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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Oct;78(19):6829-37. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01674-12. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Mycobacterial shuttle vectors designed for high-level protein expression in infected macrophages.

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  • 1The Department of Immunology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.

Abstract

Mycobacterial shuttle vectors contain dual origins of replication for growth in both Escherichia coli and mycobacteria. One such vector, pSUM36, was re-engineered for high-level protein expression in diverse bacterial species. The modified vector (pSUM-kan-MCS2) enabled green fluorescent protein expression in E. coli, Mycobacterium smegmatis, and M. avium at levels up to 50-fold higher than that detected with the parental vector, which was originally developed with a lacZα promoter. This high-level fluorescent protein expression allowed easy visualization of M. smegmatis and M. avium in infected macrophages. The M. tuberculosis gene esat-6 was cloned in place of the green fluorescence protein gene (gfp) to determine the impact of ESAT-6 on the innate inflammatory response. The modified vector (pSUM-kan-MCS2) yielded high levels of ESAT-6 expression in M. smegmatis. The ability of ESAT-6 to suppress innate inflammatory pathways was assayed with a novel macrophage reporter cell line, designed with an interleukin-6 (IL-6) promoter-driven GFP cassette. This stable cell line fluoresces in response to diverse mycobacterial strains and stimuli, such as lipopolysaccharide. M. smegmatis clones expressing high levels of ESAT-6 failed to attenuate IL-6-driven GFP expression. Pure ESAT-6, produced in E. coli, was insufficient to suppress a strong inflammatory response elicited by M. smegmatis or lipopolysaccharide, with ESAT-6 itself directly activating the IL-6 pathway. In summary, a pSUM-protein expression vector and a mammalian IL-6 reporter cell line provide new tools for understanding the pathogenic mechanisms deployed by various mycobacterial species.

PMID:
22820329
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3457510
Free PMC Article
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