Mycobacteria, especially M. tuberculosis, have remained a worldwide dominant cause for human morbidity (∼10 million annual cases) and mortality (3 million deaths annually) since ancient times. An estimated one-third of living humans are latently infected with M. tuberculosis. Despite this, there have been no new drugs specifically developed against mycobacteria since the 1960s. Because of a slow growth rate, biosafety concerns, and other issues, drug discovery by in vitro screening of natural and synthetic compounds has been limited in the past. However, a number of new techniques and technologies for whole cell antimycobacterial screening have been developed recently. This review examines and compares these methods, discusses common issues in screening with mycobacteria, and considers potential future developments in the field.
Keywords: Mycobacterium, drug discovery, resazurin, alamar blue, nitrate reductase, luciferase, green fluorescent protein
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