The C terminus of the mycobacterium ESX-1 secretion system substrate ESAT-6 is required for phagosomal membrane damage and virulence.
SignificanceTuberculosis (TB), an ancient disease of humanity, continues to be a major cause of worldwide death. The causative agent of TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and its close pathogenic relative Mycobacterium marinum, initially infect, evade, and exploit macrophages, a major host defense against invading pathogens. Within macrophages, mycobacteria reside within host membrane-bound compartments called phagosomes. Mycobacterium-induced damage of the phagosomal membranes is integral to pathogenesis, and this activity has been attributed to the specialized mycobacterial secretion system ESX-1, and particularly to ESAT-6, its major secreted protein. Here, we show that the integrity of the unstructured ESAT-6 C terminus is required for macrophage phagosomal damage, granuloma formation, and virulence.
Wellcome Trust (223103/Z/21/Z)