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Microbiol Spectr. 2017 May;5(3). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.TBTB2-0001-2015.

The Role of ESX-1 in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Pathogenesis.

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Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, Key Laboratory of Medical Molecular Virology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, People's Republic of China.


In this article, we have described several cellular pathological effects caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis ESX-1. The effects include induction of necrosis, NOD2 signaling, type I interferon production, and autophagy. We then attempted to suggest that these pathological effects are mediated by the cytosolic access of M. tuberculosis-derived materials as a result of the phagosome-disrupting activity of the major ESX-1 substrate ESAT-6. Such activity of ESAT-6 is most likely due to its pore-forming activity at the membrane. The amyloidogenic characteristic of ESAT-6 is reviewed here as a potential mechanism of membrane pore formation. In addition to ESAT-6, the ESX-1 substrate EspB interferes with membrane-mediated innate immune mechanisms such as efferocytosis and autophagy, most likely through its ability to bind phospholipids. Overall, the M. tuberculosis ESX-1 secretion system appears to be a specialized system for the deployment of host membrane-targeting proteins, whose primary function is to interrupt key steps in innate immune mechanisms against pathogens. Inhibitors that block the ESX-1 system or block host factors critical for ESX-1 toxicity have been identified and should represent attractive potential new antituberculosis drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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