The long-term goal of the proposed project is to define the physiological roles of a subset of the COG2141 enzymes that are dependent on coenzyme F420 and are widespread in the bacterial phylum of Actinobacteria. This phylum includes Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae, which cause tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy, respectively, and Streptomyces, Nocardia, and Actinomyces that produce numerous antibiotics, anticancer agents, and immunomodulators. F420, a deazaflavin coenzyme, was discovered 60 years ago in a mycobacterial species, but its biological roles have been studied mostly in the methanogenic archaea where it was encountered about 30 years ago. This is ironic because the Actinobacteria rather than the methanogens have preponderances of potential F420-utilizing enzymes;even limited work on the mycobacterial F420 metabolism has revealed novel systems. For example, the work by the PI and senior personnel of this proposal show that mycobacteria employ an F420-dependent glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase to generate high intracellular levels of reduced F420 (F420H2), which in turn could help to neutralize the nitrosative stress imposed by human immune system. An F420H2-utilizing enzyme helps to unleash the anti-mycobacterial attack from PA-824, a new TB drug. Certain F420-dependent mycobacterial enzymes also degrade aflatoxins. To unravel more novel activities in the putative F420-utilizing enzymes identified by bioinformatic analyses, we are taking an experimental approach. Our focus is on certain mycobacterial COG2141 enzymes that seem to be F420-dependent. Considering that the obligate ground-state hydride transfer function of F420 is similar to that of NAD(P), we are investigating the roles of F420-dependent enzymes in cell wall biosynthesis and cholesterol degradation;these are common sites of action by NAD(P). These selections are also supported by the following deductions. Since the mycobacteria face low redox environments within the human granuloma and soil, they could derive more reducing power from lipid degradation if they use F420 in place of NAD(P);the mid- point redox potential values for F420 and NAD(P) are -360 mV and -320 mV, respectively. Similarly, F420H2 would be a more potent reductant than NAD(P)H for lipid biosynthesis. Our studies have identified three potentially F420-dependent COG2141 enzymes as participants in the synthesis of cell wall lipids (mycolic acids) and waxes (phthiocerol), and degradation of cholesterol in M. tuberculosis;these activities are relevant to TB pathogenesis and can therefore be targeted for developing therapeutics for TB. For detailed structure-function and physiological studies with these enzymes to begin, it is necessary to examine our leads further and strengthen our hypotheses. We therefore propose an R21 project with the following specific aims.
Aim 1 : To demonstrate that hydroxymycolic acid dehydrogenase and phthiodiolone ketoreductase of M. tuberculosis are F420-dependent enzymes;
Aim 2 : To examine the possibility of an F420-dependent dehydrogenase assisting cholesterol or lipid degradation in M. tuberculosis.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed investigation concerns cellular functions of a relatively unstudied group of enzymes that utilizes a deazaflavin coenzyme and potentially plays key roles in the development of tuberculosis (TB) and the production of antibiotics and other bioactive compounds by certain soil microorganisms. The current knowledge about these proteins comes mostly from computer analysis of genome sequences and theoretical deductions. The proposed work will follow newly obtained leads and test some of the above-mentioned theoretical predictions experimentally, thereby enabling future detailed studies on the development of therapeutics for TB and other diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Prokaryotic Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section (PCMB)
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Jacobs, Gail G
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
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United States
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