Intein sequences self-excise from precursor proteins to generate functional proteins in various organisms. Thus, regulation of intein splicing at the host–pathogen interface can determine the fate of infection by controlling generation of essential proteins in microbes. For instance, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtu) SufB intein splicing is crucial for the functionality of SUF complex. This multiprotein system is the sole pathway for [Fe-S] cluster biogenesis in mycobacteria during oxidative stress and Fe starvation. Although metal toxicity and metal starvation are components of host immunity, correlation of metal stress to Mtu SufB intein splicing is missing till date. Current study examines the splicing and N-terminal cleavage reactions of Mtu SufB precursor protein in presence of micronutrient metal ions like Zn+2, Cu+2, and Fe+3/+2. A known intein splicing inhibitor Pt+4 was also tested to support its proposed role as an anti-TB agent. Mtu SufB precursor protein exhibited significant attenuation of splicing and N-terminal cleavage reactions across different concentration ranges for Pt+4, Cu+2, Zn+2, while Fe+3 interaction resulted in precursor accumulation. UV–Vis spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), Tryptophan fluorescence assay, and dynamic light scattering (DLS) techniques analyzed metal–protein interaction. Mutagenesis experiments and Ellman’s assay identified plausible metal co-ordination sites within Mtu SufB protein. Analyzing the metal effect on Mtu SufB splicing may provide elemental information about the fate of mycobacterial infection, and a probable mechanism to attenuate intracellular survival of Mtu. Current research hints at the host regulatory mechanism on SufB splicing in its native environment and a likely target for developing next-generation anti-TB drugs.

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