Rifampin Resistance Mutations Are Associated with Broad Chemical Remodeling of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Global control of tuberculosis has become increasingly complicated with the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis First-line treatments are anchored by two antibiotics, rifampin and isoniazid. Most rifampin resistance occurs through the acquisition of missense mutations in the rifampin resistance-determining region, an 81-base pair region encoding the rifampin binding site on the β subunit of RNA polymerase (rpoB). Although these mutations confer a survival advantage in the presence of rifampin, they may alter the normal process of transcription, thereby imposing significant fitness costs. Because the downstream biochemical consequences of the rpoB mutations are unknown, we used an organism-wide screen to identify the number and types of lipids changed after rpoB mutation. A new mass spectrometry-based profiling platform systematically compared ∼10,000 cell wall lipids in a panel of rifampin-resistant mutants within two genetically distinct strains, CDC1551and W-Beijing. This unbiased lipidomic survey detected quantitative alterations (>2-fold, p < 0.05) in more than 100 lipids in each mutant. By focusing on molecular events that change among most mutants and in both genetic backgrounds, we found that rifampin resistance mutations lead to altered concentrations of mycobactin siderophores and acylated sulfoglycolipids. These findings validate a new organism-wide lipidomic analysis platform for drug-resistant mycobacteria and provide direct evidence for characteristic remodeling of cell wall lipids in rifampin-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis The specific links between rifampin resistance and named lipid factors provide diagnostic and therapeutic targets that may be exploited to address the problem of drug resistance.© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

publication date

  • July 2016