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Gene Review

pcaA  -  cyclopropane mycolic acid synthase

Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv

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Disease relevance of pcaA

  • We identified a mycobacterial gene, pcaA, that we show is required for cording and mycolic acid cyclopropane ring synthesis in the cell wall of both BCG and M. tuberculosis [1].
  • However, by using this leucine auxotroph as a genetic host and the Streptomyces coelicolor leuD gene as a selectable marker, we achieved efficient allelic exchange at the M. avium pcaA locus [2].

High impact information on pcaA

  • Purified TDM isolated from a cyclopropane-deficient pcaA mutant was hypoinflammatory for macrophages and induced less severe granulomatous inflammation in mice, demonstrating that the fine structure of this glycolipid was critical to its proinflammatory activity [3].
  • One such alteration in lipid structure is cis-cyclopropane modification of the mycolic acids on trehalose dimycolate (TDM) mediated by proximal cyclopropane synthase of alpha mycolates (pcaA), a proinflammatory lipid modification during early infection [4].
  • Despite substantial sequence identity, these proteins catalyze highly specific cyclopropane modifications, including proximal modification of the alpha-mycolate (pcaA) and trans-cyclopropane modification (cmaA2) [5].
  • We have shown that pcaA, a novel member of a family of M. tuberculosis S-adenosyl methionine (SAM)-dependent methyl transferases, is required for alpha-mycolic acid cyclopropanation and lethal chronic persistent M. tuberculosis infection [6].


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