Pamela Wearsch, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University - School of Medicine
Particles in TB Membrane Could be Target for Treatment
Current tuberculosis (TB) treatment regimens involve taking several antibiotics for six to nine months, and compliance is a major issue. The incidence of drug-resistant TB is projected to cause a global health crisis in the coming decades and new TB drugs must be developed. It was recently discovered that the bacteria that causes TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), secretes nanometer-sized particles called membrane vesicles that likely contribute to Mtb survival and lung disease. We will study the factors that regulate the production of Mtb membrane vesicles during infection. With this knowledge, we will develop experimental systems to study the role of membrane vesicles in TB and will explore vesicle secretion as a potential target for new TB drugs.
Update: In the past year we have identified Mtb genes that regulate the production of Mtb membrane vesicles during infection. We also developed novel experimental methods to analyze bacterial membrane vesicles. Our goal for the next year is to define the role of membrane vesicles in Mtb survival during infection and to explore membrane vesicle secretion pathways as potential drug targets for TB.