How a recently identified defensive compound called itaconate tricks the bacteria behind tuberculosis.
Close to 1.8 billion people worldwide are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the common and occasionally deadly bacterium that causes millions of cases of tuberculosis each year. The bacteria, having coevolved with humans over millennia, have devised ways of hijacking nutrients from its human host for its own benefit. Humans have equally complex ways of fighting back.
In a new study appearing in the journal Science, a team led by Michigan Medicine researchers working with collaborators at Harvard, has discovered a specific mechanism by which a “weapon” used by the immune system, called itaconate, targets Mtb.