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J Biol Chem. 2014 Jan 3;289(1):215-28. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.525550. Epub 2013 Nov 14.

Increased phagocytosis of Mycobacterium marinum mutants defective in lipooligosaccharide production: a structure-activity relationship study.

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From the Laboratoire de Dynamique des Interactions Membranaires Normales et Pathologiques, Université de Montpellier 2 et 1, CNRS, UMR 5235, case 107, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.


Mycobacterium marinum is a waterborne pathogen responsible for tuberculosis-like infections in ectotherms and is an occasional opportunistic human pathogen. In the environment, M. marinum also interacts with amoebae, which may serve as a natural reservoir for this microorganism. However, the description of mycobacterial determinants in the early interaction with macrophages or amoebae remains elusive. Lipooligosaccharides (LOSs) are cell surface-exposed glycolipids capable of modulating the host immune system, suggesting that they may be involved in the early interactions of M. marinum with macrophages. Herein, we addressed whether LOS composition affects the uptake of M. marinum by professional phagocytes. Mutants with various truncated LOS variants were generated, leading to the identification of several previously uncharacterized biosynthetic genes (wbbL2, MMAR_2321, and MMAR_2331). Biochemical and structural approaches allowed resolving the structures of LOS precursors accumulating in this set of mutants. These strains with structurally defined LOS profiles were then used to infect both macrophages and Acanthamoebae. An inverse correlation between LOS completeness and uptake of mycobacteria by phagocytes was found, allowing the proposal of three mutant classes: class I (papA4), devoid of LOS and highly efficiently phagocytosed; class II, accumulating only early LOS intermediates (wbbL2 and MMAR_2331) and efficiently phagocytosed but less than class I mutants; class III, lacking LOS-IV (losA, MMAR_2319, and MMAR_2321) and phagocytosed similarly to the control strain. These results indicate that phagocytosis is conditioned by the LOS pattern and that the LOS pathway used by M. marinum in macrophages is conserved during infection of amoebae.


Acanthamoeba; Carbohydrate Biosynthesis; Glycolipid Structure; Lipooligosaccharide; Macrophages; Mass Spectrometry (MS); Mycobacterium; Phagocytosis; Thin Layer Chromatography

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