University of Alabama at Birmingham

An enzyme in immune cells plays essential role in host defense against TB

Using freshly resected lung tissue from 21 patients and two distinct mouse models, tuberculosis researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Africa Health Research Institute, or AHRI, have identified a protein that plays an essential role in host defense against this deadly disease.

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How Mycobacterium tuberculosis escapes death in macrophages

The bacteria that cause the devastating disease tuberculosis have the ability to escape destruction and grow after they are engulfed by lung macrophages, the immune cells that are supposed to destroy pathogens. Now researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have described key biochemical steps between the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the macrophage responsible for that ability.

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A “release and kill” strategy may aid treatment of tuberculosis

Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been called “the perfect pathogen.” These bacteria hijack human macrophages, persist inside the cells to evade immune destruction, and then prevent the macrophage from undergoing programmed cell death. This provides a niche where they grow in a protected environment that is hard to reach with antibiotics.

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A novel toxin – and the first ever found – for a deadly pathogen, M. tuberculosis

Despite 132 years of study, no toxin had ever been found for the deadly pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which infects 9 million people a year and kills more than 1 million.

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