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Mol Microbiol. 2000 May;36(3):630-7.

Oxygenated mycolic acids are necessary for virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in mice.

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Public Health Research Institute, 455 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA.


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 alpha-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.

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