Metabolic principles of persistence and pathogenicity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Nature reviews. Microbiology, Volume: 16, Issue: 8
August 1, 2018
Sabine Ehrt S, Dirk Schnappinger D, Kyu Y Rhee KY

Metabolism was once relegated to the supply of energy and biosynthetic precursors, but it has now become clear that it is a specific mediator of nearly all physiological processes. In the context of microbial pathogenesis, metabolism has expanded outside its canonical role in bacterial replication. Among human pathogens, this expansion has emerged perhaps nowhere more visibly than for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis. Unlike most pathogens, M. tuberculosis has evolved within humans, which are both host and reservoir. This makes unrestrained replication and perpetual quiescence equally incompatible strategies for survival as a species. In this Review, we summarize recent work that illustrates the diversity of metabolic functions that not only enable M. tuberculosis to establish and maintain a state of chronic infection within the host but also facilitate its survival in the face of drug pressure and, ultimately, completion of its life cycle.