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 scanning, etc.
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.