The competition for L-arginine between the inducible nitric oxide synthase and arginase contributes to the outcome of several parasitic and bacterial infections. The acquisition of L-arginine, however, is important not only for the host cells but also for the intracellular pathogen. In this study we observe that strain AS-1, the Mycobacterium bovis BCG strain lacking the Rv0522 gene, which encodes an arginine permease, perturbs L-arginine metabolism in J774.1 marine macrophages. Infection with AS-1, but not with wild-type BCG, induced L-arginine uptake in J774.1 cells. This increase in L-arginine uptake was independent of activation with gamma interferon plus lipopolysaccharide and correlated with increased expression of the MCAT1 and MCAT2 cationic amino acid transport genes. AS-1 infection also enhanced arginase activity in resting J774.1 cells. Survival studies revealed that AS-1 survived better than BCG within resting J774.1 cells. Intracellular growth of AS-1 was further enhanced by inhibiting arginase and ornithine decarboxylase activities in J774.1 cells using L-norvaline and difluoromethylornithine treatment, respectively. These results suggest that the arginine-related activities of J774.1 macrophages are affected by the arginine transport capacity of the infecting BCG strain. The loss of Rv0522 gene-encoded arginine transport may have induced other cationic amino acid transport systems during intracellular growth of AS-1, allowing belter survival within resting macrophages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology