Attenuation of Virulence by Disruption of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis erp Gene

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Science  23 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5389, pp. 759-762
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5389.759

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The virulence of the mycobacteria that cause tuberculosis depends on their ability to multiply in mammalian hosts. Disruption of the bacterial erp gene, which encodes the exported repetitive protein, impaired multiplication of M. tuberculosis andM. bovis Bacille Calmette-Guérin in cultured macrophages and mice. Reintroduction of erp into the mutants restored their ability to multiply. These results indicate thaterp contributes to the virulence of M. tuberculosis.

  • * Present address: SmithKline Beecham Biologicals, Laboratory of Molecular Bacteriology, Rue de l'Institut 89, B-1330 Rixensart, Belgium.

  • Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Padova, Via Trieste 75, 35121 Padova, Italy.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: bgicquel{at}

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