Perturbation of cytochrome c maturation reveals adaptability of the respiratory chain in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

mBio, Volume: 4, Issue: 5
September 17, 2013
Jennifer L Small JL, Sae Woong Park SW, Bavesh D Kana BD, Thomas R Ioerger TR, James C Sacchettini JC, Sabine Ehrt S

Mycobacterium tuberculosis depends on aerobic respiration for growth and utilizes an aa3-type cytochrome c oxidase for terminal electron transfer. Cytochrome c maturation in bacteria requires covalent attachment of heme to apocytochrome c, which occurs outside the cytoplasmic membrane. We demonstrate that in M. tuberculosis the thioredoxin-like protein Rv3673c, which we named CcsX, is required for heme insertion in cytochrome c. Inactivation of CcsX resulted in loss of c-type heme absorbance, impaired growth and virulence of M. tuberculosis, and induced cytochrome bd oxidase. This suggests that the bioenergetically less efficient bd oxidase can compensate for deficient cytochrome c oxidase activity, highlighting the flexibility of the M. tuberculosis respiratory chain. A spontaneous mutation in the active site of vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKOR) suppressed phenotypes of the CcsX mutant and abrogated the activity of the disulfide bond-dependent alkaline phosphatase, which shows that VKOR is the major disulfide bond catalyzing protein in the periplasm of M. tuberculosis.