Analysis of the fusA2 locus encoding EFG2 in Mycobacterium smegmatis

Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2009 Nov;89(6):453-64. doi: 10.1016/


The translation elongation factor G (EFG) is encoded by the fusA gene. Several bacteria possess a second fusA-like locus, fusA2 which encodes EFG2. A comparison of EFG and EFG2 from various bacteria reveals that EFG2 preserves domain organization and maintains significant sequence homology with EFG, suggesting that EFG2 may function as an elongation factor. However, with the single exception of a recent study on Thermus thermophilus EFG2, this class of EFG-like factors has not been investigated. Here, we have characterized EFG2 (MSMEG_6535) from Mycobacterium smegmatis. Expression of EFG2 was detected in stationary phase cultures of M. smegmatis (Msm). Our in vitro studies show that while MsmEFG2 binds guanine nucleotides, it lacks the ribosome-dependent GTPase activity characteristic of EFGs. Furthermore, unlike MsmEFG (MSMEG_1400), MsmEFG2 failed to rescue an E. coli strain harboring a temperature-sensitive allele of EFG, for its growth at the non-permissive temperature. Subsequent experiments showed that the fusA2 gene could be disrupted in M. smegmatis mc(2)155 with Kan(R) marker. The M. smegmatis fusA2::kan strain was viable and showed growth kinetics similar to that of the parent strain (wild-type for fusA2). However, in the growth competition assays, the disruption of fusA2 was found to confer a fitness disadvantage to M. smegmatis, raising the possibility that EFG2 is of some physiological relevance to mycobacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium smegmatis / genetics*
  • Mycobacterium smegmatis / isolation & purification
  • Peptide Elongation Factor G / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptide Elongation Factor G
  • RNA, Messenger