Novel ways to Kill TB Bacteria are Developed

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Though the bacteria usually affects the lung mostly, it can affect other parts of the body too like the brain, kidney and the spine. It is responsible for nearly 2 million deaths in the United States. There are some types of the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis which are resistant to even the modern drugs of TB. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University have developed two radically different ways of killing even these drug-resistant types of the bacteria. The results of the finding are published in the March 21 edition of the journal Nature Chemical Biology. This article tries to gain further insight on this topic.

Knowledge Gained From the Research:

  • According to the researchers at the microbiology, immunology and genetics departments at Einstein college, extremely drug-resistant types of TB bacteria have arisen in the past few years.
  • These new forms of bacteria are not completely eliminated by the existing drugs and required novel ways to deal with them.
  • Previous research studies suggested that an enzyme called GlgE was required for the growth of TB bacteria.
  • Researchers wanted to gain further insight on this enzyme so as to develop a new drug for TB.
  • The study revealed that GlgE enzyme converts glucose molecules into long sugar molecules called the alpha glucons.
  • The alpha glucons are known to be the building blocks where Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria grows and multiplies.
  • When the levels of GlgE enzyme were inhibited, the bacteria were found to commit suicide.
  • The death is caused when levels of a sugar called maltose 1-phosphate reached toxic proportions damaging the DNA of the bacteria.
  • Another enzyme Rv3032 also plays an important role in preparing alpha glucons.
  • When this enzyme was deactivated, it did not inhibit bacteria growth.
  • But when both the enzymes GlgE and Rv3032, required by the TB bacteria survival, were deactivated, it lead to the death of bacteria.
  • The researchers are confident that when drugs of TB will be developed using these two enzymes, there will be no room left for the TB bacteria to survive in different form.

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