Glycopeptidolipid glycosylation controls surface properties and pathogenicity in Mycobacterium abscessus.

Cell Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Cell chemical biology, 2022, 29, (5), pp. 910-924
Issue Date:
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Mycobacterium abscessus is an emerging and difficult-to-manage mycobacterial species that exhibits smooth (S) or rough (R) morphotypes. Disruption of glycopeptidolipid (GPL) production results in transition from S to R and severe lung disease. A structure-activity relationship study was undertaken to decipher the role of GPL glycosylation in morphotype transition and pathogenesis. Deletion of gtf3 uncovered the prominent role of the extra rhamnose in enhancing mannose receptor-mediated internalization of M. abscessus by macrophages. In contrast, the absence of the 6-deoxy-talose and the first rhamnose in mutants lacking gtf1 and gtf2, respectively, affected M abscessus phagocytosis but also resulted in the S-to-R transition. Strikingly, gtf1 and gtf2 mutants displayed a strong propensity to form cords and abscesses in zebrafish, leading to robust and lethal infection. Together, these results underscore the importance and differential contribution of GPL monosaccharides in promoting virulence and infection outcomes.
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