype. This mutant exhibited an alteration of the mycolic acid composition and a pronounced defect in cording. This correlated with an extremely attenuated phenotype not only in wild-type but also in immunocompromised zebrafish embryos lacking either macrophages or neutrophils. The abolition of granuloma formation in embryos infected with the dehydratase mutant was associated with a failure to replicate in macrophages, presumably due to limited inhibition of the phagolysosomal fusion. Overall, these results indicate that MAB-4780 is required for Mabs to successfully establish acute and lethal infections. Therefore, targeting MAB-4780 may represent an attractive antivirulence strategy to control Mabs infections, refractory to most standard chemotherapeutic interventions. The combination of a dehydratase assay with a highresolution crystal structure of MAB-4780 opens the way to identify such specific inhibitors.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jul 19 2016|
- M. abscessus
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