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Concept: Mycobacterium tuberculosis


Disulfides from Allium stipitatum, commonly known as Persian shallot, were previously reported to possess antibacterial properties. Analogues of these compounds, produced by S-methylthiolation of appropriate thiols using S-methyl methanethiosulfonate, exhibited antimicrobial activity, with one compound inhibiting the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis at 17 µM (4 mg L-1) and other compounds inhibiting Escherichia coli and multi-drug-resistant (MDR) Staphylococcus aureus at concentrations ranging between 32-138 µM (8-32 mg L-1). These compounds also displayed moderate inhibitory effects on Klebsiella and Proteus species. Whole-cell phenotypic bioassays such as the spot-culture growth inhibition assay (SPOTi), drug efflux inhibition, biofilm inhibition and cytotoxicity assays were used to evaluate these compounds. Of particular note was their ability to inhibit mycobacterial drug efflux and biofilm formation, while maintaining a high selectivity towards M. tuberculosis H37Rv. These results suggest that methyl disulfides are novel scaffolds which could lead to the development of new drugs against tuberculosis (TB).

Concepts: Microbiology, Antibiotic resistance, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Enterobacteriaceae, Inhibitor, Disinfectant


Understanding Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) transmission is essential to guide efficient tuberculosis control strategies. Traditional strain typing lacks sufficient discriminatory power to resolve large outbreaks. Here, we tested the potential of using next generation genome sequencing for identification of outbreak-related transmission chains.

Concepts: DNA, Epidemiology, Molecular biology, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Outbreak, Shotgun sequencing


Mycobacteria are shaped by a thick envelope made of an array of uniquely structured lipids and polysaccharides. However, the spatial organizations of these molecules remain unclear. Here we show that exposure to an esterase from Mycobacterium smegmatis (Msmeg_1529), hydrolyzing the ester linkage of trehalose dimycolate (TDM) in vitro, triggers rapid and efficient lysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis BCG, and Mycobacterium marinum. Exposure to the esterase immediately releases free mycolic acids, while concomitantly depleting trehalose mycolates. Moreover, lysis could be competitively inhibited by an excess of purified TDM and was abolished by a S124A mutation affecting the catalytic activity of the esterase. These findings are consistent with an indispensible structural role of trehalose mycolates in architectural design of the exposed surface of mycobacterial envelope. Importantly, we also demonstrate that the esterase-mediated rapid lysis of M. tuberculosis significantly improves its detection in paucibacillary samples.

Concepts: Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium bovis, Corynebacterineae, Acid fast bacilli, Mycobacterium marinum


Multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) is useful to establish transmission routes and sources of infections for various microorganisms including Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). The recently released SITVITWEB database contains 12-loci Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units–Variable Number of Tandem DNA Repeats (MIRU-VNTR) profiles and spoligotype patterns for thousands of MTC strains; it uses MIRU International Types (MIT) and Spoligotype International Types (SIT) to designate clustered patterns worldwide. Considering existing doubts on the ability of spoligotyping alone to reveal exact phylogenetic relationships between MTC strains, we developed a MLVA based classification for MTC genotypic lineages. We studied 6 different subsets of MTC isolates encompassing 7793 strains worldwide. Minimum spanning trees (MST) were constructed to identify major lineages, and the most common representative located as a central node was taken as the prototype defining different phylogenetic groups. A total of 7 major lineages with their respective prototypes were identified: Indo-Oceanic/MIT57, East Asian and African Indian/MIT17, Euro American/MIT116, West African-I/MIT934, West African-II/MIT664, M. bovis/MIT49, M.canettii/MIT60. Further MST subdivision identified an additional 34 sublineage MIT prototypes. The phylogenetic relationships among the 37 newly defined MIRU-VNTR lineages were inferred using a classification algorithm based on a bayesian approach. This information was used to construct an updated phylogenetic and phylogeographic snapshot of worldwide MTC diversity studied both at the regional, sub-regional, and country level according to the United Nations specifications. We also looked for IS6110 insertional events that are known to modify the results of the spoligotyping in specific circumstances, and showed that a fair portion of convergence leading to the currently observed bias in phylogenetic classification of strains may be traced back to the presence of IS6110. These results shed new light on the evolutionary history of the pathogen in relation to the history of peopling and human migration.

Concepts: Evolution, Species, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Phylogenetic tree, Phylogenetics, Bayesian inference


Mycobacterium tuberculosis has the remarkable capacity to survive within the hostile environment of the macrophage, and to resist potent antibacterial molecules such as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Thus, understanding mycobacterial resistance mechanisms against ROS may contribute to the development of new anti-tuberculosis therapies. Here we identified genes involved in such mechanisms by screening a high-density transposon mutant library, and we show that several of them are involved in the intracellular lifestyle of the pathogen. Many of these genes were found to play a part in cell envelope functions, further strengthening the important role of the mycobacterial cell envelope in protection against aggressions such as the ones caused by ROS inside host cells.

Concepts: DNA, Oxygen, Gene, Bacteria, Mitochondrion, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis


BACKGROUND: Mycobacterium tuberculosis encodes 11 putative serine-threonine proteins Kinases (STPK) which regulates transcription, cell development and interaction with the host cells. From the 11 STPKs three kinases namely PknA, PknB and PknG have been related to the mycobacterial growth. From previous studies it has been observed that PknB is essential for mycobacterial growth and expressed during log phase of the growth and phosphorylates substrates involved in peptidoglycan biosynthesis. In recent years many high affinity inhibitors are reported for PknB. Previously implementation of data fusion has shown effective enrichment of active compounds in both structure and ligand based approaches .In this study we have used three types of data fusion ranking algorithms on the PknB dataset namely, sum rank, sum score and reciprocal rank. We have identified reciprocal rank algorithm is capable enough to select compounds earlier in a virtual screening process. We have also screened the Asinex database with reciprocal rank algorithm to identify possible inhibitors for PknB. RESULTS: In our work we have used both structure-based and ligand-based approaches for virtual screening, and have combined their results using a variety of data fusion methods. We found that data fusion increases the chance of actives being ranked highly. Specifically, we found that the ranking of Pharmacophore search, ROCS and Glide XP fused with a reciprocal ranking algorithm not only outperforms structure and ligand based approaches but also capable of ranking actives better than the other two data fusion methods using the BEDROC, robust initial enhancement (RIE) and AUC metrics. These fused results were used to identify 45 candidate compounds for further experimental validation. CONCLUSION: We show that very different structure and ligand based methods for predicting drug-target interactions can be combined effectively using data fusion, outperforming any single method in ranking of actives. Such fused results show promise for a coherent selection of candidates for biological screening.

Concepts: Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Tuberculosis, Non-parametric statistics, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Ranking, RANK


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection has been suggested to contribute to the pathogenesis of erythema nodosum (EN) and nodular vasculitis (NV), the classic forms of panniculitis. However, there is little evidence to demonstrate the presence of MTB in the skin lesions. This study is aimed at evaluating the association between MTB infection and the development of EN and NV in a Chinese population.

Concepts: Tuberculosis, The Association, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Sarcoidosis, Erythema nodosum, Behçet's disease, Conditions of the subcutaneous fat


Developments in molecular detection and strain differentiation of members of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex have proved to be useful. The DNA extraction method influences the amplification efficiency, causing interference on the sensitivity and respective inhibitors. The aim of this study was to standardize a simple and fast DNA extraction method, providing DNA amplification by IS6110-PCR effectively free from undue interferences.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Economics, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, DNA extraction


Expression of Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-1 molecules is increased in patients with tuberculosis (TB). Early Secreted Antigen Target (ESAT)-6 kDa - induced IFN-γ responses indicate Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. The effect of ESAT6- stimulation on SOCS1 in the host is not known.

Concepts: Bacteria, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis


The combination of trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) has been shown to be active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) in clinical tuberculosis (TB) treatment. However, the mechanism of action of TMP-SMX against Mtb is still unknown. To unravel this, we have studied the effect of TMP and SMX by deleting folP2 gene in Mycobacterium smegmatis (Msm), and overexpressing the Mtb and Msm folP1/2 genes in Msm. Knocking out of the folP2 gene in Msm reduced the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of SMX 8-fold compared with wild type. Overexpression of the folP1 genes from Mtb and Msm increased the MICs by 4 and 2-fold in Msm for SMX and TMP respectively. We show a strong correlation between the expression of folP1 and folP2 genes and TMP-SMX resistance in mycobacteria. This suggests that a combination of FolP2 inhibitor and SMX could be used for TB treatment with a better outcome.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Corynebacterineae