Mycobacteriophages are viruses that specifically infect mycobacteria, which ultimately culminate in host cell death. Dedicated enzymes targeting the complex mycobacterial cell envelope arrangement have been identified in mycobacteriophage genomes, thus being potential candidates as antibacterial agents. These comprise lipolytic enzymes that target the mycolic acid-containing outer membrane and peptidoglycan hydrolases responsive to the atypical mycobacterial peptidoglycan layer. In the recent years, a remarkable progress has been made, particularly on the comprehension of the mechanisms of bacteriophage lysis proteins activity and regulation. Notwithstanding, information about mycobacteriophages lysis strategies is limited and is mainly represented by the studies performed with mycobacteriophage Ms6. Since mycobacteriophages target a specific group of bacteria, which include Mycobacterium tuberculosis
responsible for one of the leading causes of death worldwide, exploitation of the use of these lytic enzymes demands a special attention, as they may be an alternative to tackle multidrug resistant tuberculosis. This review focuses on the current knowledge of the function of lysis proteins encoded by mycobacteriophages and their potential applications, which may contribute to increasing the effectiveness of antimycobacterial therapy.
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