Moonlighting by PPE2 Protein: Focus on Mycobacterial Virulence

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Journal of Immunology


In Mycobacterium tuberculosis, ~10% of its genome encodes the proline-glutamic acid and proline-proline-glutamic acid (PPE) family of proteins, some of which were recently established to be key players in mycobacterial virulence. PPE2 (Rv0256c) is one among these proteins that we found to have pleiotropic effects during mycobacterial infection. PPE2 weakens the innate immune system by disturbing NO and reactive oxygen species production and myeloid hematopoiesis. We showed that PPE2 is unique for having nuclear localization signal, DNA binding domain, and SRC homology 3 (PXXP) binding domain, which enable it to interfere with the host immune system. Interestingly, PPE2 is a secretary protein, expressed during active tuberculosis (TB) infection, and is involved in facilitating survival of M. tuberculosis. Thus, PPE2 could be a valuable drug target for developing effective therapeutics against TB. In this article, we describe possible roles of PPE2 in TB pathogenesis and the importance of PPE2 as a novel therapeutic target against TB.

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