Mycobacterium tuberculosis encounters a range of stimuli in the host. Understanding the environmental cues that initiate the transcriptional response of M. tuberculosis, which enable the bacterium to replicate and/or survive in the host, will provide markers that are specific to different stages of disease, further refining the search for improved treatments and vaccines. Studying M. tuberculosis gene expression in vivo is technically challenging and more amenable in vitro experiments are being used to aid interpretation and to dissect the signals that are responsible for controlling subsets of genes. Key parameters that affect the growth of a pathogen in the host include nutrient status, environmental pH, oxygen availability, and host defences. Studying gene expression, pathogenicity, and physiology of M. tuberculosis that has been exposed to these relevant host conditions in vitro will further increase our understanding of the virulence factors that M. tuberculosis requires to establish disease. Complementary information obtained by metabolic flux analysis, proteomics, and regulatory networks analysis will enable a clearer picture of how transcriptional responses translate to changes in the metabolome and physiology of the organism.
Keywords: Latency, chemostat, iron-limitation, regulation, hypoxia, nitric oxide, carbon starvation, re-activation
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Published on: 01 March, 2012
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