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Scientists Announce Eureka Discovery That Breaks Through The Protection Mechanisms Of Mycoplasma Tuberculosis

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Scientists Announce Eureka Discovery That Breaks Through The Protection Mechanisms Of Mycoplasma Tuberculosis

A new breakthrough in the fight against the bacterium that causes tuberculosis has been made by scientists at Colorado State University. Researchers have discovered the essential cellular function that is necessary for the mycobacterium to survive medication and the action of the body’s defensive systems. They have also discovered the composite that is essential to the particular cellular function.

Current tuberculosis medication lacks effectiveness in killing the bacterium because of the cellular membrane that surrounds the bacterium. A treatment scheme that combines the effect of multiple drugs is necessary to treat tuberculosis in numerous patients. Unfortunately most of the current medication will eventually be ineffective due to the development of highly resistant strains. Researchers are working on the development of a new drug that would have a different action on the bacterium, thus killing it and keeping the high resistant strains under control.

Mycobacterium Tauberculosis

Mycobacterium Tauberculosis

The main components of the almost impenetrable envelope that surrounds the bacterium are mycolic acids. These acids are synthesized inside the cell, reaching cell envelope only after being transported through the cell membrane.

Without mycolic acids in the cell envelope, the bacteria die, said Mary Jackson, professor in the department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, whilst also researcher on the project. The discovery made by researchers from Colorado State University involves stopping of a certain transporter from moving mycolic acids from the synthesis point to the outer cell envelope. By blocking certain transporters, a new possible way of killing the bacterium has been found. Researchers have been trying to identify the certain transporter for decades, knowing the fact that if they stop mycolic acids from reaching the cell envelope, new drugs that could kill the bacterium could be developed.

If mycolic acids cannot be transported, the tuberculosis bacterium cannot grow, said Mike McNeil, professor and co-researcher on the project with Jackson. McNeil also adds that the new discovery is very important, and the development of new drugs will be difficult, nevertheless very important for patients suffering from tuberculosis.

Both Jackson and McNeil note that several different transporters found in the bacterium might also be involved in transporting mycolic acids. The discovery of such transporters could ease the development of new medication.