Navigation Links
Source of drug-tolerant tuberculosis possibly behind TB relapses, intensity of treatment

PITTSBURGHUniversity of Pittsburgh-led researchers discovered that the primary bacteria behind tuberculosis can grow on surfaces and that drug-tolerant strains flourish in these bacterial communities, the research team recently reported in Molecular Microbiology. The findings suggest a possible reason why human tuberculosis (TB) requires months of intensive antibiotic treatment and indicate a potential cause of the relapses that can nonetheless occur.

The researchers are the first to show that Mycobacterium tuberculosis can grow in surface-level bacteria clusters known as biofilms that are common in nature but never before shown for TB bacteria, explained the paper's senior author Graham Hatfull, chair and Eberly Family Professor of Biological Sciences in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences. Hatfull collaborated and coauthored the paper with Professor William Jacobs Jr. of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Hatfull, Jacobs, and their colleagues found that the biofilm bacteria are physiologically and genetically different from TB bacteria harvested in a labthe type used in developing antibiotics. These variations result in a population of the bacteria that are "drug-tolerant and harbor persistent cells that survive high concentrations of anti-tuberculosis antibiotics," the team reports.

People with TB typically undergo six to nine months of treatment with multiple antibiotics and most of the bacteria generally die within the first two weeks. Yet the disease can recur, presumably because of drug-tolerant bacteria that have escaped the antibiotic. The source and location of these persistent cells are unknown, but Hatfull and Jacobs' research reveals a possible biofilm origin, Jacobs said.

"The nature of persisting M. tuberculosis cells has been an enigma for the entire field," Jacobs said. "Clearly M. tuberculosis cells in biofilms represent at least one class of persistent cells, and we are testing their biological relevance."

It is not yet known whether the biofilm actually factors into human TB infections, Hatfull said. He added that the only similar research regarding biofilm in living creatures showed the presence of biofilm-like or biofilm-related bacteria in guinea pigs.

"While our data does not show conclusively that biofilm formation in people gives rise to a drug-tolerant population, the fact that biofilms do so in the lab makes this an interesting and testable hypothesis," Hatfull said.


Contact: Morgan Kelly
University of Pittsburgh

Related biology news :

1. Pittsburgh scientists identify human source of stem cells with potential to repair muscle
2. UNH becomes first university in nation to use landfill gas as primary energy source
3. New partnership offers outsourced R&D in membrane biology
4. HortTalks, a valuable scientific resource
5. Reversing cognitive deficits: Injectable antibody may attack source of problem
6. The race for biofuels driving alternative sources of biomass
7. Space technology put into service for global water resources observations
8. Local sources major cause of US near-ground aerosol pollution
9. The power of multiples: Connecting wind farms can make a more reliable - and cheaper - power source
10. GBIF making the search for biodiversity research resources easier
11. Food source threatened by carbon dioxide
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)...  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) policy group ... Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future," which ... Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has worked since ... --> --> Synthetic biology promises great ... pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is easier than ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015 Today, LifeBEAM ... partnership with 2XU, a global leader in technical ... smart hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat ... to monitor key biometrics to improve overall training ... the two companies will bring together the most advanced ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... and LAS VEGAS , ... Nok Labs , an innovator in modern authentication and ... today announced the launch of its latest version of ... platform enabling organizations to use standards-based authentication that supports ... Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal for organizations deploying ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, a company ... Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive officer, will ... on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 p.m. Eastern ... City. --> --> ... Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign up to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use solutions for ... Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. , Having joined InSphero in ... and was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in 2014. There she ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) (OTCQX: ... Pierre Laurin , President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic, ... Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference to be held ... st , at 8.50am (ET) and ProMetic,s ... day. The presentation will be available live via a webcast ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... company focused on discovering drugs for metabolic disorders, ... Watkins to its Board of Directors (BOD). ... executive officer of Human Genome Sciences (HGS), and ... Industry Organization. Jim Powers , Chairman ...
Breaking Biology Technology: