Influence of iron deprivation on virulence traits of mycobacteria


Braz J Infect Dis




ABSTRACT Novel strategies to combat the ever increasing burden of drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) causing tuberculosis (TB) remains a global concern. The ability of MTB to sense and adapt to restricted iron conditions in the hostile environment is essential for their survival and confers the basis of their success as dreadful pathogen. The striking and clinically relevant virulence trait of MTB is its ability to form biofilms and adhere to the host cells. The present study elucidated the effect of iron deprivation on biofilm formation and cell adherence of Mycobacterium smegmatis, a non-pathogenic surrogate of MTB. Firstly, we showed that iron deprivation leads to enhanced cell sedimentation rate and altered colony morphology depicting alterations in cell surface envelope properties. We explored that biofilm formation and cell adherence to polystyrene surface as well as human oral epithelial cells were considerably reduced under iron deprivation both in presence of 2,2 BP (iron chelator) and siderophore mutant Δ011-14 strain. We further investigated that the potency of three first line anti-TB drugs (Isoniazid, Ethambutol, Rifampicin) to inhibit both biofilm formation and cell adhesion were enhanced under iron deprivation in contrast to the drugs when tested alone. Taken together, by virtue of the indispensability of iron for functional virulence traits in mycobacteria, iron deprivation strategies could be further exploited against this notorious human pathogen to explore novel drug targets.

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