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Tuberculosis bacterium's outer cell wall disarms the body's defense to remain infectious
Date:10/3/2011

r cells in the immune response. They eat TB bacteria at the point of infection in the lung and then normally activate molecules that make pieces of the bacteria visible to infection-fighting warriors, triggering an eventual T-cell response to come to the macrophages' aid.

The research is published this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

About 2 billion people worldwide are thought to be infected with TB bacteria. People who are infected can harbor the bacterium without symptoms for decades, but an estimated one in 10 will develop active disease characterized by a chronic cough and chest pain. Both active and latent infections are treated with a combination of antibiotics that patients take for at least six months, and such treatment is becoming less effective with more drug-resistant bacterial strains.

Schlesinger and colleagues conducted the study comparing lipomannans from two types of bacteria -- a virulent strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and a harmless strain called Mycobacterium smegmatis, which is often used as a control bacterium in TB research.

Many of these same researchers, led by Schlesinger, had previously isolated the lipomannans from each type of bacterial cell's surface and used powerful biochemical analyses to characterize the significance of the lipomannans' structural differences. In a study published recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the group reported on how the surface structures on virulent TB bacteria lowered the response of a specific T-cell that typically gets recruited to fight tuberculosis.

In this newer study, the scientists compared how the structures affected the production of TNF in primary human macrophage culture experiments.

They first established that human macrophages respond differently to the two different types of bacteria lipomannans after 24 hours of exposure. Lipomannan from the viru
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Contact: Larry Schlesinger
larry.schlesinger@osumc.edu
614-292-8789
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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