PknE, a serine/threonine protein kinase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis has a role in adaptive responses
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Serine/threonine protein kinases (STPK) play a major role in the physiology and pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Here, we have examined the role of pknE, a STPK in the adaptive responses of M. tuberculosis using a deletion mutant ΔpknE. The survival of ΔpknE was assessed in the presence of stress (pH, surfactant and cell wall–damaging agents) and anti-tuberculosis drugs. ΔpknE had a defective growth in pH 7.0 and lysozyme (a cell wall–damaging agent) with better survival in pH 5.5, SDS and kanamycin (a second-line anti-tuberculosis drug). Furthermore, ΔpknE was reduced in cell size during growth in liquid media and exhibited hypervirulence in a guinea pig model of infection. In conclusion, our data suggest that pknE plays a role in adaptive response of M. tuberculosis regulating cellular integrity and survival.