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1.  Co-Immunization of Plasmid DNA Encoding IL-12 and IL-18 with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Vaccine against Progressive Tuberculosis 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2011;52(6):1008-1015.
Purpose
Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine has widely been used to immunize against tuberculosis, but its protective efficacy is variable in adult pulmonary tuberculosis, while it is not efficiently protective against progressive infection of virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains. In this study, the protective effects of plasmid DNA vaccine constructs encoding IL-12 or IL-18 with the BCG vaccine were evaluated against progressive infection of M. tuberculosis, using mouse aerosol challenge model.
Materials and Methods
Plasmid DNA vaccine constructs encoding IL-12 or IL-18 were constructed and mice were immunized with the BCG vaccine or with IL-12 DNA or IL-18 DNA vaccine constructs together with the BCG vaccine.
Results
The BCG vaccine induced high level of interferon gamma (IFN-γ) but co-immunization of IL-12 or IL-18 DNA vaccine constructs with the BCG vaccine induced significantly higher level of IFN-γ than a single BCG vaccine. The BCG vaccine was highly protective at early stage of M. tuberculosis infection, but its protective efficacy was reduced at later stage of infection. The co-immunization of IL-12 DNA vaccine constructs with the BCG vaccine was slightly more protective at early stage of infection and was significantly more protective at later stage infection than a single BCG vaccine.
Conclusion
Co-immunization of IL-12 DNA vaccine with the BCG vaccine induced more protective immunity and was more effective for protection against progressive infection of M. tuberculosis.
doi:10.3349/ymj.2011.52.6.1008
PMCID: PMC3220262  PMID: 22028167
Tuberculosis; BCG; IL-12; IL-18; DNA vaccine
2.  Evaluating the Sensitivity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to Biotin Deprivation Using Regulated Gene Expression 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(9):e1002264.
In the search for new drug targets, we evaluated the biotin synthetic pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and constructed an Mtb mutant lacking the biotin biosynthetic enzyme 7,8-diaminopelargonic acid synthase, BioA. In biotin-free synthetic media, ΔbioA did not produce wild-type levels of biotinylated proteins, and therefore did not grow and lost viability. ΔbioA was also unable to establish infection in mice. Conditionally-regulated knockdown strains of Mtb similarly exhibited impaired bacterial growth and viability in vitro and in mice, irrespective of the timing of transcriptional silencing. Biochemical studies further showed that BioA activity has to be reduced by approximately 99% to prevent growth. These studies thus establish that de novo biotin synthesis is essential for Mtb to establish and maintain a chronic infection in a murine model of TB. Moreover, these studies provide an experimental strategy to systematically rank the in vivo value of potential drug targets in Mtb and other pathogens.
Author Summary
We evaluated the biotin synthetic pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) as a new drug target by first generating an Mtb deletion mutant, ΔbioA, in which the biotin biosynthetic enzyme 7,8-diaminopelargonic acid synthase (BioA) has been inactivated. This mutant grew in the presence of biotin or des-thiobiotin, but not with an intermediate of the biotin biosynthesis pathway that requires BioA to be converted into biotin. Without exogenous biotin or des-thiobiotin, ΔbioA, was unable to produce biotinylated proteins, which are required for the biosynthesis of fatty acids, and thus died in biotin-free media. Using a regulatable promoter and different ribosome binding sequences we next constructed tightly controlled TetON mutants, in which expression of BioA could be induced with tetracyclines, but was inhibited in their absence. Characterization of these mutants during infections demonstrated that de novo biotin synthesis is not only required to establish infections but also to maintain bacterial persistence. Inhibition of BioA or other enzymes of the biotin biosynthesis pathways could thus be used to kill Mtb during both acute and chronic infections. Biochemical and immunological analyses of different Mtb mutants indicate that drugs targeting BioA would have to inactive approximately 99% of its activity to be effective.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002264
PMCID: PMC3182931  PMID: 21980288
3.  Synthesis of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2-phosphate and kinetic studies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis IspF, a potential drug target 
Chemistry & biology  2010;17(2):117-122.
SUMMARY
Many pathogenic bacteria utilize the 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway for the biosynthesis of isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate, two major building blocks of isoprenoid compounds. The fifth enzyme in the MEP pathway, 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate (ME-CPP) synthase (IspF), catalyzes the conversion of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2-phosphate (CDP-ME2P) to ME-CPP with a corresponding release of cytidine 5-monophosphate (CMP). Since there is no ortholog of IspF in human cells IspF is of interest as a potential drug target. However, study of IspF has been hindered by a lack of enantiopure CDP-ME2P. Herein, we report the first synthesis of enantiomerically pure CDP-ME2P from commercially available D-arabinose. Cloned, expressed, and purified M. tuberculosis IspF was able to utilize the synthetic CDP-ME2P as a substrate, a result confirmed by mass spectrometry. A convenient, sensitive, in vitro IspF assay was developed by coupling the CMP released during production of ME-CPP to mononucleotide kinase, which can be used for high throughput screening.
doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2010.01.013
PMCID: PMC2837070  PMID: 20189102
4.  Regulation of Polar Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis by Wag31 Phosphorylation in Mycobacteria 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:327.
Background
Sensing and responding to environmental changes is a central aspect of cell division regulation. Mycobacterium tuberculosis contains eleven Ser/Thr kinases, two of which, PknA and PknB, are key signaling molecules that regulate cell division/morphology. One substrate of these kinases is Wag31, and we previously showed that partial depletion of Wag31 caused morphological changes indicative of cell wall defects, and that the phosphorylation state of Wag31 affected cell growth in mycobacteria. In the present study, we further characterized the role of the Wag31 phosphorylation in polar peptidoglycan biosynthesis.
Results
We demonstrate that the differential growth among cells expressing different wag31 alleles (wild-type, phosphoablative, or phosphomimetic) is caused by, at least in part, dissimilar nascent peptidoglycan biosynthesis. The phosphorylation state of Wag31 is found to be important for protein-protein interactions between the Wag31 molecules, and thus, for its polar localization. Consistent with these results, cells expressing a phosphomimetic wag31 allele have a higher enzymatic activity in the peptidoglycan biosynthetic pathway.
Conclusions
The Wag31Mtb phosphorylation is a novel molecular mechanism by which Wag31Mtb regulates peptidoglycan synthesis and thus, optimal growth in mycobacteria.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-327
PMCID: PMC3019181  PMID: 21190553
5.  Chemoenzymatic synthesis of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol: A substrate for IspE 
Tetrahedron letters  2008;49(29-30):4461-4463.
Enantiomerically pure 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate 1 (MEP) is synthesized from 1,2-O-isopropylidene-α-D-xylofuranose via facile benzylation in good yield. Subsequently, 1 is used for enzymatic synthesis of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2 (CDP-ME) using 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol synthase (IspD). The chemoenzymatically synthesized 2 can be used as substrate for assay of IspE and for high throughput screening to identify IspE inhibitors.
doi:10.1016/j.tetlet.2008.05.074
PMCID: PMC2832204  PMID: 19088853
6.  The Mycobacterium tuberculosis MEP (2C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate) pathway as a new drug target 
Tuberculosis (TB) is still a major public health problem, compounded by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-TB co-infection and recent emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensive drug resistant (XDR)-TB. Novel anti-TB drugs are urgently required. In this context, the 2C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis has drawn attention; it is one of several pathways vital for M. tuberculosis viability and the human host lacks homologous enzymes. Thus, the MEP pathway promises bacterium-specific drug targets and the potential for identification of lead compounds unencumbered by target-based toxicity. Indeed, fosmidomycin is now known to inhibit the second step in the MEP pathway. This review describes the cardinal features of the main enzymes of the MEP pathway in M. tuberculosis and how these can be manipulated in high throughput screening campaigns in the search for new anti-infectives against TB.
doi:10.1016/j.tube.2008.07.004
PMCID: PMC2646905  PMID: 18793870
Tuberculosis; 2C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate pathway; high throughput screening campaigns; anti-infectives
7.  Characterization of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis 4-Diphosphocytidyl-2-C-Methyl-d-Erythritol Synthase: Potential for Drug Development▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(24):8922-8927.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis utilizes the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway for biosynthesis of isopentenyl diphosphate and its isomer, dimethylallyl diphosphate, precursors of all isoprenoid compounds. This pathway is of interest as a source of new drug targets, as it is absent from humans and disruption of the responsible genes has shown a lethal phenotype for Escherichia coli. In the MEP pathway, 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-d-erythritol is formed from 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) and CTP in a reaction catalyzed by a 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-d-erythritol synthase (IspD). In the present work, we demonstrate that Rv3582c is essential for M. tuberculosis: Rv3582c has been cloned and expressed, and the encoded protein has been purified. The purified M. tuberculosis IspD protein was capable of catalyzing the formation of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-d-erythritol in the presence of MEP and CTP. The enzyme was active over a broad pH range (pH 6.0 to 9.0), with peak activity at pH 8.0. The activity was absolutely dependent upon divalent cations, with 20 mM Mg2+ being optimal, and replacement of CTP with other nucleotide 5′-triphosphates did not support activity. Under the conditions tested, M. tuberculosis IspD had Km values of 58.5 μM for MEP and 53.2 μM for CTP. Calculated kcat and kcat/Km values were 0.72 min−1 and 12.3 mM−1 min−1 for MEP and 1.0 min−1 and 18.8 mM−1 min−1 for CTP, respectively.
doi:10.1128/JB.00925-07
PMCID: PMC2168624  PMID: 17921290

Results 1-7 (7)