Research press release


Nature Medicine

Fighting tuberculosis with acid


酸性化は、免疫細胞やマクロファージが結核菌Mycobacterium tuberculosisと戦う際に使う重要な武器だが、酸が結核菌を殺すのか、また病気の発症に酸性化抵抗性が必要なのかは明らかになっていない。

S Ehrtたちは、結核菌が実際にマクロファージの内部の酸性環境のもとでも、抵抗性をもたらす特殊なタンパク質の働きによって生きていけることを発見した。このタンパク質がないと結核菌は生き延びられず、マウスに対する毒性が著しく低下する。


Scientists have pinpointed a specific protein that helps tuberculosis fight off the body’s natural defence mechanism. The protein is able to withstand the acidification used by immune cells to engulf and digest the disease.

Acidification is an important mechanism used by immune cells or macrophages to fight Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogens. It remains unclear, however, if acid kills the bacterium or if resistance to acidification is required for the development of the disease.

Online in Nature Medicine this week, Sabine Ehrt and colleagues found that Mycobacterium can actually survive the acidic environment inside macrophages due to a specific protein responsible for resistance. In the absence of this protein, Mycobacterium failed to survive, and its virulence was markedly reduced in mice.

On the basis of their findings, the authors propose that targeting the protein that creates resistance to acid is an attractive strategy against tuberculosis.

doi: 10.1038/nm.1795


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