Mycobacterium smegmatis has been widely used as a mycobacterial infection model. Unlike the M. smegmatis mc<sup>2</sup>155 strain, M. smegmatis J15cs strain has the advantage of surviving for one week in murine macrophages. In our previous report, we clarified that the J15cs strain has deleted apolar glycopeptidolipids (GPLs) in the cell wall, which may affect its morphology and survival in host cells. In this study, the gene causing the GPL deletion in the J15cs strain was identified. The mps1-2 gene (MSMEG-0400-0402) correlated with GPL biosynthesis. The J15cs strain had 18 bps deleted in the mps1 gene compared to that of the mc<sup>2</sup>155 strain. The mps1-complemented J15cs mutant restored the expression of GPLs. Although the J15cs strain produces a rough and dry colony, the colony morphology of this mps1-complement was smooth like the mc<sup>2</sup>155 strain. The length in the mps1-complemented J15cs mutant was shortened by the expression of GPLs. In addition, the GPL-restored J15cs mutant did not survive as long as the parent J15cs strain in the murine macrophage cell line J774.1 cells. The results are direct evidence that the deletion of GPLs in the J15cs strain affects bacterial size, morphology, and survival in host cells.
Fujiwara, N., Ohara, N., Ogawa, M., Maeda, S., Naka, T., Taniguchi, H., … Ayata, M. (2015). Glycopeptidolipid of Mycobacterium smegmatis J15cs affects morphology and survival in host cells. PLoS ONE, 10(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0126813