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Microbes Infect. 2006 Nov-Dec;8(14-15):2855-62. Epub 2006 Oct 20.

Rv3303c of Mycobacterium tuberculosis protects tubercle bacilli against oxidative stress in vivo and contributes to virulence in mice.

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Microbiology Division, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001, India.


Ability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to survive under oxidative stress in vivo is an important aspect of pathogenesis. Rv3303c gene from M. tuberculosis encodes an NAD(P)H quinone reductase. These enzymes have been shown to manage oxidative stress in other pathogenic bacteria. We have hypothesized that Rv3303c protein will remove reactive oxygen species released by the host and hence reduce oxidative stress to M. tuberculosis. rv3303c was PCR cloned and the purified recombinant enzyme reduced superoxide generator menadione. Antisense and sense RNA constructs of rv3303c were electroporated in M. tuberculosis H37Rv. The transformants were characterized by difference in expression of specific mRNA and protein. Antisense transformants were markedly reduced in virulence as compared to sense transformants as judged by several parameters such as weight and survival of infected mice, growth in vivo, colonization and histopathology of lungs. In the presence of menadione, the sense transformant was more resistant to killing in vitro than the antisense transformant. It may be concluded that the rv3303c gene contributes to virulence of M. tuberculosis in vivo and this might be mediated in part by increased resistance to reactive oxygen intermediates thereby enhancing intracellular growth and colonization.

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