Identification of Mycobacterium marinum macrophage infection mutants

Parmod K. Mehta, Amit K. Pandey, Selvakumar Subbian, Sahar H. El-Etr, Suat L.G. Cirillo, Mustapha M. Samrakandi, Jeffrey D. Cirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium marinum is an important pathogen of humans, amphibians and fish. Most pathogenic mycobacteria, including M. marinum, infect, survive and replicate primarily intracellularly within macrophages. We constructed a transposon mutant library in M. marinum using Tn5367 delivered by phage transduction in the shuttle phasmid phAE94. We screened 529 clones from the transposon library directly in macrophage infection assays. All clones were screened for their ability to initially infect macrophages as well as survive and replicate intracellularly. We identified 19 mutants that fit within three classes: class I) defective for growth in association with macrophages (42%), class II) defective for macrophage infection (21%) and class III) defective for infection of and growth in association with macrophages (37%). Although 14 of the macrophage infection mutants (Mim) carry insertions in genes that have not been previously identified, five are associated with virulence of mycobacteria in animal models. These observations confirm the utility of mutant screens directly in association with macrophages to identify new virulence determinants in mycobacteria. We complemented four of the Mim mutants with their M. tuberculosis homologue, demonstrating that secondary mutations are not responsible for the observed defect in macrophage infection. The genes we identified provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of macrophage infection by M. marinum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-151
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


  • IS1096
  • Macrophages
  • Mycobacteria
  • Shuttle phasmids
  • Transposon mutagenesis
  • Tuberculosis


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