Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28119503
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2017 Jan;
Interactive link to article: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/01/23/1620133114
Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium marinum are thought to exert virulence, in part, through their ability to lyse host cell membranes. The type VII secretion system ESX-1 [6-kDa early secretory antigenic target (ESAT-6) secretion system 1] is required for both virulence and host cell membrane lysis. Both activities are attributed to the pore-forming activity of the ESX-1-secreted substrate ESAT-6 because multiple studies have reported that recombinant ESAT-6 lyses eukaryotic membranes. We too find ESX-1 of M. tuberculosis and M. marinum lyses host cell membranes. However, we find that recombinant ESAT-6 does not lyse cell membranes. The lytic activity previously attributed to ESAT-6 is due to residual detergent in the preparations. We report here that ESX-1-dependent cell membrane lysis is contact dependent and accompanied by gross membrane disruptions rather than discrete pores. ESX-1-mediated lysis is also morphologically distinct from the contact-dependent lysis of other bacterial secretion systems. Our findings suggest redirection of research to understand the mechanism of ESX-1-mediated lysis.