Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Biomolecular Screening
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

TB Bacteria's Trash-Eating Inspires Search for New Drugs

Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Bookmark and Share
When hijacking a garbage truck, one might as well make use of the trash. That logic drives how tuberculosis-causing bacteria feed, say Cornell scientists.

They report that bacteria-infecting macrophages – garbage truck-like immune cells – slow their hosts’ trash-processing abilities to snack on trash they pick up. The study, selected as Editor’s Choice in the journal Cellular Microbiology June’s issue, opens a new road in the search for better drugs to fight tuberculosis.

One of the world’s deadliest diseases, tuberculosis has been the No. 1 killer in many regions at different times throughout history, including the United States. It still infects a one-third of the world’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and remains a leading killer of people who are infected with HIV. The bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis spread through air to cause the disease in humans and animals, usually attacking the lungs.

Though cases have declined in the United States, other parts of the world are experiencing increased incidence of tuberculosis, and new drug-resistant strains are emerging constantly, raising the stakes in the arms race for treatments.

“We are studying how this microbe deals with its host being an immune cell meant to kill microbes,” said microbiologist David Russell, the William Kaplan Professor of Infection Biology at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “We’ve uncovered several ways the microbe changes the macrophage it infects to ensure its survival. Our lab’s drug-discovery branch is now using this new knowledge to identify molecules that could kill M. tuberculosis inside its host after infection.”

Russell’s lab developed a panel of tests that make real-time fluorescent images and quantitative measures of what happens in macrophages – big immune cells that patrol tissues, pick up debris from old or dead cells and sometimes kill microbes they encounter. A macrophage ingests its targets into its phagosome, a stomachlike compartment where it breaks down what has been picked up.

Important things macrophages pick up include low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), which move fatty lipids including cholesterol through the bloodstream. Too many LDLs, also known informally as “bad cholesterol,” can build plaques in arteries that can cause strokes, heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases. Macrophages help prevent plaques by consuming LDLs and breaking down their lipids.

But tuberculosis bacteria cripple infected macrophages’ abilities to process lipids, Russell found. Infected macrophages keep lipids in a way they didn’t before, and the bacteria feed on this fatty refuse while slowing the macrophages’ ability to remove plaque-causing LDLs. Images Russell captured caught the bacteria snacking red-handed, showing lipids moving from the macrophage’s phagosome into the bacteria.

“Seeing this process has helped us design our drug-discovery work to better match what’s happening in human tuberculosis,” said Russell. “Now that we have a better understanding of how these bacteria feed, our lab is looking for compounds that can use their feeding strategy against them to starve them or kill them outright to treat people who have been infected.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Gene Thought to be Linked to Alzheimer's is Marker for Only Mild Impairment
Defying the widely held belief that a specific gene is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, report says that people with that gene are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment -- but not Alzheimer's.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Miracle Diagnostic or Next New Fad?
Thanks to the development of highly specific gene-amplification and sequencing technologies liquid biopsies access more biomarkers relevant to more cancers than ever before.
Targeting BRAF Mutations in Thyroid Cancer
Treating metastatic thyroid cancer patients harboring a BRAF mutation with vemurafenib showed anti-tumor activity in a third of patients.
Plant Compounds Fight Together Against Colon Cancer
Research shows treating colon cancer cells with curcumin, then silymarin is more effective than treatment with each individually.
New Centre Offers Ultra-Speed Protein Analysis
UW-Madison researchers to establish development centre for next-gen protein measurement technologies.
Drug Candidates Reduce Abnormal Protein Production
New drug candidates improve cell ability to catch miss-folded proteins that could cause deadly diseases.
Supercomputing and Drug Discovery
New biotech company uses supercomputer simulations to speed up drug discovery and biotech molecule development.
Preventing Breast Cancer with Hops
Study of hops extract suggests prevention of breast cancer through chemical pathway activation.
Treatment Advancement for Gaucher and Parkinson's Diseases
NIH scientists identify molecule that may act as a possible treatment of neurological diseases.
Biomunex Confirms Optimal Properties and Activity of BiXAb® Antibodies
Biomunex‘s Plug-and-Play bispecific antibodies demonstrated excellent in vitro properties and in vivo activity positively differentiating their BiXAb platform from competing formats.
Liquid Biopsy Predicts Colon Cancer Recurrence
Scientists have used a genetic test that spots bits of cancer-related DNA circulating in the blood to accurately predict the likelihood of the disease’s return in some — but not all — of a small group of patients with early-stage colon cancer.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!