Infoscience

Journal article

Mycobacterium tuberculosis Phosphate Uptake System Component PstA2 Is Not Required for Gene Regulation or Virulence

The Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome encodes two complete high-affinity Pst phosphate-specific transporters. We previously demonstrated that a membrane-spanning component of one Pst system, PstA1, was essential both for M. tuberculosis virulence and for regulation of gene expression in response to external phosphate availability. To determine if the alternative Pst system is similarly required for virulence or gene regulation, we constructed a deletion of pstA2. Transcriptome analysis revealed that PstA2 is not required for regulation of gene expression in phosphate-replete growth conditions. PstA2 was also dispensable for replication and virulence of M. tuberculosis in a mouse aerosol infection model. However, a Delta pstA1 Delta pstA2 double mutant was attenuated in mice lacking the cytokine interferon-gamma, suggesting that M. tuberculosis requires high-affinity phosphate transport to survive phosphate limitation encountered in the host. Surprisingly, Delta pstA2 bacteria were more resistant to acid stress in vitro. This phenotype is intrinsic to the alternative Pst transporter since a Delta pstS1 mutant exhibited similar acid resistance. Our data indicate that the two M. tuberculosis Pst transporters have distinct physiological functions, with the PstA1 transporter being specifically involved in phosphate sensing and gene regulation while the PstA2 transporter influences survival in acidic conditions.

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