Differences in nitrate reduction between Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis are due to differential expression of both narGHJI and narK2.

Research paper by Charles D CD Sohaskey, Lucia L Modesti

Indexed on: 17 Dec '08Published on: 17 Dec '08Published in: FEMS Microbiology Letters


Both Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis can produce tuberculosis in humans. Mycobacterium tuberculosis has low nitrate reductase activity during aerobic growth (AG), but shows strong hypoxic induction. Virulent M. bovis has weak activity during AG with no hypoxic induction. Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) lacks activity in both stages. Transcription of narG of the nitrate reductase enzyme operon was higher in M. tuberculosis than in M. bovis or BCG. Transcription of narK2 encoding the nitrate transporter was induced by hypoxia in M. tuberculosis but not M. bovis or BCG. Insertion of the M. tuberculosis narGHJI operon into M. bovis resulted in increased activity only during AG. Regulation of both the nitrate reductase enzyme and transporter are regulated differently in the two species.