Interaction of CarD with RNA polymerase mediates Mycobacterium tuberculosis viability, rifampin resistance, and pathogenesis

Leslie A. Weiss, Phillip G. Harrison, Bryce E. Nickels, Michael S. Glickman, Elizabeth A. Campbell, Seth A. Darst, Christina L. Stallings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection continues to cause substantial human suffering. New chemotherapeutic strategies, which require insight into the pathways essential for M. tuberculosis pathogenesis, are imperative. We previously reported that depletion of the CarD protein in mycobacteria compromises viability, resistance to oxidative stress and fluoroquinolones, and pathogenesis. CarD associates with the RNA polymerase (RNAP), but it has been unknown which of the diverse functions of CarD are mediated through the RNAP; this question must be answered to understand the CarD mechanism of action. Herein, we describe the interaction between the M. tuberculosis CarD and the RNAP β subunit and identify point mutations that weaken this interaction. The characterization of mycobacterial strains with attenuated CarD/RNAP β interactions demonstrates that the CarD/ RNAP β association is required for viability and resistance to oxidative stress but not for fluoroquinolone resistance. Weakening the CarD/RNAP β interaction also increases the sensitivity of mycobacteria to rifampin and streptomycin. Surprisingly, depletion of the CarD protein did not affect sensitivity to rifampin. These findings define the CarD/RNAP interaction as a new target for chemotherapeutic intervention that could also improve the efficacy of rifampin treatment of tuberculosis. In addition, our data demonstrate that weakening the CarD/RNAP β interaction does not completely phenocopy the depletion of CarD and support the existence of functions for CarD independent of direct RNAP bindin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5621-5631
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Interaction of CarD with RNA polymerase mediates Mycobacterium tuberculosis viability, rifampin resistance, and pathogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this