" "
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,200+ 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
Tumor-suppressing Gene Lends Insight to Cancer Treatment
Researchers have found that delicate replication process derails if a gene named PTEN has mutated or is absent.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Synthetic Immune Organ Produces Antibodies
Cornell engineers have created a functional, synthetic immune organ that produces antibodies and can be controlled in the lab, completely separate from a living organism.
Friday, June 12, 2015
On Planes, Savory Tomato Becomes Favored Flavor
Study shows the effect that airplane noise has on passengers' taste preferences.
Friday, May 15, 2015
$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
'Shield' Gives Tricky Proteins a New Identity
Solubilization of Integral Membrane Proteins with high Levels of Expression.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
DNA Safeguard May Be Key In Cancer Treatment
Cornell researchers have developed a new technique to understand the actions of key proteins required for cancer cells to proliferate.
Monday, March 09, 2015
A ‘STAR’ is Born: Engineers Devise Genetic 'On' Switch
A new “on” switch to control gene expression has been developed by Cornell scientists.
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Bacteria Be Gone!
New technology keeps bacteria from sticking to surfaces.
Monday, January 19, 2015
On the Environmental Trail of Food Pathogens
Learning where Listeria dwells can aid the search for other food pathogens.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Chemists Show That ALS is a Protein Aggregation Disease
Using a technique that illuminates subtle changes in individual proteins, chemistry researchers at Cornell have uncovered new insight into the underlying causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Genetics Used to Improve Plants for Bioenergy
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Computer Model Reveals Cancer's Energy Source
Findings focused on the energy-making process in cancer cells known as the Warburg Effect.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
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
Ingested Nanoparticles May Damage Liver
Although nanoparticles in food, sunscreen and other everyday products have many benefits, researchers from Cornell are finding that at certain doses, the particles might cause human organ damage.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Scientific News
Microdroplet Reactors Mimic Living Systems
Researchers use microdroplets to study non-equilibrium reactions like those in living organisms.
NIH Researchers Identify Striking Genomic Signature for Cancer
Institute has identified striking signature shared by five types of cancer.
CRI Develops Innovative Approach for Identifying Lung Cancer
Institute has developed innovative approach for identifying processes that fuel tumor growth in lung cancer patients.
Envigo Rat Models Proven to be Susceptible to Intra-Vaginal HSV-2 Infection and Protectable
Scientific findings establish the effectiveness of new approach to investigate the protective effects of vaccine candidates and anti-viral microbodies and to study asymptomatic primary genital HSV-2 infection.
What do Banana Peels and Human Skin Have in Common?
Human skin and banana peels have something in common: they produce the same enzyme when attacked. By studying fruit, researchers have come up with an accurate method for diagnosing the stages of this form of skin cancer.
The Spice of Life
Scientists discover important genetic source of human diversity.
Cytoskeleton Crew
Findings confirm sugar's role in helping cancers survive by changing cellular architecture.
The Power of Three
Overlooked portion of cell “death receptor” critical in some cancers, autoimmune diseases.
Drug that Activates Innate Immune System Identified
Researchers from the institute have identified a drug, which is straightforward to synthesize and to couple to antigens that induce an immune response and may prove useful in the generation of vaccines.
Removing Race from Human Genetic Research
A group of scientists are urging their colleagues to take a step forward and stop using racial categories when researching and studying human genetics.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

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
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!