Regulation of Three Virulence Strategies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: A Success Story

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jan 24;19(2):347. doi: 10.3390/ijms19020347.


Tuberculosis remains one of the deadliest diseases. Emergence of drug-resistant and multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis strains makes treating tuberculosis increasingly challenging. In order to develop novel intervention strategies, detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind the success of this pathogen is required. Here, we review recent literature to provide a systems level overview of the molecular and cellular components involved in divalent metal homeostasis and their role in regulating the three main virulence strategies of M. tuberculosis: immune modulation, dormancy and phagosomal rupture. We provide a visual and modular overview of these components and their regulation. Our analysis identified a single regulatory cascade for these three virulence strategies that respond to limited availability of divalent metals in the phagosome.

Keywords: Mycobacteria; cAMP; divalent metal; dormancy; escape; esx; immune modulation; iron; manganese; phagosome rupture; pore; virulence; zinc.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cations, Divalent / metabolism
  • Environment
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Latent Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Latent Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Metals / metabolism
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / physiology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phagosomes
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology*
  • Tuberculosis / pathology
  • Virulence


  • Cations, Divalent
  • Metals