The DosR regulon in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is involved in respiration-limiting conditions, its induction is controlled by two histidine kinases, DosS and DosT, and recent experimental evidence indicates DosS senses either molecular oxygen or a redox change. Under aerobic conditions, induction of the DosR regulon by DosS, but not DosT, was observed after the addition of ascorbate, a powerful cytochrome c reductant, demonstrating that DosS responds to a redox signal even in the presence of high oxygen tension. During hypoxic conditions, regulon induction was attenuated by treatment with compounds that occluded electron flow into the menaquinone pool or decreased the size of the menaquinone pool itself. Increased regulon expression during hypoxia was observed when exogenous menaquinone was added, demonstrating that the menaquinone pool is a limiting factor in regulon induction. Taken together, these data demonstrate that a reduced menaquinone pool directly or indirectly triggers induction of the DosR regulon via DosS. Biochemical analysis of menaquinones upon entry into hypoxic/anaerobic conditions demonstrated the disappearance of the unsaturated species and low-level maintenance of the mono-saturated menaquinone. Relative to the unsaturated form, an analog of the saturated form is better able to induce signaling via DosS and rescue inhibition of menaquinone synthesis and is less toxic. The menaquinone pool is central to the electron transport system (ETS) and therefore provides a mechanistic link between the respiratory state of the bacilli and DosS signaling. Although this report demonstrates that DosS responds to a reduced ETS, it does not rule out a role for oxygen in silencing signaling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology