ATP synthase in mycobacteria: special features and implications for a function as drug target.

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ATP synthase is a ubiquitous enzyme that is largely conserved across the kingdoms of life. This conservation is in accordance with its central role in chemiosmotic energy conversion, a pathway utilized by far by most living cells. On the other hand, in particular pathogenic bacteria whilst employing ATP synthase have to deal with energetically unfavorable conditions such as low oxygen tensions in the human host, e.g. Mycobacterium tuberculosis can survive in human macrophages for an extended time. It is well conceivable that such ATP synthases may carry idiosyncratic features that contribute to efficient ATP production. In this review genetic and biochemical data on mycobacterial ATP synthase are discussed in terms of rotary catalysis, stator composition, and regulation of activity. ATP synthase in mycobacteria is of particular interest as this enzyme has been validated as a target for promising new antibacterial drugs. A deeper understanding of the working of mycobacterial ATP synthase and its atypical features can provide insight in adaptations of bacterial energy metabolism. Moreover, pinpointing and understanding critical differences as compared with human ATP synthase may provide input for the design and development of selective ATP synthase inhibitors as antibacterials. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 18th European Bioenergetic Conference. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1218
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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