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Environmental Variations in Mycobacterium ulcerans Transcriptome: Absence of Mycolactone Expression in Suboptimal Environments

1
MIVEGEC, IRD, CNRS, University Montpellier, 34394 Montpellier, France
2
ASTRE, INRA, Cirad, University Montpellier, 34394 Montpellier, France
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS 39762, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(3), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11030146
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 27 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycolactone: Lipid-Like Immunosuppressive Toxin of Buruli Ulcer)
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Abstract

Buruli ulcer is a neglected tropical infectious disease, produced by the environmentally persistent pathogen Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU). Neither the ecological niche nor the exact mode of transmission of MU are completely elucidated. However, some environmental factors, such as the concentration in chitin and pH values, were reported to promote MU growth in vitro. We pursued this research using next generation sequencing (NGS) and mRNA sequencing to investigate potential changes in MU genomic expression profiles across in vitro environmental conditions known to be suitable for MU growth. Supplementing the growth culture medium in either chitin alone, calcium alone, or in both chitin and calcium significantly impacted the MU transcriptome and thus several metabolic pathways, such as, for instance, those involved in DNA synthesis or cell wall production. By contrast, some genes carried by the virulence plasmid and necessary for the production of the mycolactone toxin were expressed neither in control nor in any modified environments. We hypothesized that these genes are only expressed in stressful conditions. Our results describe important environmental determinants playing a role in the pathogenicity of MU, helping the understanding of its complex natural life cycle and encouraging further research using genomic approaches. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mycobacterium ulcerans; Buruli ulcer; infectious disease; ecological niche; ecological transmission; mRNA-sequencing Mycobacterium ulcerans; Buruli ulcer; infectious disease; ecological niche; ecological transmission; mRNA-sequencing
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Sanhueza, D.; Guégan, J.-F.; Jordan, H.; Chevillon, C. Environmental Variations in Mycobacterium ulcerans Transcriptome: Absence of Mycolactone Expression in Suboptimal Environments. Toxins 2019, 11, 146.

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