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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2011 Nov;91(6):563-8. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Sep 3.

PPE_MPTR genes are differentially expressed by Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vivo.

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Istituto di Microbiologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, L.go A. Gemelli, 8, 00168 Rome, Italy.


The PPE_MPTR protein sub-family is unique to mycobacteria and comprises proteins found only in MTB complex and in few other pathogenic mycobacteria. Very little is known about the precise function of PPE_MPTR, as well as on the expression pattern and the transcriptional regulation of their structural genes. In the present work, real time RT-PCR techniques were used to determine the expression profile of PPE_MPTR genes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis during infection in vivo and in different culture conditions. The PPE_MPTR genes showed a similar expression profile in axenic cultures, with a significant increase of gene expression following exposure to environmental signals such as SDS, isoniazid and ethambutol. The PPE_MPTR genes were expressed in lung and spleen tissues infected by M. tuberculosis, and levels of expression were similar to those of genes encoding M. tuberculosis virulence factors such as hbhA and mpt64. Levels and pattern of gene expression in host tissues were different for each PPE_MPTR gene under study. The results of this study indicate that PPE_MPTR genes are differentially regulated in the lung and spleen tissues during M. tuberculosis infection, suggesting that each gene responds independently to the different and complex environmental signals encountered in host tissues.

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