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J Biol Chem. 2010 Oct 1;285(40):30389-403. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.135251. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

The multifunctional PE_PGRS11 protein from Mycobacterium tuberculosis plays a role in regulating resistance to oxidative stress.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Supercomputer Education and Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis utilizes unique strategies to survive amid the hostile environment of infected host cells. Infection-specific expression of a unique mycobacterial cell surface antigen that could modulate key signaling cascades can act as a key survival strategy in curtailing host effector responses like oxidative stress. We demonstrate here that hypothetical PE_PGRS11 ORF encodes a functional phosphoglycerate mutase. The transcriptional analysis revealed that PE_PGRS11 is a hypoxia-responsive gene, and enforced expression of PE_PGRS11 by recombinant adenovirus or Mycobacterium smegmatis imparted resistance to alveolar epithelial cells against oxidative stress. PE_PGRS11-induced resistance to oxidative stress necessitated the modulation of genetic signatures like induced expression of Bcl2 or COX-2. This modulation of specific antiapoptotic molecular signatures involved recognition of PE_PGRS11 by TLR2 and subsequent activation of the PI3K-ERK1/2-NF-κB signaling axis. Furthermore, PE_PGRS11 markedly diminished H(2)O(2)-induced p38 MAPK activation. Interestingly, PE_PGRS11 protein was exposed at the mycobacterial cell surface and was involved in survival of mycobacteria under oxidative stress. Furthermore, PE_PGRS11 displayed differential B cell responses during tuberculosis infection. Taken together, our investigation identified PE_PGRS11 as an in vivo expressed immunodominant antigen that plays a crucial role in modulating cellular life span restrictions imposed during oxidative stress by triggering TLR2-dependent expression of COX-2 and Bcl2. These observations clearly provide a mechanistic basis for the rescue of pathogenic Mycobacterium-infected lung epithelial cells from oxidative stress.

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