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Open Access Research article

DevR (DosR) mimetic peptides impair transcriptional regulation and survival of Mycobacterium tuberculosis under hypoxia by inhibiting the autokinase activity of DevS sensor kinase

Kohinoor Kaur1, Neetu Kumra Taneja12, Sakshi Dhingra1 and Jaya S Tyagi1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biotechnology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

2 Present address: National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India) Plot No. 97, Sector-56, HSIIDC Industrial Estate, Kundli, District Sonepat, Sonepat, Haryana 131028, India

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:195  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-195

Published: 21 July 2014

Abstract

Background

Two-component systems have emerged as compelling targets for antibacterial drug design for a number of reasons including the distinct histidine phosphorylation property of their constituent sensor kinases. The DevR-DevS/DosT two component system of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) is essential for survival under hypoxia, a stress associated with dormancy development in vivo. In the present study a combinatorial peptide phage display library was screened for DevS histidine kinase interacting peptides with the aim of isolating inhibitors of DevR-DevS signaling.

Results

DevS binding peptides were identified from a phage display library after three rounds of panning using DevS as bait. The peptides showed sequence similarity with conserved residues in the N-terminal domain of DevR and suggested that they may represent interacting surfaces between DevS and DevR. Two DevR mimetic peptides were found to specifically inhibit DevR-dependent transcriptional activity and restrict the hypoxic survival of M. tb. The mechanism of peptide action is majorly attributed to an inhibition of DevS autokinase activity.

Conclusions

These findings demonstrate that DevR mimetic peptides impede DevS activation and that intercepting DevS activation at an early step in the signaling cascade impairs M. tb survival in a hypoxia persistence model.

Keywords:
Phage display; DevRS peptides; Inhibition of autokinase; Hypoxia