Autophagy provides an important defense mechanism against intracellular bacteria, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis disease (TB). We recently reported that pathogen recognition and antibacterial autophagy are connected by the induction of the DNA damage-regulated autophagy modulator DRAM1 via the toll-like receptor (TLR)-MYD88-NFKB innate immunity signaling pathway. Having shown that DRAM1 colocalizes with Mtb in human macrophages, we took advantage of a zebrafish model for TB to investigate the function of DRAM1 in autophagic host defense in vivo. We found that DRAM1 protects the zebrafish host from infection with Mycobacterium marinum (Mm), a close relative of Mtb. Overexpression of DRAM1 increases autophagosome formation and promotes autophagic flux by a mechanism dependent on the cytosolic DNA sensor TMEM173/STING and the ubiquitin receptor SQSTM1/p62. Here we summarize and discuss the implications of these findings.
Keywords: DRAM1; LC3; MYD88; Mycobacterium marinum; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; NFκB; STING; macrophages; p62; zebrafish.