Reduced pyrazinamidase activity and the natural resistance of Mycobacterium kansasii to the antituberculosis drug pyrazinamide

Zhonghe Sun, Ying Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pyrazinamide (PZA), an analog of nicotinamide, is a prodrug that requires conversion to the bactericidal compound pyrazinoic acid (POA) by the bacterial pyrazinamidase (PZase) activity of nicotinamidase to show activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Mutations leading to a loss of PZase activity cause PZA resistance in M. tuberculosis. M. kansasii is naturally resistant to PZA and has reduced PZase activity along with an apparently detectable nicotinamidase activity. The role of the reduction in PZase activity in the natural PZA resistance of M. kansasii is unknown. The MICs of PZA and POA for M. kansasii were determined to be 500 and 125 μg/ml, respectively. Using [14C]PZA and [14C]nicotinamide, we found that M. kansasii had about 5-foldless PZase activity and about 25-fold-less nicotinamidase activity than M. tuberculosis. The M. kansasii pncA gene was cloned on a 1.8-kb BamHI DNA fragment, using M. avium pncA probe. Sequence analysis showed that the M. kansasii pncA gene encoded a protein with homology to its counterparts from M. tuberculosis (69.9%), M. avium (65.6%), and Escherichia coli (28.5%). Transformation of naturally PZA-resistant M. boris BCG with M. kansasii pncA conferred partial PZA susceptibility. Transformation of M. kansasii with M. avium pncA caused functional expression of PZase and high-level susceptibility to PZA, indicating that the natural PZA resistance in M. kansasii results from a reduced PZase activity. Like M. tuberculosis, M. kansasii accumulated POA in the cells at an acidic pH; however, due to its highly active POA efflux pump, the naturally PZA- resistant species M. smegmatis did not. These findings suggest the existence of a weak POA efflux mechanism in M. kansasii.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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