Members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis group synthesize a family of long-chain fatty acids, mycolic acids, which are located in the cell envelope. These include the non-oxygenated α-mycolic acid and the oxygenated keto- and methoxymycolic acids. The function in bacterial virulence, if any, of these various types of mycolic acids is unknown. We have constructed a mutant strain of M. tuberculosis with an inactivated hma (cmaA, mma4) gene; this mutant strain no longer synthesizes oxygenated mycolic acids, has profound alterations in its envelope permeability and is attenuated in mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology