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Researchers discover metabolic vulnerability in TB and potential drug target
Date:5/10/2010

e dormant for years only to become active again years later."

Dr. Ehrt, the lead author on the paper, conducts basic research on the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. She and her team investigate the role of the macrophage in the immune response to Mtb and the molecular mechanisms used by the pathogen to establish and maintain persistent infections. A goal of Dr. Ehrt's research is to validate novel drug targets that may facilitate the development of new therapies against active and chronic TB.

"Tuberculosis is very difficult to treat," says Dr. Erht. "It is especially challenging as the infection can lay dormant in the body even though there are no symptoms. We investigated the metabolic requirements of Mtb during acute and chronic infections and found that the gluconeogenic enzyme PEPCK is critical for both."

The study used a novel mass spectrometry-based metabolic profiling tool, developed at Weill Cornell (in collaboration with Agilent Technologies) by Dr. Kyu Rhee to biochemically examine Mtb carbon metabolism. The tool has provided the first direct insights into the metabolic architecture of Mtb. Dr. Rhee is a co-author and assistant professor of medicine, microbiology & immunology, and the Hearst Clinical Scholar in Microbiology & Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Ehrt hopes that her work will eventually lead to new drug therapies to treat tuberculosis. "Although the current treatments we have to treat Mtb are effective, the treatment times are too long and the regimens too complex. This leads to treatment failures, due to poor adherence and multidrug resistance. We need new, safer drugs that work faster to eliminate tuberculosis."


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Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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