Research ArticleMICROBIOLOGY

Posttranslational modification of a histone-like protein regulates phenotypic resistance to isoniazid in mycobacteria

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  02 May 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 5, eaao1478
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao1478


There is increasing evidence that phenotypically drug-resistant bacteria may be important determinants of antibiotic treatment failure. Using high-throughput imaging, we defined distinct subpopulations of mycobacterial cells that exhibit heritable but semi-stable drug resistance. These subpopulations have distinct transcriptional signatures and growth characteristics at both bulk and single-cell levels, which are also heritable and semi-stable. We find that the mycobacterial histone-like protein HupB is required for the formation of these subpopulations. Using proteomic approaches, we further demonstrate that HupB is posttranslationally modified by lysine acetylation and lysine methylation. Mutation of a single posttranslational modification site specifically abolishes the formation of one of the drug-resistant subpopulations of cells, providing the first evidence in prokaryotes that posttranslational modification of a bacterial nucleoid-associated protein may epigenetically regulate cell state.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances

Editor's Blog