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Awasthy D.,Astrazeneca | Awasthy D.,Biocon | Ambady A.,Astrazeneca | Ambady A.,Strand Life science Pvt. Ltd | And 5 more authors.
Gene | Year: 2014

Most bacteria are able to generate sufficient amounts of ATP from substrate level phosphorylation, thus rendering the respiratory oxidative phosphorylation non-critical. In mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, ATP generation by oxidative phosphorylation is an essential process. Of the two types of NADH dehydrogenases (type I and type II), the type II NADH dehydrogenase (Ndh) which is inhibited by phenothiazines has been thought to be essential. In M. tuberculosis there are two Ndh isozymes (Ndh and NdhA) coded by ndh and ndhA genes respectively. Ndh and NdhA share a high degree of amino acid similarity. Both the enzymes have been shown to be enzymatically active and are inhibited by phenothiazines, suggesting a functional similarity between the two. We attempted gene knockout of ndh and ndhA genes in wild type and merodiploid backgrounds. It was found that ndh gene cannot be inactivated in a wild type background, though it was possible to do so when an additional copy of ndh was provided. This showed that in spite of its apparent functional equivalence, NdhA cannot complement the loss of Ndh in M. tuberculosis. We also showed that NdhA is not essential in M. tuberculosis as the ndhA gene could be deleted in a wild type strain of M. tuberculosis without causing any adverse effects in vitro. RT-PCR analysis of in vitro grown M. tuberculosis showed that ndhA gene is actively transcribed. This study suggests that despite being biochemically similar, Ndh and NdhA play different roles in the physiology of M. tuberculosis. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Ambady A.,Astrazeneca | Awasthy D.,Astrazeneca | Yadav R.,Astrazeneca | Basuthkar S.,Astrazeneca | And 3 more authors.
Tuberculosis | Year: 2012

Coenzyme A biosynthesis pathway proteins are potential targets for developing inhibitors against bacteria including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We have evaluated two enzymes in this pathway: phosphopantetheine adenylyltransferase (CoaD) and dephospho CoA kinase (CoaE) for essentiality and selectivity. Based on the previous transposon mutagenesis studies, coaD had been predicted to be a non-essential gene in M. tuberculosis. Our bioinformatics analysis showed that there is no other functional homolog of this enzyme in M. tuberculosis, which suggests that coaD should be an essential gene. In order to get an unambiguous answer on the essentiality of coaD, we attempted inactivation of coaD in wild type and merodiploid backgrounds. It was found that coaD could only be inactivated in the presence of an additional gene copy, confirming it to be an essential gene. Using a similar approach we found that CoaE was also essential for the survival of M. tuberculosis. RT-PCR analysis showed that both coaD and coaE were transcribed in M. tuberculosis. Amino acids alignment and phylogenetic analysis showed CoaD to be distantly related to the human counterpart while CoaE was found to be relatively similar to the human enzyme. Analysis of CoaD and CoaE structures at molecular level allowed us to identify unique residues in the Mtb proteins, thus providing a selectivity handle. The essentiality and selectivity analysis combined with the published biochemical characterization of CoaD and CoaE makes them suitable targets for developing inhibitors against M. tuberculosis. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Morayya S.,Biocon | Awasthy D.,Strand Life science Pvt. Ltd | Yadav R.,Astrazeneca | Ambady A.,Biocon | Sharma U.,Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd.
Gene | Year: 2015

Glutamate racemase (MurI) converts l-glutamate into d-glutamate which is an essential component of peptidoglycan in bacteria. The gene encoding glutamate racemase, murI has been shown to be essential for the growth of a number of bacterial species including Escherichia coli. However, in some Gram-positive species d-amino acid transaminase (Dat) can also convert l-glutamate into d-glutamate thus rendering MurI non-essential for growth. In a recent study the murI gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis was shown to be non-essential. As d-glutamate is an essential component of peptidoglycan of M. tuberculosis, either Dat or MurI has to be essential for its survival. Since, a Dat encoding gene has not been reported in M. tuberculosis genome sequence, the reported non-essentiality of murI was unexplainable. In order to resolve this dilemma we tried to knockout murI in the presence of single and two copies of murI, in wild type and merodiploid strains respectively. It was found that murI could not be inactivated in the wild type background indicating that it could be an essential gene. Also, inactivation of murI could not be achieved in the presence of externally supplied d-glutamate in 7H9 medium suggesting that M. tuberculosis is unable to take up d-glutamate under the conditions tested. However we could generate murI knockout strains at high frequency when two copies of the gene were present indicating that at least one murI gene is required for cellular viability. The essential nature of MurI in M. tuberculosis H37Rv suggests that it could be a potential drug target. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Vipra A.A.,Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. | Desai S.N.,Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. | Roy P.,Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. | Patil R.,Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. | And 7 more authors.
BMC Microbiology | Year: 2012

Background: Bacterial drug resistance is one of the most significant challenges to human health today. In particular, effective antibacterial agents against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are urgently needed. A causal relationship between nasal commensal S. aureus and infection has been reported. Accordingly, elimination of nasal S. aureus reduces the risk of infection. Enzymes that degrade bacterial cell walls show promise as antibacterial agents. Bacteriophage-encoded bacterial cell wall-degrading enzymes exhibit intrinsic bactericidal activity. P128 is a chimeric protein that combines the lethal activity of the phage tail-associated muralytic enzyme of Phage K and the staphylococcal cell wall targeting-domain (SH3b) of lysostaphin. Here we report results of in vitro studies evaluating the susceptibility of staphylococcal strains to this novel protein. Results: Using the broth microdilution method adapted for lysostaphin, we found that P128 is effective against S. aureus clinical strains including MRSA, methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA), and a mupirocin-resistant S. aureus. Minimum bactericidal concentrations and minimum inhibitory concentrations of P128 (1-64 g/mL) were similar across the 32 S. aureus strains tested, demonstrating its bactericidal nature. In time-kill assays, P128 reduced colony-forming units by 99.99% within 1 h and inhibited growth up to 24 h. In an assay simulating topical application of P128 to skin or other biological surfaces, P128 hydrogel was efficacious when layered on cells seeded on solid media. P128 hydrogel was lethal to Staphylococci recovered from nares of healthy people and treated without any processing or culturing steps, indicating its in situ efficacy. This methodology used for in vitro assessment of P128 as an agent for eradicating nasal carriage is unique. Conclusions: The novel chimeric protein P128 is a staphylococcal cell wall-degrading enzyme under development for clearance of S. aureus nasal colonization and MRSA infection. The protein is active against globally prevalent antibiotic-resistant clinical isolates and other clinically significant staphylococcal species including S. epidermidis. The P128 hydrogel formulation was bactericidal against Staphylococci including S. aureus recovered from the nares of 31 healthy people, demonstrating its in situ efficacy. © 2012 Vipra et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Paul V.,Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. | Paul V.,Kings College | Sundarrajan S.,Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. | Rajagopalan S.,Gangagen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. | And 6 more authors.
BMC Microbiology | Year: 2011

Background: Interest in phage therapy has grown over the past decade due to the rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens. However, the use of bacteriophages for therapeutic purposes has raised concerns over the potential for immune response, rapid toxin release by the lytic action of phages, and difficulty in dose determination in clinical situations. A phage that kills the target cell but is incapable of host cell lysis would alleviate these concerns without compromising efficacy. Results: We developed a recombinant lysis-deficient Staphylococcus aureus phage P954, in which the endolysin gene was rendered nonfunctional by insertional inactivation. P954, a temperate phage, was lysogenized in S. aureus strain RN4220. The native endolysin gene on the prophage was replaced with an endolysin gene disrupted by the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (cat) gene through homologous recombination using a plasmid construct. Lysogens carrying the recombinant phage were detected by growth in presence of chloramphenicol. Induction of the recombinant prophage did not result in host cell lysis, and the phage progeny were released by cell lysis with glass beads. The recombinant phage retained the endolysin-deficient genotype and formed plaques only when endolysin was supplemented. The host range of the recombinant phage was the same as that of the parent phage. To test the in vivo efficacy of the recombinant endolysin-deficient phage, immunocompromised mice were challenged with pathogenic S. aureus at a dose that results in 80% mortality (LD80). Treatment with the endolysin-deficient phage rescued mice from the fatal S. aureus infection. Conclusions: A recombinant endolysin-deficient staphylococcal phage has been developed that is lethal to methicillin-resistant S. aureus without causing bacterial cell lysis. The phage was able to multiply in lytic mode utilizing a heterologous endolysin expressed from a plasmid in the propagation host. The recombinant phage effectively rescued mice from fatal S. aureus infection. To our knowledge this is the first report of a lysis-deficient staphylococcal phage. © 2011 Paul et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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