The well-recognized phospholipids (PLs) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) include several acidic species such as phosphatidylglycerol (PG), cardiolipin, phosphatidylinositol and its mannoside derivatives, in addition to a single basic species, phosphatidylethanolamine. Here we demonstrate that an additional basic PL, lysinylated PG (L-PG), is a component of the PLs of Mtb H37Rv and that the lysX gene encoding the two-domain lysyl-transferase (mprF)-lysyl-tRNA synthetase (lysU) protein is responsible for L-PG production. The Mtb lysX mutant is sensitive to cationic antibiotics and peptides, shows increased association with lysosome-associated membrane protein-positive vesicles, and it exhibits altered membrane potential compared to wild type. A lysX complementing strain expressing the intact lysX gene, but not one expressing mprF alone, restored the production of L-PG and rescued the lysX mutant phenotypes, indicating that the expression of both proteins is required for LysX function. The lysX mutant also showed defective growth in mouse and guinea pig lungs and showed reduced pathology relative to wild type, indicating that LysX activity is required for full virulence. Together, our results suggest that LysX-mediated production of L-PG is necessary for the maintenance of optimal membrane integrity and for survival of the pathogen upon infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology