Reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are secreted by human cells in response to infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Although RNS can kill Mtb under some circumstances, Mtb can adapt and survive in the presence of RNS by a process that involves modulation of gene expression. Previous studies focused primarily on stress-related changes in the Mtb transcriptome. This study unveils changes in the Mtb proteome in response to a sub-lethal dose of nitric oxide (NO) over several hours of exposure. Proteins were identified using liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). A total of 2911 Mtb proteins were identified, of which 581 were differentially abundant (DA) after exposure to NO in at least one of the four time points (30 min, 2 h, 6 h, and 20 h). The proteomic response to NO was marked by two phases, with few DA proteins in the early phase and a multitude of DA proteins in the later phase. The efflux pump Rv1687 stood out as being the only protein more abundant at all the time points and might play a role in the early protection of Mtb against nitrosative stress. These changes appeared to be compensatory in nature, contributing to iron homeostasis, energy metabolism, and other stress responses. This study thereby provides new insights into the response of Mtb to NO at the level of proteomics.
© 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.