Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Metabolomics & Lipidomics
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 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ 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

Proteins Seek, Attack, Destroy Tumor Cells in Bloodstream
Using white blood cells to ferry potent cancer-killing proteins through the bloodstream virtually eliminates metastatic prostate cancer in mice, Cornell researchers have confirmed.
Friday, January 15, 2016
A New Player in Lipid Metabolism Discovered
Specially engineered mice gained no weight, and normal counterparts became obese on the same high-fat, obesity-inducing Western diet.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Scientific News
How Different People Respond To Aspirin
Study findings could be used to help identify those who would benefit most from aspirin use.
Altered Metabolism of Four Compounds Drives Glioblastoma Growth
Findings suggest new ways to treat the malignancy, slow its progression and reveal its extent more precisely.
A Metabolic Twist that Drives Cancer Survival
A novel metabolic pathway that helps cancer cells thrive in conditions that are lethal to normal cells has been identified.
Liver-On-Chip Tracks Dynamics of Cellular Function
Hebrew University’s liver-on-chip platform is uniquely able to monitor metabolic changes indicating mitochondrial damage occurring at drug concentrations previously regarded as safe.
Living Off the Fat of the Land
Do cancer cells synthesize the parts for new cells or scavenge them from the environment?
Liver Disease, Obesity Linked
Kanazawa University researchers find similarities in the impeded signalling between central insulin activity and glucose production in the liver for both obese mice and mice that have had the vagus nerve removed.
Decoding Ties Between Vascular Disease, Alzheimer’s
NIH consortium uses big data, team science to uncover complex interplay of factors.
Gene Identified that May Worsen Cancer Outcome
Some patients with breast cancer, lung cancer and leukaemia seem to fare poorly after treatment because of the effects of a particular gene, a new study finds.
‘Big Data’ Drills Down Into Metabolic Details
Rice University bioengineers introduce efficient way to analyze, compare tissue-specific pathways.
New Approach to Curbing Cancer Cell Growth
Using a new approach, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and collaborating institutions have discovered a novel drug candidate that could be used to treat certain types of breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
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
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!