Background: The complex architecture of the mycobacterial cell wall is responsible for
many physiological and infection-associated properties of these pathogens. Long chain mycolic acids
with chiral functional groups constitute a major lipid envelope component, and therefore play a crucial
role in determining the permeability and fluidity of the cell wall. Varying proportions of the different
mycolate types are present in various mycobacteria. This serves to designate a specific mycolic
acid profile, allowing the differentiation of species and subspecies.
Objective: In this review, we explore the diversity in mycolic acid chemical structure, its influence
on cell wall permeability and consequences for virulence, and present how they might be exploited
as research targets in diagnosis and chemotherapy.
Methods: The search of bibliographic databases for adequate, informative and valuable peerreviewed
literature was undertaken. The proper papers were identified by the hand and electronic
searching through the relevant to the topic-leading journals, key words, named authors, reference
Results: The review is based on the ninety two carefully selected articles that allow this review to
provide up-to-date information. Twenty nine papers were published within last 5 years, including 10
showed up in 2016-2017.
Conclusion: The revision of the relevant literature showed that mycolic acids played a crucial role in
host-pathogen interactions and thus might serve as a promising tool for differentiation of mycobacterial
species and discovering novel tuberculocidal therapeutic strategies.