Molecular analysis of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis lux-like mel2 operon. Academic Article uri icon


  • Using a high throughput genetic strategy, designated Random Inducible Controlled Expression (RICE), we identified the six gene mel2 locus in Mtb and M. marinum. Interestingly, three of the genes present in mel2 have similarities to bioluminescence genes. Similar to other bacterial bioluminescence systems, mel2 facilitates detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Through the use of thin layer chromatography (TLC) we demonstrate enhanced production of the cell wall virulence lipid, pthiocerol dimycoserosate (PDIM), in a Mtb mel2 mutant relative to the wild type strain in the presence of both H2O2 and diamide oxidative stresses. Furthermore, propionate toxicity assays revealed increased accumulation of triacylglycerol (TAG) in the mel2 mutant relative to wild type. These observations provide the first evidence that mel2 plays a critical role in Mtb lipid biosynthesis.

published proceedings

  • Tuberculosis (Edinb)

author list (cited authors)

  • Janagama, H. K., Tounkang, S., Cirillo, S., Zinniel, D. K., Barletta, R. G., & Cirillo, J. D.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Janagama, Harish K||Tounkang, Sambou||Cirillo, Suat LG||Zinniel, Denise K||Barletta, Raúl G||Cirillo, Jeffrey D

publication date

  • December 2013