PPE51 mediates uptake of trehalose across the mycomembrane of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Mohammed Rizwan Babu Sait, Hendrik Koliwer-Brandl, Jessica A. Stewart, Benjamin M. Swarts, Marc Jacobsen, Thomas R. Ioerger, Rainer Kalscheuer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The disaccharide trehalose is essential for viability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which synthesizes trehalose de novo but can also utilize exogenous trehalose. The mycobacterial cell wall encompasses two permeability barriers, the cytoplasmic membrane and the outer mycolic acid-containing mycomembrane. The ABC transporter LpqY–SugA–SugB–SugC has previously been demonstrated to mediate the specific uptake of trehalose across the cytoplasmic membrane. However, it is still unclear how the transport of trehalose molecules across the mycomembrane is mediated. In this study, we harnessed the antimycobacterial activity of the analogue 6-azido trehalose to select for spontaneous resistant M. tuberculosis mutants in a merodiploid strain harbouring two LpqY–SugA–SugB–SugC copies. Mutations mediating resistance to 6-azido trehalose mapped to the proline–proline–glutamate (PPE) family member PPE51 (Rv3136), which has recently been shown to be an integral mycomembrane protein involved in uptake of low-molecular weight compounds. A site-specific ppe51 gene deletion mutant of M. tuberculosis was unable to grow on trehalose as the sole carbon source. Furthermore, bioorthogonal labelling of the M. tuberculosis Δppe51 mutant incubated with 6-azido trehalose corroborated the impaired internalization. Taken together, the results indicate that the transport of trehalose and trehalose analogues across the mycomembrane of M. tuberculosis is exclusively mediated by PPE51.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2097
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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