Repository logo

Mycobacterium marinum phthiocerol dimycocerosates enhance macrophage phagosomal permeabilization and membrane damage.

Accepted version

Change log


Pagán, Antonio J 
Shanahan, Jonathan K 
Ramakrishnan, Lalita 


Phthiocerol dimycocerosates (PDIMs) are a class of mycobacterial lipids that promote virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium marinum. It has recently been shown that PDIMs work in concert with the M. tuberculosis Type VII secretion system ESX-1 to permeabilize the phagosomal membranes of infected macrophages. As the zebrafish-M. marinum model of infection has revealed the critical role of PDIM at the host-pathogen interface, we set to determine if PDIMs contributed to phagosomal permeabilization in M. marinum. Using an ΔmmpL7 mutant defective in PDIM transport, we find the PDIM-ESX-1 interaction to be conserved in an M. marinum macrophage infection model. However, we find PDIM and ESX-1 mutants differ in their degree of defect, with the PDIM mutant retaining more membrane damaging activity. Using an in vitro hemolysis assay-a common surrogate for cytolytic activity, we find that PDIM and ESX-1 differ in their contributions: the ESX-1 mutant loses hemolytic activity while PDIM retains it. Our observations confirm the involvement of PDIMs in phagosomal permeabilization in M. marinum infection and suggest that PDIM enhances the membrane disrupting activity of pathogenic mycobacteria and indicates that the role they play in damaging phagosomal and red blood cell membranes may differ.



Cell Line, Cell Membrane, Humans, Lipids, Macrophages, Mycobacterium marinum, Permeability, Phagosomes

Journal Title

PLoS One

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Public Library of Science (PLoS)


All rights reserved
Wellcome Trust (103950/Z/14/Z)
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (7R37A1054503-13)
Wellcome Trust (105388/Z/14/Z)