1887

Abstract

Previous work on the population structure of strains in Great Britain has identified highly successful clones which are expanding across the country. One such clone, designated type 17, differs from all other members of the complex in having a region of deletion, termed RDbovis(d)_0173, of seven genes between and . Three of these genes have functions annotated in lipid metabolism. To explore the molecular basis for the success of this clone, we examined the impact of this deletion on lipid metabolism. While type 17 isolates had similar lipid composition to other strains, their ability to incorporate propanoate into mycolic acids was remarkably low. When expressed as a reciprocal (the ratio of incorporation of label from acetate : propanoate into mycolic acids) the ratio was higher for all three type 17 field strains tested (mean: 18.90) than the values of 7.30 to 7.61 for other field strains (<0.002) and values <6.50 for all other strains in the complex tested. The label from propanoate was diverted to pyruvate, at significantly higher levels in type 17 than all other strains (<0.021). Complementation of type 17 with an integrating cosmid, IE471, carrying the orthologues of resulted in the ability of the recombinant strain to incorporate label from propanoate into mycolic acids in a manner similar to other strains. type 17 : : IE471 labelled pyruvate from propanoate about four times more slowly than the parent strain. Thus, RDbovis(d)_0173 results in a profound effect on carbon metabolism, providing the ability to compensate for the inactivation of the and genes, involved in pyruvate metabolism, that is seen in (but not in ). This shift in carbon metabolism may be a factor in the extraordinary clonal expansion reported for type 17.

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2008-12-01
2020-08-07
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