Molecular analysis of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis lux-like mel2 operon

Harish K. Janagama, Sambou Tounkang, Suat L.G. Cirillo, Denise K. Zinniel, Raúl G. Barletta, Jeffrey D. Cirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Using a high throughput genetic strategy, designated Random Inducible Controlled Expression (RICE), we identified the six gene mel2 locus in Mtb and M. marinum. Interestingly, three of the genes present in mel2 have similarities to bioluminescence genes. Similar to other bacterial bioluminescence systems, mel2 facilitates detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Through the use of thin layer chromatography (TLC) we demonstrate enhanced production of the cell wall virulence lipid, pthiocerol dimycoserosate (PDIM), in a Mtb mel2 mutant relative to the wild type strain in the presence of both H 2O2 and diamide oxidative stresses. Furthermore, propionate toxicity assays revealed increased accumulation of triacylglycerol (TAG) in the mel2 mutant relative to wild type. These observations provide the first evidence that mel2 plays a critical role in Mtb lipid biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S83-S87
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Bioluminescence
  • Lipids mel2
  • Mycobacteria
  • PDIM
  • Redox stress
  • TAG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular analysis of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis lux-like mel2 operon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this