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      Drug Design, Development and Therapy (submit here)

      This international, peer-reviewed Open Access journal by Dove Medical Press focuses on the design and development of drugs, as well as the clinical outcomes, patient safety, and programs targeted at the effective and safe use of medicines. Sign up for email alerts here.

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      Exploring prospects of novel drugs for tuberculosis


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          Tuberculosis remains a disease with an enormous impact on public health worldwide. With the continuously increasing epidemic of drug-resistant tuberculosis, new drugs are desperately needed. However, even for the treatment of drug-sensitive tuberculosis, new drugs are required to shorten the treatment duration and thereby prevent development of drug resistance. Within the past ten years, major advances in tuberculosis drug research have been made, leading to a considerable number of antimycobacterial compounds which are now in the pipeline. Here we discuss a number of these novel promising tuberculosis drugs, as well as the discovery of two new potential drug targets for the development of novel effective drugs to curb the tuberculosis pandemic, ie, the coronin 1 and protein kinase G pathways. Protein kinase G is secreted by mycobacteria and is responsible for blocking lysosomal delivery within the macrophage. Coronin 1 is responsible for activating the phosphatase, calcineurin, and thereby preventing phagosome-lysosome fusion within the macrophage. Blocking these two pathways may lead to rapid killing of mycobacteria.

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          Persistence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in macrophages and mice requires the glyoxylate shunt enzyme isocitrate lyase.

          Mycobacterium tuberculosis claims more human lives each year than any other bacterial pathogen. Infection is maintained in spite of acquired immunity and resists eradication by antimicrobials. Despite an urgent need for new therapies targeting persistent bacteria, our knowledge of bacterial metabolism throughout the course of infection remains rudimentary. Here we report that persistence of M. tuberculosis in mice is facilitated by isocitrate lyase (ICL), an enzyme essential for the metabolism of fatty acids. Disruption of the icl gene attenuated bacterial persistence and virulence in immune-competent mice without affecting bacterial growth during the acute phase of infection. A link between the requirement for ICL and the immune status of the host was established by the restored virulence of delta icl bacteria in interferon-gamma knockout mice. This link was apparent at the level of the infected macrophage: Activation of infected macrophages increased expression of ICL, and the delta icl mutant was markedly attenuated for survival in activated but not resting macrophages. These data suggest that the metabolism of M. tuberculosis in vivo is profoundly influenced by the host response to infection, an observation with important implications for the treatment of chronic tuberculosis.
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            Mycobacterium tuberculosis: success through dormancy.

            Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major health threat, killing nearly 2 million individuals around this globe, annually. The only vaccine, developed almost a century ago, provides limited protection only during childhood. After decades without the introduction of new antibiotics, several candidates are currently undergoing clinical investigation. Curing TB requires prolonged combination of chemotherapy with several drugs. Moreover, monitoring the success of therapy is questionable owing to the lack of reliable biomarkers. To substantially improve the situation, a detailed understanding of the cross-talk between human host and the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is vital. Principally, the enormous success of Mtb is based on three capacities: first, reprogramming of macrophages after primary infection/phagocytosis to prevent its own destruction; second, initiating the formation of well-organized granulomas, comprising different immune cells to create a confined environment for the host-pathogen standoff; third, the capability to shut down its own central metabolism, terminate replication, and thereby transit into a stage of dormancy rendering itself extremely resistant to host defense and drug treatment. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes, draw conclusions in a working model of mycobacterial dormancy, and highlight gaps in our understanding to be addressed in future research. © 2012 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Mechanism of phagolysosome biogenesis block by viable Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

              Live Mycobacterium tuberculosis persists in macrophage phagosomes by interfering with phagolysosome biogenesis. Here, using four-dimensional microscopy and in vitro assays, we report the principal difference between phagosomes containing live and dead mycobacteria. Phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P), a membrane trafficking regulatory lipid essential for phagosomal acquisition of lysosomal constituents, is retained on phagosomes harboring dead mycobacteria but is continuously eliminated from phagosomes with live bacilli. We show that the exclusion of PI3P from live mycobacterial phagosomes can be only transiently reversed by Ca2+ fluxes, and that live M. tuberculosis secretes a lipid phosphatase, SapM, that hydrolyzes PI3P, inhibits phagosome-late endosome fusion in vitro, and contributes to inhibition of phagosomal maturation.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                07 September 2012
                : 6
                : 217-224
                [1 ]Center for Tropical Medicine and Travel Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, Division of Internal Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany
                [3 ]Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
                [4 ]National Reference Laboratory for Tuberculosis, National Health Laboratory Services, Johannesburg, South Africa
                [5 ]Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Associated Institute to the University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
                [6 ]Department of Infectious Diseases, Division of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jean Pieters, Biozentrum, Klingelbergstrasse 50, CH 4056 Basel, Switzerland, Tel +416 1267 1494, Fax +416 1267 2148, Email jean.pieters@ 123456unibas.ch
                © 2012 Janssen et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                tuberculosis,treatment,drug-resistance,drug targets
                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                tuberculosis, treatment, drug-resistance, drug targets


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