TB survival mechanism explained

In a new paper, Eric Rubin, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues describe how tuberculosis (TB) bacteria undergo metabolic adaptation to survive attempts by immune system cells to kill them off by starving them of tryptophan. The researchers also identified a means of inhibiting tryptophan synthesis in the bacteria that could eventually lead to new treatments for TB.

Read an abstract published December 5, 2013 in Cell.

Watch a lighthearted video in which first author Jason Zhang, a graduate student in Rubin’s lab, explains the study.

Learn more

Tuberculosis experts address role of immune response (HSPH News)

TB’s links to diabetes (Harvard Gazette)

When infection won’t quit (Harvard Public Health)

Tuberculosis (HSPH’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics)