Role of FTL_1306 (dipA) in Francisella tularensis susceptibility to resazomycins.

Kendall Souder, Michael Whaby, Jennifer Hickman, Deanna Scmitt, Donald Primerano, James Denvir


The CDC classifies Francisella tularensis as a Category A bioterrorism agent. Due to the risk of potential release of antibiotic-resistant F. tularensis strains, new therapeutics against F. tularensis must be developed.  Resazomycins are resazurin (Rz)-based compounds that exhibit antimicrobial activity against F. tularensis and other gram-negative bacteria. The action of resazomycins is not well understood, but potential targets of the antibiotic were identified in a high throughput screen for Rz-resistant isolates. The dipA (FTL_1306) gene was identified as mutated in half of the 48 Rz-resistant (RZR) strains sequenced. To further investigate the role of dipA in Rz susceptibility, we introduced a wild-type copy of dipA into select RZR isolates (RZR1, 5, 43, and 46) that contain dipA mutations. The dipA gene was amplified by PCR from wild-type F. tularensis and cloned into the F. tularensis shuttle vector pABST to generate a construct (pABST-dipA) in which dipA will be constitutively expressed under control of the groEL promoter. The pABST-dipA plasmid was mobilized into each of the selected RZR isolates by electroporation. The resulting RZR dipA-complemented strains were cultivated on chocolate agar containing 10xMIC of Rz to determine their susceptibility to resazomycins. Preliminary results suggest that expression of wild-type dipA in the RZR mutants did not restore sensitivity to Rz indicating dipA may not play a role in Rz susceptibility.  Further investigation is needed to fully elucidate the contribution of dipA to the bactericidal action of resazomycins.

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