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Adaptations comparées de Mycobacterium abscessus à la phagocytose amibienne et macrophagique : recherche de gènes de virulence par des approches globales

Abstract : Mycobacterium abscessus is a rapidly growing mycobacterium, causing opportunistic infections in humans, and notably pulmonary infections. M. abscessus is able to multiply inside macrophages (MФ) and environmental amoebae. Here we demonstrate that M. abscessus undergoes adaptations in amoebae allowing its survival in MФ. Intracellular adaptations of M. abscessus to amoebae and MФ were assessed by RNAseq. We observed a significant enrichment of biological pathways reflecting adaptations to oxidative stress and metabolic adaptations illustrated by the consumption of fatty acids and activation of the sulfate assimilation pathway. These adaptations have been described in intramacrophagic Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a strictly pathogenic mycobacteria infecting the lung of humans and causing tuberculosis. Among the set of genes induced by M. abscessus during the amoebal co-culture are genes implicated in polyamine transport, MoCo (molybdopterin cofactor) biosynthesis and iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster assembly. The induction of such genes, described as virulence factors from intracellular bacteria, might enhance M. abscessus virulence and thus allow its survival in MФ. Forty-five genes are highly induced along the amoebal co-culture. In comparison, the amoebal co-culture with Mycobacterium chelonae, a mycobacterium that belongs to the same genomic complex as M. abscessus and causing solely extrapulmonary infections, does not elicit the same adaptations; potentially explaining M. chelonae inability to persist in macrophages. Five operons, representing a total of 10 genes, were deleted from M. abscessus genome by homologous recombineering. These genes are required for both M. abscessus survival in amoebae and MФ. Overexpression of two of these genes in M. chelonae, MAB_1517c and MAB_2649, encoding a TcmP (tetracenomycin polyketide synthesis O-methyltransferase) protein and an MmpS (mycobacterial membrane protein small) protein respectively, enhances M. chelonae survival in MФ, suggesting that the induction of these genes favors M. abscessus survival in MФ. Analyses of M. abscessus transcriptome in MФ also shed light on adaptations specific to the bacterium intramacrophagic life. Several genes highly induced in macrophages are implicated in biological pathways known to contribute to bacteria virulence, including proline metabolism, protein secretion by the type II secretion system and the MEP (methylerythritol phosphate) pathway. Among the set of induced genes selected according to their level of induction and their biological activity, N-acetylation and redox activities, bounding to oxygen and detoxification from nitric oxide by dioxygenases are significantly enriched. Among operons from this set of genes, it appears that M. abscessus eis2 gene (MAB_4542c), encoding a N-acetyltransferase, is essential for M. abscessus survival in MФ.In addition, a complementary approach to RNAseq, the screening of a transposon (Tn) mutant library of M. abscessus inside amoebae, revealed important roles of the mmpL8 gene encoding a mycobacterial membrane protein large belonging to a family of proteins implicated in lipid biosynthesis and export to the cell surface. When this protein was no longer produced by M. abscessus, a lower amount of a new glycolipd family (GDND, glycosyl diacetylated nonadecyl diol) was observed as well as a deleterious phenotype in MФ.To conclude, our work has shown a fundamental role of amoebae in triggering the virulence of M. abscessus, further allowing its survival in macrophages. Besides, three genes that have been studied more extensively – mmpL8, eis2 and eccB4 (revealed by the Tn library screening) – are required for M. abscessus survival in macrophages and confirmed its pathogenic behavior.
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Violaine Dubois. Adaptations comparées de Mycobacterium abscessus à la phagocytose amibienne et macrophagique : recherche de gènes de virulence par des approches globales. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLV064⟩. ⟨tel-02050301⟩

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