1887

Abstract

The genome of the tuberculosis agent encodes a putative cellulose-binding protein (), one candidate cellulase (), and one fully active cellulase (). This observation is puzzling, because cellulose is a major component of plant cell walls, whereas is a human pathogen without known contact with plants. In order to investigate the biological role of such cellulose-targeting genes in we report here the search for and transcription analysis of this set of genes in the genus . An search for cellulose-targeting orthologues found that only 2.5 % of the sequenced bacterial genomes encode the , and gene set simultaneously, including those of the complex (MTC) members. PCR amplification and sequencing further demonstrated the presence of these three genes in five non-sequenced MTC bacteria. Among mycobacteria, the combination of , and was unique to MTC members, with the exception of BCG Pasteur, which lacked . RT-PCR in . H37Rv indicated that the three cellulose-targeting genes were transcribed into mRNA. The present work shows that MTC organisms are the sole mycobacteria among very few organisms to encode the three cellulose-targeting genes , and . Our data point toward a unique, yet unknown, relationship with non-plant cellulose-producing hosts such as amoebae.

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2010-05-01
2020-04-02
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