Research Papers:

Mycobacterium tuberculosis PPE32 promotes cytokines production and host cell apoptosis through caspase cascade accompanying with enhanced ER stress response

Wanyan Deng, Wenmin Yang, Jie Zeng, Abualgasim Elgaili Abdalla and Jianping Xie _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:67347-67359. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12030

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Wanyan Deng1,2,*, Wenmin Yang1,*, Jie Zeng1, Abualgasim Elgaili Abdalla1,3, Jianping Xie1

1State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Eco-Environment and Bio-Resource of the Three Gorges Area, Key Laboratory of Eco-Environments in Three Gorges Reservoir Region, Ministry of Education, School of Life Sciences, Institute of Modern Biopharmaceuticals, Southwest University, Chongqing, PR China

2Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Infectious Diseases (Ministry of Education), Institute for Viral Hepatitis, Department of Infectious Diseases, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, PR China

3Department of Clinical Microbiology, College of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Omdurman Islamic University, Omdurman, Khartoum, Sudan

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jianping Xie, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, PE/PPE, macrophage, apoptosis, caspase

Received: May 09, 2016     Accepted: August 25, 2016     Published: September 15, 2016


Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection, remains a grave global public health burden which claims the lives around two to three million annually. PE and PPE proteins, featured by the Pro-Glu (PE) or Pro-Pro-Glu (PPE) motifs at the conserved N-terminal domain, are abundant in the MTB genome. PPE32 can increase intracellular survival of mycobacteria through abnormally increase in cytokines production. PPE32 might subvert the macrophage immune response and thwart its bactericidal effect. THP-1 macrophages treated with PPE32 or infected with Mycobacterium smegmatis (MS) expression PPE32 showed increase of cytokines production and multiple hallmarks of apoptosis. We found that PPE32 significantly increases the expression of IL-12p40 and IL-32 through ERK1/2 signaling pathway. In addition, the cell viability of macrophage was inhibited after PPE32 stimulation. We noted that PPE32 induces cleavage of caspase-3 and caspase-9, while inhibition of caspase activity significantly abrogates the PPE32-induced cell apoptosis. Moreover, PPE32 treatment promotes endoplasmic reticulum stress related gene expression, suggesting ER stress might be responsible for PPE32-induced cell apoptosis.

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