A fluorescence-based reporter for monitoring expression of mycobacterial cytochrome bd in response to antibacterials and during infection

Maikel Boot, Kin Ki Jim, Ting Liu, Susanna Commandeur, Ping Lu, Theo Verboom, Holger Lill, Wilbert Bitter, Dirk Bald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Cytochrome bd is a component of the oxidative phosphorylation pathway in many Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Next to its role as a terminal oxidase in the respiratory chain this enzyme plays an important role as a survival factor in the bacterial stress response. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis and related mycobacterial strains, cytochrome bd is an important component of the defense system against antibacterial drugs. In this report we describe and evaluate an mCherry-based fluorescent reporter for detection of cytochrome bd expression in Mycobacterium marinum. Cytochrome bd was induced by mycolic acid biosynthesis inhibitors such as isoniazid and most prominently by drugs targeting oxidative phosphorylation. We observed no induction by inhibitors of protein-, DNA- or RNA-synthesis. The constructed expression reporter was suitable for monitoring mycobacterial cytochrome bd expression during mouse macrophage infection and in a zebrafish embryo infection model when using Mycobacterium marinum. Interestingly, in both these infection models cytochrome bd levels were considerably higher than during in vitro culturing of M. marinum. The expression reporter described here can be a valuable tool for elucidating the role of cytochrome bd as a survival factor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10665
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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