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Mol Microbiol. 2011 Oct;82(1):180-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07806.x. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Dysregulation of serine biosynthesis contributes to the growth defect of a Mycobacterium tuberculosis crp mutant.

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  • 1Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, 120 New Scotland Avenue, PO Box 22002, Albany, NY 12201-2002, USA.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis CRP(Mt), encoded by Rv3676 (crp), is a CRP-like transcription factor that binds with the serC-Rv0885 intergenic region. In the present study, we evaluated CRP(Mt) 's regulation of serC and Rv0885 in M. tuberculosis and M. bovis BCG, using site-specific mutagenesis, promoter fusions and reverse-transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). The CRP(Mt) binding site was required for full expression of serC and Rv0885, and expression of both genes was reduced in M. tuberculosis and M. bovis BCG crp mutants. These data show that CRP(Mt) binding directly activates both serC and Rv0885 expression. M. tuberculosis serC restored the ability of an Escherichia coli serC mutant to grow in serine-dropout medium, demonstrating that M. tuberculosis serC encodes a phosphoserine aminotransferase. Serine supplementation, or overexpression of serC, accelerated the growth of M. tuberculosis and M. bovis BCG crp mutants in mycomedium, but not within macrophages. These results establish a role for CRP(Mt) in the regulation of amino acid biosynthesis, and show that reduced serine production contributes to the slow-growth phenotype of M. tuberculosis and M. bovis BCG crp mutants in vitro. Restoration of serine biosynthesis by serC expression will facilitate identification of additional CRP(Mt)-regulated factors required by M. tuberculosis during macrophage and host infection.

© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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