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MM-TB — Result In Brief

Project ID: 12187
Country: Italy

Comparing notes on the parasite and its host

Tuberculosis is a global public health problem, with incidences rising by 2 % annually. Adding insult to injury is the rise of multi-drug resistances being documented in eastern Europe.
Comparing notes on the parasite and its host
To combat the threat of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, new interventions are needed and tuberculosis patients must be followed up on more efficiently. The 'Molecular markers of M. tuberculosis early interactions with host phagocytes' (MM-TB) project aimed to develop and design new markers of protection from infection and identify specific molecular patterns in the microbe as well as in the host cells.

Comparative genomics studies the relationship of the structure and function of hereditary information (genome) among different biological organisms, whether species or strains. This new field is rapidly advancing and offers projects such as the MM-TB an opportunity to uncover how M. tuberculosis interacts with the immune system. Specifically, researchers believed that early interactions between M. tuberculosis and host phagocytes (macrophages (MFs) and dendritic cells (DCs)) are instrumental in raising a protective immune response, as well as in determining how infection will play out.

MM-TB members used microarrays to study the genomes of both the host and the microbial parasite at the time of their interaction. The study succeeded in giving proof of principle that probing the two organisms in this way offers valuable information on interactions between the two. Project results also yielded significant information for better understanding the workings of the immune response to M. tuberculosis and how this mycobacterium acts in varying intracellular environments.

In other project accomplishments, an IT-based knowledge management system has been set up and offers a new centralised European resource, complete with transcriptional TB databases. This database is pegged to make its mark when further research seeks out new molecular markers and molecular targets.

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